Displacement Map Photoshop CC Tutorial: Conform Text

displacement map photoshop tutorial

The Photoshop displacement map tutorial will teach you how to wrap text or objects around curved surfaces. The effect uses bright and dark parts from the photo to create a displacement map. This will be used to adapt the text, logo or any graphic which is applied on the photo and simulate a realistic printing on that object.

Use the channels tab, then apply some Gaussian Blur

The channels tab contains three layers (Red, Green, Blue) and you need to choose the one that has the most contrast. Duplicate that channel to a new document and then apply a Gaussian Blur on that image. When the value of the Gaussian Blur will hide the textures in the photo, that’s the perfect blur to apply.
Save your file as a *.psd anywhere you want, you will use it again later.

Create the text and apply the Displacement Map

Activate the text tool using the T shortcut and write anything you want on your image. The color of the text should be 50% grey.
Convert the text layer to a smart object and then change it’s blending mode to Linear Burn.
Apply the displacement map on your text by going to Filter -> Distort -> Displace and then pointing to the *.psd file created earlier.
If the text looks too sharp, apply some Gaussian Blur. I used a 0.6 value.

You want realism? Here is what you need to improve

Enter the Blending Options on the text layer and use the highlights slider in the Underlying Section to reveal some bright parts of the bed sheet texture. Use ALT or Option on a Mac to separate the two handles of the slider and make the transition much softer.
Lower the opacity of the text layer to 75% – 85 %.

If you want to modify your text

If you want to do this after you applied the displacement map, you need to double click the smart layer’s thumbnail. This will open your text layer in a separate tab. Modify your text and then save that file using CTRL + S. Go back to the main document and the text is updated.

Change the text position, but take safety measures

You can change the text position, but the displacement map will not update your layer accordingly. Make sure you right click the Displace effect and choose Edit Smart Filter. Point again to the *.psd file and Photoshop will adjust your text correctly.

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