As a rule, Parallax Mapping looks good on walls and floors. Any mesh with a relatively large surface area viewed from non-angled angles could be a suitable candidate for Parallax mapping. Parallax is well suited for gentle curves such as rocks. It is not very suitable for steep edges due to the steep curves.
Avoid sharp/steep edges and high frequency details in your Height Map. These can lead to texture stretching and rendering artifacts.
Use it sparingly and not on relatively large surfaces. Be especially careful when the edges of a mesh are visible. Parallax mapping does not extend beyond the visible edges of a mesh. This may look strange. You can extend your Parallax maps with the current geometry at the visible edges (e.g. stones at the corner of a building can use the actual geometry while the other stones can be created by Parallax mapping).
How to create Parallax Maps.
With CrazyBump you can generate a Parallax Map from a normal map:
- If required, you can download the CrazyBump demo.
- Make sure CrazyBump’s axis alignment settings are set correctly for your Normal Map.
- Open your Normal Map in CrazyBump.
- Make sure that “Parallax Displacement” is enabled in CrazyBump’s preview window.
- Select the Displacement tab in the CrazyBump interface.
- Adjust the Displacement Map sliders until your model has the desired appearance.
- If you notice shimmering artifacts, try increasing the Blur slider.
- You’re done. Save the displacement map and use it for parallax in your game engine.
CrazyBump can also generate a Parallax Map from a photo.