Welcome to Open Carnage

A resource for Halo 1 modding and tech, with unique means of rewarding individual content creation and support. Have a wander to see why we're worth the time! EST. 2012

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Materialize AKA "EZ normal maps for environments & OpenSauce projects"

Posted (edited)


Click for their website




Materialize is a 100% free tool (Unity application) which can generate many different types of texture maps from a diffuse image or photograph.

Now hold on, lower your pitchforks. I know. The stigma of "REE YOU DONT MAKE A NORMAL OFF OF A DIFFUSE", Let me explain.


What is it?

From their website:

"Materialize is a stand alone tool for creating materials for use in games from images. You can create an entire material from a single image or import the textures you have and generate the textures you need."


What kind of textures can it generate?

  • Diffuse -> Height
  • Diffuse -> Metallic
  • Diffuse -> Smoothness
  • Height -> Normal
  • Height + Diffuse -> Normal
  • Normal -> Edge
  • Normal -> Occlusion
  • Normal + Height -> Occlusion
  • Normal -> Height


Alright so that's cool and all but how can this be practical for Halo CE?

Pretty much solely for shader environments. This tool does a very good job at generating heightmaps from diffuse maps which can be used to create normal maps within the program very effectively.


Where do I download this program?

From Bounding Box's website, here: http://www.boundingboxsoftware.com/materialize/downloads.php


They also have their own tutorials that shows three very different types of materials (dirt, metal, and brick/stone) and how to make maps for them using Materialize; though they're oriented for the PBR side so they may not hold too much use for Halo CE: http://www.boundingboxsoftware.com/materialize/tutorials.php


So how does one use this?


1. Open the program

Obviously, you need to open the program to use it. As Materialize is a Unity application, it is simply launched from the .exe file.





2. Open your diffuse map / source image.

In the top left of the program, you can see the different maps with a UI that seems rather unconventional. Simply scroll over the second one, "diffuse map", and press the "O" button.




When you click the "O" (which should now be obvious stands for "Open"), you will be greeted with this navigational UI. Manually browse to the directory with your source image.

For the sake of this example, I will be using one of the forerunner walls from CE.




3. Creating a heightmap from your diffuse in Materialize

(If you already have a heightmap you have manually made for your texture, skip to step 4)


In the left-most box at the top of the Materialize window titled "Height Map" click on "Create"




You will see your 3d preview of your texture go half-and-half from the diffuse to a blurry mess of a heightmap, as well as a new window on the left side of the application with a ton of sliders.




Honestly. Just play with the sliders. You'll see how each one affects your image and come to grow used to how they function globally.

You'll eventually end up with a decent looking heightmap.



(This could be a lot better and should not be used as a point of reference of a proper job, it's for the sake of example)


4. Creating a normal map from a heightmap using Materialize

Same as before, except in the "Normal Map" box this time.




And then play around with the sliders until  you end up with a decent normal map to use.



(Again, this could be a lot better. I did this for the sake of example and should not be treated as the "best the program can do" or "what to strive for")


5. Previewing your normal map

Simply press the "Show Full Material" button.




From there you can preview your texture + normal map by holding down right click to pan the framed material in the 3d space.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You will need to set the "Parallax Displacement" slider to 0 or else the heightmap will be used in the preview to add a parallax effect to the plane.





(Final note that this could be a lot better, and should not be used to judge the program or your own work in comparison. I highly recommend downloading Materialize yourself and experimenting with it before making judgements.)


6. Save your work

There are two ways you can go about this. In the boxes you've been pressing letters in, you've probably noticed by now there's three buttons we haven't used. These are:

  • P - "Paste", pastes image data from your clipboard to use in the program.
  • C - "Copy", copies the selected channel to your clipboard
  • S - "Save", opens the file browser from before and allows you to save your image.



Edit: I completely forgot to point out that once you have a normal map completed, you can use it to generate an ambient occlusion map as well. In CE you can pretty much only really use these for adding to the diffuse map of your final texture, as far as I'm aware.

Edited by Vuthakral
ShikuTeshi and Tucker933 like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Members of Open Carnage never see off-site ads.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.