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Using texture images

14.1 Introduction

14.2 3D texture coordinates

14.3 Texture and multiple levels of detail 14.4 TextureAttributes

14.5 Using transparent geometry with transparent texture images 14.6 Animated (video) texture mapping

14.7 Summary

The process of applying a bitmap to geometry is called texture mapping and is often a highly effective way of achieving apparent scene complexity while still using a relatively modest number of vertices. By the end of this chapter, you should be able to generate texture coordinates and apply a texture image to your geometry (e.g., figure 14.1).

If you are familiar with the process of texture mapping and texture coordinates, you may want to skim the first few sections and jump straight to the specifics of the Java 3D implementation.

As colors can only be associated with vertices in the model, if texture mapping was not used, a vertex would have to be located at every significant surface color transition. For highly textured surfaces such as wood or stone, this would quickly dominate the positions of the vertices rather than the geometric shape of the object itself. By applying an image to the geometric model, the apparent complexity of the model is increased while preserving the function of vertices for specifying relative geometry within the model.

Modern 3D computer games have used texture mapping extensively for a number of years, and first−person−perspective games such as Quake by Id software immerses the user in a richly texture−mapped world.


Figure 14.1 By applying a bitmap to the geometric model (left), very realistic results can be achieved even with a fairly coarse geometric mesh