This tutorial is about making a displacement map out of complex geometry that can be then applied to any object, no matter his curvature (with the VRayDisplacementMod for example) to recover the hi poly look of the original tiling.
First, start by making a hi poly model of the module you want to tile, for this tutorial we’ll take a a roof tile. Turn the smoothing of the object off to get a better visual feedback of what will the future Z depth pass look like. Don’t hesitate to go very high poly cuz the purpose here is to transform all this in a useful displacement map who doesn’t care about poly count ;)
Then tile your object in a 4×4 array for example. It is important to keep the array on a virtual horizontal plane to get better results.
Then make a vertical Max Camera above your horizontal array. Tick “orthographic projection” and “environment ranges” Adjust the cropping with the focal length until you get at least one complete element in the frame. Then measure the best near and far range within the viewport ( 100 cm & 110 cm in our example) to get the best result of the future Z-depth pass.
Before rendering, activate a Z-depth render element in the “Render elements” tab within the rendering window, and copy the ranges in the 2 fields at the end of the scroll down menu. Hit render !
At the end of the rendering you’ll get a nice Zdepth window that will pop with his B&W content. Save only this one in PNG. After an auto-level to get true white & black points, crop it in photoshop or any image editing program. Try to be precise enough to get a perfect tiling. You can check the correctness of you tiling with the offset effect in photoshop. If everything is seamless, the texture is ready to use !
On a flat surface with VrayDisplacementMod:
But it also works on any strange surface ;)
C&C are welcome