Game Development Reference
Displacement and Use For Vertical Displacement drop-down
menus to Luminance, and I changed both the Max Horizontal
Displacement and Max Vertical Displacement values to 5.
Making Maps Externally
While making maps in After Effects is the quickest way to go,
it doesn't always allow for the most possible control in map cre-
ation. For detailed maps (such as those created for photorealis-
tic character displacement with the Displacement Map effect),
I usually use an external program, such as Adobe Photoshop.
Obviously, you can't go wrong using Photoshop with After Effects.
These two applications are brothers from another mother.
However, there are a few additional issues (and tips) we need to
be aware of when traversing this path.
Layer Size and Map Size
Many effects that use maps have built-in contingency plans for
how to handle maps that are a different size than the layer. These
settings typically allow you to center the map, tile it, or some-
thing along those lines. However, if you're using maps to create
a specifi c and detailed result, then these might produce undesir-
able results. This is usually the case with maps—such as shatter
or displacement maps—that often have to line up perfectly with
the layer with the effect applied to it.
For this reason, I always import such Photoshop documents as
a Composition, not as Composition—Cropped Layers. This guar-
antees that the size of the layer to be affected and the size of the
map layer are imported at the exact same size. I fi nd that this is
the best way to achieve consistent results with maps that must
line up perfectly with the layers they will adjust.
I realize that the Center option in effects that use maps will
align the centers of both layers. But if the edges of one of the lay-
ers is off just a little, then the effect might treat them as different
sizes, which can throw off your fi nal results.
Editing Maps Created Externally
If you have a map created in Photoshop that you need to edit,
a shortcut has been created for you in After Effects. First, select
the footage in the Project panel. It must be the actual footage
itself, not a composition or a folder containing the footage. Then,
select Edit>Edit Original from the top of the interface, or use the
keyboard shortcut Ctrl+E (Win)/Cmd+E (Mac). This will launch
Photoshop (if it's not already open), and it will open the selected
document in Photoshop for editing.