Faking Mood Lighting in 3D Modeling

To create spotlight effects (such as under-lighting or light pooling), you can repeat the preceding “create it in MAX” technique or use the lighting filters available in many image-editing packages to get similar results.

Moving a MAX light around in 3D space can give you a much more specific effect than using a light fixed to a two-dimensional plane. Curved Surfaces: Creating a curved surface with geometry is an almost impossible accomplishment in real time because curves require a high number of polygons.

Fortunately, creating the illusion of a curved surface in a Texture map is not difficult. It can be painted into the map-using a highlight for the highest point on the surface and blending that into half-tone at the sides of the curve with shadows reacting to the light source.

Again, rendering a fully mapped, highly-detailed curved surface in MAX and then using it as a Texture map for the flat-surfaced real-time object yields great results. Rendering the image from MAX with anti-aliasing turned off provides a clean edge around the wheel.

By setting the background to an extremely bright color, not found anywhere else in the image, you can create a map in which you can easily replace the background color.Additionally, you can add other colors if your map does not easily fit exactly onto the real-time object (and might leave undesired edges).

If you see strange edges when the map is applied, you can go back to the image and tweak it to make certain that you get a clean texture map. Working with real-time models often requires a balanced use of both low detail geometry and convincing maps.

You will find that most real-time interactive titles on the market do this very well. This exercise demonstrates that you do not even have to be a 2D artist to create those convincing maps. Use your 3D skills whenever possible. With the right lighting, materials, and geometry your renderings can serve very well as 2D maps for lower detail models.

Using Opacity for “Impossible Detail”:

Sometimes an object is far too complex to be modeled convincingly in a low polygon fashion. When you are using 3D Application to create models of objects with holes and complex edges-objects so detailed that you cannot make them recognizable-you can use a simple opacity map to create the effect.

Fortunately, almost all real-time systems have some capacity for using Opacity maps-whether they are 8-bit gray scale maps or just 1-bit black and-white, cookie-cutter type maps. This capability enables the model maker to add detail that would otherwise be impossible. The effect is not quite as clean as it would be in your 3D Application, but the result is still quite effective.

It is very easy to show how show how opacity can be used to create the illusion of hair on a real-time character.