UV-Based displacement mapping

OK, I asked about how to do this before and was told it isn’t possible, but I really think it ought to be possible and since there’s a new version of Blender out now, I figured I’d re-ask:
Can UV textures be used to displace the geometry of a mesh?
I’ve Included a screenshot that illustrates what I’m trying to do. I want to “carve” a 2D graphic into the geometry of a ring. This is a sloppy example of the type of thing I’m trying to do, but you can get the idea.
You can see why the sculpt tool wont suffice (one can’t perfectly re-create the existing graphic by sculpting), and a simple texture of an image won’t suffice either (because textures can only be applied to one axis).
Also, if displacement mapping isn’t the best solution to achieve such results, maybe someone can point me in the right direction using another method?


I realy don’t understand your trouble is it what you mean?


For the ring material, ensure you have your texture UV Mapped, namely using a texture channel mapped to UV. See wiki http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual/Texture_Channels and the next page for mapping the input using the UV Texture. Then in the Map To panel, click the Disp button, and use the Disp slider to control how much effect the image has. The object must be subdivided enough to have vertices that can move.

The other way, showed by the previous post, is to “Map To” NOR or Normals, which is also called bump mapping, which changes the light reflection off the surface to look like it is indented with the texture. In this case, use the Nor slider to increase/decrease the effect.

Thanks, PapaSmurf. I knew it had to be possible! I’ve made progress with the advice you’ve given me…almost there. The challenge I now face is: the Displacement slider is no longer controlling the amount of displacement. Do I have to change something in the texture settings?
Here’s a screenshot for reference, using Suzanne as an example. As you can see, the mesh has way too much displacement, and yet the Disp slider is at zero.
Please advise.

  • QA


Turn down the “Nor” slider.

Thanks, Cire! It works!
Now one last thing… how do I apply it to the mesh? It shows up in the render, but still isn’t part of the geometry, so it won’t show up when the mesh is exported.

Use the displacement modifier, instead of texture-based displacement. But be aware, your mesh will need a high amount of detail (high poly-count).

How come the nor slider affects displacement?!?

I believe it’s because the faces are displaced along their normals.

That looks like a bug. Tooltips say nor = “Sets the amount the texture affects normal values” and disp = “Sets the amount the texture displaces the surface”, or something along those lines.

OK, I’m using the displacement modifier now, but I see no option to use the UV Map. It’s just displacing the mesh from the texture as-is. You can tell because of the streaking.

So do the MapTo or MapInput settings even matter anymore, now that we’re using a modifier? Not clear on where the modifier can get the UV Map data.

Here’s a screenshot.



I’ve not used it yet, so forgive me if I’m in error. I guess you could probably get the data from the drop-down menu on the left of your screen-shot labeled “local”. If you open it up, there’s an option marked “UV”


Thanks enhzflep! I somehow completely overlooked that!

It works! I’m very excited because I’ve wanted to use this technique for a long time. Thanks everyone!