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Creating a wood material with bumps

by Robert den Broeder,  April 2003

This is a beginners level tutorial for Realsoft3D V4.5. Basically it shows how to load two picture files to create a wood texture with bumps. Then it shows how to apply this material to a box and render the scene.

Before you start this tutorial you need a full color picture of a wood texture and a greyscale copy of this same picture on your harddrive. You can decide which picture formats you would like to use; JPG or BMP will do for now. These two pictures will be used to create a wood material with a bumpy structure.

First of all I usually start by setting the viewport to default values.

You can do that by pressing the N shaped icon.

I also prefer working using a parallel projection.

The lower red arrow in the screenshot points to the icon that can be used to switch between parallel and perspective projection.

The screenshot shows the position for parallel projection.

In the Select window, select the second tab that gives access to the materials library which is currently loaded in the program.

We are going to create a new VSL material. While your pointer is over the materials, press the right mouse button.

This opens a menu. Now select New and then VSL Material.

A new, black material preview box is inserted in the library.

This is your new material and it is given a random name; in this case Material115.

It is possible that your materials library looks like this, instead of the previews shown in the previous screenshots.

This can be fixed easily :)

While you are with your mouse pointer over the materials list, press the right mouse button. From the pop-up menu select 'Show previews'

Now all loaded materials are shown in all their glory :)

We are now ready to create the material. To define the material properties, we need to open the property window.

This is done by double clicking on the material we just created. When the property window has opened, check the 'Preview' box, so you can see the effect of changes you have made to your material.

In this case the preview will show a white sphere on a checkered floor.

Click on the text in the Name box. This allows you to change the name into something more appropriate. For this tutorial change it in Wood-and-bump.

Next we are going to assign some properties to our material. The first thing we add will be the texturemap that defines our woodtexture. We will use the wizard for this. Click on the small triangle at the end of the Wizard box and select Texture map from the drop down list.

After you selected Texture map from the list, click the Add button.

This will add a simple user interface thats allows us to define more specific properties of our material.

Next we will add the picture that defines what our wood will look like.

Click on the icon which is indicated by the red arrow in the upper part of the screenshot.

A file requester will open and you can select your color picture.

In my case the picture can be found in the Realsoft/Textures library and it is called 'wood-texture'.

Select your color picture and click Open to load it into Realsoft3D.

When you have loaded the imagefile, you can see that the preview window for your texture is updated.

We will now add the bumpmap for the wood. Click again on the small triangle at the end of the Wizard box.

This time we select Bump map from the drop down list and press the Add icon.

Again we need to add a picture file; in this case the greyscale image of our woodtexture.

So open the file requester again and select your greyscale image and click on the Open button.

In my case this greyscale image is called wood-bump.

We now have created a material that has two properties: texture and bump.

Both properties use a picture to create the desired effect.

To make the bumpmap a bit stronger and more dramatic, we can change the bump height value.

By default this is set to 1. Set it at a value of 3. Make sure all other settings of the material are the same as in this screenshot.

In the select window, go to the Geometric Objects tab (the one with the small sphere icon on top).

We need a simple object to map the new material on.

Go to a front view and let's create an Analytic cube.

When the cube is created, make sure it is selected in the Selection window.

We are going to add our wood-material to our cube object.

With the cube selected in the Select window, go back to the materials tab.

Select your new woodmaterial and press the right mouse button.

This opens a menu, where you can select the mapping type.

Realsoft3D supports different mapping types as you can see in the screenshot. Select the Parallel mapping type from the list.

In the view window you can now create a mapping object.

Click a little outside the top-left corner of your cube and click again at the lower-right corner of the cube.

The result will be similar to the screenshot on the left.

The red arrow points at the cube; the yellow arrow points at the mapping object.


When you now go back to the Geometric Objects tab, you can see that the structure has changed a bit.

The cube object and the mapping object are now put together in a level and this level has got a new name.

When you click onthe small 'plus sign' you can open the level and see what is inside.

There we see our cube and mapping object. You can add as many mapping objects as you like (and as much as your computer's memory capacity allows)

It is time to complete the scene by adding a lightsource. Go to a top view in the view window. Click on the lightsources tab in the Toolbar and select a point light. We need a lightsource that generates nice shadows to show the bumpmaps.
Before we render our scene, we do also a little trick. First we go to a side view and then we select the mapping object in the select window. Now wemodify the mapping object, so it is small and positioned as shown above. You can use the transformation handles to move objects around and adjust size in a specific axis. To resize the depth of the mapping object double click at the end of the blue transformation handle (shown by blue arrow number 1). Now move your mouse horizontally and watch the mapping object transform along the Z axis. When done, click again. To move the mapping object click-and-drag the blue transformation handle, on the position shown by blue arrow number 2.

The final step before rendering the view window.

Make sure you are in the Geometric Objects tab of the select window.

Select the mapping object and double click on it, so it opens the Property Window of the mapping object.

Go to the Spec tab and check the box for Finite Z (shown by the red arrow). This limits the depth of the mapping object in the Z axis. Close the property window.

Now select a nice camera position, go into Perspective projection mode and render the view.

Done! You can see the effect of the previous step; the mapping is only limited to the front face of the cube.

If you were to skip the previous step (or undo it) the cube would show texture on all faces.

Page updated on Sunday, 13 April, 2003 . For feedback / model submissions or articles - please email us.
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