How to use the displace filter in Photoshop tutorial

Displace filter and how to use it with PSD displacement maps in Photoshop CC 2018 2017 2015 etc.

Displace filter in Photoshop

How to use displace filter in Photoshop tutorial
  1. Filter menu in Photoshop

  2. Distort category

  3. Displace filter

  4. Stretch to fit (or tile depending on the size of the map and image)

  5. Repeat option

  6. Set scaling for the displacement

  7. OK

  8. Select a file to use in Photoshop PSD format in the displace filter

The key file format is PSD.


Video tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


Sources can be anything : sourceThe files can be created from anything such as textures, images, type, vector shapes etc.


You can also generate them from patterns and textures within PS and as they are generally already seamless and no additional work is required beyond saving them from the presets.


Buy Price :$6.49 US Dollars 1000 Amazing maps for use with the tool PSD gallery


PNG files : psdYou can also quickly convert PNG and JPG files to PSD via PS or other applications. You can create your own files for use with the tool even with a couple of brush strokes and save that as a PSD file.


You can save the PNG file to a PSD file via the standard file menu save command


File size : sizeThe file can be any size so when you come to use the effect, you may find it more useful to use the stretch to fit (if it is a large file) or tile (if it is a small file) though it is really up to you and what you want to achieve with the effect.


Apply multiple times : multipleThe displace filter is one of those tools that probably works best when applied multiple times. One application of the filter can look a little limited and a sort of one trick pony. Apply the effect and the magic really happens and even better is to combine the effect with other tools such as noise or oil paint and camera raw effect or poster edges or crystallize etc


If you apply the effect more than once, you can use the same settings and just use the repeat command but personally I prefer to apply with lower settings and apply 10 times than once with a large setting. If you apply the effect multiple times, you can set different scales for the horizontal and vertical such as anything between -999 and 999 (though 999 would result in a very extreme effect)


Trail effect : trailApplying the effect multiple times with a low setting and just repeating can create a sort of trail effect with images. Go to the effect and set the horizontal and vertical to 1 and 1 and set tile option and select a PSD file. Repeat it multiple times to generate multiple copies of the artwork applied across the image.


Just go the repeat command at the top of the menu or create an action


Fade command : fadeOnce you have applied the distortion, you can always fade it via the edit menu and fade command and you can change the opacity of the effect (leave at 100% if you wish) as well as the blending mode


You can set the fade blending mode to darken or multiply (as on the right) or difference etc.


Use on layers : layersAs with many tools in PS, I find that they work best with a layer so before you use the tool, simply duplicate the current layer via the layer menu.


You can then apply it to that layer and then use the layer menu and the blending modes to blend with the original image.


Smart filters : A key thing for me is that the displace can be used with Photoshop smart objects and that means instead of just applying the effect and that is that, you can use it and then change the settings (or delete it totally) at a later stage.


You can also combine multiple smart filters with the smart object and also combine those effects with adjustments and layer effects to create a truly awesome effect. You can also bundle the whole thing up in a new smart object and save the result to the CC libraries.


Actions : actionsYou can use the tool with actions, you store the effect and settings as an action via the actions panel (record a new action) and modify any number of images with the same distortions.




Color channels : It can be used with color channels.


Go to the channels panel and select the red channel and apply the effect to the red channel with horizontal and vertical settings of 10 and 10 and select a map.


Go to the green channel and then apply the effect again but this time set the horizontal and vertical to -20 and -60 say and select a different map this time (it can be the same file). Repeat this with the blue channel. You can create an image with some very unusual red and green and blue color shifts.


Color modes : labAs the tool can be used in RGB as well as CMYK and LAB and with channels, you can create some very interesting colorings using a variety of files (say one a scratchy file, another a ink blot file and so on)


Edit the PSD files : modifiedThe source material is not cast in stone. You can also open the source PSD files and edit them. The key thing is to avoid the seams so if you apply effects then it is probably best to use masks / selections. You can also add brush strokes etc to modify the designs


You can modify the PSD file and then re-use the same file in actions that reference that file.


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