I have a model from a game that I want to 3D print. The model is not high poly, and a good deal of its surface detail comes from a tangent space normal map. I want to apply this surface detail to the mesh itself before printing, using the Displace Modifier.

I cannot find a way to use a Tangent Normal Map with the Displace Modifier. I tried baking Object Space Normals but that doesn't seem to be an option either, as the Displace Modifier works with black and white displacement maps. So I need to somehow get one. I've found various Displacement baking tutorials out there, but they are all talking about baking a high detail model (using multires modifier) to a lower detail one.

So, I somehow need to get the displacement change of the tangent normal map as a black and white displacement map with .5 Mid Level, and then Bake it to a texture. Is there nodes that I can run a normal map through to convert it to a black and white height map? In that case, I could just plug those into an emission shader and bake that. Or is there some other option?

  • $\begingroup$ Maybe more or less correct result can be obtained with some generators of maps online, like shown here youtube.com/watch?v=AOdpGgqIub8. Generators aren't always very precise when converting maps, especially normal map but it could work in this case $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Apr 18 '21 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ That does seem to have done the job well enough for my current project. But I would still like to know if a similar conversion can be done in the nodes, or if there's some other approach within Blender. $\endgroup$
    – Ascalon
    Apr 18 '21 at 16:20

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