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What's the difference between doing displacement mapping vs having the 3D object model be bumpy in the first place? Would it make certain computations faster or result in smaller file sizes? Even then, I think there must be a threshold at which it makes more sense to just have more detailed models, since otherwise we could just have all objects be cubes and use displacement mapping to get any shape we want, which doesn't seem right.


@zyx I think high poly objects are subject to aliasing at a far distance, and using displacement maps I guess you can also pre-compute mipmaps for faster anti-aliasing. (In Cities Skylines I observe the change in building texture and displacements as I zoom in/out which remind me of mipmaps - I could be wrong)

Update: I found this:


I was curious about mapping and discovered there are even more types of mappings, with bump mapping being a technique that normal mapping is a type of. I found this information interesting, and the general difference between bump, normal, and displacement mappings are discussed on this page.


Does the type of mapping change based on render distance? For example, if we need to see more complex details up close, versus a lower poly texture further away. This seems like it would allow speed up, but I don't know how the transformations work exactly or if this would help at all after the displacement mapping is already generated.


Does this imply that normal mapping is reserved for low-polygon models?


where do the offset values come from?