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Mike Logan avatar image
Mike Logan asked ·

Fix Dark shadows and Rainbow Normal Map?

Hello all, First time posting here, but having major issues for the last 2 weeks trying to render to texture a basic tire model. I am at my wit's end, constant frustrations and COMPLETELY Wiped out after watching countless video tutorials, guides, suggestions, which process I should use. ALL which has ended in ultimate failure, several reset to defaults, countless, end processes, not respondings, and 2 reinstalls of 3ds max...

So you guys are my last resort...

I have posted this issue on a few 3d modeling sites and almost everyone has suggested to use the arnold renderer to get the results I am after... but still a total no joy..

  • Using 3ds Max 2018
  • MaxtoA plugin version 3.0.77.

Lots of pics and possible links so bear with the long read..

Here is a simple 3ds wheel and pretty much the Basis of most of the several wheel models that I have created and stalled on finishing due to not being able to render Textures that are Heavily shadowed, and the Normal maps rending like RAINBOW BRIGHT!

  • test-wheel.zip (.Zip FIle)
  • Unit Setup: 1:10 centimeter
  • System Unit setup: centimeter

FIrst of all my 3DS max is at DEFAULT settings, (Deleted the ENU and restarted to reset all to default).

The following Image is a DEFAULT Normal map for a game model that I am trying to create in a similar detail.

And here is an example of the DEFAULT diffuse map.

Nothing touched and or changed in all settings, EXCEPT Render Setup switched to Arnold and Render to texture using the DEFAULT values after selecting the following.

  • Arnold Render Setup
  • Arnold Render to Texture Settings
  • 3d Model Image in Editable poly mode
  • Ambient Occlusion_MR
  • Arnold_diffuse
  • Arnold_N
  • CompleteMap

Link to all of the above in Jpeg and PNG format Via my Imgur account.

https://imgur.com/a/suzS2Op

This is the result of the Test Wheel render to texture with the Arnold_N and Arnold_diffuse

Arnold_N Map

As you can see it COMPLETELY Rainbowed.. This is NOT usable for the game format, I need this to look similar to the default Normal map as Above. 1 Primary color with highlights and shadows..

Arnold_diffuse Render to Texture map..

Absolutely obliterated with shadows... NOT usable and NOTHING like the Default Diffuse map I that I need.

I have NOT set nor changed any settings in 3DS Max for any shading, lights, cameras, skylights or anything of the like.. ALL settings in 3DS Max are at DEFAULT.


I have requested in many forums for the correct settings to achieve the results I need and all i get is tutorial links (Which I have tried and Failures), shady answers, some users have made a quick video on how to use arnold and create a nice map but its on a FLAT Plane. This is NOT a flat planed object..

So IF some could PLEASE tell me what exact settings I need to apply to the Arnold Render Setup and Render to texture, no run arounds.

The Test wheel model is linked so that you can use it and let me know..

Just need the details and what I need to do to get the desired results that I need so i can finally move forward on my projects.. I'm COMPLETELY out of hope and extremely frustated that no matter what i do, I end up with Failed results...

renderarnold5normal mapmaxtoashadow
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Aaron Ross avatar image
Aaron Ross answered ·

For the diffuse map, you need to choose "Arnold_diffuse_albedo", not "Arnold_diffuse". The diffuse channel includes lighting. The albedo channel is just the base color without lighting.

As for the normal map, I'm not an expert in this, but I am confused by the "default" image you posted. It's just green and black, but the whole idea of a normal map is that it needs to use all three RGB primary colors. Each color represents a direction in 3D space. So a normal map needs to be a "rainbow".

The output of Arnold looks like an object-space normal map, maybe your game engine is expecting a tangent-space map. Conversion tools exist, but again, I'm not an expert in this.

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Nicola Stefano Jannuzzo avatar image
Nicola Stefano Jannuzzo answered ·

Arnold's N AOV is NOT the same as a classic normal map. N is the raw xyz of the normals, while a classic normal map contains the bumped normal, with respect to the un-bumped tangent/bitangent/normal reference axis (and they are usually bluish).

