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What is Render to Texture?

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Render to texture is exactly what it sais. Instead of rendering to the whole screen (or a window) we render to another buffer in memory that we don''t directly see.

One example usage is environment mapping. You render the environment to the six sides of a cube, from the center of the cube. Then these images can be used to simulate refection on shiny surfaces.

Another important example is shadow mapping. Here you render from the point of view of a light to a texture, but only store the z values. This defines how ''far'' the light can ''see''. In other words it defines the volume where the light can reach. When rendering the scene normally from the camera''s point of view, this information can be used to determine what surfaces are shadowed.

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