Lecture 14: Intro to Material Modeling (2)

Earlier in the class we discussed texture mapping and how textures were essentially images. In what way does the concept of a texture overlap with that of a material? Do materials include texture properties/definitions or are they separate concepts completely?


Hi, great questions. They are related in that both help to determine the surface's color.

As you know, texture mapping refers to the process of "wrapping" a 2D surface onto a 3D object. The 2D surface used is up to the designer's choice. However, for simple objects such as a coffe mug, they may use existing, premade texture and modify it to their own needs.

Materials determine how the colors on the mug appear when there is incoming light. Specifically, materials have a BRDF (bidirectional reflectance distribution function), which determines how light is reflected on a point at its surface.

Thus, texture mapping and materials are related in that choosing good textures along with an accurate BRDF creates the most realistic looking model.


The examples are really nice. I just wonder if the object is in different materials, does each part need to be an individual mesh or the entire object can be built out of a single mesh assigned with multiple materials? For example, in the rendered images of this coffee mug, is the liquid, mug, and the spoon each a single mesh?


In the slide three slides from now, I think there is a great example of how to use texture mapping and BRDFs together to model a material, specifically the wooden material on the right of the slide. Texture mapping is likely used to model the wood grain and colors, while BRDF takes care of the way light interacts with the material, without necessarily affecting the texture.

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