Wrinkled Text Using Displacement Map

Step 1 : Open the image you’ll be using for the text. Here, we’ll be using the wrinkled paper texture below. You can download the stock HERE.

Step 2 : Go to the Channels palette and select which of the RGB has the greatest contrast. In this case, I selected the Green channel which gives the best result. Duplicate this channel by right-clicking it and select Duplicate Channel. A Duplicate Channel dialog box appears. Name the duplicate channel as Map, and under Document, select New.

Step 3 : The new image that appears as a result is a black and white. We will use this as our displacement map. Smooth this via the Gaussian Blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur…), and set the blur value to 0.7 pixel. Save this to your hard drive and name it Map.psd. Close this image for now.

Step 4 : Switch back to Channels. Click RGB to activate it. Now go to Layers tab and then select the Type Tool.

Step 5 : Type the text you want. I typed WRINKLED here. A new layer will be seen in the layers palette as a result (named WRINKLED). Right-click this layer and select Rasterize.

Step 6 : Time to apply the displacement stuff. Go to Filter>Distort>Displace… A dialog box appears. Leave all the values to their default settings and click Ok. You will then be prompted to open a file. Open the file we saved earlier (e.g., Map.psd). The Displacement Map has been applied here and a wrinkled text comes into view!

Step 7 : Duplicate the above layer, set Mode to Overlay, and Opacity to 70. Merge all visible layers, then Save.

Here’s the final result:

20 responses to “Wrinkled Text Using Displacement Map

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  6. I’ve seen this kind of tutorial a dozen times and it’s wrong. You can’t ever get a proper displacement using this method. Look carefully! See how the letters unnaturally curve into the folds? It wouldn’t do that if it was actually printed on the paper.
    So what’s wrong? Basically whoever invented this method has no idea how the displacement filter works. What you need is a heightmap, a higher value means more displacement. But a photo like this doesn’t fulfill this requirement. The top of the fold will have a sudden change from light to dark, even though the height is basically the same. The photo gives you something akin to a normal map, that is the value determines the normal of the surface (at least along the axis of the light source), not the height!
    Fortunately you can fix this. You can generate a heightmap using a photo. I recommend crazybump, it’s free. Open the photo and click on the displacement tab. Use the sliders to get a good result, you may have to click on “invert shape recognition”. Remember, the result should have the highest value at the top of the folds or wrinkles! Then proceed as usual and use this texture as the displacement filter in Photoshop. But don’t do as shown in this tutorial, it hurts the eye.

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