I thought this would look interesting with other forms.

I know I could eventually accomplish something like this completely manually—but true workflows are what get my gears grinding.

I imagine there must be a way to take a mesh and have it relate to the displacement? Could this be animated? That would be so cool.

If anyone has any insight I’d love to hear it.



  • $\begingroup$ As an alternative to the existing answers, you could also use a shrink wrap modifier with mode set to Project and a 3D letter object. $\endgroup$ – Robert Gützkow Nov 2 '19 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you so much :) $\endgroup$ – John Nov 4 '19 at 13:28

You can use displacement.

  1. Open a movie or image file.
    movie input
  2. Create a cuboid, stretched along its X-Axis and add an array modifier, duplicating it along the Y-Axis. I choose a relative offset off 2 in the array modifier, this creates gaps between the stripes. In edit mode add a lot of loopcuts along the longest axis, in my case X.
    create cuboids
  3. Apply the modifier.
  4. Unwrap it from the top view by pressing U (Unwrap) and choosing Project From View (Bounds). This will unwrap the image exactly as you are currently seeing it in the 3D View. Go to the UV editor and select all. Press . and choose Individual Origins as the Pivot Point. The scale SY the individual islands along Y towards 0. During the scale operation you can type 0 and confirm with ⏎ Enter.
    scaling islands
  5. Finally, add a displacement modifier to the arrayed cuboids. Choose Z as the displacement axis and UV for the coordinates.
    displacement settings

This results in the displaced geometry.


Consider blurring the movie or image file as a preprocessing step to create smoother transitions.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for such a detailed and clear answer. I will definitely be playing around with this method. $\endgroup$ – John Nov 4 '19 at 13:28

Leander's Answer is great.

This is my attempt with a mesh and not with an image:

I created a 60 subdivided plane, made it cloth (silk preset with augmented mass at 5 Kg, let it drop over the R letter (a mesh with collision phisic attribute).

enter image description here

Then I created another subdivided plane, shrinkwrapped it over the cloth, deleted every other line of vertices (so to obtain a serie of evenly spaced lines, extruded in Z axis, added a solidify modifier and a subsurf.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Another great method, thank you so much :) $\endgroup$ – John Nov 4 '19 at 13:29

To do what I have done here.

  1. Make a few 2-4 loop cuts (Depends on what you want to do)

  2. Loop cut inside of those

  3. Select the vertexes you want to be the highest (Get both top and bottom)
  4. Enable proportional editing smooth setting
  5. Press G then Z to drag up use the scroll wheel to change influence on other Vertexes

You can do this with individual vertexes but make sure there is enough geometry when doing it.

enter image description here


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