Rendering Textures

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This page explains the parts of Genetica's interface that specifically relate to rendering.  A more basic introduction to these functions can be found in the Genetica Basics tutorial.







1. Render Buttons


Before a texture can be exported for use in another program it must be rendered.  There are several buttons related to rendering:





Render Branch

Renders the currently selected node if the Nodes tab is active. If the Lab tab is active, the currently selected Lab section will be rendered.

Render Texture

Renders the active texture using the current render resolution and anti-alias settings.

Render Animation (Studio)

Works the same as the Render Texture command, except that an animation will be rendered.



While a texture is being rendered a progress indicator will appear to the right of these buttons along with a small red X that can be clicked to cancel the render.  Once the texture is rendered, the Results tab (pictured above) will automatically be opened and the newly rendered image will be placed into the selected image space (4).




2. Render Resolution Settings


Genetica textures are resolution-independent, which means that you can render a texture at any size you want. Use the render resolution settings to specify what resolution the texture will be rendered at the next time you press a render button (1).




3. Render Modes






Activate the Anti-Alias button for anti-aliasing to occur the next time you render a texture (1). With anti-aliasing active, Genetica will take more than one sample per pixel, resulting in increased image quality.  However, anti-aliasing will significantly increase render time and memory consumption.  You may therefore want to use anti-aliasing sparingly during test renders.


The following image illustrates the difference that anti-aliasing can make. The bottom right half of the image shows the anti-aliased version.



Render Effect Maps

Activating this button will cause any effect maps that are present in the current texture to be rendered along with the texture itself.  After rendering, these effect maps can be viewed with the effect map drop-down (number 5).  The Using Effect Maps tutorial has more details.




4. Image Spaces


Genetica will keep up to six rendered textures in memory for you. They are stored in the six image spaces corresponding to the six number buttons. Click a number button to see the texture that is currently stored in that space (if any), as well as to specify the space that new images will go into the next time a render button (1) is pressed.




5. Effect Map Drop-Down


If any effect maps have been rendered then this drop-down will allow you to select them.  Please refer to the Using Effect Maps tutorial for more details.




6. Image Zoom Drop-Down


Adjusting this drop-down is equivalent to moving an imaginary camera closer or farther from your texture, allowing artists to scrutinize how a texture will look from various distances.  Pixels are interpolated when zoomed in, and super-sampled when zoomed out, more closely mimicking how they would appear in an actual 3D scene.




7. Image View Modes





Tile Image

Toggle this button to display either a single copy of the active texture or a repeatedly tiled version.

Invert Image

Activating this button will invert the colors of the currently viewed image.  This is useful when used in combination with effect maps, in which case you may want to swap the black and white portions of the map.

Make Normal Map (Pro/Studio)

If you are working with a real-time game engine, you may require normal map versions of some of the effect maps.  To achieve this, first select the desired effect map using the effect map drop-down (5), then activate the Make Normal Map button.  Activating this button will cause an additional row of controls to appear, as shown below.






Applicable to the Pro and Studio editions of Genetica, if the Make Normal Map button has been activated, an additional row of controls will appear as depicted above.  They are:






This value scales all values of the height map by a given factor to change overall elevations.  Entering a negative value will reverse elevations.  You may find it easiest to set this property while the Test Normal Map button described below is enabled.


Increase this value to blur the height map before it is converted to a normal map.


Controls how the Y-components of the normal map are stored.  There are two options.



Upward-facing surfaces are represented by pixels with low-value green components.  This is the standard used by NVIDIA.


Upward-facing surfaces are represented by pixels with high-value green components.  This is the standard used by ATI.


Because the Z components of the normal vectors always point towards the viewer, and never away, they usually only make use of the second half of the blue channel's range, thereby taking values 128 to 255.  However, if your engine represents this using the full blue range, you can select the "0 - 255" option instead.


Some engines require that the height map corresponding to a normal map is found in the image's alpha channel for use by graphics cards that don't support normal mapping.  If this is the case, switch this property to "Height Map."  The default option "1.0" leaves all pixels fully opaque.

Test Normal Map

Directly to the right of the controls described above is an icon of a blue sphere.  Activate this button to see the effect that the current normal map will have on your texture when illuminated by a single light source.  Once activated, a larger blue sphere will appear directly below the Test Normal Map button.  Clicking or dragging on the larger sphere allows you to change the position of the light source.




8. Image Export Buttons


The functions performed by these buttons will make use of the currently visible rendered image.  Which image is visible depends on which number button (4) is selected, as well as which effect map (5) is selected.






Opens a dialog allowing you to export the image using a common image format so that the texture can be used by other programs.  The drop-down arrow directly to the right of this button allows a recently used folder to be chosen.

Copy Image

Copies the image to the system clipboard so that you can paste it into another application without having to save it to the hard drive first.

Clear Image

Clears the image.




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