3D Engine – Improved rendering using normal mapping

Guide: Adding a normal map to a model with Blender

With the release 6.5.0 of the Vidinoti SDK, the 3D rendering engine has been improved with the support for normal mapping textures.

To add a 3D content that contains a normal map with V-Director, just follow the same procedure as before. However, the Collada file creation may differ slightly. Here is a quick guide about how to add a normal map to an existing 3D model using Blender. We will take as example the 3D model of an orange. Previously, the orange rendered by V-Player would appear simply glossy, with only the diffuse texture showing some variations of colors as the light is reflected from a perfect sphere. With a normal map, every bumps on the skin of our orange will be rendered, making it much more realistic. Here is a comparison of the orange without and with a normal map.

An orange with a normal map.

An orange without a normal map.

The folder for 3D model of the orange contains the model itself , a texture file that contains the colors and the new normal texture (respectively Orange.dae, Color.jpg and Normal.jpg). Previously V-Director simply ignored the normal texture when importing the model.

Texture Setup

The list of textures currently used by the model.

The rendering options.

To make sure the texture is configured correctly, import the model in Blender. To be able to see the effects of the changes we will make, set the view-port shading to Rendered. As we can see, the normal map is not used yet because the only registered texture is the color.

To correct that, select an empty row and click on the New button to add a new texture. Then click on Open and look for the Normal.jpg file, select it and click on Open image.

The texture is added but now, our orange appears all blue. The reason is that Blender uses by default the new texture as a color, rather than as a normal map.

In the Influence section of texture properties we can see that the Color box is checked. Uncheck it and check the Normal property under the Geometry section. Moreover, in the Image Sampling section, check Normal Map and select Tangent in the drop down menu.

Image Sampling options.

Blender should now display the orange correctly.

Texture Influence options.

Collada File Creation

Default export options.

The last step in Blender is to export our modified model in a new collada file. To do that, go to File → Export → Collada. Navigate to the folder containing the original model and texture files. Give a name to your file and make sure that the options shown in the following image are checked, which should be the case as it is the default settings. Then click on Export COLLADA.

V-Director needs an archive that is created by selecting the 3 files we need (Color.jpg, Normal.jpg and our new .dae file), right click and select Compress 3 items. The archive created can then be uploaded in V-Director like any other 3D models.