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I'v created an animation with a simple displace modifier and textures and it looks just fine in rendered view, but as soon as I hit "render" it deforms to this low poly mess. What am I doing wrong?

picture with a screenshot of the original on the left and the problematic result on the right

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    $\begingroup$ Recommend having modifier settings in screenshot, and / or upload a demo file $\endgroup$
    – batFINGER
    Aug 12 '18 at 7:09
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    $\begingroup$ Are your render subsurf levels different from the viewport levels? $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Aug 12 '18 at 7:12
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Modifiers can be disabled in viewport and/or render. The subsurf and multires modifiers also have different settings for render and viewport.

The camera icon controls the render view and the eye icon controls the viewport.

a subsurf modifier not visible in render

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