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Using displacement maps to create shadows

From: Pixel Playground with Bert Monroy

Video: Using displacement maps to create shadows

Today we're going to look at a feature that's been overlooked for a long time. I'm going to go and just mask in that area.

Using displacement maps to create shadows

Today we're going to look at a feature that's been overlooked for a long time. It's been there as long as Photoshop has been around, but most people don't know what it is and most people ignore it completely, yet it's an extremely powerful tool. First, let's create something that's going to take advantage of that little feature. I've got this shaker here and what I want to do is create a shadow. There's a light source back here somewhere. So I'm going to take a, this shaker and duplicate it. And put it in back here. We'll call this one the shaker shadow.

So what I'm going to do is I'm going to lock the transparency for it. And we're going to fill it with black. Okay. Now, let's unlock the transparency. And we'll go in there and do a little a little distort to it. I'm going to grab this corner here and drag it down, and drag this corner down here. And bring this up into here. And we have this nice, long shadow, like so. Click OK. Now, that other piece in back, no problem, we can go in there and just erase that little part. Now I'm going to go in there and soften it up a little bit.

So we just give it a little Gaussian Blur, just to soften it up just a tiny little bit. And we give it a little mask as well. So give it a mask, and in that mask I'm going to kind of make it start to kind of disappear from way out here. So I'll just go in there and add this little gradient like that. And then, we'll also bring down the opacity for the overall shadow. And there we have a nice shadow, but what if, that is our background. Now we have a whole 'nother story here. Because of the fact that the little waves in the sand are going to distort this shadow considerably.

And right now, it's very smooth. It doesn't quite look right. So we're going to have to make that look really good. So, tell you what we're going to do also. We're going to go to the shaker, and give it a, a little mask. And I go in there and with a much smaller brush. I'm going to go and just mask in that area. Let's go to 100% in our opacity and we'll just kind of give it that little bit of, so let's just dug into the sand like that. Now, the shadow. We've got puppet warp. That's pretty nice but it's a little convoluted here. A lot of work.

We have warp. Now that's not quite going to work here because of the fact that we have quite a few areas and a lot of control that we need. We want to do it very quickly. Well, the sand is the problem. The sand could be the solution. I have a file here of the sand itself. There's the sand. Dark. What I did is I just went in there and increased the contrast and really got into the lights and darks. Made it much stronger. In fact we can even do it again. We can go in here and just make those darks even darker, and, and so on and make the lights a little lighter.

Alright, so we're getting really strong lights and darks. And I'm going to save that. We'll save it. Okay, so, what happens, I come back here to my, to my art. To the shaker. And, I'm going to go in and I'm going to, select that shadow. I've got this shadow selected. And I go up here, and it's a filter. I'm going to go into Filter > Distort, and it's the first choice, Displace. Now, here's one of the reasons why most people don't really use this. Like, it's not very descriptive, what's happening here, what's going on in this.

Well, let's just go ahead and try it out. Well I would say OK, and then a second window pops up. Well, most people got really confused at that point if they weren't confused before. So what I'm going to do is I'm just going to go in there and we're going to go up that Filter > Distort >Displace, and we'd see that we have a horizontal scale and vertical scale and the default isten. I'm going to leave it at the default, that's a little more than I need, but we'll leave it at that. Now right here displacement map, that's another image.

In this case that darkened version of our sand. Do you want to stretch it to fit or do you want to tile it? Well, neither because it is the exact same dimensions as my image. That will ensure that my folds will be exactly where I want them to be. The undefined areas. There are none. Again my map is exactly the same size so I'm going to click OK. And then it's going to ask me where is that displacement map, which I have it right here. Sand dark. And when I open it, you see that the shadow automatically got slightly bent.

If I want to do it again I could just apply it one more time and there you see that we have now, the sand is just traveling right across, the little shadow is traveling right across the sand. Now, in the mask at this point. I'm going to have to go in there, and make, little adjustments. Again, because of the fact that I have dark areas here, where you won't really see the shadows. So what I'm going to do is I'm just going to, with a very light brush, let's bring down the opacity a bit. I'm going to go in there, and just kind hit those dark areas right in there, right in here. And let's bring that opacity down even more to about like that.

And we're going to go in here and just going to lighten that up in there, and we're going to lighten up right in there, and we're going to light it up right in there. And if I want I can just go in there and just kind of soften up those, those shadows or that little highlight there. And there we see that now we have the shadow that's traveling, following the curves in the sand waves. Now I've used this in many different situations. Here's a case right here. One of my paintings, Lunch in Tiberon. Now it's a real subtle effect, but if you look through it, you'll see that there are places like right in here, and right down here, where the tablecloth looks like it's not flush against the table anymore.

Lunch is done, glasses are almost empty Messed up napkins, so it has been a lot of activity going on at this table. The table cloth has moved. So, what happened is, is that the file of the tablecloth, right here, was distorted using a map that looks like this. And there you can see that 50% gray in our displacement map, regardless of the colors, a 50% tone is not going to have any effect on your image. Anything that is lighter is going to push things up and to the right.

