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I'm creating a microphone model but I'm struggling with the woven metal wire mesh.

This is what I want to create:

enter image description here

The image is from here.

The woven design was easy to model but due to the poly count I really need to convert this to a normal map. The problem is that baking it never gives me good results. Its always very flat and does not look like a woven design anymore, let alone one made of wires.

I've already found something similar here. It's a chainmail but it is close enough. My problem though is that apparently this example here was created with 3Ds Max and not blender.

Given that I've already modeled the woven design, how can I create the normal map of it in blender or if necessary in conjunction with any other free software, so that it actually looks like round wire tubes woven together and not just like a flat grid?

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  • $\begingroup$ In the link you gave he baked the normals on a flat plane. He didn't do anything fancy, he just added an alpha map. If you look closely on the result he got from crazy bump, you'll see that it's just a flat cylinder with no extra geometry at all. $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2022 at 6:10
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I know that. I was trying to do the same but It never looks right. The individual links do not look as round as they do as shown in the link. Maybe there's a trick to make the roundness of the wires sort of "pop out" more? $\endgroup$
    – Miger
    Feb 17, 2022 at 9:37
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    $\begingroup$ Well there are always compromises when it comes to optimizing polycounts. But if you want some fine details, you may have to add additional geometry. This is what I did with a single plane with that technique imgur.com/a/DlWgy2U If you don't get too close, it would be fine by me. $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2022 at 10:41
  • $\begingroup$ The models should be very light weight and game ready, so adding this kind of detail just doesn't seem right. As reference I take a HighPoly AAA Rifle, which is supposed to be between 30'000 and 100'000 triangles. For a microphone like this I'd like to stay within 3'000 to 10'000 triangles. At least that's what makes most sense to me. $\endgroup$
    – Miger
    Feb 19, 2022 at 12:03

1 Answer 1

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Model

First of all for mic pattern it is better to model wires over Sphere shape. With plane you will have a hard time to wrap on sphere.

You can start with simple segments in "V" shape ...

  • Add Array, Cast to Sphere, Skin and Subsurf modifier

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

... according to this tutorial.

Normal map

  • Add a simple Sphere a bit bigger them Wired model and Bake > Normals
    Selected to Active ... has to be as 32-bit image otherwise you would not have to enough color info for smooth roundness.

enter image description here enter image description here

Here I set emissive material to wire model to bake emmision pass as Factor to mix Metal and Black material for holes.

Displacement or Parallax Occlusion Mapping

Silhouette would be flat with just Normal texture. To get more plasticity you can use Parallax Occlusion Mapping that works for Eevee as well ... or use Displacement node in material node tree (also known as Micro-Displacement, heavier for rendering) ...

... in both cases could be enough just to bake AO pass (should be baked Height map or Depth map).

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ I wasn't exactly going for a round design (It's just the best image I found to show the woven design) but this will work as a reference point. Thanks for the link and the example project, looks great :) $\endgroup$
    – Miger
    Feb 19, 2022 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ Great if you found it useful in some way ... I will check Parallax thing closer ... it looks incredible ... I already played with that tech blender.stackexchange.com/a/250880/2214, but this one above looks much better. $\endgroup$
    – vklidu
    Feb 19, 2022 at 13:09

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