Software for generating normal maps

Software for generating normal maps


There are lots of software for generating normal maps, and various other maps needed or wanted so that you can apply them to your models and achieve better visual results.

The problem is that some work better than others, and some cost money while others are free.

Today I’ll be going over a list of a few different software packages I’ve found that seem to be popular, and work well for the intended purposes.


This is a free software package that you can use to create normal maps. It is regularly updated, and is used by lots of professionals.


This is a neat piece of free software that you can use to combine normal maps. I could see this being very handy.

Nvidia Normal Map Creator

I’ve used this tool before and it seems pretty good. I’ve never done anything extensive with it though. It is free in any case.

ssBumpGenerator (Source Engine Only)

This is a free software for creating bump maps in the source engine. (Valve likes to think their special).

NormalMapOnline (Super Cool)

This is one of my favorites. This is a totally free online map generator. It can generate four different types of maps, but sadly it cannot generate maps from photos. The author says he is pretty busy and more donations would help him spend more time to work on it. Otherwise you got to use your own heightmap.


This site has some errors on it, but this is a free software suite for creating various maps.


This is an older piece of software that was created by allegorithmic the guys behind Substance Designer/Painter. It is free software, and it really powerful so it might be worth a look. Note though it is old, and not really support much anymore.

SmartNormal (Online)

This is another online normal map generation tool. This one unlike the other lets you use photos, but as far as I can tell it JUST makes normal maps.

nDo (Not nDo2)

nDo is a powerful normal map creation script for Photoshop.

Out of everything I’ve mentioned the one program I recommend. Which is also the one program I happened to pay for, and is not free, but is pretty cheap is MindTex. It is a very cheap successor (i’d say) to crazybump.

I hope you guys enjoyed my list, and I hope you helped at least one of you guys out. As always please link back to us at It helps.

DeviantArt what is it all about?


What is it all about?

Their official logo.


DeviantArt is a website about art of course, but what kind of art? Well many types of art actually from drawings, photographic, and digital art it accepts it all. The site also accepts adult art which you might of suspected since it is called “Deviant”Art.

Here is an example of some of the art you can expect if your not looking for adult:

example deviantart

As you can see its a lot of anime, and drawings. The types of art I see most often on deviant art are:

  • Anime
  • Drawings
  • Digital (Photoshop etc.)
  • Photographic

Beyond that I don’t see a lot of 3D art submitted, but usually when you do see it, it is good.

You can make money!

Also the reason a lot of people use DeviantArt is because they are artist and they want to make money, and a living doing what they love creating art. DeviantArt allows users to upload, and sell their art which is an awesome deal.

A lot of users also let people use their art for free which is very nice. Many users also upload Photoshop brushes, textures, and many more useful things that other artist can utilize all they ask for is some credit for their work.

Usually their are challenges posted on the site. I’m not sure if they pay, but it would never hurt to put you skills to the test. Here below is a picture of the latest challenge which is a billboard challenge for the Dracula movie (which was okay).

billboard-challenge deviantartNow art comes in many forms right? It does, and art is not just in the form of a picture, it can come in the form of words.

DeviantArt also allows users to upload written stories. They usually describe, and talk about things that we already know such as Indiana Jones, or Alice & Wonderland.


If you like Art visit

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Fall Photography Tips & Tricks

You can feel it coming… the days are getting shorter, the air is crisper and the leaves are starting to turn. Fall is upon us and with it one of the best times of year to work on your landscape photography. Below you will find everything you need…

Continue reading Fall Photography Tips & Tricks

A full list of free textures websites

A full list of free textures websites

free textures
Random free texture from Google images.


So your looking for free textures huh? Well good job you’ve come to the right blog on the right post! Here below is a list of all the best free texture websites. Some might require registration, but only to prevent spam. These sites are listed in random order, and the order on this list does not relate to their quality or importance. is a small simple website with some great free textures that you can download right away without registration.

This site has more than just simple textures, and does not require registration. The section you will likely want to visit if your here for textures to use for a 3D environment is the free vector texture page. is pretty neat. It does require registration which comes in a the form of a free account or a premium account. The free account can download 10 textures per day, and 1 brush per day. The premium accounts don’t cost a lot, but with so much free on the internet I wouldn’t bother with anything above the free account.

For the most part this website has some broken links, and seems not that well maintained or designed, but they do have plenty of free textures for the taking.

This is a great website with tons of free textures. You can find just about everything on their site. I highly recommend them!

I frequent this website as it always has something cool, and amazing I can re-use for my own purposes. I highly recommend OGA and suggest you use them.

Texturemate is another great free site. It is a tad bit on the slow side for me, but that might just be because it’s popular and serving so many request. You don’t need an account, and the images are presented in full size.

I’m surprised that I have never heard of this site before until just recently. They have TONS of free textures, vectors, and more. I 100% recommend freepik to everyone.

This is a great site. It offers the ability to download for free, or get a paid membership to download premium textures. I myself though have not found myself in a position where I seen something premium on their site that I just “must have”. I recommend these guys their good, and not crazy about charging.

A website which has a nice handful of free textures. I don’t see any paid options on the site which I suppose is a good thing, and registration is not required which is great also.

This is a blog for a design artist who is nice enough to give lots of very high quality textures away for free without any registration required what so ever… amazing!

I don’t think this site has been updated since 2012, but all the links work, and it has lots of free quality textures you can download without registration.

