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$envmapmask is a Shader parameter available in all Source Source games. It defines a specular mask which affects how strongly each pixel of a material reflects light from the $envmap. The mask should be a grayscale image in which entirely reflective areas are white and entirely matte areas are black. For diffuse type specularity which does not rely on $envmap, see $phong.

Icon-Bug.pngBug:In Source 2007 Source 2007 games, using an $envmapmask which is not stored in a subfolder will cause the texture to fail loading in-game.
Warning.pngWarning:$envmapmask will not work with materials using $bumpmap/ in most situations; see #Alternative_methods.
  • Shader-ball.png

LightmappedReflective (uses $normalmap)

  • (only in Mapbase) Shader-ball.png


  • (only in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive)Shader-ball.png


Warning.pngWarning:$envmapmask will not work with materials using $phong, at all. By default it will use the $basetexture's alpha channel for masking the envmap.
Note.pngNote:While specular masks are traditionally greyscale, they can be colored. In such an instance, the color data will act as a per-texel $envmaptint.

VMT syntax example

$envmapmask <texture>
	$envmap			env_cubemap
	$envmapmask		"props/tvscreen_test"

Additional parameters

npc_cscanner's mask.
Transforms the specular mask texture.
The default position is center .5 .5 scale 1 1 rotate 0 translate 0 0.
  1. center defines the point of rotation. Only useful if rotate is being used.
  2. scale fits the texture into the material the given number of times. 2 1 is a 50% scale in the horizontal X axis while the vertical Y axis is still at original scale.
  3. rotate rotates the texture counter-clockwise in degrees. Accepts any number, including negatives.
  4. translate shifts the texture by the given numbers. .5 will shift it half-way. 1 will shift it once completely over, which is the same as not moving it at all.
Note.pngNote:All values must be included!
Icon-Bug.pngBug:Scaling the texture may cause odd issues where the Texture Lock tool in Hammer will not actually lock the texture in place.
Icon-Bug.pngBug:Rotating textures applied on brushes will rotate around the map origin (confirm: Orangebox engine only?). A fix for this is to change the center position in the VMT to the brush's origin.
Scales the specular mask by the given value. See also $envmapmasktransform, above.
The frame to start an animated specular mask on.

CS:GO WorldVertexTransition Parameters

$envmapmask2 <texture> (only in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive)
Shader(s): WorldVertexTransition
Specular mask for WorldVertexTransition's second layer.
Shader(s): WorldVertexTransition
Texture transformation for $envmapmask2.
$envmapframe2 <integer> (only in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive)
Shader(s): WorldVertexTransition
The frame to start an animated $envmapmask2 on.

Alternative methods

Rather than creating a whole new texture for a specular mask, you can embed one into the alpha channel of the $basetexture or $bumpmap. Model materials with $bumpmap must do this. Unfortunately, it won't reduce memory usage.

If you do use these commands, transformations and other such parameters applied to $basetexture / $bumpmap will also apply to the specular mask.

Use the alpha channel of the $basetexture as the specular mask.
  • Alpha channels embedded in $basetexture work in reverse. Transparent areas are reflective, opaque areas are matte. This is because, say, a window texture's alpha mask would be mostly black to allow for transparency -- yet that black part of the mask would also be the most reflective part. To avoid having to duplicate a texture file simply to invert the alpha mask, you can use this material parameter instead.
  • The alpha channel is not inverted in Source 2007 Source 2007 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for models, but the alpha channel is inverted for brushes!
  • Left 4 Dead 2 auto enables if $envmap is present. Opaque areas are reflective while transparent are matte. Set as true to invert $basetexture alpha channel behaviour. This allow $bumpmap have a dedicated $phong mask, when material transparency is not needed.

Use the alpha channel of the $bumpmap or $normalmap as the specular mask.
Warning.pngWarning:Using this in combination with $basemapalphaphongmask or $basemapluminancephongmask will set the mask used for the $envmap to be those instead.
There are additional caveats when using $phong. See its entry for more information about possible issues.
Icon-Bug.pngBug:* In all of: Garry's ModSource 2013Team Fortress 2Alien SwarmCounter-Strike: Global Offensive on VertexLitGeneric (Without $phong), $normalmapalphaenvmapmask cannot be used with $selfillumfresnel.
Note.pngNote: Using $normalmapalphaenvmapmask with $phong and $selfillumfresnel has special caveats that should be considered. Check $phong for for more information.

Use the alpha channel of the $envmapmask as the $selfillum mask instead of $basetexture's alpha.
Icon-Bug.pngBug:This Parameter replaces $selfillum. If both are used it will result in an error. The material will not render.
Warning.pngWarning:Only on VertexLitGeneric - Note that $envmapmask does not work with $bumpmap or $phong on VertexLitGeneric.
Blank image.pngTodo: This is not an alternative method to $envmapmask and in fact that parameter is required to use this. Move it to Additional Parameters and pray links on other pages don't break.

Shader(s): VertexLitGeneric
Use the red channel of the $tintmasktexture as the specular mask.

Merging Specular Level into Normal Alpha in 3ds Max

To merge a Specular Level map into the Normal Map alpha, you can create a Composite Map node with the normal map in Layer 1 and the specular map in Mask 1. Then right-click the composite map, click Render Map and save this new image to file (remembering to keep the Gamma at 1.0 and using 32 bits per pixel in the save options).

These steps are automated in the Alpha Spec tool in Wall Worm 2.72+.

See also