PLEASE HELP ! A BEGINNER TRYING TO UNDERSTAND TEXTURE MAPS

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  • I have been trying to pick up some rendering skills recently, the availability of different software and vast knowledge to consume are overwhelming. I did my research and needed some help from the experts to advise me on my current understanding of rendering software. Fundamentally, rendering software are mimicking reality by calculating light bounce between geometry and materials. Obviously, the more refined the geometry is, the more realistic it is. On the other hand, material are characterised by its layers of maps and information. Various type of maps such as diffuse, bump/normal, displacement map, ambient occlusion, reflection map etc. are used to achieve realism by providing material information within the rendering environment. The more layers of material map and information applied into the scene, the more realistic yet time consuming it is since more time is used to calculate the movement of light. Based on my understanding, Bump/Normal maps create an illusion of depth and texture but displacement maps actually deforms the geometry to create real depth and texture. Enscape supports bump map yet do not support displacement map, therefore, enscape is only capable of creating an illusionary depth of the material and not actually deforming the geometry. Thus, realism is flawed when the scene is perceive at a certain angle and perspective. However, Vray supports both bump/normal and displacement map, so its logical to say that vray can produce a higher quality image compared to enscape but has a higher learning curve due to its complexity. Each rendering software/plugin has its strength and weaknesses, thus, i should pick the most appropriate software depending on the context and my current skill cap.




    Can any expert advise me regarding how true and correct my above statement is ? Thanks guys !

    • Official Post

    Hi @kirklee14 ,

    Welcome to the forums!

    You're fairly on point with what you wrote. Displacement is in fact being used almost nowhere in real-time visualization, as the renderer usually tessellates the geometry depending on the complexity of the map per area. This would lead to very difficult resource management to maintain performance, to say the least.

    Yes, this is a technique that is used by offline renderers that take way longer per renderoutput than a real-time renderer.

    One more thing, I wouldn't say the more layers of maps you're using the better. In most cases, a good material consists of a color-, bump- (displacement, normal, etc) and roughness map. Quality over quantity, but still - every surface should have some imperfections to not look fake.


    Hope this helps!