Creating a Displacement Map Object
Maya 2012 Tutorial
How to Add a Displacement Object in Maya
Displacement objects are defined by a grayscale image. The dark portions of the image represent low areas and white specifies more displacement. You can apply grayscale maps to flat plane objects and other shapes as well. If you are creating a polygon displacement object make sure the base object has enough faces to create a smooth surface.
In this example we will add a bitmapped image from Photoshop to a NURBs plane.
Create a new project, set your project and save a new scene in the scenes folder. For more information, see topic, Starting a Project.
In Photoshop, create a 512 pixel x 512 pixel document with a black background.
Add a large white letter to the center of the document.
Choose Layer > Flatten Image, then slightly blur the text by choosing Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.
Save your image as a Targa (tga) file in your project's sourceimages folder. Name the file dispObj.tga.
Returning to Maya, add a 6 unit by 6 unit NURBs plane to the workspace by choosing Create > NURBs Primitives > Plane (include options).
Select the plane, then right-click the plane and choose Assign New Material > Blinn.
Select the plane and open the Attribute Editor, blinn1SG tab.
In the Shading Group Attributes section, click the checkerbox to the right of Displacement Mat.
In the Create Render Node, 2D Textures section, right click the File icon and choose Create Texture.
In the Attribute Editor, file1 tab, click the folder icon to connect to your texture in the sourceimages folder.
Click the Render Current Frame icon to render your object.
The object should appear quite rough. To smooth the object, select the plane and open the Attribute Editor, nurbsPlaneShape tab. Open the Displacement Map section.
Click the Calculate Bounding Box Scale button and increase the Initial Sample Rate to 36. Re-render your scene, the object should look much better.
To control the displacement height, select the object and open the file1 tab in the Attribute Editor. A quick way to get there is to open the blinn tab, then press the lower connection icon next to the Presets button.
Open the Color Balance section and pull the Alpha Gain slider to the left. Re-render your scene to see the decreased displacement.