At the moment we are not able to provide this classic channel, but it's on our roadmap.

Sorry for the inconvenience. In the future, do not hesitate to use this forum earlier when looking for help.

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Mike Logan avatar image
Mike Logan answered ·

OK so possible options to workaround this problem

  • Is there a way to reduce and or remove the large dark shadow blob from the Arnold_diffuse Render to Texture map..without losing the highlights / shadows from the model's geometry? basically so that the map has a consistant 1 primary color with highlights / shadows?
  • Is there a way to neutralize the overkill rainbow bright on the Arnold_N map? foreground selection option? set a primary color, tangent space settings? some kind of shader?
  • is there any other kind of Render to texture map that could be used to create a map similar to the default map in any kind of way that will not be distorted by large shadows nor rainbow effect that would have more options to allow such to work?
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Aaron Ross avatar image
Aaron Ross answered ·

"Is there a way to reduce and or remove the large dark shadow blob from the Arnold_diffuse Render to Texture map..without losing the highlights / shadows from the model's geometry?"

I do not know why you would want that. A texture for the base color should not have highlights or shadows in it unless you are baking the lighting. Also, what you ask for is a contradiction. You want shadows, but you also don't want shadows. It doesn't work that way.

If you want the base color, without lighting, bake out "Arnold_diffuse_albedo". If you want the lighting, bake out "Arnold_diffuse".

Highlights are a separate consideration entirely. For non physically based rendering, you need a specular map. For physically based rendering, you need a roughness map.

"Is there a way to neutralize the overkill rainbow bright on the Arnold_N map? foreground selection option? set a primary color, tangent space settings? some kind of shader?"

If I'm understanding Nicola's answer correctly, the answer is "no". You cannot bake out tangent space normal maps in the current version of MAXtoA, but they are working on it.

"is there any other kind of Render to texture map that could be used to create a map similar to the default map"

As I said before, I do not know what that green and black map is supposed to be. It does not look like a normal map. It looks like a grayscale image with a 2D emboss filter, stored in the green channel of an RGB bitmap file.

What game engine are you working with? I would recommend looking into the specifications of that game engine rather than reverse engineering "default" files that may be bogus.

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Mike Logan avatar image
Mike Logan answered ·

So gonna try to make this short and sweet.

Found a way with arnold renderer to recreate what I wanted.

Here is the post from Autodesk.

which also contains my slate material library settings along with the Arnold Setup.

dark and undefined render t -texture problem

Here is my final result that I'm happy with.. Arnold RGBA.

Complete Map was exactly the same result :)

alot more crisp, the right colors and i can now just drag and drop it onto the pre-existing map and flatten it out in photoshop.

Now on to the next subject for those who seem to think that these kind of maps are bogus.

Online game that pertains to these types of "NORMAL" maps is Wargaming.net World of Tanks, Warships and Airplanes. Lets just put it this way, I could post every normal map from each vehicle per game (5-6 per vehicle) and it would take me over 4 years if i did it every SINGLE day. which BTW Every structure, terrain, and or vegetation use EXACTLY the same kind of "normal" map.

Just because you may not believe everything you read is legit, doesnt count out that all things you read is also bogus..

As far as the diffuse map. Yeah I figured that out too.. There is almost always a workaround for almost every problem.. Sometimes it takes an open mind and figuring out how to look at the problem from a different angle.

@ Nicola Jannuzzo

Goto the forum link i posted, it contains my settings and such. From there you all might be able to look at the settings and maybe create something for this type of classic normal map that might be implemented into the next update into the MaxtoA rendering plugin.


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Mike Logan avatar image
Mike Logan answered ·

not the same normal map as my original, here is an image of the 3d model it pertains too.


twheel-offroad.jpeg (39.9 KiB)
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