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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Caustics Generator

Textures are fundamental for games. Nowadays the fragment shaders add a lot of versatility and realism to game scenes, but also a good animated texture may be enough sometimes. Hand drawing textures is an art, use and modify real photos is easier, but there is a third way: use texture generators.
In a past post (read it) I talked about the procedural texture generator included in APOCALYX. There are also programs that generate procedurally animated texture to recreate effects like caustics, the characteristics light-games under the sea surface. One of these program, devoted to caustics, is available here.
The author says:"Caustics can be described as the light pattern you see at the bottom of a pool on a sunny day.
This tool will let you render such caustics patterns. The rendered images can be animated and used for realtime graphics and are tileable in both space and time.
Caustics are a bit more than just the pattern seen on the bottom of the pool. Caustics is the name for the light phenomenon of converging light. Caustics are caused by the fact that light is reflected or refracted one or several times before actually hitting a surface. The more light that is refracted to the same area on a surface, the brighter the area will be lit.
The patterns rendered by this program are calculated by simulating the effect of light refracting through water. The water surface is made tileable in both space and time in order to make the rendered images tileable.
The rendered images can for example be used as realtime textures for games and animations.

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