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VRay.com - Your source for all things VRay  ::  VRay for SketchUp  ::  Manual  ::  Displacement

VRay for SketchUp Manual

VRay for SketchUp Manual


Displacement allows you to recreate the texture of a surface by using a black and white image to describe the varying height of the surface. This is very similar to how bump mapping works, but each method does this in a different way. Bump mapping simply shifts the surface according to the image applied to it, without actually changing the geometric structure of the surface. This causes bump mapping to be somewhat limited in its capabilities of representing those surfaces. Displacement on the other hand actually creates the geometry that is described by the image. This is done by subdividing a given piece of geometry and adjusting the individual heights of all of the faces based on the image that it is describing. The result is a surface that produces a much more accurate and realistic result.

Adding Displacement

Using displacement is very similar to using bump mapping. In fact, you can probably use your current bump maps as displacement maps. In the Maps rollout of the material options there will be an option for Displacement. Enable displacement by clicking the check box on the left, and the proceed to click on the "m" to add a displacement map. Although textures are used for displacement maps in most situations it is possible to add a displacement map via the procedural mapping.

Once either a texture or procedural mapping is added there is one last thing that you will have to pay attention to while still in the texture editor, and that is the multiplier. The multiplier is what is actually going to determine the final size of the displacement this will reference the Amount value in the Displacement rollout.

Displacement Parameters

Displacement Parameters

In the V-Ray for SketchUp Options there is a rollout which contains the parameters for displacement. It is important to note that these are global controls for all of the displacement throughout the scene. Currently there is no individual controls on a per object or material level. This means that you must be aware of the settings within this rollout when adjusting an individual material’s displacement.

The Amount value may possibly be the most important value within the rollout, as this value will determine the scale of all displacement. The Amount value is the number of scene units of an object with the texture multiplier set to 1. This means that one could adjust the affect of displacement through either the Amount value or the texture multiplier, but because the Amount value affects all displacement, it is recommended that it be left constant and the texture multiplier be used to adjust the displacement of an individual material.

Both the Maximum Subdivisions and the Edge Length will affect the quality and speed of the displaced mesh. Maximum Subdivisions will control the amount of subdivided triangles that are allowed to be created from a single triangle of the original mesh. In general, it is better to have a slightly denser mesh and lower maximum subdivision rather than a simpler mesh and a higher maximum subdivision. Depending on density of the render mesh created by SketchUp, the max subdivisions may not necessarily come into play. The edge length will determine the maximum length of a single triangle. By default this value is expressed in pixels, but if you disable View-Dependant then the edge length value will reference your scene units. Smaller values will lead to a higher quality, while larger values will decrease the quality.

Adjusting Displacement

Depending on how you set up your global displacement values you can set up your texture multipliers in one of two ways. The first way, which is the simplest, is to keep the Amount value in the displacement options at 1 and to adjust the texture intensity as an expression of scene units. The plane on the left has a texture multiplier of .5, which in this case leads to a maximum displacement of .5 units. The plane on the right has a multiplier and maximum displacement of 2.

Displacement multiplier example

The second way to set up displacement is by making the maximum displacement the Amount Value in the V-Ray options and setting the texture multipliers as a percentage of that maximum value. It the case of the two example planes below, the Amount value is two. The plane on the right has a texture multiplier of .25 and the plane on the left has a multiplier of 1. You will notice that the rendered image is the same in both cases. That is because it is does not matter the method that is chose, only that the multipliers are inline with the desired effect.

Displacement multiplier example

The image below is an example of the different quality settings for displacement. The plane on the left has an Edge Length of 24 pixels and a Maximum Subdivision of 6. The plane on the right has an Edge Length of 2 pixels and a Maximum Subdivision of 512.

Displacement multiplier example

Here is a comparison of bump mapping (left) and displacement (right). Both the maps and intensities are the same. As you can see the bump map is limited in its ability to create the depth that is capable with displacement.

Displacement multiplier example

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