So far so good, but the Illustrator file is not 32 bit to begin with. Is there a way to get a real 32bit file out of it with all the colour information for high quality displacement? Would embeding the Illustrator file as a smart object in a 32 bit image in Photoshop be the right way to do it? Then rasterize it? Then add a slight outer glow effect. This helps to create a smoother displacement. How much depends on the resolution of the image and the softness of the displacement you want. If you give it a lot then you will create a beveled look in the displacement. if you want the displacement to be sharper, more vertical, then use just a little bit. You will probably want to create a custom curve for the outer glow so that it rounds off nicely at the top (or bottom) of the displacement. You can do this in the settings for the outer glow effect. Also, the values created by the outer glow effect will be created in 32 bit with helps make nice transitions. Interesting suggestion using a glow effect, I haven’t thought of that. I just applied a bit of blur, but I was never really happy with the final displacement effect. I will try that and see if that gives nicer results. It helps to set the technique, under Elements, to Precise as well. And then if you click the the contour thumbnail, not the dropdown arrow, but the thumbnail itself, you can create a custom curve for the falloff of the glow. Part of the appeal for this technique over a simple blur is that it maintains the integrity of letterforms. Blurs tend to round things out too much I can see that using outer glow results in sharper edges, but interestingly if I turn on ‘Displacement as Bump’ it results in very strange edges, while with using a normal blur, they look just fine. Left side displacement map with Gaussian Blur, right side same displacement but outer glow applied instead of Gaussian Blur. Using the Displacement as Bump feature is the only way I could find to get a nice smooth result using the standard Displacement settings. Source.