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Mr Kidnapper
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Default Other maps - 06-30-2011, 11:23 PM

For the leap to quality, I suggest the addition of the rest of the material maps, such as Specular Maps and Bump/Normal Maps (most important ones), and Reflection/Refraction maps instead of having only the Diffuse map (which is the good 'ol tex map you're all used to), and Opacity Map, which is just about useless.
I don't expect you to understand a damn thing that was in that first paragraph, so a subtle explanation made for teens. I can make one so children can also easily understand it if you like:

Diffuse Maps - What we have now. They color your models at the most basic level. It's ideal to use solid colors here, no alpha (transparency.)

Opacity Maps - We also have this, it's quite unknown, but it is used as "Super Transparency." You have a bit more control over this than standard transparency, which covers the whole model. It is a monochrome image made to simulate transparency. Using this instead of giving the diffuse map transparency will keep it from conflicting with the other maps.

Specular Color Maps - In Alice, this is called Specular Highlight Color. It works much the same, however like the Opacity Map, it gives you advanced control. It is multicolored, the same as Diffuse. This is good because it can help simulate many materials (Materials meaning metal, cloth, plastic) than we can with Diffuse and Specular alone.

Specular (Level) Maps - This is the most important addition. Using all kinds of funky colors, it decides which part of a material will shine the most, and which wont. Here's an example. See that giant thing in the middle? It isn't a polygonal monster, it's extremely tiny (2407 polys) model that looks extremely detailed because of its specular level map. Hell, it tricked me for a while. Doesn't seem to work as much outside of CryEngine, however that might just be Max.

Glossiness/Roughness - This determines how much a material will blur the specular maps. It's not used often, but a better explanation would be like gradients—the lower the glossiness, the more the light will fade away from the center.

Reflection Maps - Reflection is light bounced back exactly in the same direction it came from. This is used for mirrors, heavily tinted car windows, and other such things.

Refraction Maps - Refraction is when light is bounced... in any direction except the same direction. This is also important. This is what causes things to blur through the material, the same way you look through a magnifying glass and everything except the precise middle is blurred. With this, you can make believable scopes, and just about anything that can bounce light and isn't perfectly straight.

Displacement Maps - This is an unnecessary, high level thing. Basically, it's a geometry trick (That pretty much requires DirectX 11) that makes something, despite being low poly, look much more detailed and realistic by cutting up the polys into tiny pieces (this is called Tessellation) and displacing them (Moving them around) according to the map, which is monochrome. It's a very cost efficient method that saves space by making a low poly object more detailed as you come near, instead of replacing the whole object with an existing high poly object that will take up space. Crysis 2's Direct-X 11 add-on does a great job at illustrating this, making low poly buildings appear as real as their real-life counterparts.

Now: Why do we need this? Simple answer: Poor quality is a turn-off. Children are used to seeing the great things adults make, and want to do that too. Seeing Alice and its default objects for the first time, I was also turned off, but it was already a class, so too late. Now I'm brute forcing quality into Alice by making and editing all kinds of wunderbar objects. Alice doesn't quite have this option. Now, it seems unnecessary bloatware and potentially requiring a revamp or replacement of the current 3d engine, but the need of the option is still a compelling reason. If the children can't even make use of it, so be it. That's why the rest of the Seldom Used Properties are where they are. Even so, we older peoples can use it. We have people converting from professional works that have any number of these maps, and even people creating their own work from scratch that could potentially use these maps, but aren't inclined to due to the lack of support for it.

Last edited by Mr Kidnapper; 07-01-2011 at 12:04 AM.
   
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