Knowledge Base Article of the Week #21: Things that go bump (map) in the night

Hi everyone! Have you had a chance to explore our new and improved Support Portal? Now’s your chance; it’s KBAotW time!

This week, I’d like to show you a long-standing feature Second Life builders can use to add a level of realism to their creations: bump mapping! Used judiciously, bump mapping can create a very tactile feel for your object’s surfaces, underneath the textures you’ve already applied to it. Just click the link for more information– you no longer need to log into Support to view Knowledge Base articles.

Would you like to share some of your Second Life wisdom, or discuss the state of the Knowledge Base? Join me and Jon at Documentation Office Hours this Friday at 2pm; same Documentation place, same Documentation channel.

See you there!

Jeremy Linden

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36 Responses to Knowledge Base Article of the Week #21: Things that go bump (map) in the night

  1. Jack Hathor says:

    Very sweet option, learned another thing today : )

    Little remark: The link takes us over https and there is a popup on non-secure items beeing showed over a secure connection, might be a suggestion to fix that.

  2. Jeremy Linden says:

    Hmm… That may be an issue with the images in the article. I’ll fix it!

  3. Cybin Monde says:

    Bump Mapping is great.. granted most of the textures available usually don’t go well with a lot of textures, but used in conjunctiona nd with pre-planning for it sure does help!

    my favorites are “brightness” and “darkness”, as they make whatever you apply them to *pop* a little. for instance, if you can modify a painting you’ve bought, try brightness or darkness and watch it really take on some depth!

  4. Broccoli Curry® says:

    i had my ass bump mapped over 3 years ago.

    i will NEVER go back!

  5. 2k Suisei says:

    Bump mapping in SL isn’t real bump mapping. It’s just another texture on top of the color texture.

    Real bump mapping that can be found in most modern 3D engines react to the lights and the bumps really do look 3D when an object rotates or a light source moves around the object.

    So there… add that to your knowledge base! hehe

  6. Any plans to introduce user-uploaded bumpmaps? I mean, the current selection of bumpmaps is not exactly… mmmh, “appealing” (for the lack of a better word).

    The JIRA for this request is nine months old and still unassigned:

  7. Bavid Dailey says:

    …. you no longer need to log into Support to view Knowledge Base articles.

    Hurray for that common sense change!

  8. o.h. says:

    i want to use custom bumpmaps already! the default stuff really isnt all that usefull.

  9. Hey, I’ve explored it…

    I admit – I was so used to the old one, that I found myself quite disoriented! LOL

    However – it was much faster locating what I needed (as compared to the first time I have to find the same information!)

    Awesome – thank you, Jeremy and team!

  10. I haven’t been able to use bump mapping much. It lacks control because it is tied directly with your other texture settings. You can not set the repeats, rotation, or scaling differently then the texture itself. Also, you can’t apply a different image from your inventory in place of the bump mapping. It is either dependent on the current texture (darkness/brightness), or a select few preset textures (tree bark, concrete, etc.) You also can not adjust the amount of bump mapping to apply.

  11. WarKirby Magoijiro says:

    Thanks for a wonderful explanation of a rather less wonderful feature. Bumpmaps really need to be improved.

  12. Amiryu Hosoi says:

    For now it is useless, I apply a custom weathered wood texture. What bumpmap should I use, The predefined ones? When can we upload and use custom bumpmap textures?


  13. U M says:

    “Hi everyone! Have you had a chance to explore our new and improved Support Portal? Now’s your chance; it’s KBAotW time!

    Jeremy Linden”

    You might find this funny but some don`t

    You mean deleting tickets or some that are still unawsered improved?????? Atleast if you going to delete tickets don`t insult people with your e-mail replies that sent back to us? I swear the person that sent one back had no idea what they where saying let alow having the ability to fix the issue.

  14. One minor point that the Knowledge Base article misses: bump maps are affected by texture repeat and offset. That’s good if you have a texture that matches the bump map and want to make it bigger or smaller; bad if have a texture that DOESN’T match the map and are trying to get it to match (the map will change along with the texture, so you will never succeed).

  15. Arcane Clawtooth says:

    Until we are given the ability to upload our own bumpmaps, this feature is kinda pointless.

  16. Jeremy Linden says:

    @ 13 Shirley Marquez:

    Very true! Thanks for pointing this out, Shirley… I’ll update the article 🙂

  17. Arcane Clawtooth says:

    And, I still don’t understand why all links to the JIRA were removed.

  18. Nickola Martynov says:

    This article in the Knowledge Base could be improved by adding instructions on how to turn your ability to *view* bumpmapping on and off.

    I use shiny a lot in my builds, but I find some people have that ability turned off and don’t even know it’s possible.

  19. Liny Odell says:

    Don’t if it is a bug or not, but the but the “brick” bumpmap and the “brick” texture that is in the Library don’t line up. I would think that they would line up.

  20. Dekka Raymaker says:

    I never understood how anyone could use bump maps other than brightness or darkness with their textures, I just assumed it was an idea once to allow bump maps to be uploaded but then was just forgotten about.

    And I agree with 17

  21. Straif Ash says:

    What surprises me is that it seems the textures for the bumpmaps aren’t built into the client. If I apply one to an object, it takes a few moments to download, and like other textures, starts off as indistinct and blurry before becoming clear. Presumably because they are dependent on the texture already on the object, brightness and darkness are instantaneous.

