Applying Normal Maps to your characters in Blender

In this short Tutorial I will try and teach you, how to apply normal maps to your Roblox character in Blender, the version I’ll be using it Blender 2.92 you can download the newest version here.

If you look closely at the render attached below you can see some small but nice details on the clothing of the character. And this is what I’ll be talking about throughout this.

What is Normal Map?

In 3D computer graphics, normal mapping, or Dot3 bump mapping, is a texture mapping technique used for faking the lighting of bumps and dents – an implementation of bump mapping. It is used to add details without using more polygons. A normal map uses RGB information that corresponds directly with the X, Y and Z axis in 3D space . This RGB information tells the 3D application the exact direction of the surface normals are oriented in for each and every polygon. … For assets that don’t need to deform, often times an Object Space normal map is used.

Part 1

I’m going to assume you already know the basics of Blender, exporting characters, applying textures to them and so on. To start with, make sure you load up your character into Blender with the hats and textures all loaded in as normal you would do. It should look like something below.

(Please that the rig I may be using will be different from the one you use, it won’t change much of the process but you can download the same rig here)

Part 2

Before we move on you must make sure you separate the head and the hats textures from the clothing. You can do this by selecting the head and going into the materiel settings and clicking on the number or just separate it the way you would do it normally.

Part 3

Go into your shader tab in Blender, or just open up shader editor in Blender and follow the setup below.

What this is doing is showing you where your normal maps will be placed on, since we separated the textures from the head and hats it won’t affect them. Play around with the sliders on the Color ramp until you’re happy with what you get. Note, anywhere there is white on the character, that is where the normal map will be applied/visible to, anywhere that is black, that is where the normal map will not show up, in this case you’d want the skin to not have it and just the clothing itself, I played around with the sliders and got this result above.

Part 4

Once you’re happy with the position of the sliders we’re going to change up the setup of nodes.

You want to copy this, but make sure you don’t delete any of the nodes you had before when you were in shading tab.

The top orange node is the clothing texture of the character, But the the orange shader you see below, that is the normal map, just the square image. This what you want to add to it. I’ve attached it below if anyone wants to download it but there are many better ones you can find on Blender texture websites.

Part 5

With all that done, you should be seeing some changes to the character.

They may be very hard to notice or they may not be, this is when the texture mapping node comes into place. It is the node on the left side of your setup, this contains values for changing the location, rotation or scale of the normal map that is being applied to your character. You’ll have to play around with all of them to find the one that fits best for you’re needs.

That will be all, hopefully this helped out! I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of questions from people so feel free to Direct Message me on Discord and I’ll try and help out. Mas#9926

Credits to SoftGB, I highly suggest checking him out since he was the one that let me do all of this. I’ve attached a picture of his profile below!

Thank you for reading and have an amazing day!


That’s interesting! I’ve always imagined you’d have to mess around with the actual shape to get those effects. Thanks for sharing!

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So that’s how it’s done with normal maps. Awesome tutorial, thank you for making it! :slight_smile: