Lighting, Fog, and
How the properties of virtual 3D objects can be specified and defined has been discussed
in earlier chapters. However, how a certain virtual object will appear to the user will in
general depends also on human visual impression and perception, which depends to a large
extent on the lighting used in illumination. As an example, watching a movie in a dark
theatre and under direct sunlight will give rise to different feeling and immersion even
though the scenes are the same.
Thus, in addition to defining the skeleton of a virtual object by using geometry objects
in Java 3D in Chapter III, setting the appearance attributes in Chapter IV and applying
texture in Chapter V to give a realistic skin to the virtual object, appropriate environmental
concerns such as light, background and even fog are often necessary to make the virtual
object appear as realistic to the user as possible. In this chapter, we will discuss topics
related to the latter environmental issues.
The use of proper lighting is thus crucial to ensure that the 3D universe created is
realistic in feeling and adds to strong emotional impressions in any application. For this
purpose, Java 3D has a variety of light sources that can be selected and tailored to differ-
Technically, light rays are not rendered. In fact, their effects will only become visible
once they hit an object and reflect to the viewer. Of course, as with any object in the real
world, the reflection depends on the material attributes of the objects.
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