Tangent space normal map baking from two object space normal maps

  • August 20, 2012
  • Blender 2.6x
  • Render: Blender Internal
  • Creator: der_On
  • License: CC-0
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In this blend you'll find a node setup to bake a tangent space normal map from two object space normal maps.

Within the compositor node setup you find a group that has two image inputs: first for the low poly object space normal map, second for the high poly object space normal map. The output is a tangent space normal map from the difference of the input normal maps.

This only works if the low poly and high poly normal maps share the same uv-layout, so things align correctly.

Why have I choosen this approach?

Because baking from high poly to low poly objects causes a lot of artifacts, like overlapping, misses, jaggy edges and so on. With this method you get rid of most of them without creating a manual bake cage.

Eventually you have to rebake the object space normal maps already present as the images "high" and "low" from the objects "high_poly" and "low_poly". Finally render the compositor view and use the result of the viewer node as the tangent space normal map.

Some hint on Color correction: at least on my system I have to turn color correction off, otherwhise the normal map colors are way to bright.


  • mramshaw profile picture

    Very well-organized and works exactly as advertised. Thank you!

    Written September 07, 2012
  • scottlee38 profile picture

    Brilliant! Much better than the current bake system bogus!

    Written April 27, 2016
  • scottlee38 profile picture

    Why have you not advertised this more? Its so much easier than building a cage and baking the normals. That usually creates errors for me. I just go done using this on a character in substance designer!

    Written April 27, 2016