12.1. Background   

Textures are used in digital painting to create more attractive and realistic pictures. Traditional digital painting methods whereby regions are filled with only one colour do not adequately portray real-world objects. Textures are defined in this report as being any object detail. This definition encompasses things such as colour variations, surface variations (bumps or wrinkles), and other things such as object translucency.

The most attractive pictures are usually very detailed and visually complex. Computational considerations limit the amount of complexity we can realistically achieve using geometric models (Peachey, 1985). Geometric models require that a geometric region be defined for each colour region. Therefore to attain an acceptable level of realism very large numbers of surface polygons or other geometric regions need to be defined.

Using surface texturing techniques it is possible to realistically simulate surface detail with fairly low computational expense.