Blender materials and textures

I’ve spent a considerable time learning about the materials and texture system in Blender.  Here are some observations:

  1. There are 3 material system options: Texture Face, Blender Multitexture, and Blender GLSL.  Texture Face seems to be the older system.  Multitexture has the most options for material control—including ray traced renderings.  GLSL is the newest system and provides similar representations in the viewport, game engine and render.  Since my project will potentially use the game engine as well as the internal renderer, I will use GLSL for my materials.
  2. The assignment of materials to objects or meshes can be tricky with the system of linkages through data blocks.  One surprise that I discovered yesterday is that if you apply a textured GLSL material to an object and switch to Multitexture mode, you cannot change the material on the object.  It is necessary to unlink the material in GLSL mode first.
  3. In the trueSpace design, every material had its own texture map.  So there were dozens of small and large files to maintain.  I now believe that it will be more efficient to combine multiple texture images on to a few texture maps that are always square and power of two in size.  Objects will link to the material with associated master maps for diffuse, normal and spec parameters.  The object’s UVs will link the mesh to the appropriate images on the texture map.

Still working on the workflow details.

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