Create Normals

The Create Normals device encodes the directional normal vector of the terrain surface into an RGB texture. Each direction component of the normal is mapped to a color; by convention, R=X, G=Y, B=Z.

When combined with a low-resolution or optimized mesh, this allows the appearance of a high resolution terrain with a fraction of the number of triangles.

How to Use

Typically, you would connect a heightfield to the primary input to produce object-space normals for the terrain. If you need tangent-space normals, the recommended workflow is to instead use the detail normalmap from the Meshify device.


  • Primary Input: The heightfield or mesh geometry to analyze
  • Tangent Input: If a mesh is supplied to this input, the resulting normalmap will be in tangentspace; otherwise, it will be in object space.


  • Encoding Type (DirectX or OpenGL): Which normal map convention to use. The difference is in the handling of the Y axis in the green channel. World Machine uses OpenGL-style internally, but allows you to create/export whichever convention you need.
  • Scaling: Adjust the strength of the normal map. This is a spatial parameter that allows you to adjust the apparent relief across your terrain,

Tips and Tricks

If you supply a mesh to the tangentspace input, the Normal Maker will create a detail tangent-space normal map referenced to that mesh. However, you typically won’t need to do this; the Meshify device creates its own detail normalmap that will be identical.

Updated on January 10, 2022

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