Texturing & Modeling

David S. Ebert

Mentioned 3

This third edition has been thoroughly updated to ensure it continues to meet the needs of 3D graphics professionals and students. Included are all new chapters devoted to the latest issues in the field, real- time procedural shading, texture atlases, and procedural geometric instancing.

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Mentioned in questions and answers.

Procedural generation has been brought into the spotlight recently (by Spore, MMOs, etc), and it seems like an interesting/powerful programming technique.

My questions are these:

  • Do you know of any mid-sized projects that utilize procedural generation techniques?
  • What language/class of languages is best for procedural generation?
  • Can you use procedural generation for "serious" code? (i.e., not a game)

There is an excellent book about the topic:


It is biased toward non-real-time visual effects and animation generation, but the theory and ideas are usable outside of these fields, I suppose.

It may also worth to mention that there is a professional software package that implements a complete procedural workflow called SideFX's Houdini. You can use it to invent and prototype procedural solutions to problems, that you can later translate to code.

While it's a rather expensive package, it has a free evaluation licence, which can be used as a very nice educational and/or engineering tool.

I'm interested in creating a game that uses fractal maps for more realistic geography. However, the only fractal map programs I have found are Windows-only, for example Fractal Mapper. Needless to say, they are also not open-sourced.

Are there any open-sourced fractal map creators available, preferably in Python or C/C++? Ideally I would like something that can be "plugged into" a program, rather then being standalone.

I'd highly recommend purchasing a copy of

Texturing & Modeling: A Procedural Approach

I see it's now in it's third edition (I only have the second) but it's packed full of useful articles about the use of procedural texturing including several chapters on their use in fractal terrains. It starts out with extensive discussion of noise algorithms too - so you have everything from the basics upwards. The authors include Musgrave, Perlin and Worley, so you really can't do better.

I'm currently reading the "official" opengl guide book and their explanations and example codes are way too complex for me. I think I got the idea of procedural texturing, but I can't find any fine tutorial about them. Does anyone know a good guide on that subject? Or maybe explain it a little bit?

This book is the best on the subject:

Texturing and Modeling: A Procedural Approach

It is not API specific so you won't find any OpenGL examples but it does go in depth about techniques for procedural texturing.

Another great resource for examples of procedural graphics is this:

Shadertoy (note that it works best with Google Chrome)

It is a fantastic collection of WebGL fragment shaders (WebGL is based on OpenGL).