Maya Displacement Map is a very essential subject when we want to create a terrain object dynamically using a texture map. Similarly, Maya Displacement Map can be used to create many kinds rough surfaces using a texture map. Basically, Maya Displacement Map is very much similar to Maya Bump Map with only one exception. Using the Displacement Map you can get a displaced surface finally not only in rendered output but also in the view-port. The basic advantage of the surface created using the Maya Displacement Map is that, you can position other objects on the rough surface in view-port properly. In this Maya Displacement Map tutorial I want to show you how to create a displaced surface automatically using a simple texture. So, let’s go through this Maya Displacement Map tutorial.
Model to demonstrate the Maya Displacement Map
I have used a simple polygon Plane Primitive with Width, Height, Subdivisions Width and Subdivisions Height value (25, 25, 25 and 25). You can use any kind of polygon model.
Create 2d Texture Map for this Maya Displacement Map
We will create two kinds of Texture Maps, the first is a 2d Texture Map and the second is a 3d Texture Map to get the result from the Maya Displacement Map system. So, at first create a 2d Texture Map in Photoshop like the following.
Assign the 2d Texture Map onto the Plane Primitive for the Maya Displacement Map
To assign the 2d Texture Map onto the Plane Primitive you have to create a surface shader. So, open the Hypershade window using the menu Window > Rendering Editors > Hypershade. Now, in the create pane click on the Blinn node to create a blinn surface shader. Double click on this node (blinn1) created in the work area of the Hypershade window to open its attributes. Now, click on the small button beside the Color scroll bar. Create Render Node window appears. In this window click on the File button in the 2D textures section under the Textures tab. Then click on the small folder icon beside the Image Name field under the File Attributes section in the Attribute Editor and browse the texture-map-image-file from your computer. Then close the Attribute Editor. Now, select the Plane Primitive and go to the Hypershade window. Right click on the node ‘blinn1’ and choose ‘Assign Material To Selection’ option from the right-click marking menu. Now, you can press 6 key from the keyboard to view the texture image in the view-port.
Create and connect a Displacement Map with the surface shader
You can now getting the view of the texture map in the view-port. But notice that there is no displacement according to the texture in the rendered image. So, you have to create and connect a Maya Displacement Map with the surface shader node already assigned onto the Plane Primitive. So, select the ‘blinn1’ node in the work area and choose the menu Graph > Input and Output Connections in the Hypershade window. You can now see all the connected nodes including the shading group node of this Blinn shader in the work area. Now, you have to create a Maya Displacement Map. So, scroll down on the create pane in the Hypershade window and find the Displacement section and expand it. Then click on the Displacement node. You can find the Displacement node in the work area also. Now, connect the Maya Displacement Map node with the required nodes. So, drag the mouse from the ‘displacementShader1’ node to the ‘blinn1SG’ node holding the middle mouse button. You will find a pop-up menu after relaxing the mouse button. From this menu choose ‘Default’. Your Maya Displacement Map node is now connected to the shading group of this Blinn shader. Now, you have to connect the texture map to the Displacement Map. So, drag and drop from the ‘file1’ node to the ‘displacementShader1’ node holding the middle mouse button. And you have done it. You can now view the displacement in your rendered image.
Create displaced surface using the texture image
You can now create a displaced surface according to the texture image. Maya has a unique feature to create a displaced or modified surface. So, you can use this feature. So, select the surface in the view-port and choose from the menu Modify > Convert > Displacement to Polygons. You can now see a duplicate modified surface generated automatically in the view-port. Here, select the original Plane Primitive and hide it by pressing the key Ctrl+h. You can now see only displaced or modified surface in the view-port as the following image.
Create a 3d Displacement Map for this Maya Displacement Map tutorial
Though your Maya Displacement Map tutorial is completed but you should know how to create a 3d Displacement Map in Maya. So, create a new file and a new Plane Primitive with Width, Height, Subdivisions Width and Subdivisions Height value (25, 25, 25 and 25).
Now, open the Hypershade window and create Blinn material and assign this material onto the surface. Now, double click on the ‘blinn1’ node in the work area of the Hypershade window to get its attributes. Click on the small button beside the Color scroll bar under the Common Material Attributes section in the Attribute Editor. Create Render Node window appears. In this window find the 3D Textures section and click on the ‘Stucco’ button. ‘Stucco’ node is now connected with the ‘blinn1’ shading network as the Color value. Change the ‘Channel1’ value to pure white and ‘Channel2’ value to pure black under the ‘Stucco Attributes’ section in the Attribute Editor. Here, you have to enlarge the 3d texture map. So, go to the ‘place3dTexture1’ tab in the Attribute Editor and change all the three scale values (x, y and z) to 12. Now if you press ‘6’ key from the keyboard then you can get the view like the following in the view-port.
Your 3d texture is now connected as the Color value with this Blinn shader. But you have to connect a Displacement Map with the shading network to get the displaced or modified surface. So, select the ‘blinn1’ node and choose from the menu Graph > Input and Output Connections in the Hypershade window. Now, create a Displacement node from the create panel. Your Displacement node is now in the work area also. Connect the Displacement node (displacementShader1) with the shading group node (blinn1SG) and texture map node (stucco1) in the same fashion as stated earlier. And you have done it.
But, if you render the scene now then you will see the color value along with the displaced surface. This isn’t required. So, double click on the ‘blinn1’ node in the Hypershade window to get its attributes another time. Then right click on the ‘Color’ mentioned text under the ‘Common Material Attributes’ section and choose ‘Break Connection’ from the pop-up menu. Now, re-render the scene to get the view like the following (last section of the image).
You can also create a displaced polygon surface using the Displacement Map by selecting the surface in the view-port and using the menu Modify > Convert > Displacement to Polygons. After that you can delete everything in the view except the newly generated displaced surface.
I think this Maya Displacement Map tutorial is helpful to you. Try experimenting with Maya Displacement Map.