Textures and effects



The Change textures and effect dialog is the heart of the application. In this dialog you tell BluffTitler which textures and effect must be used to bring the active layer to life.



What does this dialog set?

The dialog has lots of GUI elements, but only sets 4 things:

  • 3 textures
  • 1 effect

How can I display this dialog?

The dialog can be displayed in 6 ways:

  • Click on the Change texture button
  • Click on the Change effect button
  • Choose MEDIA > Change texture
  • Choose MEDIA > Change effect
  • Press <F8>
  • Press <F9>

Contents

Textures

What is a texture?

A texture is a picture pasted onto a 3D model.


How do I apply a texture to the active layer?

Click on the Change texture button, choose MEDIA > Change texture or press <F8>.

Texture sources

BluffTitler can use the following sources as a texture:

  • A static picture (JPG, PNG, BMP, TGA,...): click on the Select texture... button.
  • An (animated) GIF: click on the Select texture... button.
  • A video (WMV, AVI, MPEG, FLV, MOV,...): click on the Select texture... button.
  • Your webcam: click on the Select webcam... button.
  • Your TV tuner: click on the Select webcam... button.
  • A cubemap generated by a cubemap layer: click on the Select cubemap... button.

Download and stream from the internet

Textures can be downloaded from the internet by entering an URL starting with http://. For example:

http://www.outerspace-software.com/images/blufftitler/blufftitler.png

Videos are streamed when you mark the Stream video and audio streams from the internet checkbox in the Internet options tab of the SETTINGS > Options... dialog.

Codecs

BluffTitler uses DirectShow to play video and audio files. This means that you require a DirectShow decoder filter (also called a codec or a source filter) for the format you want to play.

The BluffTitler installer does not come with any video or audio decoder filter, so it relies on the ones that are already installed on your system. Some formats, inluding WMV and MP3 are supported by all Windows systems, but for others you might have to install a new decoder filter.

K-Lite Codec Pack

K-Lite Codec Pack offers a huge collection of DirectShow decoder filters. With this codec pack, BluffTitler can play MP4 and M4A files.

Fixing codec conflicts

You can force BluffTitler to use a specific codec for a specific file extension in the Drivers tab of the SETTINGS > Options... dialog.

Effects

What is an effect?

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 about 150 effects that can be found in the BluffTitler/Media/Effects folder.


How do I apply an effect to the active layer?

Click on the Change effect button, choose MEDIA > Change effect or press <F9>.

Effects, shaders & FX

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 and textures

Effects work in close cooperation with textures. For example the reflectionmap effect requires a reflectionmap texture. This is the reason why the textures and the effect are set in the same dialog.

FX properties

Some effects add new properties to a layer. Effect properties can be recognized by the FX prefix. For example the reflectionmap effect adds the FX Lighting factor property to your layer.

Techniques

Effects can perform many rendering techniques. The most important are:

Post-processing

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.

Texturemapping techniques

No map

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 Effects/Lightened.


The NotLightened effect turns off all lighting. It is very useful for background pictures.


Colourmap

What is a colourmap?

Colourmapping is the most basic type of texture mapping. The picture is simply pasted on the 3D model without adjustments.

This is how a colourmap looks like in a paint application.


This is how the same colourmap looks like pasted on a text. The effect used is Effects/Lightened.


What are other names for a colourmap?

A colourmap is also called a diffusemap or a picturemap.

How do I create a colourmap?

Use your camera or your paint app like Photoshop or PaintShop.

Tools to generate colourmaps are Filter Forge, Substance, Genetica and PixPlant.

Colourmap layer

Next to loading colourmaps from files, BluffTitler can also use colourmaps generated by the colourmap layer. Learn more

Which effects support colourmapping?

Some of the effects that use a colourmap are:

  • Effects/Lightened
  • Effects/NotLightened
  • Effects/NotLightenedAdditive

Reflectionmap

What is a reflectionmap?

