Texturing models for games and movies has always been a huge task, requiring mountains of work to complete diffuse maps, normal maps etc for the models. Not to mention, the different versions of these maps that have to be created for the different environments and lighting conditions that each material and different part of the model will be exposed to. Sounds like a lot of work right? Well not much longer, due to the new technology, Physical Based Rendering.
Physical Based Rendering is a new way to make 3d look more photo-realistic than it ever has, all due to the way it changes how light bounces off of objects. In game engines, the way we see objects is directly related to the lighting in the scene. Cause you can’t see anything if there’s no light. What PBR does, is basically remove several of the steps you’d need to create all the different specular maps, and does the work for you. Instead of creating several different maps for the model, you can instead artificially replicate lighting properties to help create a physics model that automatically determines how light and shadow will hit an object in a rendered in-game scene. What the PBR usually does in order to work correctly is use converging functions in order to predict how certain light sources will reflect/refract off certain materials and surfaces with specific reflectivity and diffusion characteristics which then reflect and refract off or other objects/materials in the scene with the same process.
PBR basically makes texturing objects and preparing them for in-game scenes, a whole lot faster and efficient, as the programs that use this technology generate and predict how materials should react to different light sources and automatically applies this knowledge to the rendered in-game scenes. With this technology, artists can just change an object’s characteristics to say ‘this is leather’ or ‘this is steel’ instead of having to create several different versions of different specular maps for each object.
I believe that PBR is a really cool technology and definitely creates a more efficient way to create light thats more realistic and beliavable than ever before in games. And I believe that technology like this will make it easier for smaller companies to perhaps create better products that they maybe couldn’t do before. I think this kind’ve technology is what will change the future of the industry and perhaps get us a bit closer into finding ways to surpass things like ‘the uncanny valley’
Below is an image of an example of what PBR can do:
References for the information here: http://www.fxguide.com/featured/game-environments-parta-remember-me-rendering/