Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shader Experiments & Feedback from Kashyyyk

Yesterday evening I experimented with custom shaders, finding that PyOpenGL has perfect support for GLSL, which allowed me to go straight to work.

I had the idea of using rim/back lights for "organic" objects in the demo, to give the visuals a dark feel, and a strongly unrealistic, but mystical look. I wrote a shader that allows to pick intensity values from a gradient texture, which is the right direction, but still needs some improvement.

I figured I would also need normal mapping to give the rim a bit of texture. To do that efficiently, I needed an utility that could convert grayscale bump maps to blue-ish normal maps. To my great delight, the GIMP normalmap plugin does exactly that, featuring a 3D preview of the texture before applying the conversion, which is just sweet.

I also found Kashyyyk's MySpace page, told him about my project and asked about permission to use the soundtrack non-commercially. I expected some reluctance, but to my big surprise he instantly gave me a go, and also offered an uncompressed wave file of "Teonanacatl".

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