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Old 17th February 2008, 09:25 AM   #20
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 917
Default Re: Hello & Questions

Environment Map

An environment map is a texture map that contains images of what is in the environment around the model, versus an image that is part of the model itself.
An environment map contains a 360 degree panorama of what the model can see.

Just like a specular map, the effects of an environment map are view-angle dependent. Where the viewer is in relation to the object and the camera will cause different parts of the environment map to be shown.

Many games and renderers will generate environment maps "on the fly" by rendering a panoramic image of the scene from the point of view of the model. This makes the reflections more realistic, because it then appears as if the model were actually reflecting the other objects in the scene.

However, "static" environment maps are common, too. Artists will use an image of the sky or other picture as an environment map when there are no other objects in the scene, to achieve special effects or when rendering environment maps on the fly is too slow.
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