Rob Weis Garren Wood    
Displacement Maps
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Displacement Maps - Overview and Introduction

This technique is probably most useful for attaining a flowing metallic texture, such as gold or cold metal. However, it all depends on the first stage of your work.
The texture you use is extremely important for attaining the effect you want. For this tutorial, I chose to make a cold metallic look. Click here for an example showing how the texture flows in the shape.

Note: Using displacement maps is complicated. I have received numerous emails regarding this tutorial and its complexity. Please be advised that this tutorial takes practice to obtain the effect you want. Do not give up! Email me and I might be able to help you with your work. With that said, good luck!

Step #1: Building a Texture

We need is a smooth, stretchy looking texture to cut our shape out of. If you already have the texture you want to use, you can proceed to the next page. If not, please continue on!

We'll begin by making a texture suitable for the displacement map.

Start a new image that is 500 X 500, Transparent Background and 72 DPI. Click OK

Set your foreground and background colors to default (black & white) by pressing "D".

Apply the Clouds filter to your transparent layer. Render<Clouds

Step #2: Ripplying your clouds

Apply the Ocean Ripple filter to your Clouds filled layer at default settings. Do this 2X.
Filters<Distort<Ocean Ripple
Settings were 9 and 9 on size and magnitude

Next, apply the chrome filter. Default settings for this filter as well.

You should have something simliar (sort of random) to what is displayed to the left.

Step #3: Stretching the chrome

At this point, we need to stretch our chrome. Even though it may be a useable texture right now, we need something a little more fluid.

Drag the edges of your image window apart, so you can see the image's border in its entirety. Click here to see my screen.

Next, grab a selection that is about 100 (high) X 500 (wide) at a center area in the image. Once you have a selection, use the Free Transform to drag the top of the selection to the top of your image. And the bottom to the bottom of your image. This will cause your 100 high pixel selection to be stretched across your image.

Click here to see a visual on how to stretch your selection and see how to move your image window border (same as above link).

After you've done this, your image should look similar to the image on the left..

Step #4: Cropping and finishing up the texture

We now have the image we want for our displacement map. There is only one minor detail we need to fix.When we stretched our image, it most likely went outside the boundaries of our image (Although it is not visible).To fix this little bug or flaw (That would misalign any displacement cutting we'll be doing in the next steps), all we need to do is crop our image.

Zoom out a bit so you can see the whole image easily, then widen the window so you see a nice grey border around the image, then, Click the Crop tool and drag it across your entire image. Starting from outside the boundary of your image. This will select the image 500 X 500 perfectly. Then click the check box to okay the cropping.

It won't look like you've done any changes. But, what you've done is cleaned up your image workspace in case anything was outside your image. It is CRUCIAL you crop your image before you go to the next step.

The texture is now ready for the next step, the displacement map!


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