Create displacement maps using shapes in Photoshop tutorial

How to create displacement maps / distortions using Photoshop custom shapes tutorial in CC 2018 2017 2015 2014 CS6 etc

Create displacements using custom shapes

Create displacement maps using shapes in Photoshop tutorial
  1. Open a new document for the custom shape created displacement map

  2. Select custom shape tool and select a preset and apply using the pixel option and set color to gray / black etc

  3. Apply multiple custom shapes (avoid the seams of the document)

  4. Filter menu and offset filter

  5. Set offset such as -1000 and 500px and set the wrap option and OK

  6. Add more Photoshop custom shapes

  7. Use offset filter again

  8. Save the document as a PSD

  9. Use the PSD in texturizer filter / glass filter / displacement.

Video tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


You can use any number of vector presets and you can find them on the web as well as many on this site. The great thing about the vector presets is that they can be any size so you can create a super large files with the tool as well as very small files. You can use the artwork as a layer and then combine that with layer effects and more. If you apply them as a layer effect as well as combine with other presets, it is probably best to flatten the artwork before you apply an offset filter as this may end up with seams appearing in the map.


You can create basic files using the vectors without the offset filter but the offset filter does allow for more complex seamless tiles


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The key thing is that you save the artwork to a PSD file for use with the texturizer / displace / glass etc filters. . Other applications also have their own distortion files and they often use other file types or all file types as well as a native format. In the case of Affinity Photo, you will have to quickly convert the files from PSD to PNG


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