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Displacement Maps Tutorial PS by inspiredcreativity Displacement Maps Tutorial PS by inspiredcreativity
This is a Photoshop tutorial on Displacement Maps. In this case, we are mapping the red "Paint" graphic to the wrinkles and folds of the burlap.

Contents of Downloaded Zip File:
Displacement Maps.pdf . . PDF INSTRUCTIONS
Burlap.jpg . . . . . . . . . . . START FILE
BurlapDisplace.tif . . . . . . Reference File (to see a step)
Paint.jpg . . . . . . . . . . . . Resource File
BurlapFinal.psd . . . . . . . FINISHED FILE

EDIT: Finally got around to updating the Instructions to show current menu locations. This tutorial dates back to 1999, so the screenshots will look a little different than what you will see in Photoshop now.
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EternallyDamned324 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2009
ohh i think i see it. the little "download" thing on the left? it was covered up when i first looked x_x

i cant try it right now, but i will surely when i am not busy with school =)
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Displacement Maps are very powerful. I have seen it used to map tattoo over a person's body. I have seen it used to map a waterfall into the ocean for a ship falling off the end of the earth. The possibilities are almost endless.


You might want to check out my Mandusa Tutorial [link] for learning Layer Masks. Layer Masks are the most important tool to learn in Photoshop.


Something else I think you would find handy is Autoblending:
Auto Blending Tutorial: [link]

Auto-Blend Layers from the Photoshop manual: [link]

"Combine multiple images into a group..." [link]

Auto Blending Video Tutorial: [link]



This videos shows you how to Auto-Blend, and also how to MUTATE your Friends with it (QuickTime): [link]

A non-video tutorial on mutating friends: [link]


If you ever have an interest in doing Panoramas, we can cover Photoshops Photomerge and Auto Align.

Also If you have an interest, there is Perspective Correction


Another very powerful tool in Photoshop is Vanishing Point. It is something you must learn to be good at photo-manipulation. I know the list below looks overwhelming, but most are very short. It shows you haw to CLONE, paint and transform image objects while retaining visual perspective. It shows you how to add floors to a building, Adding Graphics & Wheels to a Big Rig Truck.


*** Vanishing Point (Gallery): [link]

Vanishing Point in Photoshop CS3 - Creating your grids: [link]

Vanishing Point Filter Improvements in CS3: [link]

Vanishing Point: PS CS3: Adding Graphics & Wheels to a Big Rig Truck: [link]

Vanishing Point: PS CS2: Clone, paint and transform image objects while retaining visual perspective: [link]

Vanishing Point: How to Clone While Retaining Perspective: [link]

Vanishing Point - Sarcophagus: [link]

Vanishing Point: PS CS2: Adding Floors To A Building: [link]

Vanishing Point: Removing a Light from a brick wall: [link]

Vanishing Point PS CS3 (DVD Case): [link]



How To Find The Vanishing Point In Any Photo So That You Can Place Things In The Scene In The Right Perspective: [link]

Getting to Grips with the Vanishing Point Filter (Double Tutorial): [link]

Adding an image to side of truck: [link]

Coning in Vanishing Point & Adding Text to Barn Roof: [link]

Vanishing Point - Putting labels on Containers: [link]

Copying Image Elements with Vanishing Point: [link]

Vanishing Point: CS2: Writing On The Wall: [link]

Vanishing Point: Remove Objects: [link]

Vanishing Point - Part 1: Put the sky & clouds as reflections on a buildings windows: [link]

Vanishing Point - Part 2: Vanishing Point - Wrap-around Movie Posters: [link]

Vanishing Point to Replace a Wall Picture: [link]

Vanishing Point: Showcase your Photos: [link]

Vanishing Point Filter: Showcase your Photos: [link]

Adobe Tutorial: Vanishing Point: [link]


Vanishing Point & Displacement Map: [link]
EternallyDamned324 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2009
O.O i would like to try this, but im a bit confused. how do i download the zip file thing? do i just save the picture? or is there something else i gotta do?

