Well nothing new but let me add some Infos to this
Well i dislike Lightwave, so this is the only one i don't know much about it.
This one is very good for 2D editing, if you want to calculate a highmap into a Normalmap this one is pretty nice.
But also have in mind, that the quality of 2d maps never beats 3D based nmaps. 2D is very good for adding high freqent details, like pores, veins or other things that should be painted via highmap.
This plugin also offers a very good option, to renormalize combined or scaled nmaps.
The official site of the plugin is Nvidia, since they improve the plugin from time to time, and they offer a lot more tools and infos.
http://www.developer.nvidia.com/object/ ... tools.html
ORB (Open Render Bump) well first, this was the best solution when i start researching creating nmaps out of geometry. Orb is based upon the internal nmap generation code of doom3 alpha. The Author is improving this little pice of software, but still its slower than Ati's or Nvidia's tools. Offers a nice preview function.
The first ATI Tool you postet, is using 2D Bumpmaps and convert it to Nmaps. Same like photoshop plugin, but standalone tool, less powerfull. Do not forget that ATI is using a inverted green channel for their nmaps. If you want to use it in Ca3D you have to invert the green channel !!
Same for the second ATI tool. This 3D based calculation was my first choice until Nvidia released their own tool. Need for invert the green channel but is fast in calculating the nmaps, and offers very nice options.
Can be downloaded as a commandline based version, as a gui wrapped version or as plugin for 3dsMax
Gnormal Plugin for 3dsMax
Well this one is pretty useless, it offers only the ability to put a normalmap into the bumpmap material channel in Max, so you can render it . It is NOT for calculating or producing anything, and the effect when rendered is pretty low. Only useful for tricks like render-to-texture..
Well i know the engine/demo/sdk, but i never reached a good level of creating complex models and nmaps with this system. The only tutorial i found was explaining the way of creating flat, planar surfaces for nmaps, but not how to create nmaps for complete 3D models.
Polybump is based on the same way like ATI, so you have to invert all green channels on created nmaps. Nice tool but never tried it out deeply.
Hmm only take a small look into it .... very limited in the HL2 version, and nmapping is also only possible for planar surfaces like walltextures.
There are also tricks/plugins for Cinema 4D or Maya, but most of them are only usable for planar surfaces, since they use simple color tricks in camera space.... and Mayas nmap rendernode trick is horribly slow (and quite complicated)
Here are some more things:
The best comercial tool for 3dsMax is Kaldera developed by Manuka. Can perform render-to-texture for anything, including nmaps, and can also render them. If you really want to work with nmaps and 3dsMax, this tool is the best of all !
Very new tool, still one of the best free tools.
If you have latest GFX card like Geforce 5 (Melody needs pixelshader 2.0), you can use this great piece of software. Faster than all other (free) tools, and extremly powerfull, this tool renders tangent and worldspace based nmaps, but only in .dds format. Also offers algorithms for creating lod or to create a auto UV map.
I miss a texture load function to preview my models, so far you can only preview fresh calculated stuff. But so far this one is the best tool so far. And no need to invert green channel
All based on personal exp. so try them out for yourself to get best results