Map types



Using this allows you to use a bitmap in order to texture objects within the software. This allows you to create realistic looking geometry and use pre rendered effects on them.

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Using a specular color map allows you to change the brightness and intensity of highlights. Allows for more natural colors when light is bounced of a surface. By using a specular map, you can make models and objects more realistic by choosing how much light can be reflected of an object to.

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 A normal map uses the information from rgb information in order to locate the polygons of the object in 3d space. By doing this it can evaluate the surface and shade the polygons within 3d software.

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Ambient occlusion

Ambient occlusion is calculated by the software such as 3ds max in order to fake soft shadows in order to make the object look more realistic. By having this, it allows you to differentiate objects and separates certain lines and curves in an object. For example, a car could have ambient occlusion around the wheels which will create a more realistic look by having shadows from where the geometry blocks out light rays. It works by using light rays that bounce of the geometry to then travel and hit other surfaces (can be changed how far it goes) and then based on the distance it will become lighter or darker depending. Of course if it does not hit any geometry then it will not turn as dark.


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The alpha channel allows you to change the pixel or objects to allow the background to show through by masking the pixels colours and replacing it with other pixels on top


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Glow map

By using a glow map, you can make self illuminated sections that uses greyscale in order to create this effect. Blacks don’t change whereas the whites will be self illuminated.

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Reflection map

 Reflection mapping allows you to add an element of realism to your silhouette by creating realistic looking reflections onto it. It does this by creating the illusion of something like metal for example then mapping out the geometry to it’s surface.


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Opacity map

By using opacity mapping you can make something fully transparent. So for example, you could use this tool to make glass. You don’t have to make it fully transparent though, you can set it between 0-100 with a hundred being full transparent, so depending on what you are creating you have a lot of flexibility using this.

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Bump map

 A bump map allows you to add extra detail into your model by using an illusion. You can make it look like the geometry is being pushed down or raised when in actuality, the geometry has not been moved at all. By doing this it allows you to put small details in a model or object without effecting the geometry.

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Displacement maps

Displacement maps are very similar to bump maps in regards to what you would use it for to achieve. The difference from the bump map though, is that using this actually effects the geometry making it better at creating more detail, but it comes at the cost of more performance and longer rendering times.


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Dec 17 2014
Dec 17 2014
polycount forum
october 21, 2010
Plural sight
By Mark Masters
by Vangie Beal
By Tonelo Peru
plural sight
by Eddit Russell
plural sight
By Eddie Russell
Type of maps


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