Normal maps and normal bending

NDunes soils and terrain don't use normal maps. The reason for this is because NDunes terrain engine renders the terrain geometry using real displacement, at a quality level high enough to have every image pixel filled with one or more triangles.

Nevertheless, normal maps can overweight details on a soil and put a stronger focus on some of its parts, beyond what the real geometry would exhibit. The operation known as bending normals is widely used for a variety of purposes.

NDunes don't handle normal maps, but it has a normal bending option shown below:

At 1.0, the normal of the terrain is defined by the displacement map of \ef bk_soils that are assembled to compose the terrain. Above this value, normals are bent to increase their eye catching capability. This is illustrated below:

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Normal bending set to 1.0 on the left and set to 3.0 on the right

A value in the 1.5 - 2.5 range typically adds a lot of details to a terrain.