Normal Maps and Bump Maps


Normal maps and Bump maps both serve the same purpose. By using an image (Bump or Normal), the geometry of the surface can have the appearance of more detail. This should not be confused with displacement mapping where the image used actually affects the geometry.


Bump Maps are typically grey scale images and OctaneRender™ uses the values to determine how much to affect the geometry at that location of the pixel.


Normal Maps work slightly different. They are color images that use RGB values to add directionality to the raised or lowered areas.


Note: Normal maps take precedence over bump maps, therefore you actually can not use both a normal map and a bump map at the same time. In fact, if there is both a Normal Map and a Bump map applied on the same material, the Normal Map will take a higher priority and be used and the Bump Map will be ignored.


In OctaneRender, the normal map is interpreted in tangent space. The X-axis is the tangent vector in the dP/dU direction, the Y-axis is the other tangent vector and the Z-axis is the normal direction.


My Normal Maps from Z-Brush don’ t export properly. What can I do?

To get Z-Brush normal maps to work in OctaneRender, you must enable the “Flip G” button under the Normal Map settings (Z-Brush Normal Map Settings) and the “Flip V” on the File Export (Click on the “Flip V” button prior to export).

Z-Brush Normal Map Settings


Click on the “Flip V” button prior to export