A new experimental feature that comes with Blender 2.78 for Cycles is that you can affect the geometry's displacement by plugging in a texture into the displacement input of the material output and setting the bump method to true.

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My question is: Can you apply this deformation somehow? And if yes how and if no are there any work arounds?

  • $\begingroup$ for a workaround read: blender.stackexchange.com/questions/67577/… $\endgroup$ – cegaton May 1 '17 at 6:16
  • $\begingroup$ The experimental displacement is still "experimental" and not that stable or flexible yet, or doesn't have a direct way to bake it as far as I know. Look into using a displacement modifier instead. The modifier you can make permanent by "applying it". For more info read: blender.stackexchange.com/questions/50440/… and blender.stackexchange.com/questions/45873/… $\endgroup$ – cegaton May 1 '17 at 6:25
  • $\begingroup$ thanks for your explanation. The reason I want to "apply" the displacement is as a have a procedural texture that being used to displacement my plane. Oh well I guess I'll just have to resort to baking it and using the displacement modifier as you were saying. $\endgroup$ – Nils Eisen May 1 '17 at 6:35

There is no way to do that (at least currently) and unless your object covers a distance that would make adaptive subdivision useful (has parts that are far and others that are close), you should use a Subdivision Surface and a Displace modifier. If your object does cover a big distance and you want to have a decreasing amount of detail over the distance, the only workaround I know is dyntopo.

  1. in sculpt mode, select the SculptDraw brush and set the strength to zero.
  2. enable Dyntopo in relative detail mode
  3. from your camera's point of view, paint a stroke at each distance step. Don't paint a single stroke ! The detail is defined from where you click and stays this way until you release the click, so if you paint multiple strokes in multiple steps, it should give a very similar result to adaptive subdivision. However it may not be as easy to paint on for every object. I tried with a plane and it worked fine (I selected Subdivide Edges in Dyntopo to avoid deforming the sides).
  4. If it's impossible to do from your camera's point of view because of the shape of your object you'll have to move around and tweak the detail size manually and maybe select the Constant Detail mode in Dyntopo instead.
  • $\begingroup$ As I was saying the Cegaton, I'll just have t use the Displacement modifier and bake my texture, thought thanks for the explanation. $\endgroup$ – Nils Eisen May 1 '17 at 6:36
  • $\begingroup$ Note that adaptive subdivision only adapts the subdiv level to the distance, not the texture detail. You can have a flat texture and it will subdivide just as much as for a fractal noise texture. $\endgroup$ – ChameleonScales May 1 '17 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ which is why Dyntopo would give a very similar result. $\endgroup$ – ChameleonScales May 1 '17 at 21:28

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