I played around a bit with Bump Mapping and Displacement Mapping, just to showcase their differences. I went out on the world wide web and found a decent looking floor texture which I later on edited to feature a bit more detail. I finished off by creating a Bump Map which in this case could also be used as a Displacement Map due to the hard edges of the stone tiles.

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Just a low poly plane with the edited texture applied to it. Nothing more goes on here, except a light source in the form of a spotlight from above.

Texture + Bump Map

The Bump Mapping adds subtle details to the floor by faking depth, since the black and white only instructs Maya of one thing: Up or Down? If we were to rotate this plane, it would still be flat like before. That’s because Bump Mapping only controls how the lighting is reflected on a surface and uses information in the Bump Map to tweak the already existing surface normals on the object. We are simply redirecting light rays, in short terms, to achieve the effect we want.

Texture + Displacement Map

Displacement Mapping, also known as Height Mapping for its use to create landscapes and create actual geometry at render time, gives a more realistic look on the tile floor and the light source in my scene is now casting real shadows. It takes a bit longer to render because of the added geometry, but it gives a much more realistic look compared to the Bump Map. If we were now to rotate this plane, it would no longer be flat and there would actually be a depth in between the stone tiles.