A shader is a predefined set of lighting and rendering parameters, created by programmers or by you, that tells both modeling and game software how to render a texture map. A map rendered by itself can be dull or flat without some specific attribute or shader applied to it. For instance, in Figure 1.6, the sphere on the left is rendered

Figure 1.6 A sphere with a basic texture map rendered in 3ds Max. The sphere on the left has no other texture attributes, while the sphere on the right has metal shader


with a simple diffuse texture map with general ambient lighting. The sphere on the right has the same map, with a metal shader applied. This shader contains rendering specifications like specularity and glossiness, making the object appear to be metal.

Some video games like DOOM 3 take advantage of shaders and other texture attributes to create spectacular game imagery without sacrificing processing speed. In general, game programmers and the software development kits (SDKs) they create will provide documentation as to what types of textures and shaders you should apply to your models.

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