Chapter 17. Adding Material Details with Maps


  • Understanding mapping

  • Exploring all the map types including 2D and 3D maps, compositors, color modifiers, and others

  • Applying maps to material properties using the Maps rollout

  • Using the Bitmap Path Editor

In addition to using materials, another way to enhance an object is to use a map—but not a roadmap. In Max, maps are bitmaps, with patterns that can be applied to the surface of an object. Some maps wrap an image onto objects, but others, such as displacement and bump maps, modify the surface based on the map's intensity. For example, you can use a diffuse map to add a label to a soup can, or a bump map to add some texture to the surface of an orange.

Understanding Maps

To understand a material map, think of this example. Cut the label off of a soup can, scan it into the computer, and save the image as a bitmap. You can then create a cylinder with roughly the same dimensions as the can, load the scanned label image as a material map, and apply it to the cylinder object to simulate the original soup can.

Different map types

Different types of maps exist. Some maps wrap images about objects, while others define areas to be modified by comparing the intensity of the pixels in the map. An example of this is a bump map. A standard bump map would be a grayscale image—when mapped onto an object, lighter colored sections would be raised to a maximum of pure white, darker sections would be those regions where a minimal bump or no bump ...

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