Bump Mapping

Bump mapping is a technique used to add relief to an object's surface, without increasing the geometric complexity of the object. Bump mapping makes the surface of a smooth polygon appear irregular, or "bumpy." Bump mapping can be used in games, visualization and simulation applications to represent relief all kinds of irregularities on floors, walls, water surfaces, and all kinds of objects. For example, an orange can be modeled by a smooth sphere with a bump map. The bump map is used to model all the small the creases in the orange's skin, without increasing the geometric complexity of the model. Similarly, the surface of a lake can be modeled by a flat polygon and a dynamic bump map. In this case, the bump map is used to model the waves. Bump mapping is expected to have the same impact throughout the gaming world as the transition from pixelated point-filtered textures to smooth bilinear-filtered textures. Until very recently, the performance cost of bump mapping techniques was prohibitively expensive for games running on consumer-level hardware. Permedia3 makes bump mapping free in terms of performance (relative to simple bilinear mipmapped texturing) in Direct3D 6 games. This paper presents the basic idea behind bump mapping, Direct3D 6 and OpenGL bump mapping techniques, and Permedia3's bump mapping capabilities.

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