The Change textures and effect dialog is the heart of the app. In this dialog you tell BluffTitler which textures and effect must be used to bring the active layer to life.
The dialog has lots of GUI elements, but only sets 5 things:
All are optional. It's perfectly OK for a layer to use no textures and no effect.
To make sure you do not miss this super important dialog, it can be displayed in 6 different ways:
A texture is a picture pasted onto a 3D model.
Click on the Change texture button, choose MEDIA > Change texture or press <F8>.
BluffTitler can use the following sources as a texture:
Textures can be downloaded from the internet by entering an URL starting with https://. For example:
Videos are streamed when you mark the Stream video and audio streams from the internet checkbox in the Internet and caching tab of the SETTINGS > Options... dialog.
An effect tells BluffTitler how to render the layer using the textures. BluffTitler effects are stored in files with the extension CFX, which stands for compiled effect. The installer comes with hundreds of effects that can be found in the BluffTitler/Media/Effects folder.
Click on the Change effect button, choose MEDIA > Change effect or press <F9>.
Effects contain vertex, pixel and other shader types. Shaders are small apps that run on your graphics card. For this reason effects are also called shaders. And effect(s) is sometimes written as FX.
Effects work in close cooperation with textures. For example the Reflectionmap effect requires a reflection map. This is the reason why the textures and the effect are set in the same dialog.
Some effects add new properties to a layer. Effect properties can be recognised by the FX prefix. For example the Reflectionmap effect adds the FX Lighting factor property to your layer.
It is important to realize that it is not always necessary to use a texture. Many effects work perfectly without a texture.
A 3D text without a texture looks like this. The effect used is Lightened.
The NotLightened effect turns off all lighting. It is very useful for background pictures.
Colour mapping is the most basic type of texture mapping. The picture is simply pasted on the 3D model without adjustments.
This is how a colour map looks like in a paint app.
This is how the same colour map looks like pasted on a text. The effect used is Lightened.
A colour map is also called a diffuse map, a picture map, an albedo map or simply a texture map
Use your camera or your paint app like Photoshop or PaintShop.
Tools to generate colour maps are Filter Forge, Substance, Genetica, Materialize and PixPlant.
Next to loading colour maps from files, BluffTitler can also use colour maps generated by the colour map layer. Learn more
Some of the effects that use a colour map are:
Reflection mapping is a trick to create reflections. Instead of computing the real reflections, which is very slow, the reflections are taken from a picture that contains the reflections in all directions.
A correct reflection map (sphere map) looks like this.
In practice, pictures like this are used as reflection maps. This picture is not a correct sphere map, but is much easier to create and produces great results. Don't be afraid to use ordinary pictures and photos as reflection maps.
Applied as a reflection map, the result looks like this. The effect used is Reflectionmap.
Reflection mapping and environment mapping are general names for all techniques storing the reflections in a texture. The technical term for what BluffTitler calls a reflection map is a sphere map.
You can use Bixorama to convert 360° photos in various formats to reflection maps.
Normal pictures and photos work surprisingly well as reflectionsmaps so don't be afraid of experimenting. When using normal photos don't forget to unmark the Try to keep textures and effect matched checkbox to turn off the associations.
Some of the effects that use a reflection map are:
Cube mapping does the same as reflection mapping, only in a better quality. A cube map contains 6 squares, representing the 6 faces of a cube. BluffTitler accepts cube maps in the DDS format.
A cube map contains the 6 faces of a cube.
The texture used is Textures/CubeMap.dds.
This is how this cube map looks like rendered on a text. The effect used is Cubemap.
The fun starts when you apply cube maps to 3D models!
You can use Bixorama to convert 360° photos in various formats to the DDS format for use in BluffTitler.
Next to loading cube maps from DDS files, BluffTitler can also use cube maps generated by the cube map layer. In this screenshot you can see a text, a model and a mirror layer being reflected into a sphere. Learn more
Some of the effects that use a cube map are:
A normal map contains the surface normals (vectors perpendicular to the surface). It is used to simulate bumps. The normals are encoded in the red, green and blue colour components. The neutral value is (128, 128, 255), or alternatively a transparent pixel.
A normal map looks like this.
The texture used is Textures/Pebbles_Normalmap.png.
