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.
Several external tools can be very helpful when you create texture maps. These tools include an image-editing package such as Photoshop, a digital camera, and a scanner. With these tools, you can create and capture bitmap images that can be applied as materials to the surface of the object.
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 types of maps exist. Some maps wrap images about objects, while others define ...