haha, yes, all three exist
bump was the initial way to give details to meshes without adding extra polygons, it's grey scale
normal map has rgb values, these are the values that get calculated when a bump map is processed. By preprocessing this calculation from the bump map it speeds up render time making it suitable for real time rendering
both bump and normal do not change the profile of the mesh itself, so if you have a sphere with bump or normal it will always look like a sphere if you look at its profile
displacement is where it appears that the surface has actually changed. it's grey scale, and if you look at the profile the surface is different.
displacement relies on you having a good healthy mesh (i think) and it subdivides your surfaces to calculate how to raise/lower parts of your surface.
as for tutorials, mike has a free tutorial on here that deals with a bit of normal maps, it's the game texturing one
bump map, i'm not sure, i think i picked this up in maya's tutorials, i can't remember... that or i found it randomly on The Area
displacement, there is a nice little segment in one of gnomon's mental ray tutorials from Matt Hartle, but that tutorial covers a lot, and you may or may not want it
i also found this one: http://gnomonology.com/tutorial/238
goes over displacements from zbrush, but the process (i assume) will still be the same, you can just skip the zbrush step
i just realised, these tutorials probably don't do what you asked...
you want someone to explain where they would use them but these explain how you plug them into the shaders...
not sure how to help you out with that one
Originally posted by ctbram
Chirone - Your description although I am sure is accurate sounds like something from a stereo user manual written in a foreign language.
hahahahaha! it does seem like i speak a foreign language to anyone i come across...
paldav, i just noticed, your last picture gives off an optical illusion.... it looks like the lighter less dense part is moving in and out...
maybe it's just my eyes...
that's a "Ch" pronounced as a "K"
Computer skills I should have:
Maya, XSI, Photoshop, AfterEffects, Motion, Illustrator, Flash, Swift3D