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The displacement map

From: Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

Video: The displacement map

In this exercise, I am going to introduce you to the fundamental concepts of a Displacement Map, and then in subsequent exercises we will see some cool uses for them. Now, a Displacement Map is a file whose luminance levels move pixels inside of another image and as a result, you can achieve these custom distortion effects. Now, it is a once a very primitive function and a very powerful function. It's primitive because it was introduced in Photoshop 2.0 and has never been upgraded since. It's one of those orphaned functions that Adobe decided was good enough when they made it and they have never -- nobody has ever had the desire to revisit the feature, even though it needs some enhancements frankly.

The displacement map

In this exercise, I am going to introduce you to the fundamental concepts of a Displacement Map, and then in subsequent exercises we will see some cool uses for them. Now, a Displacement Map is a file whose luminance levels move pixels inside of another image and as a result, you can achieve these custom distortion effects. Now, it is a once a very primitive function and a very powerful function. It's primitive because it was introduced in Photoshop 2.0 and has never been upgraded since. It's one of those orphaned functions that Adobe decided was good enough when they made it and they have never -- nobody has ever had the desire to revisit the feature, even though it needs some enhancements frankly.

It doesn't have a preview for example, as we will see. But it's also very powerful because nothing has taken its place. We have got all kinds of other very powerful distortion function such as, Liquify Filter and golly! You have got Warp Transformations. But neither of them do exactly what Displacement Maps do. All right. So let me show you what's going on here. I have got two images open. One is called Rough trade.psd and it's found inside the 18 Displace maps folder. This is an image that I put together based on a few found images that I rounded up and my own nefarious skills. I did a lot of work on them as well. I made all the colors and stuff. And then we have got this other file that I have open, and this will serve as the Displacement Map.

It's found, you don't have to open this one actually. But it's called B&W.psd and it's found inside the Demap sub- folder that's in the 18 Displace maps folder. And here is what's going on with this file. This is a single channel file. If I bring up the Channels palette, you can see just one channel. Oops! There is the Channels palette. Just one channel, Gray. So it's a grayscale image. All right, I will go ahead and put that away and we have got just three luminance levels going on. We have got medium gray, which is neutral, does nothing and we have got white, which moves pixels up and to the left, and then we have got black, which moves pixels down and to the right.

Now black and white move pixels based on their difference from medium gray. So consider that medium gray has a brightness value of 127, 128, something around there, right. And black has a brightness value; a luminance level of zero and white has a luminance level of 255. And so at most, black will move colors inside of an image, 128 pixels, that is at a 100%. A 100% movement would mean that the pixels inside another image are getting moved 128 pixels down and to the right. And white would move colors a 128 pixels up and to the left, at 100% and we will see what that means in just a moment.

But the reason its 128 is because black is 128 away from medium gray and white is also 128 away from medium gray. So luminance levels, they all move pixels based on their difference from medium gray. Okay, and this will make more sense overtime. You don't want to get to worked up about exactly what the distances are. But you should know what's going on under the hood here. All right. Lets return to the Rough trade image and let's make sure that -- I will go over to the Layers palette here. Let's make sure that the Background layer is active. It is. That's good. And then I am going to go up to the Filter menu. I am going to choose Distort and I am going to choose Displace.

And it brings up this dialog box and you can see what I am talking about. There is no preview. There is no way to see what your effect is going to look like until you go ahead and apply it, which is kind of a pain in the neck. But we have got a Horizontal Scale value and a Vertical Scale value, and these are measured as percentages of that 128 pixel thing I was telling you about. So at 100% for Horizontal Scale, you would move pixels either to the right or to the left as much as 128 pixels. That would be you maximum that things would get moved.

So white would move the colors in one direction and black would move 128 pixels in the other direction. And same with Vertical Scale. It would be down for black and up for white. And you can send these values. It might seem like, wow!, the most you can move anything is 128 pixels. That doesn't seem like it would give you a lot of wiggle room and high resolution images. Well, you can set these values high as 999%, so you can bump it way up there. So you can have thousands of pixels of movement, or more than the thousands of pixels of movement I should say. And then you can also go as low as -999%, if you want to move the black areas up for example, or the white areas down, that kind of thing.

All right. What we are going to do is just leave it set to, leave both values set to their defaults which are 10% a piece. We also have these options here. What do you want to do if the Displacement Map is not as big as the image that you are working on. Now our Displacement Map is exactly the same size as the American Flag image. So it doesn't matter what we set this option to. But if its smaller, do you stretch it to fit. If the Displacement Map is small, do you stretch it to fit or do you tile it, repeat it over and over again? All of our examples, all the examples I am going to show you are going to be Stretch To Fit examples incidentally.

