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View Full Version : Satellite Style Photoshop Terrain - Part 1



kalvinlyle
06-14-2010, 08:38 PM
Felseth
This tutorial is a response by some to see the techniques I used in the Felseth map turned into a tutorial. I've spent some time in that file trying to figure out which layers and effects mattered and reduced it to just a few. I hope that you get the same results as I do when you attempt these steps to build a pseudo realistic terrain.

Source Tutorials
Firstly I'd like to point out that I didn't come up with these techniques in a vacuum. I ripped them off from these guys (possibly some others, but mainly these three). They deserve all the credit:
http://www.cartographersguild.com/content.php?116-Ascensions-atlas-style-in-Photoshop
http://oldguygaming.com/adding-realistic-coastlines-to-a-map
http://www.photoshoproadmap.com/Photoshop-blog/2006/07/17/rendering-a-map-using-relief-shading-technique-in-photoshop/

Height Map

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I've found the following steps consistently create a nice looking height map:

File > New...

Width: 10 inches
Height: 7 inches
Resolution: 300 pixels/inch
Color Mode: RGB Color / 8bit
Background Contents: White

Edit > Fill...

Use: 50% Gray
Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%

Layer > Duplicate Layer...
Filter > Render > Difference Clouds
Set the layer style to Overlay and Opacity to 25%
Layer > New > Layer...

Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 25%

Choose the Gradient Tool from the tool bar
Set the gradient pattern to black and white
Pick the Radial Gradient option
Mode: Difference
Click and drag randomly around the layer creating patterns
Layer > New> Layer...

Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 100%

Click and drag randomly around the layer creating patterns
Filter > Render > Difference Clouds
Layer > New > Layer...

Mode: Overlay
Opacity: 100%

Click and drag randomly around the layer creating patterns
Select all of those layers and right click > Convert to smart Object
Rename this layer to 'Height Map'
Save your file


Creating the Shore Line

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Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels

Set the Input Levels to 59 and 61
Adjust them both up or down to reduce or increase the amount of land to water you want (white will be land, black will be water).

Layer > New > Layer...
Rename this Layer to 'Shore Line'
Select > Color Range...
Select: Highlights
Edit > Fill...
Use: White
Delete the Levels Adjustment Layer
Layer > Duplicate Layer...
Rename this Layer to 'Land Mass'
Layer > Group Layers...
Rename the group to 'Land'
Select the bottom three layers
Layer > Group Layers...
Rename the group to 'Ocean'
Save your file


Creating the Ocean


Select the layer named 'Shore Line' in the 'Ocean' group
Layer > Layer Style > Outer Glow...

Blend Mode: Color Dodge
Opacity: 100%
Set the colour to white
Technique: Precise
Size: 2px

CRTL + Left Click the 'Shore Line' layer if the shore line is not currently selected
Layer > New > Layer...
Opacity: 50%
Select > Modify > Expand...
Expand By: 25 pixels
Select > Inverse
Edit > Fill...
Use: Black
Layer > Layer Style > Outer Glow...

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Set the colour to black
Technique: Precise
Size: 20px

Select > Inverse
Layer > New > Layer...
Opacity: 50%
Select > Modify > Expand...
Expand By: 50 pixels
Select > Inverse
Edit > Fill...
Use: Black
Layer > Layer Style > Outer Glow...

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Set the colour to black
Technique: Precise
Size: 50px

Select > Inverse
Layer > New > Layer...
Opacity: 50%
Select > Modify > Expand...
Expand By: 50 pixels
Select > Inverse
Edit > Fill...
Use: Black
Layer > Layer Style > Outer Glow...

Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Set the colour to black
Technique: Precise
Size: 20px

Select the shape tool from the tool bar (U)
Draw a shape of any size
Right Click the vector mask for the newly created layer and choose 'Disable Vector Mask'
Double Click the layer and set the colour to RGB value: 26, 40, 87
Set the layer Opacity to 50%
Save your file


Setting the Land Colour

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Select the Layer called 'Height Map'
Layer > Duplicate Layer...
Move the new layer the 'Land' group above the 'Land Mass' layer
Hold down ALT and left click along the bottom of the 'Height Map copy' layer
Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map...

The exact positions of the gradient colours will depend on the gray scale values of your height map
The five colours of the Gradient Map from Left to Right are:

RGB: 199, 184, 157 (Sand)
RGB: 133, 150, 101 (Grass)
RGB: 84, 99, 42 (Forest)
RGB: 117, 100, 93 (Hills)
RGB: 157, 144, 118 (Peaks)


Hold down ALT and left click along the bottom of the Gradient Map layer
Save your file


Relief Map Detail

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Select the 'Height Map' Layer
Select > All
Edit > Copy
Switch to the Channels window
Press the Create New Channel button to create a Alpha channel layer
Edit > Paste...
Switch back to the Layers window
Select the 'Gradient Map' layer
Layer > New > Layer...
Edit > Fill...
Use: 50% Gray
Filter > Render > Lighting Effects

Light type: Directional
Intensity: 21
Gloss: 0
Material: 71
Exposure: 0
Ambience: 0
Texture Channel: Alpha 1
Height: 100

Change the layer Style to Overlay
Rename the layer to 'Hills'
Save your file


Colour Adjustment Layers

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Close and select the 'Land' group
Choose the Shape tool (U)
Click and drag anywhere on the image to create a shape (this should be above the 'Land' group)
Right click the shape vector mask and choose 'Disable Vector Mask'
Double click the layer and set the layer colour to RGB: 242, 231, 209
Set the layer style to Multiply
Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation

Hue: -14
Saturation: -20
Lightness: +6

Save your file


This is just the base for a map. From here you will need to add trees, roads, rivers and other details.

