Several incarnations of Photoshop ago there was a lot of excitement about displacement mapping. Using a black and white image to create a map over which an image could be “bent” to create a more realistic look. It was interesting, but seemed very complex. In that era, computers moved a little slower and sometimes a lack of patience won out over computing time.
Fast forward 10 years and the displace function of Photoshop, while not forgotten, has lost a little of its star power. It’s still a great tool to mimic a graphic overlaying a textured surface.
Graphic Design and Communications students tried displacement mapping with great results. Some images work better with a map than others, but the process helped students learn the steps involved and open their minds to the uses of the technique.