The Texture is a Lie

My first foray into normal maps. Trek frequently uses this particular texture — often on pillars or support structures. It’s simple enough, but the extra detail would add a lot of geometry to a model.

Thus normal maps. Normal maps say, “pretend that this flat surface has extra detail on it, and use that pretend detail when you calculate light interaction.” It’s all pretend, but it’s a special form of pretend that can be hardware-accelerated.

Basically, to make this work I have to create a model of complex geometry and use a Blender tool to create (“bake”) a normal map by projecting onto a much simpler shape. The end result is a very blue-coloured image that I can use in other models.

Net result: the surface is flat. It just doesn’t look flat. And if you look at the bounce light from the floor, that bounce light is emphasizing the texture shape.

Like I say: first foray. I barely know what I’m doing.

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