Using Specular Maps
Blender 3D Tutorial

April 13, 2008 2:06 am

Tags: 3D, blender 3d, blender 3d tutorial, blender3d, tutorial


Specular Maps:

Using a Specular map is easy. It's the same as using a 'Nor' map. You could use the same image for both to achieve good results or you could go into more detail. A good example of a custom specular map might be if you're trying to achieve the look of water that has just streaked down an object. The areas that are wet will be shinier than the rest of an object.

For now, I'll just go over how to load and use a specular map simply using a gray scale image of the texture.


Texture Map

Transparency Map

Specular/Normal Map

The sample image at the top of this tutorial was created using just the 3 textures above. A texture map, a Transparency Map and a gray scale map for the 'Normals' (Bump) and Specular.

The leaf models look like this. I started with just one Plane. "Space bar - Add - Mesh - Plane". Press 'F' to go into Face Select mode. By going into UV Face Select Mode, blender creates a UV map for each face. In this case, it creates a simple square UV map which is all we need to apply the texture to. Then, I selected my plane and entered 'Edit Mode'.

I selected all of my vertexes and press 'W' to bring up the Sub-Divide menu.

I selected 'Sub Divide Multi' and entered 4 for the number of cuts.

Next, I selected a few random vertexes around the edge of the grid. I'm going to pull these down a bit just to give the leaves a little bit of shape. The Orange Circle near the bottom right shows that I have the Proportional Edit Falloff set to on. Once I press 'G' now to grab the vertexes, I can roll the mouse wheel to adjust the range of the Falloff.

The circle indicates the range of the Fall off. Neighboring vertexes within this range will be moved as well in proportion to how close they are to one of the selected vertexes.

Now that the model for the leaf is ready to go, let's apply the textures. Each texture can be added here, under the Texture Buttons (F6):

Just click the 'Add New' button. Give your texture a name.

For the Texture Type, select Image. Then load your image under the tab labeled 'Image'. Click the folder icon to search for your desired image.

Here you can see my 3 images loaded and ready. For my transparency map, I clicked the 'Alpha' button under the 'Preview' tab so I could see a sample of the transparency effect.

Each texture is applied as shown below under the Materials Buttons. First, a new material is create by pressing 'Add New'.

The 'Ztransp' button is turned on so that the background objects will be visible. The 'Alpha' slider is adjusted all the way down to allow our Alpha map to do it's job.

Select each texture under the 'Texture Tab' in order to adjust each one's settings under the 'Map To' tab and 'Map Input' tabs.

For each texture, I clicked the UV button under their 'Map Input' tabs to use our UV mapping that we created.

(For my Texture map, I left the default selection of 'Col' under the 'Map To' tab to apply this texture to the objects color.)

For the Specular Map, I de-selected the 'Col' button and selected the 'Nor' button and 'Spec' button to apply my image to the Normal Map (bump) and the Specular mapping. I also turned up the 'Nor' slider from the default of .5 to 5.0 . The default of .5 just doesn't give me enough 'bump'.

Also, you'll notice the 'Nor' button has yellow lettering. This indicates that is set on the 'Negative' value. Each button has 3 states, off, on positive and on negative. On positive, will use your image as it is. Using the Negative setting, will use a negative version of your image. For example, on a gray scale image, black will be white and white will be black. When your using this for Alpha mapping it will reverse the transparent and non-transparent parts. With Normal mapping, it will reverse the Higher bumps with the lower bumps. I used the negative setting because the positive setting showed the bumps on the leaf in the reverse of what the would normally be.

(For the Alpha Map, simply de-select everything and select only the 'Alpha' button.)

That's really all there is to it. Here's a few more sample renders.

All supporting images are copyright, and cannot be
copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission.

Scott [Reddog9] is a licensed electrician in Vancouver, WA. Studied in several programming languages, including Fortran, Pascal, Basic, Python, Java script, HTML. Into SciFi, BSG, Starwars, UFO Hunters, Ghost Hunters, Destination Truth, Who's line is it Anyway, PS2, Sailing, Pizza, Victorian Architecture and all of the good things of the Middle Ages. Single father to princess Hannah, the heiress to my kingdom and all of my treasures. I enjoy spending most of my free time 'playing' with Blender. Is there anything you can't do with this program? I love finding new tricks and techniques to use in my modeling. There's so much fun in creating something from nothing. I spend quite a bit of time learning different ways of using Blender's Game Engine. A couple of things I'm working on now is a cross-country vehicle sim and a 'Blenderized' version of the classic Battleship game. It's hard to stay focused on one project sometimes. Be sure to check out Scott's Renderosity Gallery, tutorials and Freestuff, as well as his personal Web Site.

April 28, 2008

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Article Comments

phlynn ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 14 April 2008

Extremely informative! Thanks for taking the time to create & share.

ahudson ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 15 April 2008

Ummm... What application were you using for this tut?

Boni ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 18 April 2008

That's Blender. Nice work.

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