And in undefined areas, the edge pixels basically, should you repeat the edge pixels or should you wrap them around? Should you basically wrap pixels from one side to the other side? We are going to leave these set to their defaults. Stretch To Fit and Repeat Edge Pixels and then click OK. And you will next be invited to choose a Displacement Map because you have to load a Displacement Map. Now here is something to note about Displacement Maps. They have to be saved as .PSD images, so native Photoshop documents, and they have to be flat files. No layers are permitted. They don't have to be grayscale although this guy is a grayscale image. But they have to be flat and they have to be native PSD. They have to be flat because consider Photoshop 2.0 which is where Displacement Maps were introduced and abandoned of course, didn't support layers. Layers didn't come around until Photoshop 3.0 and then it has to be a .PSD document for, I have no idea what reason. I don't know why it can't be a TIFF? But it can't.

So anyway, go ahead and click on B&W. psd in order to select it and then click on the Open button and a moment later, you will see the pixels shift slightly. Now it's not a big shift. Just notice that the pixels, this group, this little block right here, moved slightly up and to the left, and this block right here, moved slightly down and to the right. That's all that happened there. I am going to go ahead and repeat that over and over again a few times. So Ctrl+F, Ctrl+F, Ctrl+F, or just do in Command+F, Command+F, Command+F several times on the Mac, and you can see that the letters keep shifting up and up. Now it's actually the absence of letters. Recall inside of this file here that the letters are set to medium gray. So they are neutral. They are not moving. It's the stuff around and behind the letters that's shifting, in the case of the both the black area and the white area.

And just to give you a sense of what has occurred here, I will go ahead and turn on a couple of other layers. We will turn on the type layer that contains a little bit of white and blackness there and then turn on the strokes layer as well, that stroking the areas that are being affected, and so you can see only that area inside of the rectangle and outside of the letters is being changed and only that area inside this rectangle and outside the letters is being changed as well. So in other words, the colors are shifting exclusively inside that white box and inside that black box. And that's the effect you get. So we are getting these repeated letters over and over again.

Now you might look at this and say, wow! this I believe, this is an old feature, I mean no preview. You can't have layers etcetera, etcetera. But what I am having problems of believing -- this is you talking to me, what I am having problems of believing is that this is a powerful feature. It looks like a totally lame feature. Well, it's not, it's actually a really, really great feature. It's just that this example is a little bit lame. I am keeping it very simple to give you a sense of what's going on there. In the next exercise, we will see just how powerful this feature can be.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques
Photoshop CS3 Channels & Masks: Advanced Techniques

