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).

See also: Photoshop Tutorials

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Comment by alete
2006-06-18 08:42:48

I’m from argentina what is a fabric??

Comment by kashu
2010-01-19 00:02:09

you will never know what is fabric coz you wear leaf

Comment by Kevin Subscribed to comments via email
2011-06-18 23:54:31

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

Comment by MadCat
2006-06-18 10:33:16

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!

Comment by Leprakawn
2006-06-19 21:27:45

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

Comment by mingdao
2006-06-20 12:21:28

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

Comment by Swissman
2006-06-23 12:42:23

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

Comment by KoH
2006-06-25 09:09:20

Very good. Can we have your flag texture.

Comment by Killer
2006-07-09 02:29:35

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

Comment by Elvis
2006-07-31 12:15:28

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

Comment by Mike
2006-09-22 00:47:15

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

Comment by Holly
2007-01-24 15:39:51

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.

Comment by Seth
2007-02-04 17:58:16

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!

Comment by Quanto
2007-06-25 19:06:55

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! :D

Comment by j0rg3
2007-06-30 05:22:17

Great tut!

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

Comment by AleX
2007-09-30 00:24:09

can you put link for pattren………thank you

Comment by France from serbia
2007-12-12 03:27:34

great final product but very bad tutorial….

Comment by Jin Subscribed to comments via email
2008-01-02 08:53:26

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


Comment by kuldeep
Comment by John Williamson Subscribed to comments via email
2008-03-15 04:34:36

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.

Comment by People search free
2011-08-08 12:29:57

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!

Comment by Marie
2012-10-03 11:37:46

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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