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- Normal Maps
- Normal maps are textures that are used by Oblivion's render engine to give a model surface an appearance of additional surface detail. In its effect it is very similar to bump-mapping. The normal map is used in shading the model and provides a convincing relief effect to surfaces, making the model look like it has a much higher polygon-count than it actually does. For Oblivion, normal maps are DDS textures indicated by an _n suffix after the texture's base name. Basically, a normal map tells the game engine how light should reflect off an object.
- Oblivion uses Tangent Space normal maps, best recognized by the blue color that fills any 'flat' areas of the image.
- There are many different ways to create a normal map, either from a 2d image, a 'height map', by transferring data from a High-Poly mesh to the Low-Poly mesh, or a combination of the above. A common practice is to create a hybrid version of the color map (texture), whereby the artist removes/adds detail in the image to produce an image that will convert well into a normal map.
- Also, the Alpha Channel of the normal map contains the Specular Map, which controls how reflective/shiny the overall effect will be.
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