Join Chad Chelius for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the new materials controls in a real-world project, part of Photoshop CS6 Creative Cloud New Features Workshop.
Now that Chad has introduced the new materials controls in the Creative Cloud update, let's take a look at how these might apply to a real world scenario. Photoshop CS6 now offers the ability to create normal maps based off of the diffuse map. This is a huge time saver, because normal maps can be used to give the impression of more detailed surfaces on your 3D objects. Let's take the example of this sphere here that has a concrete texture applied to it. We can look at this texture and see that it's a simple concrete image that's been created so that it can tile seamlessly across the surface without visible seams appearing as the image crosses the surface of the object. Now, this alone makes the Sphere appear a bit more weathered and real. However, it lacks the depth of a real concrete surface that would have pits and small imperfections in the surface that would keep it from be perfectly smooth. You can see that the reflection that's on here.
There's a little bit of reflection and its relatively clear. For right now I'm going to boost the reflections so we can see that indeed this is a really nice and smooth surface. I could add a bump map to this and use a grayscale image. However, bump maps don't always give the best representation of a 3D surface. Normal maps incorporate the best of a bump map, which includes the height of a given pixel from the surface, relative to the pixels around it. But also includes the direction that pixel is facing, relative to being perpendicular to the surface of the object.
If I scroll down to the bottom, where I have Normal, I can click on this and choose to generate Normals from Diffuse. This will take that concrete diffuse map and generate a normal map. I'm going to turn my reflection back down (audio playing) and let's go here and edit that texture. You can see that this is what a normal map looks like. It's comprised of several different layers that come together to represent the direction a pixel is facing. Up, down, left, right, and any variation of that. The individual channels break down to show light coming up and down to define the surface, light going left and right to define the surface, and then, a grayscale image that gives the different depth values based off of the surrounding image.
This would be much like a bump map but this additional information (audio playing) gives us a much more detailed (audio playing) version of a 3D surface. If we select a section here (audio playing) and render, you'll see that this surface is now much more rough in its appearance and looks more true to a real concrete material. This also allow you to create normal maps for use in other 3D applications if you use Photoshop solely as your 2D application. Being able to generate these normal maps based off of existing diffused maps saves time and allows you to stay inside Photoshop for your entire texturing work flow.
- What is the Creative Cloud?
- HiDPI resolution for Retina displays
- Pen and Crop tool enhancements
- Copying CSS data to a web page
- Importing swatches from HTML/CSS/SVG
- Introducing the new 3D lighting, materials, and rendering controls
- Using the new materials controls in a real-world project