If you find anything that's hard to follow let me know and I'll clean it up as best I can.

Javen
06-15-2010, 03:17 AM
I haven't tried these out, but I'm really impressed at how well you overcame the problems with self-made DEMs. I would have never thought of using this technique to make them look more weathered and realistic, but now that I've seen it, I'll be trying it as soon as I can. I just hope that adapting them to a more rigid and defined region of mountains works well (unless I'm mistaken you did both this and your actual map from scratch), but either way having DEMs that already look good and aren't messed up by countless alterations. will be awesome.

Bravo, and have some rep. Can't wait to see part two.

ravells
06-15-2010, 06:54 AM
This looks great kalvin! I especially like the heightmap creation process. I haven't tried to tutorial yet, but how much control does one have in deciding where to put mountains and what shape you want the coastlines to be? It's interesting that the creation of the coastlines comes after the creation of the heightmap (I assume because the heighmap tells you what is high and low?). The topography looks yummy!

Steel General
06-15-2010, 07:18 AM
Very cool and informative, I dub thee newly repped! *BONK*

kalvinlyle
06-16-2010, 04:44 AM
I ran through the tutorial again on my own to see if there were any problems.

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Javen
06-17-2010, 05:03 AM
Hmm...I wonder if there is any way of making more realistic continental shelfs? Because the oceans lack the natural continental shelfs one would expect. I suppose if someone wanted serious realism they'd just either take an existing DEM's continental shelf or manually edit in one.

Kalvinlyle...any word on how much control you have over mountain placement? You must have some since you did that Felseth one...but I wonder how much.

su_liam
06-17-2010, 03:02 PM
I prefer more human input than just patting about trying to simulate the random :). That said, I really like the noise this produces. Lots of crowd-pleasing swirlies!

It would be interesting to see how well this kind of noise would incorporate into something like the Burpwallow Method for noise editing.

For continental shelves, you could try importing the HF into Wibur and applying an exponent filter or remap altitudes. I'd think that would work as well for this kind of noise as any.

I also have to say this is a very attractive hypsometric gradient. It even looks good without the hillshade.

kalvinlyle
06-20-2010, 03:11 PM
http://doityourselfrpg.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/ExampleMap.jpg

I've updated the tutorial and posted it here (http://doityourselfrpg.com/map-creation-part-1/)

I've added:

Editable Land Masses
Continental Shelves


When I have more time I'll convert it to a PDF and update the first post. The limitation of 10,000 characters and the exclusion of HTML in posts makes it a bit difficult to maintain tutorials here. Anyone have any suggstions?

hohum
06-26-2010, 08:20 PM
Very cool!

simpfan1
06-27-2010, 06:25 AM
I cant seem to get smart layers to work
Darn this really old bootleg photoshop :x

Ascension
06-27-2010, 09:54 AM
I don't have smart layers either so I just did a merge all visible (ctrl-shift-alt-e). I'm pretty sure that this isn't even close but it's good enough for me cuz I can do other things already.

kalvinlyle
07-03-2010, 08:07 AM
I cant seem to get smart layers to work
Darn this really old bootleg photoshop :x

Haha yeah rather than convert to smart layers you could just merge those layers. Smart Layers is just a non-destructive way of collapsing...

oolaef
12-16-2012, 08:20 AM
Hi Kalvin,

This is really great! Not sure if you'll still be able to see this, but one thing that doesn't seem to work for me is the lighting effects - the lighting via channel works fine, but after setting the layer to 'overlay', the result is very different looking to your example - mainly that it's quite dark. The lighter portions look correct, as do the darker shadows, but there's no gap in between, as in it's either very dark or very light, where yours looks quite realistic. Wondering if there's a step in there that's been missed out?

Actually what I'm trying to set up is a kind of animated version of this effect using an action in photoshop - I've rendered the 'height map' part as a jpg sequence out of After Effects, which ripples around - there's a few 'unactionable' commands which are proving to be a bit of a snag at the moment, but I'm trying to work these out.

JediKnight83
12-21-2012, 07:06 PM
http://doityourselfrpg.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/ExampleMap.jpg

I've updated the tutorial and posted it here (http://doityourselfrpg.com/map-creation-part-1/)

I've added:

Editable Land Masses
Continental Shelves


When I have more time I'll convert it to a PDF and update the first post. The limitation of 10,000 characters and the exclusion of HTML in posts makes it a bit difficult to maintain tutorials here. Anyone have any suggstions?

I tried going to the link, but it did not show up. But so far I really like the tut.

Ankorafeonix
12-29-2012, 07:18 PM
The links to your other tuts (editing continents, sea shelf) are broken :( Otherwise, thanks for the great guide!

I'm trying to do a map that is based loosely on Europe, so I'm needing a very specific shoreline. I've already got a black & white shore outline of the same resolution and size as the tutorial images - is there a way I can manipulate the height map in such a way that it would mimic the contours of Europe even just a little bit?

Thanks :)