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Confused Entity
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎05-30-2011

Mudbox 2012 -> Max 2012 Tangent Space Normal Map Nightmare

484 Views, 6 Replies
06-01-2011 11:24 AM
Dear everyone!

This is my first post so a big hi to the community! :smileywink: I'm just beginning to explore mudbox as I'm drawn to its simplicity; however I'm having some serious problems doing a very simple and obvious task currently (ironically), and I’ve read everything I can find online but to no avail so far…

I just wanted to familiarise myself with the normal map creation workflow between max -> mudbox -> max (running on win 7 /64 bit versions) so;

1) I started off with a simple squashed sphere with custom UV's, exported it as an object using the mudbox preset in max obj exporter (see image 1)

2) I introduced some basic detail in mudbox at level 5, then exported a normal map using basic max settings using tangent space (see image 2)

3) I imported the object file back into max, applied bump map channel -> normal bump using tangent space; however regardless of different settings or process’, when I apply the normal map parts of the UV segments in max are either turned inside out - that is the normal lighting seems back to front or the normal shading information is incorrect (see image 3)

4) if I use the automatic export to max from mudbox (i.e. which uses fbx) I have the same problem except its even worse as for some reason mudbox encodes facets from the low level base mesh into the high level normal map making it look like its had its smoothing groups removed when the normal map is applied - in addition to it being inside out (see image 4)

So far I have tried everything from updating mudbox to service pack 1 and FBX exporter to the latest version (i.e. 12.1) I’ve tried flipping the UVs in max, changing all the settings - but the same result (i.e. or similar issue) every time – so I’ve run out of ideas!

The annoying thing is that if I export it in object space it works fine, so if any body has any ideas of what I’m doing wrong I would mega appreciate your help as its driving me nuts and such a primitive task too – lol…

Major thanks to the community for any help, suggestions, advice or support in advance ;0)

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (SP1) | DirectX 11.0
4GB Ram | Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 2.40 GHz | NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+ (v270.61)
Mudbox 2012 | 3D Studio Max 2012 | Motion Builder 2012 (64 bit | Educational)
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*Expert Elite* | Moderator
cg_oglu
Posts: 2,989
Registered: ‎08-22-2006

Re: Mudbox 2012 -> Max 2012 Tangent Space Normal Map Nightmare

06-02-2011 02:07 AM in reply to: Confused Entity
give smooth target uvs a try...
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http://www.linkedin.com/pub/christoph-schaedl/6/558/73b
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New Member
Confused Entity
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎05-30-2011

Re: Mudbox 2012 -> Max 2012 Tangent Space Normal Map Nightmare

06-02-2011 06:03 AM in reply to: Confused Entity
Hi Oglu,

Thanks for your response, I tried using that option previously and again just now; however it just irrecoverably crashes MB throwing this error (see image 5) after which it doesn't respond properly - the little dial just carries on spinning...

I'm not entirely sure what it is asking me to do (i.e. tessellate the base mesh?) that would add a silly amount of poly's to the base mesh if that’s the case, I'll try and tease a result from it non-the-less but let me know if you have any suggestions as to what this requires from me/or what the issue is etc...

Thanks again :smileywink:

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (SP1) | DirectX 11.0
4GB Ram | Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 2.40 GHz | NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+ (v270.61)
Mudbox 2012 | 3D Studio Max 2012 | Motion Builder 2012 (64 bit | Educational)
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Active Member
hadouken
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎02-28-2008

Re: Mudbox 2012 -> Max 2012 Tangent Space Normal Map Nightmare

06-08-2011 06:34 AM in reply to: Confused Entity
Hey Confused, do you have gamma enabled in max by any chance? I've had that normal map problem when the normal map inherits the systems gamma space on import. Make sure your normal map gamma is at 1.0 at the import dialogue.
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New Member
thanoz_1
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎07-12-2011

Re: Mudbox 2012 -> Max 2012 Tangent Space Normal Map Nightmare

07-18-2011 11:37 AM in reply to: Confused Entity
I've experienced the exact same issues and I haven't yet found a solution. My objective has been very simple - make a rock with no visible seams on any side, it's very similar to your egg-like shape exercise. I tried 3 things, with 3 interesting results.

1. I started off with a very blocky rock initially with a very separate UV layout (six sides - six different UV groups). This created decent results on edges on one axis, but the edges for the top and bottom UV groups were very harsh. Tested in 3D Max and UDK.

2. I then repeated with a different mesh using a much more unified UV layout, all one piece, with one seam. In this case the results were even worse at the UV Seam. Tested in 3D Max and UDK.

3. I decided this must be user error surely. So I used the Mudbox's default Cube as a base, totally unchanged. I Subdivided it a few times, sculpted a bit and sculpted across the seams. Then I did a normal extraction from that and ofcourse, tested the results in 3d Max and UDK. Terrible! The normal maps generated from Mudbox on their own Box don't just fail to cover the UV seams, they make it worse!

This is actually getting pretty funny now because anyone can test this out. Use default Mudbox "Create Box", subdivide, sculpt, generate normal map from something like lvl 8 to lvl 1 or 2 (level 0 is too low to be of use). Export the corresponding low-rez level as FBX and the Normal map, import to UDK. Fail. Worse even, Mudbox delete's smoothing groups. So first, Export FBX, import to Max, add Edit Poly modifier (because Max 2012 is broken and won't allow smoothing group changes without Edit Poly Mod on top of Edit Poly...) Smooth the mesh. Export that as FBX, import to UDK, import texture, create material, etc etc apply to mesh, view...FAIL.

I'm going to try using Xnormal on Mudbox next, but I haven't had stellar results with that so far. My last 2 options are to use 3DS Max to generate the normals, or possibly Maya.

Odd thing is, Mudbox is quite good about Diffuse along seams, stellar really.

Also, anyone that tries to resolve these issues entirely in Mudbox will not see accurate results. This is the funniest part. When you generate a Normal Map in Mudbox, it auto-assigns the Normal Map to your mesh if you leave the checkbox on. Great right? Well it LOOKS great, but that's not how any other engine will perceive the results. Why? Well turn off that normal map, and import that same normal map as a Diffuse Layer on your low rez mesh. Observe seam areas... That's not a 100% fair way of dismissing how badly it handles seams, but it should give you an idea of how far off it is.
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*Expert Elite* | Moderator
cg_oglu
Posts: 2,989
Registered: ‎08-22-2006

Re: Mudbox 2012 -> Max 2012 Tangent Space Normal Map Nightmare

07-19-2011 12:22 AM in reply to: Confused Entity
no problems here...
tested with maya normalmap and max normalmap...
looking fine in maya and max viewport...
in max with cgfx shader and in the render...
no seams at all...

the seam if you are using the normalmap as diffuse is like it should be...
the shader is able to handle that...

like mentioned above... are you sure that your normalmap isnt gamma corrected during loading..?
normalmaps have to stay on gamma 1.0
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http://www.linkedin.com/pub/christoph-schaedl/6/558/73b
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New Member
Boxster
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎02-28-2007

Re: Mudbox 2012 -> Max 2012 Tangent Space Normal Map Nightmare

11-08-2011 03:06 PM in reply to: Confused Entity
I had EXACTLY the same problem ! Turn off Enable Gamma/LUT Correction. The normal map will now display correctly in the viewport.
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