Basic texturing concepts

Early computer-generated 3D images, although generally advanced for their time, tended to have a shiny plastic look. They lacked the types of markings-such as scuffs, cracks, fingerprints, and smudges-that give 3D objects realistic visual complexity. Textures have become popular for enhancing the realism of computer-generated 3D images.

In its everyday use, the word texture refers to an object's smoothness or roughness. In computer graphics, however, a texture is a bitmap of pixel colors that give an object the appearance of texture.

Because Direct3D textures are bitmaps, any bitmap can be applied to a Direct3D primitive. For instance, applications can create and manipulate objects that appear to have a wood grain pattern in them. Grass, dirt, and rocks can be applied to a set of 3D primitives that form a hill. The result is a realistic-looking hillside. You can also use texturing to create effects such as signs along a roadside, rock strata in a cliff, or the appearance of marble on a floor.

In addition, Direct3D supports more advanced texturing techniques such as texture blending-with or without transparency-and light mapping. See Texture blending and Light mapping with textures.

If your application creates a hardware abstraction layer (HAL) device or a software device, it can use 8, 16, 24, 32, 64, or 128-bit textures.