There have been a few discussions in different places on this topic, so I thought it was time for a dedicated thread. What do you use for texturing, how do you go about it, what tricks save you time?
I’ll start us off with the normalmap plugin for GIMP. GIMP is free and so is the plugin, so good if you are on a budget. Here is the diffuse of a basic panel, drawn by hand in GIMP:
You can apply the normal map filter directly to the diffuse map, but the results are not quite what you want:
To get a decent map, its best to understand how the filter works. It takes the contrast in the image and uses it to work out what heights things should be at. The more contrast, the thicker the normal map lines. So it is better to give it something without shadows and shading:
It will even create normal maps of complex shapes, if you can work out what to feed it:
(this post could have been a lot shorter if I had thought of that split-image thing at the beginning…)