View Full Version : Free-Floating Elements in PS

T. Azimuth Schwitters
05-13-2010, 11:02 PM
Hi folks. I'm a rank novice, but I have had some experience with CCII.

I just began learning PS using Butch Curry's tutorials, and I miss being able to drop single map elements into my project, as I was able to do in CC.

I have been trying to create a single pine tree that can be pasted multiple times into a layer, and I can't seem to figure out a way. Brushing it on as a pattern isn't an option; I want exact placement of individual images, with colors preserved.

Can anyone recommend a method?

05-14-2010, 12:03 AM
As a brush, it can't be done (unless the colors you want to preserve are grayscale...for that just increase the brush spacing). If you want color then you could open the color image, copy it, paste in the map, then make a whole lot of duplicates of that layer and then move them around. Usually that's not worth the effort. What most folks do is use GIMP or Paint Shop Pro as they do support the sort of thing that you're looking for...it's called an image tube or image hose.

05-14-2010, 04:10 AM
The other option is to use something like Inkscape (free vector) in conjunction with photoshop. Make a document in inkscape of exactly the same pixel dimensions as your photoshop document. Use inkscape to place your tree image (saved individually from PS and imported into inkscape) one at a time (much easier - it's like Campaign Cartographer) and save the result as a .png so the background is transparent. Use the 'place' command in photoshop to open the inskscape layer into your new layer in photoshop. If you have Adobe Illustrator it's even easier as you can freely move between the two and each program recognises the layers in the other.

05-14-2010, 05:28 AM
Hmm, maybe Photofonts would work. It's a new font technology that allows for full-colored bitmap fonts. The Photoshop plugin is free. Creation of Photofonts is free and simple, if you know how to program an XML file. If not, there's a program you could buy to help compile your images into fonts.

The reason I think Photofonts would work well is because inserting your images as fonts would allow for fast and easy rescaling. Also, you could easily save many tree images as one "forest font", for example, and then you could have lots of variance in the forests in your map, WITHOUT the tedious copying of zillions of layers. Might be worth checking out at least. Do a google search.*

05-14-2010, 05:35 AM
Hmmm.. you would still have to struggle with lots of layers since if you just "wrote" with threes, they would be on an even line - but nice idea - I could see some uses for that :)

05-14-2010, 08:13 AM
you want to use the Cloning stamp tool. google it if you need to.
in the current versions CS4 and above it actually shows you the item you are placing.

05-14-2010, 10:38 AM
Of course! The Clone stamp tool is a great solution! Just have your trees on another document against a transparent background, but again you'd have to alt click the source image each time you wanted to place a new tree.

05-14-2010, 10:47 AM
well, if you un-select aligned when you choose your target to copy from - it automatically goes back to the same place again and again...
BUT - even though it copies color and shades - it's still semi transparant :(

05-14-2010, 11:11 AM
Oh wow, I've never noticed the unalighted button - I've just tried it out and it doesn't look semi-transparent to me - works like a dream. I'm using CS4.

05-14-2010, 12:36 PM
oops.. answered that one to quickly ... forgot I had a soft brush selected ;)
AND .. just so you know - you can use this tool across windows (in photoshop) - so you don't even have to have the image open in the map you're drawing, you can select it from a different window ... hmm... maybe I should make a tutorial :)

05-14-2010, 05:20 PM
I sometimes do this sort of thing using marquee selection and alt-click-drag. This creates copies that you can move around the same layer. You can also use the marquee to select an area and do transformations, color adjustments, etc. on it. The main problem with this is that you can't do overlapping stuff. If you want that you'll have to do overlapping bits on a new layer. Still, it works pretty well. Clone stamp looks like it's pretty cool as well but I haven't used it much.