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Download: Displacement Maps for Adobe Photoshop, Series 2

15 crumpled paper textures By Dave Nagel
Displacement maps can be used in Adobe Photoshop to add both depth and texture to an image. We previously offered up a set of displacement maps designed just to produce depth effects--a set of gradients used to create wavy effects. This time around, we have a set of maps designed to add a little bit of depth and a lot of texture to the image--in this case, a crumpled paper texture.

The displacement maps
The texture/displaceent maps in this week's collection are designed to be used in a way similar to the previous collection. That is, you displace one element in your image using the luminance values of another image. And you then overlay that texture onto your object to add shading to it for even more depth. (The specific technique is outlined in a separate article, which you can read by clicking here.)

The difference this time is that the displacement maps aren't gradients, but rather standalone texture files. (I'm working on a way to get you some automatic paper texture generators; stay tuned for that.) But they're used in almost the same way.

Here's an example of one of the displacement maps from this collection in action.

And here's an example of that same displacement map in combination with one of the gradient displacement maps from our previous collection, bringing more depth and a little softness into the image. (You will find the previous collection by clicking here.)

Both of those examples were created using a simple foreground object.

To which was applied the paper displacement map (displaced three pixels horizontally and three vertically). The map itself was then used as a pattern overlay to add the texture into the image. (More on converting these images to pattern overlays below.)

You can see that by using the paper texture displacement map, you get not only a nice, rumpled kind of paper effect, but also the appearance of frayed, torn and otherwise rough edges.

Here's a look at all of the textures included in this collection. These are, of course, shrunken down to fit on this page. The actual sizes for each of the images is 720 x 720 pixels, which I figured would be a good resolution for use in SD video composites, should the need arise.

I should add that these maps can be scaled to suit your needs without losing too much in the way of detail, since they're being used as overlays and texture sources, rather than as primary elements in your composition.

Download and installation
As usual, this week's collection is available free of charge for use in both commercial and non-commercial projects. But I am interested in how these elements are being used, so please drop me a line at with any information you can provide on how you're using them and where I might see examples. These displacement maps, being simple JPEG images, support pretty much any graphics tool that's come onto the market in the last 10,000 years--and that includes programs like Apple Motion and Adobe After Effects, should you wish to use these displacement maps in a motion graphics project.

To download the displacement maps (NagelSeries2-Displacement), follow the download link below.

Download: Nagel Series 2 Displacement Maps (1.2 MB zip archive)

Once you download the file (, decompress it. You will then have a folder full of 15 JPEG images, which are the displacement maps. They do not need to be stored in any particular place on your hard drive.

However, if you wish to convert them into patterns so tat you can use them as Pattern Overlays, I'll outline the process for you. (I did not provide these images as a pattern file because it would have increased the download size to more than 16 MB, and our servers are slow enough as it is.)

Here's how you do it.

1. Open up the image in Photoshop.

2. Chose Edit > Define Pattern.

3. Click OK in the dialog that pops up.

Now you can use the pattern in a couple different ways First, you can use them as a Layer Style by choosing Layer > Layer Style > Pattern Overlay. The new pattern will be available in the list of patterns you have installed.

Or you can use the pattern as a fill layer by choosing Layer  New Fill Layer > Pattern.

Note that I did not make these seamlessly tiling patterns for the simple reason that detailed images with random textures like these do not work well at all as seamless tiles. But feel free to try to make them seamless using whatever tool it is you use for that purpose (such as Photoshop's built-in Pattern Maker).

Okay, so that's it. Remember, if you'd like to find more of our free downloads, you can locate them by clicking on the links below.
If you have any questions, be sure to post them in our Adobe Photoshop forum, which you can access by clicking here.

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