Creating specular map – photoshop tutorial

Now it’s time to create specular map. First of all I need to explain, why you have to use this type of map. When you are using a bump map, in most cases you will have to use also a specular map, which is made of the same diffuse map as a bump map. But why I will need this? It’s very simple to explain. Look how the reflections looks like on the wooden furniture. You see my point? They are never equal right? At this time, when you are using only a bump maps most of the reflections will not look realistic and sometimes you will not be able to see any of them.

How do the specular map is working?

There is no great philosophy about that. What happens is that, the lighter color on the map will give more specular effect and the black one (RGB 0) will cause no reflections. Unlike bump map, colorful maps will also work here, however they won’t give you such a good effect as a black and white maps.

1. Simple specular map made in Photoshop

Just like the bump map you can quickly make specular map in PS by changing a few parameters. The second way(even easier!) I’ll describe in the next section. Now put your diffuse map into Photoshop(I’ll use the same map like in the previous entry of creating bump maps ) and just start to work with that ; )
a.) Desaturation
To do this simply select Hue/Saturation(Ctrl+U)and set the value of Saturation to -100 or slightly less.

b.) Inversion
Unfortunately now all of the reflections would be in the hollows but we want to achieve just the opposite of that. That’s way you need to do inversion. Key combination Ctrl + i will do color inversions and already we can see that map is close to what you are expecting.

You have to set the Levels that so the black areas will be really crisp and so are going to see the transitions between black and white points.

d.) Sharpen
It’s always worth to make our map a little sharper. Just go to Filter-> Sharpen-> Smart Sharpen and play with the sliders. Immediately you have a real-time view in the window how the sharpening is changing. Of course you cannot overdo with this.

And this is how it looks like step by step.

2.Crazy bump

Here is very simple work to do. We will do everything in analogy of the creating the bump map.
a.) Import a map
Now, you have to open your map. Select that option which you can see on the left in the picture below. Once have you chosen the map wait until Crazy Bump will stop thinking and then new window will appear like on the right side in the picture. What’s going on? If you remember how the bump map works(you have to know it!), you should immediately guess that the program gives us a choice of what type of map we want. Map on the left has darker places so when you will choose that one , your map will give more concavity effect, and the map on the right is the inverse. In fact it doesn’t make a big difference which type you will choose, because in 3ds max you can set the right value of the map.

First of all there is a fewer setup sliders than on bump card however that doesn’t change the fact that you can get great effect or screw up everything :D

Description of the parameters for the Specularity map

    • Slope influence


        - here you can make that the holes will look deepen. I don’t recommend changing it from a zero value. Below you can view how map is changing while you are changing this and the other settings.


    • Texture influence

    - Here you can change the influence of texture on the map. Why I would to change it from a zero value? It’s a very good question :P It’s only useful when you have a texture with a lot of pits and bulges, then you can make that the light will reflect only on the most sharp places.



    • Enhence detail

    - responsible for the amount of detail to be included on the map.



    • Brightness

    - higher value makes map will be… all shiny without taking into account the number of pits and bulger of diffuse map. I recommend to stay with the value of 50.



    • Contrast

    - with increasing contrast, collapse places will be more sharp. Sometimes this can be useful (for example on leather seat material) but usually the better way is just set a value in the range 15-25.



    • Add noise

    - this can add noise to the map



    • Metallic color

    - this can add metallic color to the map


    c.)Saving the file
    Let’s choose save(floppy disc) -> save normals as -> and here we have to pick out the same typ of map like in the second method – tiff format. Sometimes map doesn’t want to work (I read that on the internet). The way to avoid this is very simple, just reopen the file in Photoshop or another type of program and simply save it again and it will work correctly :)