This is how this normal map looks like rendered on a text. The effect used is Normalmap.
The fun starts when you combine normal mapping with colour and cube mapping. This text has been rendered with the AdvancedMaterials/ColourmapNormalmapCubemap effect.
Normal mapping is sometimes called bump mapping. This is confusing because displacement mapping is also sometimes called bump mapping.
Our favorite tools are Filter Forge, Substance, Genetica, Materialize and PixPlant. NVIDIA offers a Photoshop plugin to create normal maps.
Some of the effects that use a normal map are:
A displacement map is a greyscale picture describing the heights of the surface. Black is low and white is high. In contrast to normal mapping that simulates bumps by changing the lighting, displacement mapping also changes the geometry of the surface. This is more expensive, but gives a more realistic result.
A displacement map looks like this.
The texture used is Textures/Pebbles_Displacementmap.png.
This is how this displacement map looks like rendered on a text. The effect used is Displacementmap.
Compare this picture with the normal map.
The fun starts when you combine displacement mapping with colour and cube mapping. This text has been rendered with the AdvancedMaterials/ColourmapDisplacementmapCubemap effect.
A displacement map is also called a height map, height field, relief map or bump map. This is confusing because normal mapping is also sometimes called bump mapping.
Our favorite tools are Filter Forge, Substance, Materialize and PixPlant.
To prevent the terracing effect when rendering landscapes with height maps, make sure your height map is in a HDR format.
Some of the effects that use a displacement map are:
An occlusion roughness metalness map (ORM map), is a composite texture, describing an advanced material. It's an important part of physically based rendering (PBR).
It's 3 textures in one:
The red channel contains the ambient occlusion (AO) map. This controls indirect lighting. 0 means no indirect lighting (dark) and 255 means full indirect lighting (bright).
The green channel contains the roughness map. This sets the roughness of the material. 0 means smooth/glossy and 255 means rough.
The blue channel contains the metalness map. This sets the metalness of the material. 0 means non-metal, 255 means metal.
The default value is white (255, 255, 255).
Because it's 3 textures in one, it's difficult to edit ORM maps. They are mostly generated ("baked") by 3D modelling tools when exporting as a GLB file. When BluffTitler loads such a model, it automatically loads it in the 4th texture slot and selects the PBR effect. Learn more
The roughness metalness model is an alternative to the specularity model. Here's how this looks like:
The roughness and metalness values can be set in 3 different ways:
A cartoon map contains a horizontal gradient used for custom lighting. It is called a cartoon map because an old hand drawn cartoon can be imitated by using a gradient with only a few colours.
A cartoon map looks like this.
This is how this cartoon map looks like rendered on a text. The effect used is Cartoonmap.
A cartoon map is also called a toon map.
Cartoon maps can easily be created in Photoshop with the gradient tool.
Some of the effects that use a cartoon map are:
An alpha map is a greyscale picture describing the alpha channel (transparency) of the surface. Black is fully transparent and white fully opaque.
An alpha map looks like this.
The AdvancedMaterials/Alphamap effect uses an alpha map to change the alpha channel of a picture.
An alpha map is also called a transparency map or an opacity map.
Alpha maps can be created in any paint app.
Some of the effects that use an alpha map are:
Next to describing the alpha channel, greyscale pictures can be used for many other things. Here are some examples:
The Camera/CameraBloom effect uses an alpha map to set the amount of bloom.
The Filters/Blur effect uses an alpha map to set the amount of blur.
The Filters/GradientWipe effect uses an alpha map to describe the transition effect.
The AdvancedMaterials/ColourmapCubemap and AdvancedMaterials/ColourmapReflectionmap effects use an alpha map to control the reflection factor. This is sometimes called a specular map.
A fur map is used to simulate hairy surfaces. A transparent pixel means no hair, and an opaque pixel a hair.
A fur map looks like this.
The texture used is Textures/Fur.png.
This is how this fur map looks like rendered on a text.
The effect used is AdvancedMaterials/Fur.
The fun starts when you combine fur mapping with colour mapping. In this example a tiger texture is used.
The effect used is AdvancedMaterials/Fur.
Use your favorite paint app.
