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Fog

VRML's Fog node can be used to add the atmospheric effect of fog, or haze, to virtual worlds. In our real world, as you may recall from Chapter 3, "Entering the Third Dimension," objects in the distance are fuzzy and less vibrant in color than those closer to us. This is the result of an atmospheric effect that Leonardo da Vinci dubbed atmospheric perspective, which today we know is caused by light waves being scattered and distorted by molecules of water and dust in the air (as well as heated masses of air). The further light waves must travel to reach our eye, the more scattered they'll become, obscuring our view of objects in the distance.

To approximate the real-world atmospheric effect of fog or haze, VRML's Fog node gives us the ability to specify the color, type, and thickness of fog in our virtual worlds. The first world seen in Figure 9-20, for example, is cloaked in fog that is light blue in color. As a result, the entire beach scene is cast in a bluish tint that gives this isolated world a very specific mood. In particular, the sandbar in the far distance seems ephemeral and very far away. In contrast, the same world rendered without the effect of fog seems stark and unrealistic (see Figure 9-22). To view this complex seaside world and examine the source code used to create it, visit the Web3D Consortium's Universal Media site at http://www.web3d.org/WorkingGroups/media/.


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