The Maya scene file and ear vector displacement map can be downloaded here.
When using Color Management in Maya (2017), vector displacement maps should be set to RAW. More information can be found here.
Floating Point Absolute (for floating-point maps) or Signed Encoding (usually 8-bit maps, whose RGB is remapped to the (-1..1) range).
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:
Input attribute for connecting a tangent based vector displacement map.
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.
Catclark subdivision with 6 subdivision iterations
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.
The vector map must be connected to the Vector Displacement of the Displacement node. Be sure to connect the whole attribute and not component by component.
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).
Vector displacement map set to tangent space assigned to deformed geometry.
For more information about vector displacement shaders, click here.
Sea waves displaced using a vector map (right)