This is a free site that has tons of free quality textures for free. Registration is not even an option on this site! So go grab some textures the ones I looked at where great so I’m sure any artist will find something they can use.

This highly underrated website has over 4,000 free textures! You can only download 20 textures per day per IP address. If you want to download more textures than you can buy the packs for a very affordable price.

If your looking for a list of great texture websites you’ve probably been to CGTextures before, but still they are a great website and deserve to be included on this list.

They have over 100,000 textures and you CAN register with a free account and download a nice handful of free textures per day. Unlike other sites instead of being limited by the amount of downloads you got left CGTextures does it by bandwidth limits which I think is much better.

Many popular companies, and games have been made using textures from this site. Killzone 2 had most of it’s in game object textured using CGTextures.


Well I really hope you guys liked this list, and enjoy using it to find textures for your projects. I myself will likely refer to my own post to find some textures (I’m terrible with bookmarks).

Anyway I’d really appreciate it if you guys told your friends and what not about this post it really helps when people spread the word!

Seamless Textures in Photoshop

Seamless Textures in Photoshop

We will be using the sponge photo to create our seamless texture.

Click and download the above image IF you want to follow along using the same image otherwise use your own.

Step 1: Get your image or texture

The first thing you should do after getting your texture is open it in Photoshop.

step-1 seamless

Step 2: Re-size the image

On the top menu bar select Image>Image Size and adjust it to be 800 by  600. You do not need to use 800 by 600 for say as long as you got a square. A more accurate size actually might be 700 by 700 or even 1024 by 1024 – 1K Texture size.

step-2 seamless

Step 3: Offset the image

We will now “offset” our texture into four equal parts. The offset is what allows the image to repeat (or tile). From the top menu bar select Filter > Other > Offset.

step-3 seamless

Enter 400 for Horizontal Offset and 300 for Vertical Offset. These values are actually half of the original values. 800/2=400 and 600/2=300

You will now see the image appears to have been cut into four segments:

step3-2 seamless

The offset image clearly has a vertical and horizontal “seam”. We will eliminate those using the Clone Tool.

Step 4: Removing the seams with the clone stamp tool

With the clone stamp tool, you can copy, or clone copies of a portion of an image and paint them onto any other part of the image. The size of the area copied depends on the brush size you select from the brushes pop-up menu on the tool’s options bar.clone-stamp seamless

brushes seamless

When cloning, it’s always best to use a brush with soft edges as a hard edges brush can actually create more seams. From the Brush Drop Down Menu, select a 21 pixel diameter soft edge brush. You can select a larger brush if you feel as though you need it.

Now that we have picked the brush size we are ready for the clone tool. The clone tool is located on the tool bar and looks like a rubber stamp. Click the clone tool and move your mouse pointer over the image. You should see a circular outline of the brush you selected earlier.

Hold down the ALT key while left clicking to pick up, or copy the image data you want to clone/copy/transfer. Then move the pointer to where you want to apply that data and click, or click and drag. A cross-hair will appear to indicate where you are copying from. When you start painting, the cross-hair will be at the spot where you Alt-clicked.

Be careful around the edges of the texture if you blend the edges too much it won’t seem “seamless” after your done, and you’l need to go over them some more to get it seamless. Remember CTRL+Z is the undo method in Photoshop.
explain seamless
The above image is just an illustrated example. You don’t have to follow it exactly and the way you clone will be different for every texture.


By selecting pixels from random areas on the image, then applying them to the seams, we can blend all four sections of our image together.

The final result:

This texture I think might of not been the best choice for this tutorial, but as you can see with some work you can get a texture that is tillable eventually. In the below image the sponge is tiled twice. It took me about 10 minutes normally takes less time.

final seamless
Image is tiled twice on a plane in Cinema4D to demonstrate the tile-ability of this particular texture after cloning. It is not perfect, but is pretty good. With a little more work it could be better.

I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial!

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Physically Based Rendering

Physically Based Rendering

physically based rendering example

PBR or Physically Based Rendering has been a hot and rising topic lately. As video game engines evolve they PBR has been getting more attention. PBR is just a theory actually that is an implementation of certain texture maps with certain lighting levels to make an object look more “real”. It took me awhile to figure that how actually as I thought it was some fancy new way of rendering things in a game, but its not.

The Unreal engine uses physically based rendering, and you can read all about it on their site here at

Unity 5 will support PBR. The difference between PBR and currency rendering methods is just maps. PBR uses more maps to create effects that make things look better.

Traditionally in a game you used just a few maps:

  • Color Map – Base Texture
  • Diffuse – Ambient Occlusion / Dirt Map
  • Specular- To make certain parts reflect or vice verse
  • Normal / Bump – Makes you perceive depth to save on polygons

There are other maps that have a more specific purpose, but I won’t write them. Instead I will provide this screenshot from Cinema4D’s material editor.

physically based renderingI myself am still learning about this. For the most part it seems to me that to achieve a PBR you pretty much got to use more tools. By this I mean you need more than Photoshop. In reality you don’t need more than Photoshop, but realistically you do.

Some great tools exist to create great PBR textures. Substance Painter, and Substance Designer are two softwares that are excellent for PBR. They cost a pretty penny, but for what you get is a much more fair price than what Autodesk or Adobe charges. Below I’ve embedded a video that showcases Substance Painter.

If your like me this makes your drool.

Anyway I’ll cover more of this topic later, and try to make and post some Physically Based Rendering textures till than please like a share this post around the web! :)

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