Using Height Maps and Pixel Displacement!

Objective: Use a height map to give 2D materials into a 3D material!

When it comes to making natural environments HDRP excels. We are going to start by creating a plane object in your scene.

I am going to use a stone material from File base, but feel free to use a similar 2D material to follow along.

When your material is imported into your scene select it and upgrade it to the HDRP.

Now, you can take your material and drop it onto the plane.

This looks like the URP version of this material. First adjustment I want to make is to make it darker using the color.

Next, you can adjust the smoothness remapping to control the how much reflection we want off this object.

We can now move on to Mesh deformation. There are two options: displacement or tessellation. We are going to focus on displacement for this tutorial. To use displacement, we need a height map. Select the texture and open in explorer.

Drag the texture into Photoshop.

Select the ‘Filter’ tab > 3D > Generate Bump Map

This is a little dark so we need to go to the ‘Image’ tab > Auto Contrast

This is good, now we need to save as and name it with the same with the extension ‘_Height’.

Displacement mode has two options: Vertex and Pixel.

Choose pixel, and it creates a Height Map option. Select your newly created height map and drop it into the heigh map option.

Now the stones have been displaced by the height map. Now this 2D material looks 3D. Remember, this is a plane. This method is used primarily for walkways or terrain. You can further the adjustments like the min/max steps, or the normal map space.

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