Types of Maps

Diffuse map (supported by Quick Shader and Pixel Shader)

  • The most frequently used texture mapping method. It wraps the bitmap image onto the 3D geometry surface while displaying its original pixel color.

  • Any bitmap images, such as scanned images or images captured by digital camera, can be used for diffuse map which represent photo realistic quality.

  • Users can also use image software to make pre-rendered texture effects such as shadow, bevel, bump, lighting or weathering effects.  This approach can effectively simulate real-world 3D effects, and greatly saves system resources and rendering time

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iClone texture sw Types of Maps

Sample A: Texture images captured from digital camera, applied as diffuse map

Sample B: Props made with diffuse image map generated by Photoshop with 2D bevel effects


Opacity map (supported by Quick Shader and Pixel Shader)

  • Make transparent and cut-out effects from gray scale images. The black part will get cut out; the white part will be fully displayed; the gray values  determine the transparency (alpha) level of object display.

  • Use bright gray RGB(253,253,253) on Opacity mask to make 2-side 3D Surface from Plane mesh.

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iClone op 2 Types of Maps

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Import a 3D model

Image for the opacity map

The 3D object with mask out


Bump map (Pixel Shader only)

Bump mapping uses the grayscale values from an image map to perturb surface normals to create variations in the shading of the surface to which the mapping is applied. It adds details to 3D model without increasing the number of polygons. In iClone, white areas of a bump map are shown as high and black areas are shown as low. 

By moving around the light source we can see how the angular light projection changes the bump look. If the light is 90 degrees facing the surface, it might weaken the bump effects.

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iClone bump soft sharp Types of Maps

a. source image with gray scale patterns for bump effects

b. bump map effect – the edge blur from the bump source image causes a softer bevel effect


Normal map (Pixel Shader only)

  • Click the Import Bump button, you will find one check box, Import as normal map. Check this box when load the normal maps by means of the bump texture import dialog box.

  • Normal map (Pixel shader only) was made by the projection from a high polygon model. It appears in color representation affect the surface region like bump with higher degree of detail.

  • iClone 2 can import normal maps created in ZBrush or 3D Studio Max, simple low-poly models can appear as detailed 3D objects using Normal Maps.

  • If the image you are loading is not specially designed for normal map, the result can be not as good as you want.

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iClone color Types of Maps

Diffuse map

iClone normal texture Types of Maps

Normal map

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Without normal map

iClone normal on Types of Maps

Normal map loaded



Glow map (Pixel Shader only)

This texture mapping technique allows users to control the glow shape, color and strength.


  • The glow map will blend with your original diffuse map, the lighter the diffuse color (or glow color), the stronger the glowing result.

  •  Bright diffuse map + bright glow map might cause over exposure.

  • Tips to create a subtle and effective glow effect:

    • Choose a diffuse image which ideally could glow in the real world
    • Prepare the glow map, pattern and color design
    • Start testing from a darker glow map, increase the brightness step by step to see thee best brightness settings
    • Decrease overall ambient light


Quick Practice: to Create Glow and Reflection Effects

1. Import a box in iClone Prop page, and hide the character by using Character Selection Panel (click in the 3d view port then press Ctrl + F7)

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2. Apply a diffuse texture to the box.

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3. Open the same image from Glow map button.

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4. Open the same image from Reflection map button.

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Reflection Map (Pixel Shader only)

Reflection map is also referred to as environment map. The
image map is projected onto a 3D surface representing the reflective environment.


To generate good Reflective effects, first you need to have an object with specular highlight and gloss value. Then, you need to choose black or darker images as the Diffuse map, it helps to make the surface work like a mirror fully reflecting the Reflective map content. If the diffuse map itself is bright, the front light plus reflective setting could cause the result to be over-exposed.

  • Most 3D Blocks items are preset with the non-glossy material setting. To achieve high gloss and specular objects, check the \Props\Gloss folder

  • Adjust the camera and light direction to see the natural changes of the reflective surface.

For a realistic Reflection Map effect, you can use the same background images as the Reflection map, and then you can see the reflective images on the surface reflecting your surrounding scene. If you place reflective object on a simple 2D background, you can use high- contrast scenery images to mimic the reflective look 

Sample: Combining Several Texture Effects – Semi-transparent and reflective surface

iClone crystal Types of Maps

Types of Maps