I have been having a lot of trouble getting this to work, and I'm hoping someone might be able to help me.

I have a dynamic paint canvas (ground) on which I want to animate the tracks of a vehicle moving across it (animated).

Both ground and vehicle are rigid bodies. I cannot use Vertex displacement, as the required vert density is too high to manage (the ground plane is large).

So I'm baking an image sequence, Displace type as shown here:
Dynamic Canvas Settings

I have to use the depth type of image, as using a displace type only gives a 100% grey image. Using Depth I get small white paint marks where the tracks are touching the ground plane.

So I think I have a usable image, but I cannot get it to actually do anything. Even when using a single image, I cannot get any visible tracks on the ground. I've tried plugging the image into the displacement material output, I've tried adding it as a texture in a new displacement modifier, and I have even tried to use it as a Bump map. In all cases I've tried to multiply and/or invert the image, but nothing is visible at all.

Any suggestions as to how I actually get the below baked depth image or sequence of images to give some visible displacement? I know it just looks black, but there are actually very faint white marks on it... hope that makes sense.

It's very faint, but the track marks are white on a black BG

Zoom in if needed to see the marks.


1 Answer 1


This is an "answer" only because i wanted to attach an image. To ask a basic question, have you tried manually editing your depth image so the contrast is more pronounced? A quick and dirty version of that is below. I am guessing you are not going to see noticeable results from many of the methods you describe if the color differences are too subtle.

displace map

If that fixes the problem, then I guess there are several ways you might increase the contrast in your images, some within blender and some external. It sort of depends on how you're using it, for example if you're using a bump map you might try a brightness/contrast node.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that actually worked to some extent. Still nothing on the Displacement Mat.Out node, but when I use it in a displacement modifier I can see it affecting the terrain, so thank you very much for putting me on the right track. May I ask as an aside, how you would go about either: - efficiently converting 1000 images to this higher contrast type; or - what settings I'd need to adjust to get this result from the image bake in blender? Either way, I think you've put me on the right track. I just need to invert the result so that it's an impression, rather than an addition. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 7:29

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