Q: What is xNormal?
A: xNormal is an application to generate normal / ambient occlusion / displacement maps. It can also project the texture of the highpoly model into the lowpoly mesh ( complete texture transfer, even with different topologies ). It also includes an interactive 3D viewer ( with advanced shaders and realtime soft shadows / glow effect ), some Photoshop filters and importers/exporters for 3dsmax (Max7-2013) and Maya (8.5-2013). It supports high levels of parallelism using multicore/multithreading, distributed/parallel rendering, ray tracing and advanced GPGPU techniques. (NOTE: The latest version 3.19.2 available for download at www.xnormal.net deprecated all x86 plugins for older versions of 3ds Max and Maya that are still heavily used by this modding community-- these x86 plugins are last available in version 3.17.16 and thus my reason for making this tool available here as it is no longer possible to download it or its SDK on the internet. Additionally, v3.19.2 no longer supports the dotXSI file format. So we must use v3.17.16 if we want to bake normal maps using dotXSI files).
Q: How much xNormal costs?
A: Absolutely nothing. It's free for any use, including commercial one. No price and no fees at all. If you like it, please, help them by sending bugs/feedback, examples of your art or mention xNormal in your project.
Q: I can't use other normal mappers because they calculate their own tangent space and they only allow to use a kind of mesh format. Does xNormal include a SDK to make my own importers, exporters and plugins?
A: Yes, xNormal includes a complete and easy-to-use C++ SDK to write plug-ins. You can make image or mesh importers/exporters,etc... One of the key features of the xNormal SDK is the ability to customize the tangent basis. Please, take a look at this link to know why it's so important: http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Dev:Shading/Tangent_Space_Normal_Maps (NOTE: I've also included the 3.17.16 SDK since it is no longer available to download).
Tutorials for using XNormal can be found here: http://www.xnormal.net/Tutorials.aspx
Finally, if you get an error on program start about missing an OpenRL dll then simply rename the extension on the MapRenderer_OpenRL.dll to .bak in the x86 and x64 plugins folders. It isn't needed and the program can function without it. Or you could try to reinstall the OpenRL runtime if you're using a graphics card that requires it.
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