Using a Specular Map

On March 6, 2008, in Tutorials, by Admin


Specular Maps:

Tutorial by Scott B.

The Blender 3D Club.


 

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

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.

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“.
Go into UV Face Select Mode by pressing ‘F‘. 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 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 TextureButtons (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.


Get the PDF version here.Good luck with your modeling.
Scott

 

 

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