Find out how to add an artistic edge to your
shots using displacement maps in Elements.
‘There really is no limit to what you can transform with
this technique, it’s applicable to all genres.’
The Displace Filter & Displacement Maps To Make A Realistic
Follow along with this nine-step tutorial
and discover just how easy it is to wrap artwork onto any subject in your
shots. There really is no limit to what you can transform with this technique,
it’s applicable to all genres including portraits, landscapes and still-life
Find out how you can add an artistic wrap
at home using the same start image that we are, which can be downloaded from
the CD, or alternatively use one of your own. We’ll then take you through all
the necessary steps to create a displacement map using levels before running
the displace filter on your final shot. We’ve opted to add a flag effect,
however, you can use any form of artwork to get the same great results.
Finally, we’ll cover how to blend all the layers together to form a convincing
You don’t have to be an advanced image
editor to achieve the same results at home, as we’ll be taking you step-by-step
through the entire editing process. To show you just how easy it is, we’re
using Photoshop Elements software to create the imaginative effect that many
think is only possible in Photoshop. However, the same steps can still be
applied in both software programs.
1. Prepare your layers
Open the image you want to transform in
Elements and duplicate it via File>Duplicate. Rename your new layer ‘Map’
and then click on it to begin adjustments. Now convert the image to grayscale
2. Amplify contrast
In order for the displacement map to work
you need to ensure there is enough definition in your grayscale image. Go to
Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Levels. Increase contrast by adjusting the
shadows/midtones/highlight sliders along the bottom.
3. Add a blur
Now add blur to your map image via
Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Select preview then increase the radius to
around 1.8 pixels. You can now save your map layer onto your desktop as a
Photoshop file then close it in Elements and click back to the original colour
4. Adjust the layout
Open the Union Jack image and drag it on
top of the car shot to create a separate layer. Now select the flag layer and
reduce its opacity so that you can move it over the car to decide how the
pattern should appear when it’s overlaid.
5. Transform the flag
Go to the Free Transform tool via
Image>Transform>Free Transform to adjust the flag’s size and shape to
suit the car. When you’re happy, bring the layer’s opacity back up to 100% and
go to Filter>Distort>Displace.
6. Displace filter
In the Displace dialog box change both the
horizontal and vertical scales to 25 then click Stretch To Fit and repeat edge
pixels. It will now ask you to select your displacement map, which is the
grayscale map image you saved earlier.
7. Blending mode
Once the displace filter has finished,
change your flag layer’s Blending mode to overlay. Now select the Eraser tool
from the Tools palette on the left-hand side and adjust it to have a suitable
head size with a soft edge and high-opacity setting.
8. Refine the edges
Zoom into your image and slowly begin
erasing parts of the flag from the windows, tyres, lights and road. Adjust the
brush size accordingly to avoid removing too much when working around the
edges. Once finished, flatten your layer via Layer>Flatten Image.
9. Save your image
To add a little more drama and contrast to
the scene go to Enhance>Image Lighting>Brightness/Contrast and carefully
adjust the sliders to suit the shot. Finally, save your image as a JPEG file
Transform a seemingly straightforward shot of a car like this into a piece of
art using the Displace filter
Create a statement shot with any image using the same nine simple tutorial steps