I've been using Trapcode Form to displace a solid based luminance information. The effect is pretty nice, but when the layer is heavily displaced it becomes apparent that it's made of PARTICLES rather than solid strings (they tear apart, showing gaps between the dots, and I can't add enough particles to change this).
What I've been wondering is if there are other ways to displace something (a path or solid, most likely) in Z space using luminance, either through expressions or a native AE plugin (ie. not Form, with which I have been experimenting for about a year).
Ideally I'd be able to displace a path in Z space using the brightness of an underlying layer's pixels. If anyone has any suggestions, thoughts or good banter, fire away!