Some of the effects that use a fur map are:
Effects work in close cooperation with textures. For example the Reflectionmap effect requires a reflection map.
For convenience BluffTitler associates texture filenames with effects.
For example if you load a texture containing the word reflection (as in ReflectionMap_Silver.jpg), BluffTitler automatically loads the Reflectionmap effect.
|Part of the texture filename||Associated effect|
|colourmap or diffusemap||Lightened|
|reflection or spheremap||Reflectionmap|
|cube and .dds||Cubemap|
|displacement, heightmap or bump||Displacementmap|
|cartoon or gradient||Cartoonmap|
When you select a new effect, the default textures are selected in the 4 texture slots. For example when you select the Reflectionmap effect, the 1st texture is set to ReflectionMap_Silver.jpg because the effect wants a reflection map in the 1st texture slot and this is the default reflection map.
You can set the default textures in the Textures tab of the SETTINGS > Options dialog.
Turn this system off by unmarking the Try to keep textures and effect matched checkbox.
When the All layers checkbox on the tool window is marked, the textures and effect of all layers of the same layer type as the active layer are set.
When you hold down the <Ctrl> key when clicking on the OK button, only the textures and effect of the other layers are set that are changed in the active layer.
Some effects use 2, 3 or even 4 textures. This is called multitexturing.
For example the AdvancedMaterials/ColourmapDisplacementmapCubemap effect combines colour mapping with displacement mapping and cube mapping.
You do not have to use all supported textures. Effects are smart enough to turn off a part of the effect when the required texture is missing.
BluffTitler effects support the following blending techniques:
With alpha blending, your texture needs an alpha channel. This is the default blending mode supported by most effects.
With additive blending, the colour of your layer is added to the colour of the background. This way, black is transparent and brighter colours are rendered with extra brightness. This works great with particles.
The effect used in this example is NotLightened_Additive.
The Flare effect also renders your layer with additive blending. It offers a few extra FX properties.
With subtractive blending, the colour of your layer is subtracted from the background. This way, black is transparent and brighter colours make the background darker.
The effect used in this example is NotLightened_Subtractive.
When you apply an effect to the camera layer, the render output is used as the 1st texture. This way the effect can be used as a post-processing effect.
Effects specifically designed for use in the camera layer can be found in the Effects/Camera folder.
The effects in the Effects/Filters folder also work great applied to the camera layer.
BluffTitler uses Windows Imaging Component (WIC) to import and export picture files. This means that BluffTitler can use any picture format if there's a compatible WIC codec installed.
By default, Windows comes with codecs for the JPEG, TIFF, GIF, PNG and BMP formats. For other formats you might have to install a new codec.
FastPictureViewer Codec Pack offers a huge collection of picture codecs. With this pack, BluffTitler can import EXR and HDR files.
Choose the WIC tab in the <Ctrl><F1> dialog for a list of all WIC codecs installed on your system.
Video decoding is used when you play a compressed video file inside BluffTitler, for example with a video layer.
Display this dialog by choosing SETTINGS > Options... and selecting its Drivers tab.
BluffTitler uses DirectShow to play video and audio files. This means that BluffTitler can use any video and audio format if there's a compatible DirectShow decoder filter (also called a codec or a source filter) installed. By default, Windows comes with codecs for the WMV, AVI and MP3 formats. For others you might have to install a new codec.
K-Lite Codec Pack offers a huge collection of DirectShow decoder filters. With this codec pack, BluffTitler can play MP4, WebM, MOV, M4A and OPUS files.
You can force BluffTitler to use a specific codec for a specific file extension. For example, select the LAV Video Decoder codec for the MP4 format.
For video files you can define 2 codecs: one for the video and one for the audio stream. For example, select both the LAV Video Decoder and LAV Audio Decoder codecs for the MP4 format.
Video encoding is used when you export a show as a compressed video file with the menu item FILE > Export as video...
Display this dialog by choosing SETTINGS > Options... and selecting its Drivers tab.
BluffTitler supports the following external video encoders:
If the FFmpeg encoder is selected, it is used to export as MP4. It works on Windows 7 and has no problems with 4K.
FFmpeg also adds the following features:
To install FFmpeg:
Support for more external encoders is in preparation. Do not hesitate to contact us for requests.