Ambient Occlusion

This picture looks like it's shaded correctly, but if you look carefully you'll realize that the light isn't coming from any particular direction. "Ambient occlusion" is a fairly new way to do shading in computer graphics to get results like this. It basically simulates light coming equally from all directions, like on a cloudy day. This is more realistic than you would think, since a surprising amount of light comes from bounces off other surfaces in the scene, rather than your direct primary light source. But you don't need to simulate all those bounces-- that's called radiosity and it takes a lot of computation. Instead, just look at the angle each patch of the scene forms with nearby patches. An area that is in a valley (like under the eaves of the house) will tend to be shadowed.
You can get this same effect when painting a minature. When you're done painting it, give the whole thing a coat of thinned black paint. Then pat off the paint. Some paint will get stuck in the wrinkles and not come off when you pat it.


mike said…
Sorry, must be my browser.

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