Recently I did some work on the a project that required me to use some Displacement Maps. I have never used them before, but after playing with them for a bit I soon realised something… they are very awesome.
They do take a little bit of getting used to, so to help with the experimentation I created this little app that makes it easy to test out different image and maps combinations.
The app lets you load in your own images (or use some of my defaults), adjust all the displacement settings and see the final result. It also generates ActionScript 3 code you will need to re-create the effect in your own project.
Now, I was going to attempt and explain what a Displacement Map is and how it all works, but I realised that there are already a bunch of resources out that that can do a better job than me. One in particular that I found quite helpful was this article written by Emanuele Feronato. Most of it is written in AS2, but the concepts are still the same.
I recently created a quick AIR version of this tester so that you don’t need a net connection to test custom images. Its not anything fancy. Just a direct port of this web version, but with local file read access.
You can download the AIR version here: Displacement Map Tester.