In the file attached I have created 2 cubes:

  • Cube A (with regular - non-node-based material with normal map)
  • and Cube B (which tries to use same normal map but with node set up).

I want to achieve same normal effect in a node set up.

How can I do that?

Test file: Node based normal map.blend

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ This works just fine for me - i.imgur.com/edJokhj.jpg. However, I couldn't download your file because there's no access opened (so maybe I misunderstood something). $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    May 3, 2015 at 20:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Mr Zak please try downloading now. Sorry for the trouble $\endgroup$
    – ashwin
    May 4, 2015 at 2:05
  • $\begingroup$ @ Mr Zak even in the example you shared the result of node set up will be different from result of non node based using the same normal map. i.imgur.com/IXheSLY.png $\endgroup$
    – ashwin
    May 4, 2015 at 2:17
  • $\begingroup$ Well, the result in my first example would be rather similar if non-node based material would be used - i.stack.imgur.com/Quf3U.jpg (cube B on the right). Going further, I created a normal map from your image and got result like this - i.stack.imgur.com/jpuY3.jpg (cube B with node-based material on the right). Also, I think there's no really reason to use nodes in this case. You can look at this tutorial - thezedlab.com/… $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    May 4, 2015 at 17:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Mr Zak normal map i painted in blender was in grayscale. How did you convert it to RGB ? As you mention " I created a normal map from your image " can you explain this bit $\endgroup$
    – ashwin
    May 5, 2015 at 2:33

3 Answers 3


In order to use normal map in BI in particular you should have appropriate image - normal map.

Black&White image won't work for this purpose, it will work as a bump map (which is one used on Cube A in your example). Normal map uses RGB values to convert into orientation of given point on the surface; black&white image doesn't provide that information.
Normal map is an image in blueish hues which tells a given 'face' which orientation should it have with respect to its position within the overall structure of the object, and here's an example of one (with respect to this case):

normal map of given example

There are different ways to create normal map based on this image, see How do I make a normal/displacement map when all I have is a photo?.
You can create it in Blender using the same way as in normal maps baking from sculpting with the only difference that image will be used instead. This may be not the best way, although it works for fast and dirty results.

Once you have that image use it as a texture for material of the object:

normal map use in BI IMG

For more details about using normal maps in Blender Internal and Cycles see:

  • $\begingroup$ In future, please use either the standard theme, or a clearer theme (just temporarily, for your screenshots). It's a bit hard to see what is going on in the first screenshot. $\endgroup$ May 5, 2015 at 16:22

With 2.78 we can use normal/bump map with nodes, thanks to the support of multiple tangents (commit).

It is really simple to use, just make the connection as this image shows, using new "Normal Map" node.

EDIT: you have to change Normal Map color-space to Non-Color (not sRGB), it is necessary for Blender to read Normal data. You do it in Image Editor - Color Space.

Image from Blender 2.78 Release Notes - Viewport Image from Blender 2.78 Release Notes - Viewport

As your question has some images that denotes you wanted to use a BW texture (bump map), you first need to convert it to Normal Map. You can use any bump2normal conversion tool.

EDIT: the following technique is actually not possible, because Blender takes the created image as sRGB (not for Normals).

2nd technique: using the Bump_to_normal (a node group), made by Binary (don't have link) and used in the Normal Map Painter, by pachupp (I created sharedBumpMap with bump texture inside, because Bump_to_normal uses it 4 times. Changing the texture inside the group, the Bump_to_normal is refreshed).

Nodes using **Bump_to_normal**, by Binary

EDIT: again, this technique does not actually work because of its color-space. It would need a new nodes setup to achieve it.

You can download the file here or (it's based on the Normal Map Painter file). In material nodes panel, the upper setup is for Bump, the lower is for Normal (yes, they look different, but it is just an example). Click on Output nodes to change the results.

  • $\begingroup$ The second technique is not possible because Blender takes the created normal texture (from Bump Map) as sRGB and it needs to be Non-Color. For the moment, this node setup is not working to create a Normal-Map. $\endgroup$
    – Mario Mey
    Nov 7, 2016 at 15:26

Easiest way to use a black and white "normal map" (actually it's more like bump map or height map) with internal nodes is to make a material that has the BW image affecting normals and then use that material in the editor of the node material. You can even use a colorful image and HSV value will be used. internal node material setup for normals from image

  • $\begingroup$ While this will work, bump map and normal map are different things. They often are used together for better results. $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Apr 20, 2016 at 9:36
  • $\begingroup$ I WAS explaining that this is not actually normal map but a bump/height map. The confusion is with the author that asked the question, not with me, If you want to control normals this way it's not as accurate but it's very quick to do. Also all "normal map generators" use this same method so there's no point first converting to normal map and then using the generated map for the same effect when you can just use the BW image straight in Blender to produce the same result. $\endgroup$
    – kheetor
    Apr 20, 2016 at 9:41
  • $\begingroup$ @kheetor you are confused, you are talking about a relief map (BUMP MAP) and not a normal map [BUM MAPPING](google.com/… = chrome. 69i57j69i65j69i60 & sourceid = chrome & ie = UTF-8) $\endgroup$
    – user58715
    Aug 26, 2019 at 12:11

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