The best way to explain my question is actually this: https://youtu.be/B4j5tzAIflU?t=658
I am making grass the same way (on a plane) for a video game, but I don't know what the technique is called or how to use it in Blender (2.8).
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You can use Workbench and Eevee for creating any textures
For example normal and opacity image created with workbench https://youtu.be/yDJaSF4B138
I also recommend:
setting the scene background to #8080ff aka RGB(0.5, 0.5, 1.0) aka HSV(0.666, 0.265, 1.0), camera to orthographic, and output to a power-of-two square render.
Note: Blender shows a "Gamma Corrected" footnote on Hex numbers and gives me this strange value: #BCBCFF instead of the expected #7f7fff or ~#8080ff, I recommend using the RGB input
Render as usual, be sure to inspect your output closely! color management is quite fickle especially since we're not representing color data
You can compare your render to a public example normal map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_mapping#/media/File:Normal_map_example_with_scene_and_result.png