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Open Source Normal Map Generator


400_ssbump_CUDASSbump is an open source normal map generator.

Pure_bordem wrote:

Seeing as a lot of people used Crazy Bump (myself included) but it went commercial some time ago, I tripped across this awesome open source software SSbump Generator. It can create normal maps, ambient occ maps as well as what appears to be a cross between them? Sounds like it was meant originally to create the normals for Source Engine but it most definitely can work with blender and the results are very very good. Check it out!

*PS* It also supports CUDA for any with a newer Nvidia card


About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. @Silence: For Mac there are NMG (but only PPC version) and NormalMappr, but both of them aren't very powerful…so I am looking for a good Mac tool too!

  2. Au premier regard SSbump Generator semble être une réel alternative à
    CrazyBump, la solution qui nous évite de formater l'ordinateur tout les
    30 jours pour avoir le droit de rejouer une énième foi!. Mais ne serait
    il pas astucieux qu'un generator avancé de bump ou normal map à partir
    de donné 3d ou 2d soit intégré dans blender dans l' éditeur de texture?!
    je m'interroge...
    - - -
    At first glance SSbump Generator seems to be a real alternative to
    CrazyBump the solution which avoids format the computer every 30 days
    for the right umpteenth replay of faith ". But would not it clever
    that generator advanced bump or normal map from given 2D or 3D is
    integrated into blender in the editor texture?!
    I wonder ...

  3. pfannkuchen_gesicht on

    this programm is a bit buggy.
    sometimes the SSBump looks good in the preview, but the saved file is completly blue

  4. pfannkuchen_gesicht,

    "this programm is a bit buggy.
    sometimes the SSBump looks good in the preview, but the saved file is completly

    yes it is strange as a result, and rendering in preview window
    Not very spontaneous, you have to click each parameter change

  5. pixnlove, oh yes I agree to such a change

    "But would not it clever that generator advanced bump or normal map
    from given 2D or 3D is integrated into blender in the editor texture?!
    I wonder …"

  6. Sorry, but the handling from SSbump is very bad!!
    Using it is a vaste of time!
    I prefer Shadermap pro! It is very good for all maps (Normal, Displacement, Spec, AO etc.)!!

  7. Papasmurf, for "flat" grayscale > RGB normal, you don't need to subdiv your mesh in Blender. Just put your grayscale displacement image on an unwrapped plane in the normal channel (W/O RGB normal enabled in texture buttons), adjust strength in material, make another image to bake to, and bake normal / tangent.

    Won't work for AO, I think, but for normals that's quite a lot faster.

    I'm on a Mac and have done it this way for some time since I dislike NMG.

  8. @sbn: Nice tip on the normal map shortcut. Blender calculates AO based on mesh geometry, so to get an AO map from Blender you need a physically deformed mesh to bake.
    @Corsair, I use more tools than just Blender, I was just saying that Blender can also do at least these two maps as well. And, I mentored a very nice wiki author who rewrote that section because the feature was so popular but deserved better doco. However, if SSbump does it better or easier, by all means add it to your toolbox. If it doesn't, then there's really no sense in learning yet another specialized tool when the hammer you have does the job just fine.

  9. Does anyone know if a normal map can be converted to a depth map (greyscale gradient from white close up to black far away) easily?

    I want to take pictures of a person's face, make a normal map from them (using this method:, then convert that to a depth map to feed into a photo-to-CNC (gcode) application that will allow me to machine that face into a block of wood (or something similar) with a CNC Mill.

    I've done this with blender-generated depth maps (of a 3D CAD model) which came out rather nicely. Would love to be able to do this with people's faces (or other real-world objects that can be photographed.)


  10. As mentioned by Sean,

    Try X Normal as well.

    Great solid production ready app. Lots of features. Works on even the lowest of systems(Just have to be patient :)). Also from my experience it works with denser meshes than max.

  11. Well, I purchased CrazyBump when it went commercial and I really like it.

    For SSbump, I can't even download it :o(( all download links seems to be dead on the site...

  12. @mzungu

    checkout the free nvidia plugin...

    how to make your depthmap:
    1) take photo
    2) open in photoshop
    3) use Photoshop Nvidia plugin to create normal map
    4) save this normal map
    5) open this normal map in photoshop
    6) use Photoshop Nvidia plugin, but this time select the "depth map" option.
    7) voila.


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