... I think you will find there are several here who are interested in ANY method for creating a mesh grid and shaping it, or using it to shape a layer similar to the one in PS. I think there are two or three threads about what might be coming in 2.8, if it ever comes out. Too lazy to dig 'em up for ya though.
[Ah, Drac, don't start. But thank you. See what I mean? Nice people here. Just remember you once thought this when I finally revert to type. Would your opinion change if you knew my wife dictates my posts?]
I had forgot to mention that I have, actually experimented with the first, "shadow reduction," step by making an inverted brightness layer (does anyone even know what a "negative" is anymore?) and using a layer mask, and screening/overlaying/multiplying/subtracting (chimpanzee at the typewriter approach--no time to think--must press pretty buttons...)
I haven't really done "draping" exc. as trying to use a gradient fill might pertain to it.
Experiments "painting" a heightmap have been disappointing because it's an unnatural art. I have though reached for Wings3D (modeler) and Blender which (even as I used it) I imagined would work soooo much better in the hands of people from here.
I found Wings (wings3d.com) to have a very natural interface, and there are a number of tutorials about how to use it and model particular things. Like heads. [Ad mode off]
I just want you to know that my wife... that I
... sometimes even try the ideas herself before posting.