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The ear vector displacement map can be downloaded here. The scene file can be downloaded here.





Multiexcerpt include


  • First, you must set the Subdivision Type of the object to Catclark and increase the Subdivision Iterations (Arnold Parameters > Subdivision). Start off with low values and steadily increase the number until you achieve a good quality displacement effect. Subdividing the base mesh is essential. Otherwise, you will start to see faceting and normal mismatch issues when using low polygon base meshes.



  • In this case, we have exported a preset vector map from Mudbox and rendered it with Arnold. It was exported as a 32-bit EXR image to retain the highest quality for the vector displacement effect.

  • Create an Arnold Shader Network Material with a standard_surface (Material Browser / Create > Arnold > Surface > standard_surface) and assign it to the plane.
  • Select the Arnold Material and click on Open network editor... to open up the Arnold Shader Network Editor.
  • Create a Vector displacement shader and connect its output port to the Arnold Displacement port.

Create Arnold Displacement port from the Arnold output port menu (red square).


  • Create an Image shader and connect its output to the Vector displacement attribute of the vector displacement shader. 
  • Under Image name, open the ear vector displacement map (EAR.exr). 
  • Select the vector displacement shader and increase the Scale to around 4.
  • Set the Vector space to Tangent.

Final vector displacement shader settings


The image is computed in tangent space, which works well in conjunction with deformed geometry (see the image below).


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Further example: Sea waves are displaced using the vector map (right)