I would like to apply a texture of a brick wall to a face. Goal is to turn a face into a statue made out of bricks.

Ideally, I would like to make a method to turn this into a series of photographs.

Issue: I have a hard time making it look in any way good (e.g. realistic).

What I have tried so far is following this tutorial to create a displacement map by obtaining a high contrast and blurred version of the origianl image to use with Photoshop distort filter. The end result is fugly. The issue is that the straight lines of a brick wall need to be distorted in a very precise way to make as if realistically the face was made out of brick/stones.

What I thought might be a simple photoshop game turned out to be much more difficult than expected.

Other options could be:

  1. Pattern by hand and distort/skew tiles to the facial features. Extremely labour intensive and I am not sure I could even get the result. Also, photoshop doesn't seem too suited for this kind of manipulation.
  2. Generate a depth map in another way? I am currently trying to make this work with pictures I already have, but I am open to suggestions that include reshooting to generate some form of 3D mapping of the features (but I have no idea where to start).
  • The linked tutorial uses highly irregular stone pattern. It works because nobody can straight away figure out the real form of the stone, the face directs the recognition. A flat wall of layered bricks is well known. That creates an immediate contradiction with the non-flat face. A highly skilled painter or draughtsman can make your option 1 real. Photoshop isn't an obstacle for him. Option 2 has variations: You can map a texture photo along a 3D face surface model. Finest material details are handled with bump map. Another way is to clip a rectangular piece of tiled stones with the face.
    – user82991
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 10:40
  • (continued) Both of your options need skills far beyond anything trivial. Prepare to study and practice an year or more to be able to get something acceptable. if you start from zero. In theory it's possible that the face photos you have fit something existing, but as well you can try to find a needle in a haystack. Game maker's tools can give some help, but do not expect anything simple.
    – user82991
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 10:49
  • Eh, yeah I realized this is beyond my current skill. I think my preferred option would be 2 (also thinking ahead to making this repeatable to produce a series). What process can I look into to produce a 3d map of the face?
    – Three Diag
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 10:56
  • 3D models of humans are for sale - they can even have kinetic functionality with certain software. The prices vary widely depending on the accuracy and functionality. Blender and other high end 3D modelling software users have everything to start from scratch. There exists also parametrizable human generators such as MakeHuman. Photogrammetry and 3D scanners can make surface models of real humans. They are based on really complex math software. A talented person can sculpt faces, bodies, clothigs etc...with ZBrush, Blender or other sculpting software. I mean really talented .
    – user82991
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 11:10
  • (continued) There are several attempts to generate a 3D model from a single photo. make a search for "3D model of face from photo" or "face photo to 3D"
    – user82991
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


This is just a starting point. Some "special" skills will be necessary.

I downloaded a Face Mesh model from some 3d assets site I don't remember now which, maybe Sketchfab or Blendswap.

Inside Photoshop I imported the model and played with the positioning and textures. Photoshop has some built-in textures in 3d Properties panel. But we can always edit them or load our own textures. The brick map - or whatever - will follow the curved shape of the face.

The light is also adjustable to match your face photo illumination.

You must render the 3d to see the final result. Rasterize the layer and use it as a texture to the face(the photo). Now you can play with blend modes, masks, effects, liquify... Many options.

enter image description here

  • That's very helpful as a starting point, thanks man!
    – Three Diag
    Commented Mar 18, 2020 at 14:59
  • I will have to produce a 3d model for my subjects I guess, part of the road.
    – Three Diag
    Commented Mar 18, 2020 at 14:59

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