Bump Mapping

Bump mapping is a sophisticated texture mapping technique employed in computer graphics to simulate small-scale detail on the surface of 3D models. Unlike traditional textures that modify color, bump maps alter the surface normals, creating the illusion of depth and relief without significantly affecting the geometry of the model. This technique is particularly useful for enhancing the visual appeal of objects by introducing finer details such as wrinkles, grooves, or surface imperfections.

In practical terms, bump mapping relies on grayscale images, where lighter areas represent raised portions, and darker areas represent recessed portions. During rendering, the lighting calculations consider these modified surface normals, creating shadows and highlights that mimic the visual impact of intricate surface details. Bump mapping is widely used in gaming, computer-generated imagery (CGI), and virtual simulations to achieve realistic and visually appealing surfaces without the computational complexity of high-polygon models.