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Normal map troubles

normal map textures weapon mod

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#1
Undata

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Hey there, I've been wanting to start making my own mods from scratch for Skyrim since forever, and I recently started looking into it. 

I've made a sword which I'm trying to put into the game, but for some reason I can't get the normal map to work properly. I've followed all relevant guides I can find on how to save it in the appropriate dds format and how to use the alpha channel for masking specularity, but it still doesn't seem to work. 

For background, my workflow is currently a bit convoluted as I've had to convert the Nif files from SSE to LE files in order to be able to work with them in Nifskope. I don't know if this is what causes my problems, or if there might be other tools that don't require the conversion, in that case please enlighten me! I'm still very much a newbie after all  :smile:

So what I've done is to use a weapon from Skyrim in Nifskope as a template, and then apply my own mesh and textures to the exisiting nodes to get as much right as possible. I've double-checked that the values on the nodes are exactly the same as the original template weapon (except for changes that comes with new meshes such as tris amount and that stuff). For some reason the textues aren't visible in Nifskope until I've converted the Nif to the SSE format, and everything looks good except the normal map. I figured I must be saving the normal map in the wrong format, but no matter what I try I can't get it right.
 

Below are some (hopefully) helpful images: (I'm sorry there's only links but I couldn't be bothered to try make the images smal lenough for the allowed format)

 

What my sword is supposed to look like:

https://imgur.com/NnykxU0

 

What my sword looks like in Nifskope:

https://imgur.com/L8bYosG

 

My normal map channels looks like this:

https://imgur.com/6XxSjyp

 

My dds save settings look like this:

https://imgur.com/IBpzd5Q

 

Tools I'm using are:
Blender 2.8
Photoshop CC + nividias latest dds plugin
B.A.E

SSE NIF Optimizer
Nifskope 2.0 (dev 8 )

Any input is greatly appreciated!



#2
cumbrianlad

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First of all, I use Nifskope 2.0 dev 7 and I can open SSE nifs no problem.

 

Next, Nifskope isn't the best at rendering certain things. It won't look the same in Nifskope as in CK and it will look different again, in game. It's just another headache trying to second guess how an object in Nifskope will look in game!

 

The textures are all being applied, or else they would look totally off.

 

I can't really see the specular map that you're using for the alpha channel very well, but it looks a bit bright. That could just be the tiny image, though. If it is too light it will make the sword look ridiculously bright.

 

The other thing you may want to look at is the emissive colour and specular colour settings in the BSlightingShaderProperties for each tri-shape. If you have either of those too bright, the emission and specularity could be swamping some of the details on the sword edge. Another one to play with is 'Glossiness'. Try dropping that.

 

Like the kitty-cat in the avatar. Everyone likes Kitty-cats, or they're not worth talking to! My Kitty-cat just happens to be wielding a blade... he's nice, though!



#3
Undata

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Thank you so much for the reply! I like your kitty too, hehe.
 

Ah yeah I should have been clearer, I can open SSE Nifs in my version of Nifskope too but I can't seem to edit meshes (replace meshes with my own .objs).

 

To test the brightness thing with the alpha specular I made it all black, but it didn't seem to change anything.

 

Here's the shader node in question:

https://imgur.com/PeoL1Av



#4
cumbrianlad

cumbrianlad

    Right turn, Clyde!

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I'm having problems typing at the mo. Excuse typos. My real cat is sitting on my legs and blocking off half the keyboard. Sometimes she stamps on it!

 

Better. She's got down. That just leaves the specular map used as the alpha channel for the normal map. If that isn't too bright, I don't know what more to suggest, except to try it in CK and game test. Like I said, Nifskope doesn't render things exactly like the game does.



#5
Undata

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Jealous, wish I had a cat too!

Okay, so I put the sword into the game and unfortunatly the problem persists:
https://imgur.com/0XnQynW

There's gotta be something I'm not doing right with the textures, but I'm stumped as to what. The sword is identical to the vanilla iron sword in it's texture setup, it has a diffuse, normal, em and cubemap and they're pretty similar in values etc. imo.

I don't know if it'll give any more clues but here's what they look like:
 https://imgur.com/a/0j9YHLB

 

Edit: I finally found the issue, it wasn't a matter of putting transparency in an alpha channel mask in the workfile. I don't know how to best describe it but you just have to work with the transparency as you would with a regular png.


Edited by Undata, 18 July 2020 - 06:18 PM.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: normal map, textures, weapon, mod

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