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Def: Images or compilations of images to be applied to a 3D object in modelling programs such as 3D Studio Max, Lightwave, Maya, or Renderman. These objects often are created through by "mixing and matching" both algorithmically generated images as well as bitmaps or other image formats.

In the renderman engine, materials are created using slide bars which allow closer control over the various parts of the material. This same engine is used in Pixels:3D and several other modelling and animation programs. 3D Studio Max uses a type-in system which many find simpler but slightly less powerful. Almost all 3D programs allow the user to animate parts of a given material, such that the surfce of an object can change over a period of time, or a period of frames. For example, a material to put onto a pool would doubtless begin as a blue matte material. To that blue matte would then be applied some form of noise modifier, in order to cause variance in the color and to distribute it randomly. This map's phase would then be animated, causing the surface of the wate to flow and change over time. To give the semblance or reality, the object the material was applied to would also have to move, probably with a noise displacement modifier.

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