Anything darker, or rather up and to the left, than anything darker is going to push them down and to the right. So you can see, right here, there's the little bends. Here's a really old use of it that I did in this particular painting here. Now, we're getting real close up here. We see that the letters are conforming to little folds in that awning. What I did is, I have the awning itself, there's the awning without the text, and what I did is, I created the text. It's just a word, coffees, that I typed up, just like that, and then, I distorted it.

There we see the coffees, I simply rasterized the text, and I. Move things in. I squished them in, twisted them, and so on and so forth. And then I created the map. And the map, as you can see here is a text displacement map. it's just some light tones were added to a gray field, which bent the letters to give me the final effect. That we see, in the final painting, right there. So displacement allows you to control, how things are going to be bent.

Same thing was done with the word sandwiches. They were all twisted, using displacement maps, to make em look like they are falling according to the fold in the fabric or like in today's little project, the little waves in the sand and displacing the shadow being cast by the shaker. So displacement, the little guy that just allows you do all kinds of really cool effects, and having one image be used to bend the pixels of another.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Pixel Playground with Bert Monroy
Pixel Playground with Bert Monroy

61 video lessons · 27256 viewers

Bert Monroy
Author

 
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  1. 8m 53s
    1. Retouching techniques: Improving a real estate photo
      8m 53s
  2. 8h 43m
    1. Creating animated snowfall with Photoshop
      6m 39s
    2. Filling an empty glass with liquid
      2m 51s
    3. Using an alpha channel to create a 3D object
      6m 53s
    4. Creating a 3D coin
      7m 13s
    5. Creating a custom brush
      7m 28s
    6. Using displacement maps to create shadows
      7m 27s
    7. Enhancing a landscape by adding a lake
      6m 37s
    8. Creating a dog tag
      7m 52s
    9. Recreating magazine clippings
      7m 31s
    10. Creating realistic scales for a dragon tattoo
      6m 27s
    11. Creating spikes for a dragon tattoo
      10m 35s
    12. Creating the belly for a dragon tattoo
      10m 55s
    13. Creating a flower tattoo
      7m 9s
    14. Using a Fibonacci spiral to create a tattoo
      4m 19s
    15. Body shaping with Puppet Warp
      4m 1s
    16. Type effects in Photoshop: Pillow
      6m 46s
    17. Type effects in Photoshop: Clouds
      6m 2s
    18. Animating a 3D starfield
      7m 6s
    19. Creating an antique pub sign using Photoshop
      13m 1s
    20. Creating a custom brush to draw hair
      7m 57s
    21. Charms and medallions in Photoshop: First steps
      12m 5s
    22. Charms and medallions in Photoshop: Adding details
      10m 49s
    23. Charms and medallions in Photoshop: Adding a third dimension
      10m 10s
    24. Oakland Theater: Creating stone walls
      14m 11s
    25. Oakland Theater: Creating neon
      12m 4s
    26. Oakland Theater: Creating lightbulbs
      15m 33s
    27. Changing photo contents with Auto-Align Layers
      6m 36s
    28. Creating a metal grill
      9m 35s
    29. Red truck: Creating a headlight
      7m 17s
    30. Red truck: Creating chrome headlight trim
      7m 37s
    31. Red truck: Creating realistic metal perforations
      7m 5s
    32. Red truck: Creating wear on metal
      6m 18s
    33. Magazine cover: Using perspective to draw a room
      7m 52s
    34. Magazine cover: Creating a lamp
      13m 57s
    35. Magazine cover: Creating a wood floor
      13m 29s
    36. Damen Station: Adding multiple train cars
      5m 26s
    37. Damen Station: Creating bolts
      5m 56s
    38. Damen Station: Creating realistic rust
      6m 56s
    39. Oyster Bar: Creating puddles
      6m 15s
    40. Oyster Bar: Creating asphalt and concrete textures
      5m 3s
    41. Oyster Bar: Creating a manhole cover
      10m 53s
    42. Oyster Bar: Creating a canvas texture
      7m 53s
    43. Creating realistic reflections and shadows
      11m 0s
    44. Creating water droplets on a surface
      7m 42s
    45. Wrapping a pattern around a 3D wine goblet
      7m 47s
    46. Creating net fabric for a veil
      15m 39s
    47. Animating a spotlight against a brick wall
      7m 1s
    48. Damen Station: Using Blend in Illustrator to create intricate details
      4m 34s
    49. Theater curtain: Making a braid and tassels
      9m 53s
    50. Theater curtain: Creating the curtain
      11m 40s
    51. Theater curtain: Animating a rising curtain
      7m 23s
    52. Creating a chalkboard
      12m 48s
    53. Creating a manila envelope
      12m 50s
    54. Turning a regular donut into a jelly donut
      9m 41s
    55. Making a book: Perspective
      9m 53s
    56. Making a book: Adding pages
      9m 27s
    57. Using paths and layer styles to create logo text
      9m 36s
    58. Increasing precipitation: How to make a rainy-day photo look rainier
      9m 34s
    59. Retouching techniques: Improving a picnic scene
      9m 28s
    60. Retouching techniques: Moving an object in a scene
      9m 29s

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