View Single Post
Old 01-07-2010, 03:31 PM
mwilson914's Avatar
mwilson914 mwilson914 is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: North Bend, WA
Posts: 2,112
Originally Posted by opjose
The shadow layer blending option in Photoshop permits you to set the direction, depth, curve, etc. of a shadow.

If you decrease the shadow offset to 2-3 pixels you have the foundation for a Normal/Bump map.

And since you can set the shadow direction for each layer separately, you can put things you want to raise on one layer, things you want to recess on another, etc. etc.... then merge the layers into one layer you can use for the bump/normal map.

I did this with the Nitroplanes 1.20 Ultimate colorscheme to get the edge of the cowl to appear properly ( it receeds at the break ), while getting things like screw heads to rise "up" out of the scheme.

Needless to say I had to play with many interations and tests, to determine which direction a shadow had to be cast to get it to appear as a recessed item or something that rises out of the colorscheme....
Thanks for that info Opjose.

I did download and install x-normal yesterday too just before I went to bed. It installed within a minute and the plugin showed up immediately in my filters list with no problems at all. I tried several different settings, but wasn't able see what this plugin is fully capable of. Each normal map sample I created just didn't carry enough depth/detail as what I can accomplish with my manual procedure. I'm sure that once I become more familiar with it's apllicable use I'll achieve better results. I'm also looking forward to any tips right off the bat from anyone willing to post.

The one thing I was doing the manual way was to create a grayscale template layer over the main RGB file and then embossing the appropriate image segments into 3 RGB channel masks. I've got so much control over my end result doing things this way (e.g. pixel height, direction, seperation strength, hard/smooth edges, etc.) Since I work in grayscale, I can invert my image selection with the click of a button. I'll definately be trying out your suggestions since you've been doing this longer. I'm always open to executing less work since time management, as a husband and father, usually doesn't work out in my favor.

I'll check back often and update the thread as I reach various results, ask for help, etc.

Don't let physical inactivity take away your health. It's a hard lesson for those of us with desk jobs, but also for those that work at home from a PC as a second source of income. I'm lucky to still be alive.
Reply With Quote