3D mapping techniques are the basic texturing techniques in 3D Animation sector which are important in photorealism artworks. With 3D mapping skills, you are able to make your render looks realistic and professional. Broadly speaking, the 3D mapping is the adoption of certain textures to give a certain effect on a mesh or object.
What is Photorealism?
Photorealism is a part of the digital artwork that in terms of painting, drawing, rendering, and other graphic design skills, in which an individual learns a photograph and then tries to recreate the image as realistically as possible in a digital device.
To accomplish your 3D animation artwork results near to perfect photorealism, firstly you need to be capable of basic techniques for 3D mapping that you can improve step by step in the practices.
3D Mapping Techniques
1. Color Mapping
Basically, doing color mapping will assign a color to an object based on the texture in use. However, if you are using color mapping without any other 3D mapping, the result looks unprofessional and very tedious to the eye. This reasons, creative artists created other mappings which you can use that can be used in conjunction with the color mapping.
2. Bump Mapping
The role of bump mapping is really important in making 3D animation and 3D games. Bump mapping uses a kind of height map texture in a colored version to be able to create flat look object becomes look rough with remarkable details as if the object has been modeled with very professional techniques.
The main advantage of bump mapping is you can modify an object without the limit of polygons. In which, that could make this technique really user-friendly for a computer with low specs of VGA, GPU, or Graphics Card. The reason is the bump mapping does not alter or modify existing polygons on an object. However, bump mapping is just an illusion which is generated by a renderer. Even though bump mapping is very efficient and widely used by animators worldwide. Bump mapping still has its deficiencies which you can enhance in working with the techniques of mapping after this.
3. Normal Mapping
If you have ever researched about normal mapping, you might find that there is almost nothing different between normal mapping and bump mapping. Mostly, novice artists in the 3D world have an understanding that bump mapping is just another name for normal mapping. However, they are different. Bump mapping cannot create the illusion that can change the degree on an object which is deemed normal. Meanwhile, the normal mapping is a 3D mapping that can fix the shortcomings in bump mapping. Although the results of both mappings are not much different, the deficiency of bump mapping can still affect the final render result.
4. Parallax Mapping
Generally, parallax mapping is a 3D mapping which is a more extreme version of bump mapping or normal mapping. Besides that, parallax mapping also gives details on the rising and falling on the object layouts and other details on a scale that is much more extreme. Where these capabilities provide a more realistic picture if you use parallax mapping correctly.
5. Displacement Mapping
To create a more impressive effect, you can work with displacement mapping along with normal mapping, bump, and parallax mapping. Displacement mapping provides details toward objects just like bump mapping. However, the details by displacement mapping will change the basic geometry on an object. Bump mapping generates an illusion effect that is still not giving a realistic look when seen from a distance. It’s because the geometry of a flat object will still look flat when you look it from a certain distance. That’s why the displacement mapping changes the geometry of a flat object to create a more realistic illusion. Due to displacement mapping changes the basic geometry of an object, then displacement mapping requires large amounts of polygons to be able to change the basic geometry of an object in detail. In which, it’s a major weakness of displacement mapping.
6. Specular Mapping
You will be reliable in photorealism when you are working with specular mapping along with bump mapping and displacement mapping. If you can work with those 3D mapping techniques, you’ll be able to create an object that looks realistic. Basically, specular mapping renderer tells you which parts of an object that mostly don’t sparkling and which are cannot reflect light as much as other areas. Specular mapping can also give a stunning effect. In which this 3d mapping technique plays an important role to make things like half dewy glass, rusty metal, etc.
To conclude, these 3D mapping techniques are the initial artwork skills an artist should know in order to be capable of photorealism artworks.