Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Specular Mapping

We had already discussed the possibility of bringing in normal maps (specular, bump etc...). We have already established a flat cartoony style, and didn't really want to over do it with bump maps and make it look too gritty or realistic, but Annabeth did suggest that we could experiment with specular maps to distinguish matt surfaces from metallic ones. I applied this to a Weapon of SASS Destruction turnaround I had thrown together earlier in Unity. I found that you could only bring in separate normal maps to work out the bumpiness of a shader, for example specular bump. The flat diffuse specular applies shininess to the entire mesh unless otherwise influenced by an alpha channel within the material. This means again, similarly to when working out the transparency, I am using Targa files:

Here is the channel from the Targa file. The lighter areas indicate where the mesh will be more shiney and reflective, I really tried to put a cartoony exaggeration on the reflectivity on metallic objects like the guns and ammo belt:

Notice in Unity I knocked back the main colour to a light grey and upped the specular colour to full white to further the strong highlights. The gun and ammo belt in frame here are clearly much more sharp and reflective than the matt body of the mech. Again though, we are working with large Targa files, so in terms of efficiency we will probably have to keep the amount of objects with specular shaders to a minimum. I suggested we have the mechs and copper pipes the player passes through as reflective objects, and maybe the wrecked vehicles.

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