Since we have the option to use normal maps in Cycles via the normal input socket, this question frequently pops in my head:

In the simplest mix, diffuse and glossy, should I connect the normal map to the diffuse or the glossy shader?

What about other shader mixes?

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think I understand your question. you can plug it in to either one, it depends on what you want. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Aug 9 '13 at 23:44
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    $\begingroup$ The easiest solution is to try it yourself and see which one (or all) produces the result you want. It's part of the process of creating the material. $\endgroup$ – sambler Aug 10 '13 at 2:50
  • $\begingroup$ Well.. Julian answered to my question already. But you are right, I should have done some testing before. Now I did it and will add to Julian answer. Thank you both. $\endgroup$ – Utopia780 Aug 12 '13 at 16:02

If you want to give the whole material a structured surface, put it into both. In over 90% of all cases, this is probably what you want.

But there are others:

If you want to material to look like the paint or glossy part is smooth and even and below that, there is a bumpy surface (application example: Wood finish in a car interiour), then add the normal map only to the diffuse shader of the shader.

If you want the material to look like it has a smooth general surface but a slightly scratched paint or top layer, it might make sense to only connect it to the glossy shader (probably the less frequently used case).

  • $\begingroup$ Hi Julian. I have made a image to test your solution and you are absolutely right. Thank you for your answer! $\endgroup$ – Utopia780 Aug 12 '13 at 16:05

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