Reflectionmapping 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 reflectionmap (spheremap) looks like this.


In practice, pictures like this are used as reflectionmaps. This picture is not a correct spheremap, but is much easier to create and produces great results. Don't be afraid to use ordinary pictures and photos as reflectionmaps.


Applied as a reflectionmap, the result looks like this. The effect used is Effects/Reflectionmap.


What are other names for a reflectionmap?

Reflectionmapping and environmentmapping are general names for all techniques storing the reflections in a texture. The technical term for what BluffTitler calls a reflectionmap is a spheremap.

How do I create a reflectionmap?

You can use Bixorama to convert 360° photos in various formats to reflectionmaps.

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.

Which effects support reflectionmapping?

Some of the effects that use a reflectionmap are:

  • Effects/Reflectionmap
  • Effects/AdvancedMaterials/ColourmapReflectionmap
  • Effects/AdvancedMaterials/ReflectionmapAdditive

Cubemap

What is a cubemap?

Cubemapping does the same as reflectionmapping, only in a better quality. A cubemap contains 6 squares, representing the 6 faces of a cube. BluffTitler accepts cubemaps in the DDS format.

A cubemap contains the 6 faces of a cube.

The texture used is Textures/CubeMap.dss.


This is how this cubemap looks like rendered on a text. The effect used is Effects/Cubemap.


The fun starts when you apply cubemaps to 3D models!


How do I create a cubemap?

You can use Bixorama to convert 360° photos in various formats to the DDS format for use in BluffTitler.

Cubemap layer

Next to loading cubemaps from DDS files, BluffTitler can also use cubemaps generated by the cubemap layer. In this screenshot you can see a text, a model and a mirror layer being reflected into a sphere. Learn more


Which effects support cubemapping?

Some of the effects that use a cubemap are:

  • Effects/Cubemap
  • Effects/AdvancedMaterials/CubemapAdditive
  • Effects/AdvancedMaterials/ColourmapCubemap

Normalmap

What is a normalmap?

A normalmap 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.

A normalmap looks like this.

The texture used is Textures/Pebbles_Normalmap.png.


This is how this normalmap looks like rendered on a text. The effect used is Effects/Normalmap.


The fun starts when you combine normalmapping with colour and cubemapping. This text has been rendered with the AdvancedMaterials/ColourmapNormalmapCubemap effect.

Learn more


What are other names for a normalmap?

Normalmapping is sometimes called bumpmapping. This is confusing because displacementmapping is also sometimes called bumpmapping.

How do I create a normalmap?

Our favorite tools are Filter Forge, Substance, Genetica and PixPlant. NVIDIA offers a Photoshop plugin to create normalmaps.

Which effects support normalmapping?

Some of the effects that use a normalmap are:

  • Effects/Normalmap
  • Effects/AdvancedMaterials/ColourmapNormalmapReflectionmap
  • Effects/AdvancedMaterials/ColourmapNormalmapCubemap

Displacementmap

What is a displacementmap?

A displacementmap is a greyscale picture describing the heights of the surface. Black is low and white is high. In contrast to normalmapping that simulates bumps by changing the lighting, displacementmapping also changes the geometry of the surface. This is more expensive, but gives a more realistic result.

A displacementmap looks like this.

The texture used is Textures/Pebbles_Displacementmap.png.


This is how this displacementmap looks like rendered on a text. The effect used is Effects/Displacementmap.

Compare this picture with the normalmap.


The fun starts when you combine displacementmapping with colour and cubemapping. This text has been rendered with the AdvancedMaterials/ColourmapDisplacementmapCubemap effect.

Learn more


What are other names for a displacementmap?

A displacementmap is also called a heightmap, heightfield or bumpmap. This is confusing because normalmapping is also sometimes called bumpmapping.

How do I create a displacementmap?

Our favorite tools are Filter Forge, Substance and PixPlant.

