The Future of Image Displacement--and Possibilities Now


I’m working on a little play project called “Printing Humans”. Since we don’t yet have Vector Displacement in c4d or in Octane…I resigned myself to see what could be done only with high res. traditional displacement,

Going to explore using Volumes for this project, but I also wanted to see what could be done purely with displacement.

I started with an high fidelity OBJ file that was a scan of a man. Then created a depth map. 8k. Loioked like this:

And after few minutes of setup this was a test fidelity render.

Surprised it turned out so well. All coming from that one flat greyscale map. There are benefits to using texture-based displacement as one can manipulate the texture in PSD…or build up animated sequences with AE. But of course it is after all…just an image…so the depth data completely fails with hair, ears, neck.

Still…I’m shocked it works so well, esp. w/nostrils

More thoughts as the thread moves along…


For comparison…here is the original polygonal OBJ scan


Why bother to go to such fuss when the quality declines in the process? Well I hope to demonstrate some merits…and then move on to see what can be done w/Volumes.


This forum is so dead with little traffic…I don’t know why I bother to post. It amuses, me I guess. It’s almost a private diary…LOL.

Here is what looms for the future:
Vector Displacement. The only program I know that has robust implementation is ZBrush. It’s coming very soon to Octane. Supposedly c4d supports it, but don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone use it…nor tuts.

Zbrush Vector Disp.


I appreciate the experimentation, I just don’t have anything meaningful to contribute on the topic…


Just notice the view counts on threads these days. Not many people here.

There was already decline due to Reddit and other social networks…then CGSociety messed up the forum for a month…and it’s been sparse.


After over an hour invested…the displacement effect with AE sequence will not work for this.

While technically it all works properly…the displacement is very subtle and delicate. Trying to animate the displacement textures only created shearing and ugliness.

On to volumes. First I must say goodbye to my noble little guy. Here, before I shredded him. I might use this for something else.


New Man. A man of substance…or at least volume. Now I have to totally rethink what I can/should do for animation.! Volumes feature different options/limitations.


I’m listening! But also have nothing to say apart from “very interesting”


If the goal was leprosy (Ben Hur), premature decrepitude (Blade Runner ), or GreyScale (Game of Thrones) perhaps one might explore the Erode/Dilate layer in Volumes–here constrained to the cheek via falloff.

But I’m in a Westworld state of mind…


Half drunk with Escher. But not my goal here.


Anaconda State of Mind…drifting…bedwards.


This thread has redirected fully away from displacement… to Volumes. Continuing exploration.

One idea is to use animated boole to show a “printing process” or building up process.

Here is a smoothed version and a standard version. The idea is to animate between the two as if it’s a print pass.


If this was more than a play project I would need a cleaned up scan. This model was free but raw.


Not to take away from the cool volume tests, but c4d has had vector displacements for around a decade. The rgb displacement mode had been there for several years before i left in 2010, so you may want to check that out. Theres definitely sone demos with the ear sculpting brush demo and such


As I understand, you have to manually generate vector displacement maps from other DCCs or via C4D’s sculpting tools.

To my recollection I’ve never seen it used with much effect. I’d be delighted if someone has more detailed info.

And my hunch is that there would have to be a thoughtful toolset in place to manipulate Vector displaced objects, which we don’t have. Simple displacement is for now a better sandbox. As I’ve reflected on it I do think I could have made the AE image sequence work much better.


Speaking of Vector Displacement…the Octane 2019 c4d experimental release launched on Saturday. It has vector displacement! I’ll post examples in a separate thread.