How To Make A Normal Map In Photoshop Cs6

Working with textures can be complicated. After all, you need it to look realistic and be able to add finer details that can lend it the variance of usual objects. This can be done with the help of normal maps, but what many people don’t know is that this is a feature you can achieve even with software like Photoshop. But you may wonder, how do you use normal maps with CS6?

Photoshop CS6 has a built-in feature that not just lets you create detailed 3D elements but also edit and create normal maps. You can do this by using the Generate Normal Map window in Photoshop. The window will allow you to change how the light looks over certain shapes and can also give you the option to adjust details and blur over the texture. 

Using normal maps is essential, especially when creating elements for 3D games or artwork. This can be a great way to improve how realistic items look, as the normal ways that textures overlay on top of shapes can make them look jarring and strange. You can make your work stand out and feel instantly real with just a few adjustments to the normal map.

Creating Normal Maps In Photoshop CS6

Because 3D features are not available in Photoshop versions before CS6, that is something you need to keep in mind when attempting this tutorial. However, if you have Photoshop CS6 or ahead, you can use it to create normal maps. These maps are useful because they allow you to replicate lighting on 3D features without much additional work realistically.

If you want to create a texture with a normal map, here are the steps that you will need to follow:

  1. Open up the Photoshop application, and open up the texture you want to use, and then switch over to the 3D-specific workspace.
  2. Once you are there, you will be able to see the 3D panel.
  3. From the panel, select the option ‘Mesh from Preset.’
  4. You can now choose the shape you want to create a 3D element of.
  5. Now, select create to create a 3D subject with your texture overlaid on top of it.
  6. Now, go back to the 3D panel and select the object that includes the term ‘_material.’

With all of this work done, you are now ready to create the normal map you are looking for. Remember, you want to create a map that can help you create realistic lighting. To do this, you will need to make some changes to this 3D element. 

  1. Once you have selected the material, the property channel will change to show you options relating to the material you chose.
  2. The texture will be on the base color channel. From here, you will be able to see a button at the bottom of that, which is labeled as ‘Normal.’
  3. Select the button, and then choose ‘Generate Normals from Base Color.’
  4. Wait a few seconds, and then the Generate Normal Map Window will come up. 

Here is a video explaining this process:

In the Normal Map Window, you can adjust how the lighting will look. There is a preview of the shape, which comes in handy as you change contrast details and other items. In addition to this, you can also adjust the Blur, depending on the look that you are searching for, and even scale and adjust the details. What you choose to input can depend on a number of factors.

How To Save Your Textured Image On Photoshop

If you want to be able to continue editing this 3D element in Photoshop and other advanced 3D software, it is important to consider how you save it. For example, saving as PNG or JPEG files can lead to too much compression and can impact the quality of your work. This is why it is recommended that you instead save your files in the TIFF format. 

The 3D file can then be used inside whatever further applications you would like, and you can even add it to a game engine directly. 

Final Thoughts

Once you start using normal maps, it is hard to go back, as this small change can have a huge impact on how realistic your items look. If you really want to upgrade your 3D creations, using normal maps from Photoshop cS5 is the way to go! And remember, the more you play around with the options, the better your end results can be.