Welcome to my first tutorial. We are going to learn to apply displacement mapping in blender 3D. Displacement mapping is a common used technique in 3D world and is used for altering 3D shapes with image based textures. It can save a lot of time, because with a simple displacement map you can add heights and depths much faster as modelling them. Bumpmaps are usually black and white colored, white means higher and black means lower.
First, if you don’t have Blender 3D yet, download it from the link above and install it in a chosen directory. It is an advantage if you already have knowledge of the blender interface. Since the coming of the the material-nodes there came a lot more options to tweak your materials, including displacement maps. The use of nodes is not implemented in this tutorial.
Shaping: Open blender In the 3dview, were you can see all your models, hit x or delete and press delete selected objects.
Now we are going to add a sphere. Press space (while having the mouse in the 3dview part of the screen, usually the middle part of the screen) Then click add>mess>uvsphere
Just give it 32 segments and 32 rings. (You are automatically transferred to edit mode, where you can shape objects). You will have this:
Shading: Press F5 or that red round shaped button and click add new:
You will now come in the shading tab, we’ll leave it for here now and return later.
After that press F6 or the button circled red and add a texture, using clouds (add new, then texture type: clouds):
Then click in the rectangle beneath your current texture, click add new again and as texture type: image:
You can give up your images location and choose a texture which you like; I used a rusty texture, which gives a nice rusty effect. A lot of textures can be found on cgtextures.com.
Congratulations, you have chosen al the textures we will need.
Now switch back to the material button (press F5). Click on the shaders tab and move ref to 1.000 and specular to 0.00. This alters the refraction and specularity of the material. You may use other value’s, as this tutorial is about displacement and not specularity. Now select the upper tex (tex 002 in my case, the one with the cloud texture) and go to map to.
Deselect col by clicking on it, select disp by clicking one time on it. You also see a slider with nor beneath. You can use that to make the surface more extreme or more flat. Don’t touch it know, as the current value is good, but it is explained in the case you might want to use it later (see for examples below).
Now select the lower texture in the texture tab (the texture with the metal texture), as we have done before. Then go to Map Input and select Sphe by clicking on it. You can see at your right hand that your material has changed. Don’t worry.
World (optional): You can change the world color (the whole environment) to any color or texture you want. It usually is blue. Let’s choose a world color. Go to world buttons, then to blue colored rectangle. Click on it, choose your color and hit enter. (Please not that some world colors (for example black) will affect the visibility of the ball, because the texture is a littl bit dark). I chose gray in my final renders.
Then click render (press F12). If you did everything exactly, you would have something like this:
This doesn’t look so smooth, does it? Let’s change that. Smoothing: Go the the editing tab (press f9), and add a modifier called subsurf. Set levels and render levels to 2.
The Result: Render it again (f12)! Thats it! The outcome is completely based on the textures you have used. You are finally done. I got this:
You can always later add more objects or touch it up in photoshop, if you have the knowledge. Somewhere in the mid I told about the nor slider, this will happen if you give it a higher value:
Experiment with other textures and values and discover the powers of displacement mapping! Congratulations, you finished this very basic tutorial. Download the original .blend file (rust texture not included):