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Wrapping objects with Displacement Maps Photoshop Tutorial

This is the technique that will wrap your art around objects and (seemingly) magically make it hug every contour.


I also have a variation of this tutorial here where I wrap text around a photo. wraptextotoaphoto

Step 1


Begin with a texture, you must be in RGB mode. I have another tutorial under textures that shows you how to create this rock surface. You can also just download it if you wish.

Download rock texture here

Step 2

Click on the Channels palette and click on each channel until you find the one with the most contrast (dark to light). In this case it is the Red channel.


Step 3

We need to make a new document out of the channel.

Either right click/Control+click on the channel area of the channels palette, or click on the top right arrow to open the drop down menu. Choose “duplicate channel.”

Under destination>document, choose new.


Click ok

Step 4

 You will now have a new document. This will become our displacement map. Apply a 0.7 Gaussian blur (Filter>blur>Gaussian blur) to lower the sharp detail a bit. This will make for a smoother image in the end.


Step 5

Save the document as a .psd, I called it displacementMap.psd, any name will work, just remember it and the location. I put mine on the desktop.


We have now created our displacement map for use later on.

Step 6

 On our original document, click on the “RGB” to restore the default channel display.


Step 7

Open the layers panel and add your artwork or text on a new layer. This is the content that you want to warp. Make sure you have everything you want to warp on one layer. If you have text, rasterize it now. (Right click on the layer palette next to the name and choose “rasterize layer” from the pop up menu.


Step 8

Now lets apply the displacement map…



Step 9

 Use the settings shown here when the Displace palette opens.


Click ok

Step 10

 You will now see a browser asking you to choose a displacement map. Navigate to the desktop and load the image we created at the beginning of this tutorial.


Click open

Step 11

 You will now see your artwork distort to hug the texture of the rock.


Lets jazz it up a bit.

Step 12

 Choose Overlay mode to add some realistic blending.

Duplicate the distorted layer to add a bit more strength to the effect. I dropped the opacity of the top layer to 30 to tone it down a bit.

Here is the result on the blending mode.

See how the color blends in with the texture.


Step 13

Here is exactly the same image but with a variation. I added an inner shadow layer style to the top layer


I hope you had fun with this tutorial and learned a lot.

I also have a variation of this tutorial here where I wrap text around a photo. wraptextotoaphoto

PS Don’t forget to follow us on Social Media for more tips.. (I've been posting some fun Instagram and Facebook Stories lately)
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15 responses to “Wrapping objects with Displacement Maps Photoshop Tutorial”

  1. In Photoshop CC we can’t find the Distort>displace under filter option. Can someone teach us how to do it on CC? thanks in advance

  2. This is another really great tutorial – great because it provides a simple example to help begin to understand some potentially complex aspects of Photoshop. I know ‘zip’ about Channels or Displacement Maps but now I have one, clear example to come back to every now and then to gain a little more insight into those ‘complex things’.
    Thanks for another good one, Colin.

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