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Real-time Displacement Maps: Curvy
Now, let's explore another
type of map: the Curvy map, which is a realtime displacement map. This
lets you create very complex and amazing 3D shapes, controlled by an
image. The image dictates the amount of displacement, which is applied
even if there are still some editing curves defining the base shape of
the object. You can still edit the curve, and the the displacement will
For starters, let's create some interesting patterns, such as the
nweave pattern in Dogwaffle.
Back in Curvy 3D, let's create and select a simple shape, such aqs a
sphere, onto which we'll apply the texture in various ways: base color
map, bump map, and displacement map, aka Curvy map.
Click the Base
Colour icon, to make it the current texture:
If the texture is still in a running session of Dogwaffle, fetch it
directly from there. Otherwise load it from a saved file by
right-clicking the Base Colour icon.
We have just applied the chosen texture to the Base Colour. Now that
loaded, we can also apply it to the Bump Map. Click the bump map icon
and select the desired texture from those available.
And of course also to the Curvy Map:
Pay attention to the Resolution of the object. If the mesh is too
coarse, i.e. if it has few polygons, you may not see the fine intricate
details of displacement that the
texture image can generate.
The Curvy Map uses two control sliders: (1) a displacement amount and
direction, with zero value in the middle, and (2) a smoothing value to
blend out some minor noise in the image (such as Jpeg compression
noise but also useful to generally create a more rounded appearance to
the displacement hills and valleys).
And there it is, our sphere with a totally new look: The image-based
map has reshaped the geometry. You can tell along the edges of the
sphere that this is not just a lighting gimmick like in the case of
bump mapping - this is true mesh deformation, realtime displacement
Notice the yellow curve along the right side: the original construction
curve for our sphere, which was a semi-circle, is still present. We
haven't converted the object to a mesh representation yet, so we can
still edit the curves, if any.
You can grab a hold of the curve with the Widgit Move or Widgit Rotate
tools and redefine the base shape.
The Curvy map is constantly re-applied to the new base shape, in
realtime. Curvy maps are realtime displacement maps!
With just a few more changes in the curve's shape, this is easily
Now you'll also want to use differently colored textures. In Dogwaffle,
apply a colored gradient to the prior Weave pattern image, and reload
the Dogwaffle image directly into Curvy's currently selected map.
the shape curve too if desired. Here's another result:
And yet another:
The possibilities are sheer endless. Using an image to control the
displacement of the base mesh opens a new dimension in image-based
Plus, we have only used the solid RGB channels so far. When we also
alpha transparency in the Colour Map, we can open holes in the object
and create even more intriguing shapes.