Creating Realistic 3D Flag

This tutorial will show you how you can use displacement maps for placing many kinds of design onto many different surfaces. I’m going to map a 2d flag image using a photograph of some crumpled silk to create a realistic 3D flag;

displacement map tutorial

Step 1.) Open your fabric and your flag image in photoshop. Apply gaussian blur to your fabric photograph (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) and experiment with the radius to hide the detail of the fabric and keeping only the folds.

displacement map tutorial

Step 2.) Save your fabric to a PSD file (File > Save as). I saved mine as silk.psd

displacement map tutorial

Step 3.) Starts working on your flag photo. Apply the displacement map filter to your flag with your blurred fabric photo, so mine is the silk.psd file. (Filter > Distort > Displace)

displacement map tutorial

and I get this..

displacement map tutorial

Step 4.) Go back to your fabric photograph and select all area in your fabric photo with your marquee tool or simply by using ctrl+a, copy (ctrl+c), paste it (ctrl+v) on your flag image and change the layer mode to “Hard Light”.

displacement map tutorial

That’s it..and, here’s my final image;

displacement map tutorial

This tutorial is just one of many great tutorials from the book: How to Cheat in Photoshop by Steve Caplin (Shared with permission).

22 Responses to “Creating Realistic 3D Flag”

  1. alete says:

    I’m from argentina what is a fabric??

  2. MadCat says:

    Wow, impressive tutorial. Simple but great.

    As for the question from Alete about fabric. A fabric is square bit of cloth. Often used for sewing things together to create clothing. The base of clothing requires fabric, cotton and uses the skill sewing. Hope that helps!

  3. Leprakawn says:

    This tutorial is perhaps one of the better “Waving Flag” tutorials:

  4. mingdao says:

    This is by far the best waving flag tutorial I’ve ever seen. Very simple and effective.

  5. Swissman says:

    To Alete: I’m also live in Argentina. Fabric means “tela” in Castillan. ;o)

    When you didn’t know any English word, let’s translate it using

  6. KoH says:

    Very good. Can we have your flag texture.

  7. Killer says:

    just tipe into the ‘s picture searcher “fabric” …search there for a good picture

  8. Elvis says:

    Great tut! Easy and accomplishes its task!! I’ve been looking for it for quite sometime!

  9. Mike says:

    Ive been looking for fabric on google and i cant find ne thing ya wanna post one for everyone thx.

    BTW i really like the tutorial its great and realistic, the best 1 ive seen for flags 5/5

  10. Holly says:

    This is a good tutorial, you can make the flag look even more realistic by finishing if off using the Filter > Distort > Wave function and this will allow you to distor the edges so it looks like the flag is waving in the wind.

  11. Seth says:

    Nice! This is the first time I have referred to a tutorial to help with a design. I was very impressed with how my graphic turned out. It worked perfectly. Thank you!

  12. Quanto says:

    I was looking for something like this, thank you for this simple tutorial!
    It was quick and easy, i’ve done four flags in 10 minutes already! 😀

  13. j0rg3 says:

    Great tut!

    The best I have seen using displace. Very simple and effective.

  14. AleX says:

    can you put link for pattren………thank you

  15. France from serbia says:

    great final product but very bad tutorial….

  16. Jin says:

    Could you tell me what picture you used for the grey silk please? I can’t find any as good as yours on google, yahoo or any other website.

    It would be much appreciated


  17. John Williamson says:

    Really nice tutorial. I needed to have the flags edges so I added the following steps.

    1. Change the size of the silk image to the same size as the flag

    2. Increase the canvas size of the flag by 110%. I created a new document with a transparent background for this and copied the flag image in.

    3. Make a copy of the silk image document and increase the canvas size of this to 110%. Again with a transparent background.

    4. Using the 1st silk image (100% one) apply the displacement to both the flag and the 110% silk image. Copy this displacement over the flag. (you may need to nudge it to get it to fit exactly.

    5. Apply the hard light layer mode as above.

    Hopefully useful for some of you. Worked for me.

    Thanks, John.

  18. kashu says:

    you will never know what is fabric coz you wear leaf

  19. Kevin says:

    “fabric” es el material que es utilizado para la fabricacion de ropas. Es tejido en Espanol. 🙂 Espero que te haya ayudado.

  20. People search free says:

    Hi there , – stumbled on this site by accident when drifting around the internet this afternoon, and glad that i did! I do like the page structure and colours, but I need to mention that I’m having difficulty when it loads. I’m using Flock 2 internet browser for mac, and the header does not align correctly. i’m fairly certain I have used a matching layout on a client’s online site, but the menu seems fine Login on mine. I have an idea the problem is with my browser & I reckon that it’s about time to swap!

  21. Marie says:

    I love this tutorial! Thank you so much. Very clear and consise and the result is beautiful! I was making a reproduction of the San Patricio Batallion flag…this made is so much easier. Thank you!!

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