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I recently baked a normal map from a high poly to a low poly, and then set up the normal map in the Material tab. I then created a new texture to colour the model and added another texture slot on the same material with this texture in mind.

However something peculiar happened. When I tried to paint a colour on the diffuse map straight on the model it seemingly painted on the normal map I baked earlier. I think it works by using black as the deepest and white as the highest points of detail:

enter image description here

When I try to paint on the diffuse texture via the UV editor I have no problems, but it paints on the normal map texture in the default view. I am a bit confused because:

  1. I don't know how I got to painting on the normal map; it was rather unexpected.
  2. I don't know how to change to paint of the diffuse texture.

I wish to know how to get back to painting the diffuse, and how to enable normal map painting whenever I please; had I known sooner I'd be using it more often!

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When painting, you need to choose which image is active by selecting it in the Slots tab of the toolbar. Normal maps work on colors that represent xyz axis for normals, and bump maps use black to white gradient for in and out displacements. Reordering the textures in the Properties texture stack won't affect it unless both are set to 'color' and then the one on the bottom of the stack blocks out the one on the top of the stack.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for clarifying. I had no idea about bump maps. Are they the same as Normal Maps except they deal with different color data? $\endgroup$ – Emerald Eel Entertainment Jan 18 '17 at 8:50
  • $\begingroup$ A bump map works similar to a normal map, but more like a displacement map. Normal maps are usually baked from geometry and then applied to lower resolution mesh, but painting them is difficult because they use specific colors to affect the x/y/z axis. Blender materials confuse this by saying a bump map affects 'normal' when it is just bump. Normal maps are mush more info. $\endgroup$ – Craig D Jones Jan 19 '17 at 2:05
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I don't know if this is the best answer but it got things working for me, so I can't complain.

To paint on the diffuse map I selected and move it to the top by pressing the up arrow on the right, making sure it was checked too. I unchecked the texture below too. This can be done vice versa with the normal map, as the texture is set to only handle UVs and not colour. :)

enter image description here

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