Emboss Bump Mapping

What Does Emboss Bump Mapping Mean?

Emboss bump mapping is the most common type of bump mapping used by 3D artists. This technique uses texture maps to generate mapping effects even without a custom renderer. It is just an extension and refining of texture embossing.


Emboss bump mapping duplicates the first picture, shifts it to get the desired bump amount and darkens the texture underneath the bump. Then it removes or cuts out the desired shape from the texture on top, and blends the two textures together. This is called two-pass emboss bump mapping because it involves two different textures.

Techopedia Explains Emboss Bump Mapping

Real bump mapping uses per-pixel lighting, which is calculated at each pixel based on perturbed normal vectors and is therefore very computationally expensive. Emboss bump mapping, however, is a hack done to improve visual quality with less computational power by under-sampling artifacts. It uses diffuse lighting only and has no specular component.

Although emboss bump mapping is not really a legitimate method, in 3D animation and imagery, any method that will make visuals look better is used by artists and developers alike.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.