• Which the release of FS2020 we see an explosition of activity on the forun and of course we are very happy to see this. But having all questions about FS2020 in one forum becomes a bit messy. So therefore we would like to ask you all to use the following guidelines when posting your questions:

    • Tag FS2020 specific questions with the MSFS2020 tag.
    • Questions about making 3D assets can be posted in the 3D asset design forum. Either post them in the subforum of the modelling tool you use or in the general forum if they are general.
    • Questions about aircraft design can be posted in the Aircraft design forum
    • Questions about airport design can be posted in the FS2020 airport design forum. Once airport development tools have been updated for FS2020 you can post tool speciifc questions in the subforums of those tools as well of course.
    • Questions about terrain design can be posted in the FS2020 terrain design forum.
    • Questions about SimConnect can be posted in the SimConnect forum.

    Any other question that is not specific to an aspect of development or tool can be posted in the General chat forum.

    By following these guidelines we make sure that the forums remain easy to read for everybody and also that the right people can find your post to answer it.

MSFS GIMP, Blender normal maps


Resource contributor
Hi guys,

I'm gearing up for MSFS development and now I definitely need a good normal map plugin/proggie.

What I'm used to is the following workflow:
- Create the bump map in Gimp using greyscales.
- Convert it to a FSX-able normal map using the ModelConverterX Texture Converter tool.

That keeps me away from difficult things like Red/Alpha channel blah-blah.

But now with MSFS I cannot use the above-mentioned tool.

So, what's recommended for Gimp? I have used this one incidentally: https://code.google.com/archive/p/gimp-normalmap/
But it looses the details.

For example my file:

This, after converted by Arno's tool, works fine: all waviness and lines are seen in the simulator.
But after converting it using the mentioned Gimp plugin, I get this:

The panellines are there, but not the waviness.

Am I doing something wrong or need I another tool?

Cheers, Daan


Resource contributor
If I remember correctly, the latest version of GIMP has a normal plugin that is internal and can be configured for either DirectX or OpenGL .
Though, you can use the stand-alone version of NVidia Texture Tools. Doesn't require a NVidia graphic card. Also, will give you freedom of the different normal map configirations, such as DirectX or OpenGL.

So, it really doesn't matter which, just depends on your likes, etc.


Resource contributor
One thing I forgot to mention and or ask... MSFS does use and accept 16-bit normal maps. Is the above example in 8-bit?


Resource contributor
Well, that is good to read, thanks!

The bit depth of the greyscale map is 32 bits.

So I've installed NVidia, there's quite some options. Where can I select DirectX? In the top bar it says OpenGL.


Resource contributor
To make it DirectX compatible you will need to always flip the Y-axis.

On the xcf (GIMP) file you can change the bit to 16, but of course, you will also need to "export as" it to a png file (without an alpha channel).
Last edited: