Preparing height and normal maps

Hi everyone,

I have a texture map for a wall. How do I prepare a normal or height map for it?. Normal maps are generally generated from hight poly mesh and then are exported. That’s ok for models. But how do I get it from texture images?. Most of the tutorials out there just grey out the map and use that for height information. Is that how professionals do it?

Links to external articles are most welcome.

You need an artist that can create it, as it is impossible to get height and normal data from color. Some tools are available to convert diffuse maps to normal/heightmaps, but they generate the data based on differences of color, which can yield inaccurate/incorrect results (can’t link the article, search for “how not to make normal maps” on google). You can also try to recreate the image surface with 3d software and export the normal/heightmap result like one does with 3d models.

I’ve seen a article that used 4 different photographs of the same material to extract normal information based on the position of the light source, but it was long ago, I can’t seem to find it.

So an artist handpaints it in an image editing software like photoshop or gimp. Seems a good idea but it requires hell lot of a practice.

Btw, I always felt generating height/normal map from diffuse map slightly… wrongish.