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OpenGL 4 Shading Language Cookbook Second Edition by David Wolff

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Simulating reflection with cube maps

Textures can be used to simulate a surface that has a component which is purely reflective (a mirror-like surface such as chrome). In order to do so, we need a texture that is representative of the environment surrounding the reflective object. This texture could then be mapped onto the surface of the object in a way that represents how it would look when reflected off of the surface. This general technique is known as environment mapping. In general, environment mapping involves creating a texture that is representative of the environment and mapping it onto the surface of an object. It is typically used to simulate the effects of reflection or refraction.

A cube map is one of the more common varieties of textures ...

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