190 video lessons · 26406 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2h 13m
    1. The Odyssey Continues
      2m 39s
    2. Mapping one image onto another
      7m 12s
    3. Making a custom contrast mode
      7m 10s
    4. Luminance blending
      8m 40s
    5. Forcing the visibility of underlying layers
      4m 4s
    6. Adjusting the appearance of clipped layers
      4m 34s
    7. Selecting a Blend If channel
      6m 12s
    8. Enhancing highlights by hiding them
      5m 9s
    9. Smart Object first, layer mask second
      7m 22s
    10. The Fill Opacity Eight
      4m 30s
    11. Blending Smart Filters
      7m 24s
    12. Cleaning up edges
      7m 39s
    13. More fun with luminance blending
      6m 22s
    14. A first peek at the Calculations command
      12m 11s
    15. Masking a softly focused model
      11m 46s
    16. Moving layers and masks between images
      7m 35s
    17. Matching colors
      9m 13s
    18. Building transitional blended layers
      6m 33s
    19. Restoring normal colors
      6m 50s
  2. 2h 33m
    1. Layer masks, clipping masks, and knockouts
      1m 20s
    2. Rotating and stretching
      7m 54s
    3. A jet of motion blur
      9m 18s
    4. Keyboard tricks
      5m 4s
    5. Merging sky and landscape
      6m 3s
    6. Masking an adjustment layer
      6m 37s
    7. Creating two windows into an image
      7m 42s
    8. Whitening teeth and adding other highlights
      3m 46s
    9. Mapping a texture onto an image
      4m 1s
    10. Isolating a texture with a layer mask
      6m 44s
    11. Welcome to the glass composition
      3m 18s
    12. Balancing shadows and highlights
      5m 51s
    13. Masking the glass
      7m 24s
    14. Masking the text
      9m 23s
    15. Adding and blending the goldfish
      8m 45s
    16. Assembling the perfect group photo
      5m 12s
    17. Aligning photographs automatically
      5m 26s
    18. Masking in each person's best shot
      5m 18s
    19. Masking densely packed people
      6m 17s
    20. Crafting the perfect final poster
      5m 16s
    21. From the improbable to the impossible
      1m 56s
    22. The fantastical "world of clones" effect
      10m 0s
    23. Upsampling and blurring a background
      8m 39s
    24. Adding a knockout mask
      8m 3s
    25. Choking edges with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      3m 46s
  3. 2h 27m
    1. The corrective power of masking
      1m 6s
    2. The amazing luminance mask
      7m 22s
    3. Brightening and neutralizing the eyes
      8m 22s
    4. Adjusting a nondestructive composition
      5m 52s
    5. Creating a corrective mask
      6m 4s
    6. Averaging away irregular flesh tones
      3m 52s
    7. Modifying specific colors
      7m 46s
    8. Initiating the color mask
      6m 0s
    9. Refining the color mask
      6m 40s
    10. Adjusting the edges around fabric
      7m 56s
    11. Perfecting hair
      9m 35s
    12. Sharpening with a High Pass layer
      10m 12s
    13. The also-amazing density mask
      4m 48s
    14. Adjusting the knockout depth
      8m 48s
    15. Fashioning a depth map
      6m 12s
    16. Invoking a depth mask from Lens Blur
      6m 38s
    17. The perfect depth-of-field effect
      6m 25s
    18. Sharpening an archival photograph
      7m 7s
    19. Creating an edge mask
      8m 29s
    20. Making a High Pass sandwich
      7m 46s
    21. Applying the edge mask
      6m 2s
    22. Customizing your sharpening effect
      4m 6s
  4. 2h 3m
    1. Channel Mixer, I am your father!
      1m 39s
    2. Three ways to gray
      7m 49s
    3. Meet the Channel Mixer
      8m 26s
    4. Mixing a custom black-and-white image
      7m 10s
    5. Creating a professional-level sepia tone
      5m 36s
    6. Employing the Black & White command
      8m 1s
    7. Extreme channel mixing
      4m 50s
    8. The infrared photography effect
      6m 43s
    9. Taking shadows to the brink of black
      3m 56s
    10. Elevating highlights, leeching saturation
      5m 58s
    11. Deepening a black-and-white sky
      5m 49s
    12. Infusing luminance levels with color
      5m 44s
    13. Creating an opposing colorization scheme
      4m 58s
    14. Bolstering contrast with the Green channel
      5m 37s
    15. A tiny improvement to a terrific technique
      7m 39s
    16. The simple (but wrong) approach to red-eye correction
      6m 39s
    17. Channel-mixing red pupils
      9m 18s
    18. The expert approach to red-eye correction
      5m 20s
    19. Fixing problem coronas (pupil edges)
      8m 9s
    20. Making pupils match
      4m 8s
  5. 2h 33m
    1. Chops are dead; long live maskops
      1m 37s
    2. The Calculations command
      8m 16s
    3. Blue Screen blending
      7m 40s
    4. Refining the Blue Screen mask
      5m 53s
    5. Brushing away color fringing
      7m 24s
    6. Locking the transparency of a layer
      6m 22s
    7. Nondestructive layer painting
      7m 36s
    8. How the Add blend mode works
      8m 40s
    9. How the Subtract blend mode works
      6m 43s
