Environment Maps

Figure 11. Environment Map Example


This rendering technique uses texture mapping to mimic a mirroring surface. From a carefully choosen location, six images are rendered, each image representing the view from a side of a cube. These images can then be used as a 'look up table' for the reflections of the environment.

The usage of a cubical environment map allows the freedom to position the camera at any location in the environment, without the need to recalculate the map.

Figure 12. Environment Map 'Lookup table'

An environment map renders as if it were an Image texture in Blender. Environment map textures thus have a good filtering, use mipmapping and have all the antialiasing features of Image textures. In most cases an environment map is used to add the 'feeling' of reflection, it can be highly filtered (for metallic unsharp reflections) and be re-used with Materials of other Objects without annoying visual errors.

By default, the faces of all Objects that define the location of an environment map are not rendered in environment maps.

The EnvMap buttons

Figure 13. ...

Blender allows three types of environment maps:

Other options are:

Figure 14. Loading an environment map

These buttons are drawn when the environment map type is "Load". The environment map image then is a regular Image block in the Blender structure.

Figure 15. Settings

Figure 16. Selecting layers