Surfacing (sometimes called shading) is the process of assigning values to the surfaces of objects. These values generally control the manner in which the surface interacts with light in the scene to create the object's color, specularity (highlights), reflective qualities, transparency, and (if the surface is at all transparent) refraction.
Surfacing controls those qualities that suggest the material that an object is made of, whether wood or plastic or metal, and the art of surfacing is coming to understand how the range of surfacing parameters interact to create realistic or imaginative effects.
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Created: June 16, 1997
Revised: June 16, 1997