Shininess Technical Tutorial

What do metal, wood, leather, and satin have in common? All these materials are visually characterized by the way they reflect light. And thanks to IMVU Studio’s support for Shininess Maps, you can now create products that interact with light in the same way real-life objects do!

What is a Shininess Map?

A shininess map (texture) is a grayscale image that tells IMVU Studio what areas of your product will appear smooth and what areas will appear rough.

Shininess needs lights!

Shininess only works when there are lights in the scene; in the room or attached to furniture or avatars.

In a shininess texture, 100% white will appear smooth, and 100% black will appear rough. Shades of gray will appear as variation between smooth and rough.

Smooth or Rough?

A portion of the shininess map that is smooth (closer to white) reflects light more uniformly. This results in more concentrated reflection, such as the type you see in highly-polished surfaces.

A portion of the map that is rough (closer to black) reflects light in a more diffused manner, making for a dimmer and softer reflection. This is great for less-reflective surfaces like wood.

What is Fresnel Reflection?

When you add a shininess map or a normal map to a product, the Fresnel Reflection option in IMVU Studio comes alive.

Smooth or Rough?

Think of Fresnel reflection like a “volume knob” for shininess. The higher the Fresnel reflection, the more light is reflected and the lower the Fresnel reflection, the less light is reflected.

Feel free to play with shininess textures and Fresnel reflection to make your product shine!

Updated on September 29, 2023

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