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Back in the PowerAnimator days there were a handy set of tools for visualizing surface curvature. I've always missed this in Maya as curvature is a crucial element when defining the look of a surface. On the texturing side, curvature is useful for isolating features like folds and creases, giving you a precise idea of where elements like dirt should be painted. Occlusion maps can get you part of the way, but they do not account for true concave/convex features. Hence, as a throwback to the good 'ol PA days I've put together a package for handling curvature in Maya.
The package is made up of three nodes:
The 'Curvature GL' node is designed to offer a means of displaying surface curvature at interactive speeds. A mesh is drawn using OpenGL that allows curvature properties to be explored, and eventually exported to texture maps, per-vertex colors, or even RenderMan's SL (via per-vertex arrays).
The 'Curvature Hw Shader' node allows curvature shading to be applied directly to surfaces in Maya's viewports using hardware texturing.
The 'Curvature Shader' node allows curvature shading to be software rendered.