Postprint version. Published in International Sumposium on Visual Computing Proceedings: Las Vegas, NV, Volume 5358, December 1, 2008, pages 816-826.
We describe a method of directly extracting a simplified contour surface along with detailed normal maps from volume data in one fast and integrated process. A robust dual contouring algorithm is used for efficiently extracting a high-quality "crack-free" simplified surface from volume data. As each polygon is generated, the normal map is simultaneously generated. An underlying octree data structure reduces the search space required for high to low resolution surface normal mapping. The process quickly yields simplified meshes fitted with normal maps that accurately resemble their complex equivalents.
The publication is available at http://www.sciweavers.org/publications/direct-extraction-normal-mapped-meshes-volume-data