Bump Texture Tools features are compatible with other RealTexture Tools™ and the RealTexture Library™. Requirements: Windows 95, 98, ME, Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000, and Adobe Photoshop 4.0 and higher for the PC. The graphics card must be set to 800 X 600 resolution or better, and 24 bit color or higher.
A texture map is a pattern that is applied to the surface of a computer graphics object, like wallpaper applied to a wall. Conventional texture maps provide patterns of color and transparency. Bump textures provide patterns of surface normal vectors. The surface normals provide angles for computing lighting effects at each point on the surface. So even though the surface actually remains flat, it looks bumpy when a graphics image is rendered. This provides an exciting step up in the realism of many scenes.
Until now, the most popular way to make bump textures has been to use a monochrome image and pretend the bright parts of the image are the highest and the darkest parts the lowest. In most cases this traditional method is wildly inaccurate, but in some cases the results are nonetheless interesting.
The Shape from Shading plug-in in the Bump Texture Tool set works by deducing height variations from the shading in an image. Shadows in the image can confuse the software, as can strong color patterns on the surface. Strong color patterns can be accommodated by using the Tool set with images of a subject taken under different lighting conditions. In nearly all cases the Tool set will produce results superior to the traditional method, and the tool works surprisingly well with less-than-optimal input images. There is an alternative Stereo Pair Inversion tool for deriving bump maps. It works best heavily textured rather than smooth surfaces. Special and general purpose synthesis tools complete the package. Bump patterns can be touched up using the standard tools in Photoshop.
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