HDR displacementmaps

All textures in BlufffTiter are stored in LDR (32 bits RGBA), but an exception is made for displacementmaps. If your texture is a 16 bits greyscale or 48 bits RGB PNG with a filename containing the text 'displacement' or 'heightmap', it is stored as an HDR greyscale texture (16 bits R). This prevents the terracing effect when rendering landscapes with heightmaps.

Which effects support displacementmapping?

Some of the effects that use a displacementmap are:

  • Effects/Displacementmap
  • Effects/AdvancedMaterials/ColourmapDisplacementmapReflectionmap
  • Effects/AdvancedMaterials/ColourmapDisplacementmapCubemap

Furmap

What is a furmap?

A furmap is used to simulate hairy surfaces. A transparent pixel means no hair, and an opaque pixel a hair.

A furmap looks like this.

The texture used is Textures/Fur.png.


This is how this furmap looks like rendered on a text.

The effect used is AdvancedMaterials/Furmap.


The fun starts when you combine furmapping with colourmapping. In this example a tiger texture is used.

The effect used is AdvancedMaterials/Furmap.


How do I create a furmap?

Use your favorite paint app.

Which effects support furmapping?

Some of the effects that use a furmap are:

  • Effects/AdvancedMaterials/Furmap

Voxelmap

What is an voxelmap?

A voxelmap is a 3D texture containing tissue density and normal information. It is mostly used to visualise medical datasets. Only the Voxel layer can render voxelmaps.

BluffTitler accepts voxelmaps in the DDS format.

This is a voxelmap generated by a CT scan of a molar (tooth).

The effect used is Effects/Voxel/VoxelLightened.


Voxelmaps can also be mathematically generated in realtime by an effect.

This way you do not need a DDS file. This example uses the Voxel/VoxelGoursatSurface effect.


What are other names of a voxelmap?

Voxelmaps are also called cube models or simply 3D data sets

How do I create a voxelmap?

Voxelmaps are mostly generated by customized scripts for specific projects. Outerspace Software does not offer a tool to create voxelmaps.

Which effects use voxelmapping?

You can find the voxelmapping effects in the Effects/Voxel folder.

Sketchmap

What is a sketchmap?

A sketchmap contains time information encoded in the red, green and blue colour components. It is used to render sketches at the exact same speed as they have been recorded.

A sketchmap looks like this.


This is how this sketchmap looks like rendered by the picture layer using the AdvancedMaterials/Sketchmap effect.


Combined with a colourmap it looks like this.


How do I create a sketchmap?

Sketchmaps can be recorded and generated by Bixelangelo.

Which effects use sketchmapping?

Some of the effects that use a sketchmapp are:

  • Effects/AdvancedMaterials/Sketchmap
  • Effects/AdvancedMaterials/SketchmapAdditive

Cartoonmap

What is a cartoonmap?

A cartoonmap contains a horizontal gradient used for custom lighting. It is called a cartoonmap because an old hand drawn cartoon can be imitated by using a gradient with only a few colours.

A cartoonmap looks like this.


This is how this cartoonmap looks like rendered on a text. The effect used is Effects/Cartoonmap.


What are other names for a cartoonmap?

A cartoonmap is also called a toonmap.

How do I create a cartoonmap?

Cartoonmaps can easily be created in Photoshop with the gradient tool.

Which effects use cartoonmapping?

Some of the effects that use a cartoonmap are:

  • Effects/Cartoonmap
  • Effects/Text/RainbowText

Alphamap

What is an alphamap?

A alphamap is a greyscale picture describing the alpha channel(transparency) of the surface. Black is fully transparent and white opaque.

A alphamap looks like this.


The Effects/Filters/GradientWipe effect uses an alphamap to wipe between 2 pictures.


What are other names for an alphamap?

Alphamapping is also called Transparencymapping or Opacitymapping.

How do I create an alphamap?

