i've been purchasing some textures of Textures.com. The thing is that some of these have a displacement and some others have something called "Height". At first i thought it was the same thing but after watching closely, they don't seem to be the same (or maybe i'm bad at observation).

The thing is that i need to know what does this map mean. It's the same as a "displacement" map?

If not, where should i connect it in the node editor?


You can see the differences here: https://www.textures.com/download/substance0043/127911?q=seamless&filter=3d_materials

The thing is that in a displacement map, a valour means sinking and the other lifting, but in the second texture group you can see that a black valour(which is sinking), is in a place where in the colour image is not sinking but lifting instead (a lifting flagstone).

You can see the same happening here in this texture pack: https://www.textures.com/download/substance0045/127923?q=seamless&filter=3d_materials

While in this other, instead, the height map looks more like a displacement map: https://www.textures.com/download/3dscans0027/126894?q=seamless&filter=3d_materials

Now you see what i mean?

The thing is that these texture (mostly or entirely, i guess), are made for Zbrush

I hope this clear the things up :)

  • $\begingroup$ Could you descibe them? From what you have said I expect the are B/W images that works exactly as a displacement map. If you would like to use them to alter the normals of a BSDF, you can use the bump node which has an imput socket exactly called Height in Cycles. Or they can be used to drive the major displacement of a Displace modifier, leaving the minor details to a normal map... it depends on how they were intended to use. $\endgroup$
    – Carlo
    Feb 11, 2018 at 9:58
  • $\begingroup$ I made an edit, you can see what i mean in there. $\endgroup$
    – J. J.
    Feb 11, 2018 at 12:08
  • $\begingroup$ I would treat them as a displacement map. The maps you show are meant to be used in a generic engine with pbr workflow, the adaptation for Cycles depends on the needs of your project. Could you clarify where exactly you see incongruences between the colormap and the heightmap in the examples you provide? $\endgroup$
    – Carlo
    Feb 11, 2018 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ I don't see a texture named "displacement" in any of those links? $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Feb 11, 2018 at 19:19
  • $\begingroup$ The incongruences that i found are that in some tile floor displacements the black means sink and the white means lift, but in the height ones some textures has a height map with black colours where there is not a "sink" in the colour image, because remember that black means "sinking" in a displacement map. But anyways. thanks for the help. I'll use them as a displacement map from now on :) $\endgroup$
    – J. J.
    Feb 12, 2018 at 4:46

1 Answer 1


Height map means that it has values of height from the surface mapped to color values in an image file. This usually means that black is the level of the surface and the lighter it gets the higher off the surface it is, however it could be implemented the other way around in some rendering engine and the maps could still be called the same.

This kind of a map can be used as a bump map or a displacement map depending on your needs and choice. Displacement maps can also consist of vectors. In that case 3 values are stored in the image to define the offset of the surface in 3 directions. In that case the displacement map would usually not be called a height map.

There is no real difference between a height map and a displacement map usually, however there is a small difference in the meaning of the names. A height map can be a displacement map as well as a bump map, however a displacement map does not necessarily need to be a height map. A bump map is pretty much always a height map. That is all as far as I know.


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