Height maps, Parallax maps, Normal maps, explained

  • Published on Aug 6, 2014
  • quick demonstration of the difference between these map types and their uses

Comments • 42

  • deadlygeek
    deadlygeek 7 years ago +10

    A simple and clear explanation. Just what I was looking for. Thank you.

  • chungj5
    chungj5 4 years ago +2

    Hey @harry, I'm learning 3D at work and I've reached Normal maps and trying to understand them. Thank you so much for explaining this, I think this has been the clearest explanation so far and has made digesting what they are a lot easier. :)

  • foshizzlfizzl
    foshizzlfizzl 4 years ago

    Hey!Nice Video! But one thing i would mention. You actually have to invert your Red Channel, because the Red Light is always coming from the right side.That's why the most Normal Maps aren't looking right in Renderings.

  • Abdulrahman Essa
    Abdulrahman Essa 5 years ago +27

    Dude I started the video and heard "Hey everyone" and I was like ugh here comes the hour long introduction, but you jumped straight into it, kudos

  • carlos limon
    carlos limon 5 years ago +4

    "Vectors" is the word. The normal map uses the RGB as an XYZ vector. This was a obvious hack that eluded the game industry for a while. I remember they didnt exist for half the life of the XBOX then "Chronicles of Ridic" came out, it was the first time i saw them in main stream games.

  • Devo Castler
    Devo Castler 6 years ago +55


  • Lucas Paul
    Lucas Paul 5 years ago

    Great explanation! Thanks!

  • B.B.
    B.B. 2 years ago

    great video! i especially liked how your example was a lil face and how nice you were drawing your arrows lol !

  • Presque vu
    Presque vu 4 years ago

    Is there any advantage of using a normal map rather than a height map in a game engine for faking detail? Do the results look identical? You seemed to indicate that the height map might require extra processing in a game engine and thus be less efficient?

  • JermaineATL
    JermaineATL 6 years ago

    I always had the ideal that normal maps were just the lighting information from multiple angles in mulitple channels.

  • Kivanc Karanis
    Kivanc Karanis 5 years ago +1

    Perfect explanation for the normal map...

  • Anna Sotnik
    Anna Sotnik 4 years ago

    This is cool!!! Thanks a lot!

  • Onche Onche Panachay
    Onche Onche Panachay 5 years ago +1

    Thanks, it's very useful

  • eudy Maverick Mentor
    eudy Maverick Mentor 3 years ago

    The explanation of the Parallax map is incorrect. A Parallax Occlusion Map basically is this. When we use a displacement map the geometry is generated and pushed and pulled to form the dimensional shape. Just like in your demonstration. As you rotate the object to its side you can truly see the parts rising up and down. What a Parallax Occlusion Map does is take those same calculations and displays the occlusion that happens as the part rising up obscures the parts moving down. However, it only is an illusion since it doesn't actually subdivide the mesh. So it gives you the same look without the computations of actually subdividing the surface.

  • Willy Ci
    Willy Ci 2 years ago

    Thanks you, now I understand.

  • Neonexus
    Neonexus 4 years ago

    I have no idea what any of that meant, but it sure was fun to watch.

  • gNightrow
    gNightrow 3 years ago

    in substance painter the height maps seem to be acting like normal maps and the normal maps don't seem to be doing anything, do you have any idea why that is ??

  • George Rome
    George Rome 2 years ago

    normal maps is used cause it uses less space than a real 3D object? but it shouldnt be used for EVERYTHING cause it will look bad?

  • RapiDEraZeR
    RapiDEraZeR 6 years ago

    don't you upload any videos anymore? you just earned yourself a sub anyway

  • Marcos
    Marcos 6 years ago +2

    And the bump maps ? They are like hight maps, right ?