Alphamaps can be created in any paint app.

Which effects use alphamapping?

Some of the effects that use an alphamap are:

  • Effects/Filters/GradientWipe
  • Effects/Filters/Blur

Tonalartmap

What is a tonalartmap?

A tonalartmap is used to imitate hatching. Instead of rendering a texture darker, tonalartmapping renders more lines or dots. This gives the impression that it is pencil drawn.

A tonalartmap looks like this.


Using this texture with the Advancedmaterials/Tonalartmap effect produces this result. Notice that the darker parts are darker not because the lines are rendered darker, but because more lines are rendered.


What are other names for a tonalartmap?

tonalartmapping is also called realtime hatching or abbreviated toTAM.

How do I create an tonalartmap?

The tonalartmaps that come with the BluffTitler installer have been created with a custom script.

Which effects use tonalartmapping?

Some of the effects that use a tonalartmap are:

  • Effects/Advancedmaterials/Tonalartmap
  • Effects/Advancedmaterials/ColourmapTonalartmap

Depthmap

What is a depthmap?

A depthmap is a greyscale picture describing the distance to the camera. The depthmap of the current scene is available for effects applied to the camera layer. It is used for effects like fog and depth of field.

A depthmap contains the distance to the camera. In this example the letters to the right are closer to the camera than the letters on the left.


The depthmap of the above scene looks like this. The effect used to produce this picture is Effects/System/CameraViewDepthmap, applied to the camera layer.


What are other names for a depthmap?

A depthmap is also called the z-buffer or depth buffer.

Which effects use depthmapping?

Some of the effects that use a depthmap are:

  • Effects/Camera/CameraDepthOfField
  • Effects/Camera/CameraFog
  • Effects/System/CameraViewDepthmap

Stencilmap

What is a stencilmap?

A stencilmap is a greyscale picture describing a mask. BluffTitler uses stencilmaps in the mirror layer and to render shadows.

When rendering shadows, the stencilmap contains the shadows.


The stencilmap of the above scene looks like this. The effect used to produce this picture is Effects/System/CameraViewStencilmap, applied to the camera layer.


Which effects use stencilmapping?

Some of the effects that use a stencilmap are:

  • Effects/System/CameraViewStencilmap

Associations

Effects work in close cooperation with textures. For example the reflectionmap effect requires a reflectionmap texture.

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 filenameAssociated effect
colourmap or diffusemapLightened
reflection or spheremapReflectionmap
cube and .ddsCubemap
normalNormalmap
displacement, heightmap or bumpDisplacementmap
cartoonCartoonmap
tonalart, hatching or tamTonalartmap
sketchmapAdvancedMaterials/Sketchmap

You can turn this system off by unmarking the Try to keep textures and effect matched checkbox.

Default textures

When you select a new effect, the default textures are selected in the 3 texture slots. For example when you select the Reflectionmap effect, the 1st texture is set to ReflectionMap_Silver.jpg because the effect wants a reflectionmap in the 1st texture slot and this is the default reflectionmap.

Use your own default textures

You can set the default textures in the Default textures tab of the SETTINGS > Options dialog.

You can turn off this system by unmarking the Try to keep textures and effect matched checkbox.

Multitexturing



Some effects use 2 or even 3 textures. This is called multitexturing.

For example the Effects/AdvancedMaterials/ColourmapDisplacementmapCubemap effect combines colourmapping with displacementmapping and cubemapping.

You do not have to use all supported textures. Effects are smart enough to turn off a part of the effect if the required texture is missing.

Blending techniques

BluffTitler effects support the following blending techniques:

No blending

Without blending, your layer overwrites the background.

The effect used in this example is Effects/NotLightened.


Additive blending

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 Effects/NotLightenedAdditive.

The Effects/Flare effect also renders your layer with additive blending. It offers a few extra FX properties.


Subtractive

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 Effects/NotLightenedSubtractive.