Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Using rich materials in stead of plain textures

Linden Lab is collaborating with others on a project to enable the use of richer looking materials in Second Life. Read more about the materials project in today's featured blog post. Be sure to watch this video where Torley Linden explains about using materials to enrich textures. At exactly 1:00 you will see a shot of the Grand Canyon surround!

Flat surface textures can be improved significantly by adding normal maps and specular maps. I have improved the rock and sand textures on the mesh cliffs and caves environment at ground level on my island by using this new technology. And I must say: the results are very, very promising indeed. Here are two pictures:

You can see what the richer textures look like by installing the latest second life viewer and teleporting to landscapes Unlimited. In order to see the materials you have to enable the Advanced Lighting Model in the Advanced section of the Graphics settings (Preferences menu, CTRL+P).

Some environment settings have a more profound effect on the materials than others, so I advise you to select a few different ones from the list in your viewer. For the pictures above I have used a slightly altered version of the Coastal Afternoon setting.

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