A common mistake made by those learning to produce renderings is not knowing when to "paint" detail into a model instead of actually building the physical geometry. This is an important concept to learn, as some tasks such as modeling Corinthian columns, bushes and shrubs would be impractical--if not impossible--if they had to be physically modeled. Painting in the detail can also save lots of rendering time.|
| ||Consider, for example, the flutes on the shaft of a Corinthian column. It is not especially difficult to model the actual geometry of the flutes--draw a circle and remove semi-circular notches from it, and then extrude the result.|
|modeled column vs.|
| ||On the left, we see a rendered sample from column shaft model. On the right is a similar column shaft that was modeled by taking a simple cylinder and mapping a "flute" pattern onto it. This sample does an excellent job of simulating the physically modeled column, and more importantly, it rendered much faster. A group of 20 of the modeled columns took eighteen times as long to render than an equivalent group of 20 mapped columns--that's a 1774% difference in speed!|
| ||The illustration below shows some other areas where detail can be mapped into an image instead of being modeled. Among them are:
- Window mullions--the windows in this 5 story building model are nothing more than a square. The mullions are painted onto the square with the texture map.
- Doors and door frames are also painted onto a simple rectangle.
- The grid on the kiosk is a simple box. The holes are mapped on using a transparency map.
- The paving texture is a simple square with a colored stripe across the top and side. This texture maps into a giant grid pattern.
- The trees use a texture map to place a leaf pattern on a triangular shape (see the virtual garden to see how I built the trees).
- The ability to map detail into a model reduced the model of the high rise to little more than a simple collection of squares and extruded lines. All the richness of the environment has come from the texture and color maps.
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