View Full Version : Stupid PS Question

06-25-2010, 08:39 PM
Not sure if this is even the right forum for this, but here goes -

I haven't mapped in a while, almost a year. I decided to give it another whirl and want to change my 'style', which isn't really mine at all - I just built textures using the official 3rd edition map of the Forgotten Realms. What this did was allow me to create maps that looked just liked the official ones... which was great at the time, but I now find it highly constraining.

The very first thing I wanted to do was change the most obvious copy - the mountains. So I looked through the tutorials here and found one I liked, and realized just how little about PS I really know. I thought I knew a lot, but I got stuck at the very beginning of the first tutorial. I need to take my continent outline and create a white backdrop for the mountains. No problem - I have the outline on a separate layer (that much I know), but after I filled it in with white (leaving the rest of my canvas blank), I still have the outline. I tried several methods of removing it, but all of them were rather complicated. I suppose taking the same outline again and making it white, and then pasting it over the blue outline I have would work, but I'm embarrassed to admit I don't even know how to change the color of the outline without retracing it. :oops:

The other thing I thought of - is there a way of filling something in, without having that 'filler' become part of the same layer? ***SOLVED***

I've never really rolled-up my sleeves and gotten my hands dirty with the more intricate workings of PS - everything I know I learned from the ZombieNirvana videos (which are excellent). But now it appears I need a LOT more tools if I want to create stuff from scratch.

so, my first question - whats the easiest way to go from my blue coastal outline to a plain, white continent? I have a feeling when this is explained to me it will be one of those Homer Simpson "uh-DOH!" moments....

EDIT: Never mind - don't know how to delete a thread, but I just figured out a method using the magic wand. However, if anyone still wants to tell me how to swap one color for another I could still use that info.

EDIT: Still not an ideal method - I am now filling in ALL the area that is not Coast and rivers, including the (sea) area outside the continent. :(

06-25-2010, 08:42 PM
Can you provide a screen to show us exactly what you mean?

06-25-2010, 09:06 PM
A screen of what? My complete inability to perform even the simplest task? :P

I think I got it though, but there must be an easier way. I not only had to highlight the coast/waterways, but then had to fill-in the water areas with the same color as the coast, so that the bucket wouldn't fill those areas in with white as well. seems overly complicated just to remove a coastal outline, but it worked.

Anyone with any other tricks I should know about, please, feel free. Also would love if people pointed me in the direction of some non-hand-drawn mountain tutorials - I'm trying-out jwbjerk's tutorial for creating realistic (satellite-looking) mountains ATM. I love the way hand-drawn mountains look - very 'classic fantasy map' - but I can't get my tablet working and the mouse isn't really precise enough.

06-26-2010, 02:37 AM
If you start by uploading the map you're having problems with its easier to follow your questions :)

and you can't delete a thread :)

small hint : mouse precision is a question of zoom - zoom in for detailed work 4-600% is often good :)

06-26-2010, 04:20 AM
Hi Markus,

If you only want to fill the continent shape then:

1. Make sure that the line defining your continent makes an entirely enclosed shape
2. Use the flood fill tool. On the little list of options running along the top make sure that 'contiguous' is checked.
3. left click anywhere inside your shape.

It sounds like you're very new to using photoshop. One good way to get familiar with the tools is to play around with them as much as you can without any particular end effect in mind but just seeing what they do.

06-26-2010, 06:13 PM
Not really new to PS, just new to what I am now attempting. I knew how to fill-in the shape with white - I just had to figure out how to then remove the blue outline after it was filled-in. I will admit that there are many tools I haven't used yet, nor some of the finer adjustments I can make with some of the tools I do use. I have created my own set of vector graphics for use with my maps (map symbols), so I know a little something. ;)

Funny thing is, after I posted this I found RPGmapmaker's mountain brush and Mountains tutorial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSDDTLt75Bk), and decided to go with the 'hand drawn' look after all. A dozen or so mountains I don't mind drawing by hand (and making them into brushes), but drawing hundreds of mountains with a mouse sounds painful. lol

Once I have something worth showing I will post a WIP thread. My current project is a conversion - taking the elements from one map and adapting another map to those elements.

Thanks for the replies. :)

06-26-2010, 06:26 PM
Hey Markus-
It sounds like you may be having a problem with anti-aliasing and your flood fill not quite getting all the fiddly bits that are a slightly different color around the edge. A simple solution is to flood fill multiple times until you're satisfied. If filling once doesn't quite get everything, filling three or four times will.


06-26-2010, 08:12 PM
the other solution is to draw the outline with the pencil tool which doesn't anti-alias. If you have an outline another option is to click outside the entire shape with the wand and then contract the selection by a couple of pixels, delete, expand by a couple of pixels and fill.

06-27-2010, 04:47 AM
yep agree with the magic wand then contract cause it is most likely a anti-aliasing problem. you can als do the opposite - select the mass you want painted and then SELECT > MODIFY > EXPAND by 1-2 pixels before you fill :)

06-27-2010, 11:57 PM
All excellent suggestions - thanx.

Been toying with mountains and shading - nothing permanent or worth showing - just getting used to new techniques. I created a new vector from a symbol on someone else's map (with permission), and after trying it out I now have a new quandary (because what looked great on his map looked like crap on mine) -

What is a good resolution for a continental map? I've been working at 72 (because of the sheer size of the areas I'm playing with), but I'm thinking about jumping it up to at least 150. Would that be too high? My comp is already gagging on some of my file sizes using the 72 res.

Or is it a bad idea to want too much detail at the continental level? Should I just do a real basic map, and then do smaller regional ones?

I can't believe I'm running into so many problems in the planning phase.

06-28-2010, 02:33 AM
Like tilt mentioned up-thread, it would really help if you could upload some of your work so we can see what's going on...
there is a lot of knowledge to draw on here, but trying to visualize the problems you are describing can be a bit difficult. This is mostly because there is never really any one single correct way to fix a given problem, it really comes down to preferred techniques in the end. And please don't be shy about uploading the WIPs...that's what this part of the is for ;)

06-28-2010, 02:53 AM
concerning resolution it really depends on what you want to do with your map. But remember, you can always scale down - but not scale up, so you're setting your maximum when you choose resolution. For everytime you go up one step on the "ladder" below you quadruple your filesize and the file gets heavier to handle
For screen 72 dpi
For "home" print 150 dpi
For professional printing 300 dpi

and you can go higher than that even :)
so at 300 dpi and inch is 300 pixels x 300 pixels, so you can with a quick calculation see that your screen quickly wont be big enough to see the whole image at 100 percent even if you just have a little tiny itsy bitsy map. :)