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Creating Height/Parallax Maps


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Hi guys,

I am a german student and programming games in my spare time. I don't have much experience in paint.net, but so far it's my favorite paint program. Well, I am posting here because I have a probably pretty simple quesztion and need some hints, I don't want to become an expert in Paint.Net, but I simply want to find out which tools in paint.net I need to reach my goal.

Basically I want to create a heightmap from a colormap (a game texture). Heightmaps are used by my shader to add additional detail to surfaces (see herefor a such a surface). This technique is called Relief Bump Mapping and produces pretty cool result if the shader gets a decent heightmap.

My problem is that I only have colormaps and want to create the heightmaps in Paint.Net. So far I simply played around with the contrast and and brightness of the picture, but the results are not perfect...

I uploaded some scaled down pictures which illustrate my problem a bit better:

This is my colormap texture:

53dzub4s.jpg

If I am using my technique (changing contrasts and brightness) I don't get good results.

thjsxufe.jpg

The red parts show the most problematic zones of the heightmaps. Since black means no height and white means height, these regions don't contain any height informations...

I already thought about using a edgre filter, but the built in one doesn't seem to be very good.

Can anyone point me to some tutorials or tell me some tricks to solve this problem for an arbitrary color map, because I have lots of heightmaps to create and I really don't want to handpaint it. I simply want to add some filters and get decent results for relief bump mapping.

Thanks in advance ;)

kind regards,

Kevin

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This reminds me a lot of an article I read about HDR photos...

Basically, the article says you take several pictures of the scene at different exposure settings so that you can piece the HDR photo together later in a way that gives you the best of each picture you took.

How this relates? Do something similar here. Make two versions of the heightmap, one dark (like you have now) and the other just bright enough to get the details of the problem areas to show. Put each image on a separate layer (I recommend the dark one on top in this case) and use the gradient tool set to "transparency mode" to make the corrected areas show through.

If any part of that is confusing, just ask and I'll do my best to make a screenshot to illustrate.

Edited by pdnnoob

 

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No, Paint.NET is not spyware...but, installing it is an IQ test. ~BoltBait

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There are quite a a few Height map / Normalmap plugins available for Paint.NET. Have a look through these:

Heightmap

Normal Map

Normal Tools

NormalMap

Normal Map plus

Normal Map Renderer

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There are quite a a few Height map / Normalmap plugins available for Paint.NET. Have a look through these:

Heightmap

Normal Map

Normal Tools

NormalMap

Normal Map plus

Normal Map Renderer

From what I gathered, Kevin is making height maps. Those plugins turn height maps into shaded images...

 

what I do all summer Emote Cursor Pack 'noob gallery

No, Paint.NET is not spyware...but, installing it is an IQ test. ~BoltBait

Blend modes are like the filling in your sandwich. It's the filling that can change your experience of the sandwich. ~Ego Eram Reputo

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Yeah, this is indeed what I wanted. This neat little trick is really helpful, thank you very much pdnnoob ;)

I just did some short tests, but the results are much better now!

@Ego Eram Reputo: The links you posted aren't what I wanted, but they are also very interesting, because I also use normal maps for my games. Thanks :)

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