Is there nondestructive way of achieving the wavy type effect, found below?
In Illustrator, you can use a Mesh Envelope distort to non-destructively warp text like this:
Select your text object, then use Object > Envelope Distort > Make With Mesh... and add however many rows and columns you need to get the desired effect. I used 16 rows and 1 column in my example.
IMO, that looks like displacement mapping over a photo of stairs -or fabric over stairs?
Using a black n white displacement map might get you the distortion effect you want.
The principal is explained here: http://www.photoshopcafe.com/tutorials/dispmap/dispmap.htm