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in the following pic, I've marked in yellow how I'm thinking the procedural bump map is done in Cycles, but I'm not sure. Is there a better way to do it?

Let's say the material is applied to the default cube.

enter image description here

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While i am not an expert in the way blender nodes work, I think that it would be more precise to use the Fac (Factor) connector instead of color.

The color connector in the noise node creates a color output thats not black and white, thats then converted into height data in the bump node.

The Fac connector will generate non-color data that then is used to generate height information.

There is a significant difference in how your bump map will look depending on which connector you use. The Fac connector should be more accurate for height data.

enter image description here

You can see the difference here on how it works. The top squares use the Fac and Color connectors respectively directly as the diffuse input and below are those values plugged into the bump node to generate height.

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Nope, your right on. You can do it that way. You could also plug the noise texture into the output titled displacement and they give almost the same effect, however, I prefer your method. It works a lot smoother and is easier to make changes to.

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  • $\begingroup$ @G.Ishikawa please don't thank in the comments, upvote the answer instead. If it solved your problem consider marking it as accepted by clicking the corresponding icon. $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Jun 22 '17 at 17:46

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