ive been trying to figure out how to do somehing like this, but just havent got there, and im hoping to learn it =)
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Alas, most of my professional work cannot be shown here. Years ago, out contracts never envisioned a place like DA and did not have clauses for allowing the posting of small versions of the art to the internet for non-commercial use. This means I have to get written permission to show any of it. I am basically crippled, so there is no way that is going to happen. I did finally get permission for "People In a Tree" [link] Can you find all of them in the tree?
EternallyDamned324 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2009
hmm maybe! im very good at spotting things, i gots to go try to find them now XD
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
You might be interested in reading waht I wrote about the oldest trees on the planet.
BOONJAGGA Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2009  Student General Artist
This will help greatly. Thank you very much. I'm surprised nobody's really commented other than one?
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
I don't think anyone realized the power of displacement maps and don't even know what it means when they see it, so they just pass it by.

It is old. I updated it to CS3, but if I missed anything, or if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. This thing has amazing applications. I helped someone here map a waterfall into the ocean. The possibilities are mind boggling. It can be used as a special way to blend objects as well. It's limit is your imagination.

I also have anew quick tutorial on Vignettes: [link]

and MANDUSA: [link]

I am so frustrated about that one. I have a full quality full size copy, but the person who bought is will not give permission to publish to the general public on DA. I had made the tutorial for my sisters, and because it is so crappy looking and small, I was allowed to post it.

I am unable to post the vast majority of my work because I would have to contact all of the customers and people who commissioned me, for permission to post it. I am crippled-up now and that is too much for me to do, assuming I could even track them down. OH WELL, thats Life. Make sure all of your contracts include a clause allowing you displace the art as screen resolution, to the general public.
BOONJAGGA Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2009  Student General Artist
Thank you very much for the added help! I'm sorry to hear that due to the contracts you are unable to post the work that you want.
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
You are most welcome.
RonCB Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2008
I still have a computer that runs windows 3.1 :p
This is amazing, and when i saw the burlap bag i would have sworn the paint logo was done on the farm so to speak. edit:: my kitten just stepped on the power button so i now have to change the settings for it, i had more to my comment but i have forgotten exactly.
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
When coming up the steepest part of the learning curve, it is helpful to work through tutorials which may be more advanced than it seems you are ready for, because the very process of working through the steps of the tutorial will be teaching much more than how to do a new technique.
RonCB Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2008
I was albe to find the appropriate menu options to coincide with the tutorial. I use Photoshop 10, and it worked like a charm. My first attempt was a small success. I was able to see it in action and know that the method works. I just need to find the right materials to use.
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Did my explanation of layer masks help or hinder?
RonCB Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2008
oh absolutely helped as i never would have even attempted to create with that filter. I never would have known what it did either. My probelm was trying to layer it on something that had very little textuer. almost a flat surface with very few details. it did work as exokained, just i need to experiment with what works with what i want to create. i basically tried to place a non flat surface on to a flat surface when i think it is best suited for the opposite effect.
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
You just described a displacement map. I was asking about my explanation of Layer Masks. the explanation with the sheets of glass, one black, one clear, where you painted or erased to create a mask.

I just described a technique to an artist doing panoramas. when you stitch together a a number of photographs you take in sequence, across a vista. When you stitch the ends together, some photos may be darker or lighter that the others, or carry a slight color cast.

So, imagine this, you have a photo and you need it to be darker on the left side of the photo, and left alone on the right side. One way to do this is to create a clear layer mask. Then apply a gradation, from black to transparent, from the left to the the right side of the photo. Now the left side will be almost black it is so dark. This is easily fixed by dropping the opacity of the layer mask until you have it the way you want it. You can then refine the mask further by painting and erasing, to apply less of the darkening to the land and more to the sky.

The point here is that this is just one of tens of thousands of possible uses of layer masks.
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Submitted on
October 30, 2008
File Size
3.5 MB


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