Displacement Mapping in Photoshop

Displacement Mapping in Photoshop

This tutorial has been viewed: 5139 times


We are going to be creating an image like below using a technique called displacement mapping.


A displacement map allows you to wrap images or other content over a background image so they blend in with it

First off you are going to need to download the water background used in the tutorial in a .psd format, click Here to Download
now you are to need two documents with the water background in them so just copy the water texture, create a new document of the same size and paste it in that new document. While you are in the new


Guassian Blur blends the document together so that when we do our displacement effect it wont be so drastic.

document go to filter > guassian blur and set the setting to about 1.0

Now go to File > Save and save that document (in .psd format) wherever you want on your hard-drive just remember where you save it too. Now go back to the other document, (without the gaussian blur) and type in whatever text you want, it’s best if you use a font that is thick and set to bold, below I used Placard Condensed, set to Bold, and at 72pt font you can use


Having trouble getting the font size right? press ctrl+t with the text layer selected to get that font size just right!

whatever font you think looks cool though.

Now you need to Rasterize the text layer, Right click on the Layer with your text on it


What Rasterizing does is basically make the text layer exactly like any other layer so you can do filters to it, you cannot edit text after you rasterize it.

and choose Rasterize Layer.
Now we are going to use the .psd file we saved earlier, first with the rasterized text layer selected go to Filter > Distort > Displace use the following settings

When it asks you to select a file, select the .psd file you saved earlier then press ok, if all goes well you should come out with this

Set the blending mode of that layer to Overlay and apply the following style settings to the layer

Which should result in

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!


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  1. Jordan Garn Said: Comment by Jordan Garn on January 10, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for reading the tutorial, please leave some feedback!


  2. Ben Dover Said: Comment by Ben Dover on January 10, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    I really liked the tutorial!


  3. Jordan Garn Said: Comment by Jordan Garn on January 10, 2009 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    testing of comments


  4. gfxdude Said: Comment by gfxdude on February 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    thanks !! very helpful post!


  5. Alirat Said: Comment by Alirat on June 12, 2009 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    Way cool!


  6. Debbie Said: Comment by Debbie on June 13, 2009 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Wow, this is a great tutorial. Thank you for doing this.


  7. HP printerinkt Said: Comment by HP printerinkt on May 8, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Very cool effect. Thanks for sharing


  8. cartoon illustrated maps Said: Comment by cartoon illustrated maps on April 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I am having a great time reading your well-researched content. You make a lot of sense to me on this subject. I will be back.



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