    10. Focus, noise, and other masking challenges
      5m 33s
    11. The Add mode in action
      7m 51s
    12. The Subtract mode in action
      8m 25s
    13. Comparing two channels with Difference
      5m 24s
    14. Enhancing the contrast with Curves
      9m 11s
    15. Gathering details with Apply Image
      9m 43s
    16. Dodge highlights, burn shadows
      6m 6s
    17. Dodge and Burn in action
      8m 24s
    18. Painting in the scalp
      10m 1s
    19. Painting away the face and chin
      4m 53s
    20. Compositing complementary images
      4m 13s
    21. Multiply, Minimum, Blur, and Apply Image
      6m 40s
    22. Crafting the final composition
      7m 7s
  6. 1h 57m
    1. Mark of the Pen tool
      1m 35s
    2. The big paths project overview
      6m 51s
    3. How to make a path
      8m 25s
    4. Corner points and freeform polygons
      8m 6s
    5. Editing paths with the arrow tools
      5m 2s
    6. Adding and deleting endpoints
      5m 15s
    7. Adding and deleting interior points
      6m 6s
    8. Converting a path to a selection
      3m 35s
    9. Converting a path to a mask
      6m 38s
    10. Smooth points and control handles
      8m 57s
    11. Making cusp points
      6m 0s
    12. Combining paths in a vector mask
      7m 55s
    13. Turning a path into a shape layer
      8m 57s
    14. Combining paths to make a layer mask
      7m 52s
    15. Mixing layer and vector masks
      10m 14s
    16. Editing character outlines as paths
      8m 39s
    17. Using the Convert Point tool
      7m 8s
  7. 3h 17m
    1. Where there's a will, there's a way
      1m 18s
    2. Masking natural cast shadows
      4m 10s
    3. Applying the cast show
      4m 2s
    4. Creating a difference mask
      3m 7s
    5. Applying an arbitrary map
      3m 50s
    6. Making the flesh mask
      7m 17s
    7. Roughing in an object mask
      6m 49s
    8. Drawing missing details with the Lasso tool
      4m 7s
    9. Combining flesh and object masks
      3m 53s
    10. Amplifying the cast shadow
      4m 10s
    11. Selectively choking edges
      3m 58s
    12. Power duplication in Photoshop
      7m 9s
    13. Masking blond hair
      5m 48s
    14. Using Levels to mask iterations
      3m 14s
    15. Drawing an iteration boundary
      4m 55s
    16. Merging the best of two Levels iterations
      4m 4s
    17. More fun with Dodge and Burn
      6m 14s
    18. Fixing edges with the Pen and Stamp tools
      7m 29s
    19. Pulling from another file with Apply Image
      4m 52s
    20. Blending clipped layers independently
      5m 43s
    21. Building the flame mask
      9m 22s
    22. Amplifying the flame
      3m 53s
    23. Masking an image against a busy background
      5m 15s
    24. The Freeform and Magnetic Pen tools
      6m 52s
    25. Masking with arbitrary maps
      9m 32s
    26. A more deliberate approach to arb maps
      10m 51s
    27. Combining arb maps with paths
      9m 28s
    28. Masking with the help of the History brush
      11m 38s
    29. Creating a High Pass mask
      7m 25s
    30. Coloring in the outlines
      8m 31s
    31. Mastering Calculations
      7m 29s
    32. Subtracting and merging the beak
      11m 6s
  8. 1h 33m
    1. The meaning of bit depth (and why you care)
      2m 50s
    2. Scanning line art in 8-bit and 16-bit
      5m 9s
    3. Measuring the 16-bit difference
      8m 9s
    4. Correcting 8-bit images in the 16-bit space
      9m 31s
    5. Opening a raw image directly in 16-bit
      6m 13s
    6. Editing in Camera Raw, opening in 16-bit
      8m 22s
    7. 16-Bit/channel vs. 32-bit/channel (HDR)
      8m 18s
    8. Working with auto-bracketed photographs
      5m 6s
    9. Using the Merge to HDR command
      6m 0s
    10. Adjusting the HDR preview
      6m 0s
    11. Building a 32-bit sky mask
      6m 29s
    12. Properly exposing land and sky
      4m 25s
    13. Modifying a layer mask in 32-bit
      4m 56s
    14. Converting to and correcting in 16-bit Lab
      12m 7s
  9. 2h 8m
    1. Photoshop flirts with the third dimension
      1m 13s
    2. The displacement map
      8m 24s
    3. Making custom waves
      7m 14s
    4. Creating a Gaussian distribution
      4m 32s
    5. Using a two-channel displacement map
      6m 28s
    6. Creating a rustic edge effect
      8m 21s
    7. Distorting and shading with a DMap
      6m 34s
    8. Moonlight reflecting off water
      8m 48s
    9. Mapping the reflection onto the water
      7m 7s
    10. Dipping the moon into the water
      6m 18s
    11. Turning flesh into stone
      7m 55s
    12. Wrapping the stone around the face
      7m 27s
    13. Softening a displacement map
      8m 5s
    14. Making a repeating watermark pattern
      9m 22s
    15. 3D embossing with Lighting Effects
      10m 48s
    16. The amazing credit card type effect
      6m 56s
    17. Lightening the credit card letters
      6m 16s
    18. Wrapping the background around the text
      6m 27s
  10. 1m 43s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 43s

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