I am a Newbie in blender.

In general, If i do a character in Maya, I will sculpture a high poly in Zbrush and export the normal map and displacement map to Maya. Then I texture it and rig it.

But, I found there are some different in blender. So, Hoping you can tell me what is the different between vector map, normal map and bump map in blender? and the different between displacement map in maya? and the pipeline of character modeling in blender.

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Bump Mapping and Normal Mapping

Bump mapping and normal mapping are technically the same thing. They both add fake vectors and manipulate existing ones to generate the effect of higher polygon numbers by faking geometry light reflections. Both can be used for render purposes and in game engines as well. The difference between them is the amount of information they yield.

Bump maps are grey scale images, they provide their information using values between black and white. Normal maps are RGB images, they provide additional directional information using red, green and blue.

The modern way to fake geometry through light reflections are normal maps due to higher accuracy. Some games still use bump maps in some cases, where the effect is less noticeable and the smaller file size reduces loading times.

Micro Displacement (not to be confused with Vector Mapping)

Micro displacement at this point of Blender development is only possible within Cycles render engine for render purposes. At this point it cannot be baked to a texture. It works only on high-poly models and only offers benefits in conjunction with Blenders fairly new adaptive subdivision feature.

Micro displacement provides more detail on models in general and adaptive subdivision reduces detail on objects that are further away from the camera. Combine them and you reduce render times significantly.

Vector Mapping Node (as shown in your screenshot)

The vector mapping node is used to transform image or procedural textures. You can manipulate their size, rotation and location.


The maps are the same as in any other software.

Displacement Map

Widely used. Grayscale data, often 16 or 32bit to avoid stair casing. Offsets the vertex points in the normal direction. Use tessellation for higher details.

Vector Displacement Map

Used in Z-brush and some other software. Image data contains a vector offset (16 or 32 bit) that is used to displace a vertex. Since this is a vector the displacement is not limited to the normal axis. Use tessellation for higher details. Can be baked from a shape key with a scripts.

Normal Map

Used widely. Image data contains the surface angle vector which is used for light reflection and shadow calculations. Can be in object space or tangent space. Can be in OpenGL format or DirectX format (direction of Y swaps). Does not offset geometry. Bake with built in, or external tools. Often from high-poly to low poly.

Bump map

Old technique that is in most cases replaced with Normal Maps. Image data contains gray scale where the gradient between dark and light values are used to create normals. Does not offset the geometry but can be used for parallax offset in some softwares. Often authored freely with photoshop or gimp.


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