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 Forum index » Featured Tools » Voxel Section Editor III » Support
Normals direction question...
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TheNecro
Rocket Infantry


Joined: 22 Apr 2009
Location: >THE< United States of America

PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:16 pm    Post subject:  Normals direction question... Reply with quote

Hello, everyone. Sorry to burst back in and immediately throw a question your way, but It's been over 8 years since I last worked with RA2/YR, or even posted on the forums!
Anyway, I have more knowledge of 3D graphics now, and have begun to voxel some units for a mod I am working on. The only thing that I cannot, for the life of me, grasp, are the normals colors. The color palette for normals seems arbitrary at best. I mean, I know what normals are, how they function, and what their limitations are, I just can't seem to match the colors to their vector directions.
I once saw Crimsonum post a thing about normals, but it wasn't a full normal map. It was more of a... um... Normal color flow graphic(? I guess), made by Sane.
I also saw a post about a normal sphere with all 244 colored normals that you could rotate, but can't remember who made it, but it was neat. Also, was that colored normal sphere based on the VXLSE III normal colors, or was it, too, an arbitrary color visualization?

Thanks in advance, I have been studying VXLSE III for a week, and can't seem to make heads or tails of the normal color directions.

-Necro

EDIT: HAHA. I think the sphere may have been on Revora, or another forum. My questions still stand, and I will post a link to the sphere once I can find it.

EDIT 2: AHA! After hours of searching, studying, and reading, I rediscovered the normal sphere I was talking about. It is a point cloud for colored normals, and it WAS here on PPM. It was made by MadHQ. Here is the thread: MadHQ's Graveyard Pg. 6
It's the 25 post on the page. And, here is the link to it(the web app): Normal Point Cloud

That point cloud is based on the vector normals used by RA2. But, my question is, do the colors of the points match the colors used by Banshee in VXLSE III?

Last edited by TheNecro on Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:32 am; edited 1 time in total

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TAK02
Commander


Joined: 28 Jun 2015
Location: It was Damascus.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://ppmforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=30026 has some interesting things! Smile
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Mig Eater
Defense Minister


Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Location: Eindhoven

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The colours don't have any specific relevance & are just used to easily differentiate between each normal. Different vxl editors have used different colours for the normals & even the colours in VXLSE has changed several times over the years.

The normals are roughly laid out with the first (top of the list) being the the bottom/south facing direction & then as you go down the list it spirals in a spherical pattern with the last one being the top/north direction.

For most people VXLSE's auto-normals are sufficient, so there isn't much need to edit normals manually. This also means there isn't much documentation & discussion about them either.
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TheNecro
Rocket Infantry


Joined: 22 Apr 2009
Location: >THE< United States of America

PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, TAK... While I've already read that page, and yes it is somewhat interesting, it has no bearing on the problem of reaching WW/EA quality models, without having to use 3DS2VXL.

Mig: I've seen an animated buildup of a vector normal sphere, and I did see the spiral you mention, but there are a few places where the index "skips" around from one face to an opposing face(or at least a face a few degrees separated). This makes it harder to guesstimate which color index references which direction.

The keywords you used("are sufficient"), don't begin to describe how badly the auto normals handle things like angled faces, curves, spheres, cylinders, anything round(you get where I'm going there), or corners. Oh, GOD, the corners. lol

I may model a large sphere and map all the normals onto it, then build a vector chart image of said sphere from different angles. I can then number those angled faces based on the normals they are lit by. I can use references of top, bottom, front, back, etc... ... ... ... ... Meh... That's a lot of work. We shall see how I feel. Working a day job for 10-14 hrs a day, then coding/modding until 5AM takes a lot out of a guy. Lol.

I take it from your final comment that there isn't much demand for such information? Would a chart not be something of great value to have?

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Mig Eater
Defense Minister


Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Location: Eindhoven

PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a long time I was one of the few people in the community to hand draw normals & lately even I have succumb to using auto-normals more & more. So while a proper chart would be handy to have I doubt many people would have need for it.

Here are some vxl spheres with RA2 normals correctly laid out, I hope they help.


normals.zip
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 Filename:  normals.zip
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TheNecro
Rocket Infantry


Joined: 22 Apr 2009
Location: >THE< United States of America

PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Mig! That drastically cuts down on the work. Now I can begin the chart. Hopefully, I can get it done before work. Lol.

Here is a link to a thread I started for the normal map: Normal Facing Map

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