“The Snowstorm project is happy to announce that we have a Materials Project Viewer available for alpha testing of support for Normal and Specular maps on Second Life objects!”
This was a great implementation which really enhanced the aesthetics of mesh creations.
3 type of texture can be applied to a mesh item:
- Diffuse Map: They are the main texture used to set the color of the model and add shapes or details such as texts and patterns etc.
- Normal Map: They are used to add small details that seem three-dimensional. They are used specifically to add details to mostly flat surfaces without the need to model such details.
- Specular Map: They are used to set how shiny or reflective a part is supposed to be. Typically, specular textures are black and white, dark parts have very little specularity, light parts more.
The introduction of normal and specular maps allowed creators to put much more detail on their mesh creations.
To see mesh with all details that specular and normals maps add then the advanced lighting and ambient occlusion options must be checked in your graphics properties.
Check out the original SL announcement HERE
Play around with graphic properties to see what these maps actually do to an item. Remember that how you see things such as reflections and shadows is affected by your windlight as well.
Check out the SL wiki post as well HERE