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Even in the age of 64-bit computing RAM is a limited resource. While it is quite common to have workstations with gigabytes of RAM, images used to texture in 3D applications have grown in size as well. In certain situations image sizes of tens or hundreds of gigabytes are quite common. Higher render resolutions for HDTV, film or print also require highly detailed, high resolution image maps for texturing.
InfiniMap is a LightWave 3D plugin that allows the user to render virtually unlimited1 size textures within a familiar interface.
This is accomplished by only loading the parts of an image into memory that are actually visible, in the resolution needed for the final image. To determine the optimum resolution of the image need for the render, infiniMap uses a number of variables, including for example the distance of the mesh to the camera.
We have rendered animations of the earth using more than 3GB of images in video resolution using only 300MB of memory, including the memory used by LightWave 3D, in the process. We have also rendered images of tens of gigabytes using infiniMap on computers with 500MB of RAM successfully.
A smart caching system makes sure that the performance hit on render times is minimal, especially when rendering out animations. The loading of scenes with infiniMap images is much quicker than using native images.
It has been our goal to integrate infiniMap as tightly into LightWave 3D as possible and to adhere to existing standards to make using it a smooth experience. If the user interface differs from the original LightWave 3D image layers, this is due to the SDK unfortunately not allowing for a 100% accurate replacement of the user interface.
The currently supported image file formats are ECW (from ER Mapper) as well as JPEG 2000 and tiled OpenEXR images.
You can use infiniMap to create ECW, JPEG 20002 or tiled OpenEXR images using our new batch converter or one of the tools listed in the appendix of this manual.