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Now, I'm simply trying to show you that reflections...mathematically accurate ones, sort of demand a scene in which to reflect. In figure 26, you can see (if you squint.) that the sphere injected into this scene is indeed reflecting its surroundings. See figure 27 for a close-up of the magic, reflecting sphere.
Admittedly, however, it's a drag to have to model an entire scene just to make a reflective object look interesting. Enter truSpace's environment mapping feature (and for this lesson, enter Vue d'Esprit, a Bryce-type terrain modeler that is better than Bryce).
In art as in life, the contents of a reflection have become iconized. We expect to see a "hub cap's" view of a clear blue sky on the top, brown earth on the bottom, and perhaps a tree of two framing the edges of the reflection.
Try this to simulate and gain more 3D experience:
5.) Copy image 28 to your hard disk, trim it using Photoshop or a Photoshop-compatible image editor, and then save it as reflection.jpg to your hard drive.
6.) With either sphere selected, click on the environment map button on the shader map panel, and then right-click on the button to reveal the directory box.
7.) Path your way to the environment map (image 28) on your hard drive, and then select it for this lesson.
8.) Click on the funnel icon on the toolbox (technically, it's called the "Paint Object" tool), and then repeat steps 6 through this one to the other sphere.
9.) Do a screen render (click on the Render Scene icon on the rendering pull-down list on the toolbox).
Now, figure 29 is pretty darned handsome-looking, isn't it? But it's not really the end of your adventure making image maps for reflective objects instead of having to build a whole scene for which the object reflects. In figure 30, I've created a blurry image out of a black and white image of a small Austrian village (I found the image in a clip image service). What the blurring does (which is optically incorrect but artistically nice...reflections, if you look, are never blurred unless the source image is blurred and I've never seen a blurry village) is add depth to the scene, the little sphere is still reflecting itself into the big sphere (which helps integrate the elements in the scene), and the black and white-ness of the environment map makes the scene look a little more crisp and metallic in appearance.
You will want to experiment and make variations on figure 28 (reflection.jpg). A good trick is to photograph scenes and then use Photoshop's Polar Coordinate filter to mess the scene up and then use it as an environment map. Be a good magician: misdirect the viewer and show them only what they expect to see!