Photoshop: Displacement Filter Overhaul. Live preview of Displacement.

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After Effects allows for the use of one layer from the same project to be used as a displacement map for another, with live manipulation of the values being displaced. Can we get some love in Photoshop for something similar? Even just removing the additional step of saving a seperate PSD before you have to guess what amount of pixels you are displacing the object(because there's no live preview for this filter) would make this less arduous. Live preview of the displacement would be a godsend.
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Jacob Weber

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Posted 3 years ago

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christoph pfaffenbichler, Champion

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Unfortunately I am not optimistic on this as I suspect very few Photoshop users use the Displace Filter even halfway regularly ... 
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Jacob Cappell

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Well, they might, if it was more powerful, flexible, and had live preview.
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Max Johnson, Champion

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I see it as having as much of an application as puppet-warp or perspective tools. I see fairly regular posts about "How do I warp a logo over a shirt?" or "How do I wrap a texture on a face?" that invariably devolve into "Well, there's the Displacement map, but I don't have 40 min to describe how to use it, so here's a link to a youtube video..."
In a perfect world, the interface would be similar to the liquify tool with the option to apply a texture or layer mask as the displacement map, then a realtime preview with a brush to change the map.

Heck, you could piggy-back onto the existing liquify tool dialog and distort the liquify mesh with an optional "diplacement map" section with the option to use a particular layer or alpha channel and pixel displacement adjustements. This would have the added benefit of making the displacement map feature more visible and available to consumers. Plus it's sexy marketing to say "Liquify Tool now included pixel-level micro adjustments through height mapping!"
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christoph pfaffenbichler, Champion

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I wonder if this would have to compete for resources with Warp-improvements requested in at leat one other thread, though, as both might be considered as having similar applications. 
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Jacob Cappell

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Or the map could be editable the way masks are. Its thumbnail could appear to the right of the mask thumbnail. (Granted, it would take some more realtime processing power; masks and blending modes do a 1-to-1 pixel operation for every x,y position, while this would be  a 1-pixel-to-multiple-pixels operation from the original image to the image warped by the displacement map.) Allowing it to be an editable smart object could be even better. (Heck, why can't masks be smart objects?) You could have a toolbar appear while its selected (with options like softness to smooth out discrete bump levels). It could be RGB, and on the toolbar you'd select which channel effected X displacement and which effected Y displacement.
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Franck Payen

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Rosa M.

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Thiiiisssss. I'd also love to see a preview of what the Displacement filter is doing instead of guessing at my settings. So frustrating.

Also, can the displacement please resize with the image? When I resize my image or smart object (with a smart displacement filter applied) it does not retain the position of the displacement file. And I have to start over creating a new displacement psd.  Or is this a bug?
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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Photoshop: Update displace filter.

Seems that this effect hasn't been updated since I first started using photoshop 10+ years ago.  Its very useful for texture artists but having to load in a psd without any real control seems very archaic now.  Could it not be updated with the after effects version which works great?  In after effects you can displace a layer from another layer within the document and set the displacement in x and y from different channels.  Would be a much more intuitive workflow



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I use Displace all the time, and it sure is a drag to run the filter, decide the effect is too much or too little, Undo, and run it again with different percentages, and have to select the file to use as a map again. And if the filter is updated, you should be able to use 16-bit maps as well.
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christoph pfaffenbichler, Champion

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Undo, and run it again with different percentages
With a Smart tFilter the undo-step would be unnecessary. 
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Stefan Klein

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Please Adobe, take care about those ancient filters. After 20 years they should be updated...all of them.