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Understanding Poser 5 - Displacement Maps

Author: greenguy28

Tools Needed

  • Poser 5


Ever wanted to add something more to your objects, to give them more interest or to create an alien texture? Well now with the displacement node in Poser 5's Material Room, you can! The displacement node does more than a simple bump map, which adds a texture but retains the shape of the object. The displacement node actually changes the shape of the object it affects. Let's go through the basics of this tool.


Step 1 - Getting Started

Load a sphere from the primitive props. If you render now, your scene will look like this:


Very plain, I know. Let's spice this up a little with a displacement map.

Step 2 - Making a Node

Click on the Material tab at the top of the screen. In the Material Room, you see a window showing your current scene and another window that shows several options in a column, each with a plug next to it.


Next to the word 'Displacement, ' you will see a plug. Click and drag, or right-click, on the plug and a menu will appear. Go to 'New node, ' where another window will appear. Continue to '2D Textures, ' and then click on 'image_map' in the final menu.


Step 3 - Selecting an Image Map

An image map node will appear, plugged into the displacement option. The node says that no image source is selected. Click on the word 'None' next to image source.


A window will appear prompting you to select an image file. Click on 'Browse' and choose a file.


Step 4 - The Results of Each Image

Depending on what source image you have, the displacement will vary. Like a bump map, the displacement map is grayscale (black-and-white) and the closer to black, the lower the depression, the closer to white, the higher the extrusion. Here are some examples of image maps and their resulting displacement on the sphere:


Even images that are not in grayscale format can be used. Here, I used a color image, and got great results from it.


Step 5 - Correcting UV Mapping Problems

Sometimes, though, the displacement map will apply in the wrong direction. What can be done? Well, I'm going to apply the striped displacement map I used on the sphere above to a torus (donut ring) to make bands of it raised and depressed. I apply the map as before and' OOPS! It applied in the wrong direction!


What can be done?

Well, why did this incorrect mapping occur? It appears that the map was run along the circumference of the torus rather than around its width.


Let's change the direction it's going in.

Step 6 - Correcting UV Mapping Problems (Continued)

In the Material Room, the image map node from the displacement option has an option that says 'UV.' This is an indication of the dimensions/ directions in which the map is applied. Click on this and choose 'VU, ' the opposite.


When you render, the stripes should be going around the width of the torus now:


Step 7 - Other Application

Now I want to use this for a practical application. I'm going to apply the stripe map to the P5 Catsuit to create a look of knitted fabric. I load the image map as before and apply it to the catsuit and' Something's wrong! The stripes are too big, and now the suit looks warped.


What went wrong? Well, the stripes were fine. But they were too large of a scale for the suit. I want thin stripes. So, going back to the Material Room, we see options on the displacement image map node for adjusting scale. Notice that the U Scale and V Scale are both set at 1. I want the scale to be much smaller, so I played around with the scale until it looked right. I ended up with a value of 0.025 for each. See how the preview from the main column is now made up of thinner stripes?


Step 8 - Final Image

The strength of the displacement was too strong, to the point where it began to distort the mesh. I had to adjust the dial next to 'Displacement' down to 0.1 to get a normal look.


This is the final render of the catsuit (pose from 'V3 Poses' in the Free Model Archive) with the fixed stripes.


I hope this tutorial helped!