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

When using Color Management in Maya (2017), vector displacement maps should be set to RAW. More information can be found here.

 

Displacement

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Vector Displacement

Input attribute for connecting a vector displacement map.

Scale

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Vector Encoding

Floating Point Absolute (for floating-point maps) or Signed Encoding (usually 8-bit maps, whose RGB is remapped to the (-1..1) range).

Vector Space

Can be World, Object, Tangent. This is the coordinate space where the vector is applied. The default is Tangent. If so, there are three ways of defining the tangent:

  1. Having a UV space, so that the shader can use the U derivative as the tangent direction
  2. Specifying a Tangent vector by hand (for instance 1,0,0 for a flat grid) or mapping it via a texture. This option is used if the Tangent vector is not null (0,0,0).
  3. Letting Arnold do its best to guess a tangent. The shader defaults to this option if there is no UV space and Tangent is null.

Tangent

Input attribute for connecting a tangent based vector displacement map. 

Workflow

  • First, you must set the Subdivision Type to Catclark and increase the Subdivision Iterations. 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.

Center

Catclark subdivision with 6 subdivision iterations

 

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Center

Vector Displacement map connected to Vector Displacement attribute of a Maya displacement node (Vector space set to Tangent)

 

 

 

  • The image is computed in tangent space, which works well in conjunction with deformed geometry (see the image below). MtoA supports all the Vector Spaces from the Maya Displacement shader (Object, World, and Tangent).

Center

Vector displacement map set to tangent space assigned to deformed geometry.

Info

For more information about vector displacement shaders, click here.

 

 

Center

Sea waves displaced using a vector map (right)