Sculpting/painting directly to an active displacement map

I want to do some sculpting work but not affecting the vertices directly but rather a displacement map directly.

My idea was to paint in texture mode, have it affect a displacement texture which is hooked up to the displacement in material or modifier.

I’m not even sure if this is possible and if so I am not sure how to do it. If there are any other methods to achieve this then that would be great!

What about sculpting on a plane, baking the mesh to a greyscale heightmap then apply it to another plane?

I think you’re more thinking about a bump map than a displacement map, as displacement involve vertices moving.

Maybe this may help you then (i do it in Blender Render mode, no idea how to set it up on Cycles as i don’t use it) :

  • first you need to unwrap your model, then in the UV/Image editor assign a texture that is 0.5 in R, G, B
    http://i.imgur.com/ueLmrPy.jpg

  • now add a material to your model
    http://i.imgur.com/YcJENEP.jpg

  • and to that material you add a new texture, Type to “Image or Movie” , then in the Image tab you set it to the actual texture you just created before , and set the Mapping to UV

  • then in the Influence tab, you disable “Color” and enable “Normal”
    http://i.imgur.com/Wzh4Ewd.jpg

  • In the 3D View, press N and in the Shading tab set it to GLSL
    http://i.imgur.com/Hl5q51M.jpg

  • Change to Textured , then add and/or arrange a few light source to avoid fully dark areas
    http://i.imgur.com/ONLcWR6.jpg

  • Go to Texture Paint mode and paint , you’ll see your painting ported to the image you created , so don’t forget to save it as an actual image file before closing Blender