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Normal & Shininess Maps

What are normal and shininess maps?

Normal and shininess maps create bumpy and shiny surfaces.

Normal Map

This is a more modern type of bump map that allows you to add surface detail such as bumps, scratches and irregular surfaces to a model. The map defines depth in 3d space by using the color channels as xyz coordinates.

You will need to generate a Normal map either from your 3d modeling software or by simulating it with a Photoshop filter, or an online tool like this one.

For more detailed information on how normal maps work please read Normal Map Technical Tutorial

Shininess Map

This is a greyscale map that defines if light will be reflected off of a surface. White parts of the map define more reflection, dark parts define less and will appear more rough.

Here’s a shininess map example with full white on the blotch, and full black everywhere else.

For more detailed information on how shininess maps work please read Shininess Technical Tutorial

Fresnel Reflection

This is a slider from 0 to 100 that defines the Fresnel reflectivity. It’s basically the angle from the light to the camera that light will reflect. Higher values will make your material more reflective and lower values less reflective. A normal or shininess map must be loaded for the slider to be active.

In the example below, the Fresnel Reflection (reflectivity) value ranges from 0 at the top to 100 at the bottom.

The Shininess Map value ranges from “black” at the left to “white” at the right. You can achieve an array of simulated surfaces with just these three parameters!


Here are some quick examples of what you can achieve with normal and shininess maps!

Updated on September 30, 2023

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