By Fred Moeves.
Displacement Maps--we have all seen them its where the text or image appears to be painted onto another image. In this tutorial we will look at the very basic elements of displacement maps.
Displacement maps are nothing more then a grayscale image. In Photoshop the displace filter uses the grayscale image to distort or warp the image according to the light and dark values.
Dark colors warp the image down or backwards, light colors warp up or forward, and gray has little or no effect.
In the image to the left all text and the small image on the blast fence were added using one single displacement map from the background image.
The photo to the right is a 100% crop of the photo above.
It shows the difference between before and after the displace filter was applied.
See how the text follows the contours of the background image.
Its actually following the displacement map (grayscale image) made from the background image (color image). Heres how we do it.
When you have it the way you want click ok or hit enter and save the file.
You must save it as a .psd file.
Also, remeber put it somewhere that you can find it.
I saved mine as blast fence displace.psd
Close this file we'll get to it later.
Now this is the fun part.
With the original open dupe the background layer (PC: ctrl+j MAC: cmd+j).
This is just in case we mess up and we want to go back to the original background layer.
Select the Type Tool from the tool bar or just type t.
Add your text and move it to where you want it in your image.
In the layers palette make sure you have your text layer selected.
Now we choose Layer>Rasterize>Type.
It will look like nothing has happened, but your text is no longer a text layer it is in pixels and can not be edited anymore.
Things to do try playing around with the Displace box settings.
On some I had to go down to 2 or 3 the text gets so warped you can’t read it.
On curved surface use the Free Transform and the warp tool to make it as close to the shape of the surface.
Also try blurring the grayscale image with the Gaussian blur. This will help smooth out the light and dark which will smooth out the warping.
And don't forget about layer styles and blend if you can do some really cool stuff here.
So when your out shooting remember to shoot some shots with some texture in them to use for your displacement maps and backgrounds.
You can aske questions or discuss displacement maps on Digital Grin.