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3ds Max Modeling for Games, 2nd Edition by Andrew Gahan

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CHAPTER 7

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Normal Maps

Normal maps have become a commonly used technique that has helped define the look of the current generation of video games. The purpose of a normal map is to make a low poly model look like a high poly model.

Usually, this means two different models need to be created to “transfer” the information from the high-resolution mesh to the low-resolution mesh.

Below are examples of a tangent space normal map baked from a high poly model and applied to a low poly version.

Each surface on a model has a normal direction. The surface normal is like a perpendicular line protruding outwards from the surface of the polygon. Normal maps ...

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