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Thread: How to create normal maps in the Rome 2 "Orange" Format

  1. #1

    Default How to create normal maps in the Rome 2 "Orange" Format

    Once people start to texture their own new textures, the new style of normalmaps is Rome 2 is bound to be a bit confusing for those of us used to the purple-ish blue of previous total wars and other games. It has an orange-reddish tint to it, and attempting to load a traditional blue-purple normalmap results in a bugged texture that is completely unusable.

    I'm still learning how to do it myself, so this tutorial is a bit ongoing. There's apparently an ATN filetype (Photoshop action) which the starcraft 2 modders developed that helps the process of converting blue-purple to orange normalmaps, but it also appears to be possible manually.

    http://www.sc2mapster.com/forums/res...ple-to-orange/ - Gaddafy describes it rather well here.

    http://www.sc2mapster.com/assets/sta...map-converter/ - This is the ATN file, but you don't seem to -need- it.

    Simply put:

    1) You create a Blue-Purple (BP) normalmap as usual.

    2) Copy the Red channel and paste it into the alpha.

    3) Then wipe the red channel completely blank as a white color

    4) Do the same for the blue channel.

    5) Resave it as a DX5 DDS and you should be good to go.


    A mistake I did previously with this method was to copy the green channel for the alpha. You don't want to do this - if you run the green channel with the alpha channel (once you pasted the red channel into the alpha), you can notice how the red-alpha gives definitions which are otherwise lacking. When I was doing step 2 wrong (pasting green instead of red channel into the alpha) I'd get a glossy, smooth and normalmap-less texture. With it, you get the proper normalmap.

    Ignore the wrong depth of the alphamap (the quilted portions being recessed). This was just a tenative test, because I was previously having poor/no normal maps, and this clearly shows the normalmap in use.


  2. #2

    Default Re: How to create normal maps in the Rome 2 "Orange" Format

    I had tried that befoure too , but I asked the reason for that reduction of the xyz directions but got no answer, perhaps. Is an optimization way , usually the normal map channels correpond to up/down, left/right, backwards/forwards in RGB , also choosingthe + or - influences the direction , usually visible for the shade direction or the dynamic texture like the Snow.

    The game uses only green and red , but with red in alpha , so missing the blue ? Perhaps that means that it gives a recycled use fir the red channel pasted in the alpha one will be taken for both blue and red?

    Usually the alpha in other games is used for different scopes like a jolly , sometimes additional displacement map or specular ...

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  3. #3
    wangrin's Avatar Unguibus et Rostro
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    Default Re: How to create normal maps in the Rome 2 "Orange" Format

    Did someone test different bump map variations such as :

    • a bump map using only red channel
    • a bump map using only green channel
    • a bump map using only blue channel
    • a bump map using only alpha channel


    Same could be done with gloss map to determine each channel effects.


    For ETW/NTW, gloss map channels effects were :

    • red = specular sharpness, how spread out the highlight is, metal should have a narrow / low / dark value, plastic or shiny wood a higher value;
    • green = specular level, how shiny the highlight is, higher is brighter. Metal should have a high value, shiny plastic less, matte (bark, cotton) should be black on the green channel;
    • blue = cloth dirt mask, gets combined with info from the game about dirtiness for the specified model and the default dirty map (color and alpha), the higher, the dirtier it can get;
    • alpha = faction color strength, more alpha means the faction color gets more priority over the diffuse color.


    source : Gloss maps explained

    But :

    • since NTW, faction color is not managed by gloss_map anymore, so alpha channel is not use in gloss_map
    • dirt mask is now manage by a dedicate texture file : ..._decaldirtmask.dds
    • specular level seems to be manage by a new dedicated texture file : ..._specular.dds
    Last edited by wangrin; September 27, 2013 at 06:18 AM.


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  4. #4
    Flikitos's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: How to create normal maps in the Rome 2 "Orange" Format

    So as to create a normal map in R2tw you have to create the normal map thanks to 3dsnvdia tool, then put the blue layer in alfa one and replace the original blue layer by a fully white one (I don't have my PC in front of me so I may made a mistake, I am pretty sure it is like that). In other TW game you had to replace the green layer (puted in alfa one) by a fully black one.

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to create normal maps in the Rome 2 "Orange" Format

    Seems strange to me as this is usually not the right way to use a normal map , so I am curious to know the reasons behind that thatto me looks like an optimization memory saving concept.

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  6. #6
    VINC.XXIII's Avatar Retired
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    Default Re: How to create normal maps in the Rome 2 "Orange" Format

    Nice experiment Ahiga
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  7. #7

    Default Re: How to create normal maps in the Rome 2 "Orange" Format

    Magnar also created a useful tutorial for how to do this if you only have GIMP instead of Photoshop:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALr43DLoud8

  8. #8
    Brivime's Avatar Ordinarius
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    Default Re: How to create normal maps in the Rome 2 "Orange" Format

    One thing that worked for me was putting a blue and purple normal map through BOB, it was then converted to an orange translucent one and worked fine.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to create normal maps in the Rome 2 "Orange" Format

    Quote Originally Posted by Brivime View Post
    One thing that worked for me was putting a blue and purple normal map through BOB, it was then converted to an orange translucent one and worked fine.
    how do you put it through bob?
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  10. #10
    VINC.XXIII's Avatar Retired
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    Default Re: How to create normal maps in the Rome 2 "Orange" Format

    Quote Originally Posted by Balbor View Post
    how do you put it through bob?
    Put the textures there in .tga format

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Total War Rome II\assembly_kit\raw_data\VariantMeshes\VariantModels\man


    Then launch BOB - Select Data Files To Build, unroll the Raw data section(VariantMeshes), then tick the textures precedently placed in respective folders of Raw data, its automatically convert .tga to .dds and blue/purple normal maps to orange version.
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