Experimenting with Materials

I’ve been having trouble getting the specular highlights to show up on translucent ellipsoids, so I decided to create a program to let me vary the material colors and light strengths with sliders. I partly based it on Spot, but started from scratch because I wanted to control the material properties and lighting intensities in detail. At first I couldn’t get anything to show up in the OpenGL view, it showed up only as a pure white rectangle. I only found the problem after an almost line-by-line comparison of the new code with Spot. At very end of drawRect:, I had forgotten glSwapAPPLE(), so all of that drawing I did never made it to the window.

At first it seemed that specular lighting wasn’t working, but eventually I realized the problem was that the ambient and diffuse components were overwhelming the specular component: apparently the color has maximum level, and once it reaches that, no additional components will make that part of the object brighter.

Demonstrating Materials and Lighting

It was a great help to have the sliders controlling the lighting and material settings in real time, instead of having to go through the edit-compile-link-run cycle. I also had the settings saved in the ID field of the TGA files, so I can (theoretically, at least) refer to them later on. Actually doing it, though, will require me to create a TGA image reader app that will display the ID text along with the image. Yet another app to create, more practice!

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