    If the maps have to be downloaded anyway, I think the ability to create new ones could be really handy. However, that would require a change to llSetPrimitiveParams, I assume.

  22. Dark Otsuzum says:

    I thought Bump Mapping was called Phrenology.

  23. Alex Turner says:

    Ah Bump mapping! great grandfather of normal mapping, and at one time a great tool to use in conjunction with color mapping. Unfortunately, the way SL implements this is very lackluster. It would help, at the very least, to be able to import our own bump maps(or perhaps normal maps?) so we can match our textures perfectly and bring out their detail, instead of trying to “layer” on a very old and artificial looking method. When I first came to SL in 2005 Ithought bump mapping was interesting, but the LoD posed an issue, when you had to be on top of it to even see the map, and it was jarring when it “poped” out. I haven’t honestly tried it in years, but there is so few maps to choose from, in my opinion it hinders realism instead of trying to accent it. I see more people baking in shadows for realism than using the bump mapping feature. 🙂

    Just my 2 cents. -Alex

  24. Selkit Diller says:

    Unfortunately, it’s long overdue for an update. I do not actually use this feature for anything, as very often it looks far worse than simply just making a decent texture. Now, on the other hand if you would allow us to define our own normals or bumpmaps, especially on sculpted prims (Most people’s sculpt software can also bake normals/bumpmaps while they’re at it)… then it’ll be useful. 😉

  25. woody says:

    i like “bump mapping”. And i dont use it. I would use it of could repeat it as I do the textures. Easy to get a realistic size brick laid on a prim, but with bump mapping brick, it looks like doo doo. Unless i missed a feature of this feature. 😛

  26. File Alter says:

    I rarely use it either except for those few well aligned bump to texture situations or where alignment may not necessarily be a compelling issue. Again, rarely used. I’m curious though. What might be the issue regarding no provision for user uploads of bump maps? Is it a technical issue for SL? An economic one? Is it some kind of compatability issue? Again, just curious :o)

    And I do like the new look and feel of the support portal.

  27. Craig Solzhenitsyn says:

    I havent used bumpmapping since i started and tried it then, its virtually unuseable – im surprised a bumpmap upload feature hasn’t implimented since the ones available hardly match up with ANYTHING.

    It become a feature when it works, until then its a cockup.

    I should add that to my list of ‘features’ to be implimented – such as rounded edge cubes, fix the trans-texture error, ‘opt in’ on group chats (so everytime someone speaks in it – you dont automatically join), PROPER website on a prim and – this ones more ‘research’ then a feature – customer systems survey – like Valves system polling – it would help you see what systems people own so you can aim for the medium, and if you release this data it could shame people with lower end systems into upgrading.

  28. Very useful bump mapping!

    Ty for this way to read your article immediatly!!!!
    Eleonora (IT)

  29. While this article is a nice piece of info for new builders as someone whos been faking bump maps in textures the entire time now I can tell you that while having inherent bump mapping is a nice feature for very basic design its not effective for high end texturing because you can’t scale, modify or set the depth the map.

    This makes that option mostly useless in high end design and something to avoid using simply because of the minuscule improvement in performance you get from not using it.

    Inherent bump mapping is basically like saying “here ya go you can only use these twelve free textures we made bump maps of”….but if SL actually tried to, I don’t know, get legal license to use DXT we could basically bump map anything we want inherently in the DXT map and to top it off could reduce client side lag by having inherent lod mip maps.

    I live for the day this platform joins the rest of the development world in the 21st Century.

    Nice article for the Ivory Tower folks, just the same, I suppose.

  30. Dahlia Trimble says:

    Please add my to your list of voices asking for user defined bump maps 🙂

  31. Argent Stonecutter says:

    I’ve done a lot with bump mapping, but for the longest time it was really broken… it would turn on and off when you selected objects, and it would seem to get stuck. If that’s been fixed I’ll check it again. About the only thing I use bump mapping for now is the engine intake on my version of Mehve.

    By the way, folks, you know you can provide alternate normal maps for the Windlight water.

    Instead of enhancing the bump maps with custom textures, what I’d really love to see would be the ability to integrate the Windlight shaders into objects, so you could set up a ShaderSystem (like a ParticleSystem) with all the Windlight water parameters (except probably reflections) including a normal map to apply to a specific prim surface.

  32. Winter Ventura says:

    I’d be happy being able to add a “Transparency Map, Bump Map, Reflection Map, and Light Map” to my objects. the ability to say “this part should glow, this part isn’t solid, this part is shiny, and this is a little dent” are not only crucial to any serious attempt at 3D modelling, they were technologies available to Macintosh 3D modellers for over a decade! Low impact greyscale images would be fine. Heck, limit us to 128×128 if you like!

    If I could do this on the equivalent of a 486 Processor, on a MAC with onboard video…why is it that more than 10 years later, this “can’t be done” in SL?

  33. Winter Ventura says:

    BTW, voting seems to be broken on the new Knowledge base.

  34. had my ass bump mapped over 3 years ago.

    i will NEVER go back!

  35. flux says:

    if you wish to resolve any issues all you need to do is have the music streams at 64 kbps and video footage at a lower quality rate, this should solve a lot of the lagging

  36. Argent Stonecutter says:

    Winter@33: Oh, yes, I would love to have that too. I’m thinking ‘one step at a time’ but I’ll admit sometimes it’s better to run before you can walk.

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