View Full Version : Fantasy World using Photoshop

07-14-2010, 02:00 PM
Ok so after having created my first map using CC3 I felt that something was missing for me. After looking through the tutorials I discovered Ascension's Atlas style using photoshop. So all props go to Ascension for the one.

I am posting this as a WIP because I am having trouble with creating borders and placing cities and that kind of thing. Any tips or suggestions are welcome....So without further ado, my new untitled world map.

07-14-2010, 05:39 PM
First, it looks very bumpy. My suggestion (take it or leave it) would be to take out a big eraser (100 or 300 pixel airbrush tip) and turn the flow down to 5-10% then erase some of those bumps. With the low flow you can go over an area many many times before it is completely gone so the eraser works kind of like sculpting. If you want more refined valleys then use a smaller tip.

For the borders, I assume you're referring to national borders. Grab the pencil tool, use a 2-pixel hard square tip, draw a shape and make sure that the ends meet. Grab the paint bucket tool and fill the shape. Ctrl-click on the "base" layer, select - inverse, then hit delete on the keyboard and deselect. This makes the shape fit the coastline without altering anything inland. Set the fill of the layer to 0, add a layer style of stroke and inner glow of whatever colors you want. When doing the other nations you will also have to delete the parts that overlap inland. For that you ctrl-click on one nation, select - inverse, delete and deselect. If you have 20 nations that process can take a while.

On the plus side, looks pretty good so far :)

07-14-2010, 05:51 PM
Agreed with Ascension. I would also blur out that white layer. You can see clearly a bunch of circles where you painted it in. Try using the gaussian blur filter (filter > blur > gaussian blur) and play with the settings until you like it.

I like the colors you chose and I think it's gonna turn out looking great.:)

07-14-2010, 05:55 PM
Good catch on the painting, I only skimmed it. You need to use an airbrush tip and not a soft round tip, there's a world of difference.

07-14-2010, 06:40 PM
Thanks for the tips guys, the land does look quite bumpy I will have to take the time to smooth it out and I now understand those national borders. thanks for the advice on the painted circles as well, those were really bugging me...

07-15-2010, 02:25 PM
Well here is what it looks like after I applied the gaussian blur, attempted (key word here is attempted) to smooth the hills a bit, and added names and national borders...I also deleted the lat/long lines because I didn't like the look of them.

07-15-2010, 02:49 PM
The blur successfully eliminated the little circles, but I dislike the text. It looks really cluttered now. Shrinking the text down a bit would help, I think.

07-15-2010, 06:27 PM
Alright I reduced the country text sizes here and I must say it looks light years better. I've also added stars for capital locations and I am in the process of brainstorming names for said capitals....any more tips and advice is most welcome because what I've got so far has helped me alot....

07-15-2010, 07:39 PM
Looks much better and is progressing nicely.:) The arctic continent at the top of the map seems to have missed the blur and the brush strokes are still visible.

07-16-2010, 01:58 AM
Indeed, much better. And nice catch, Slyok. But how did it escape?

07-16-2010, 10:44 AM
I dont know how it escaped mayb I put in a different layer....i will have to look in on that..thanks for the catch

07-16-2010, 01:55 PM
Alright so the circles on the arctic continent were part of the land layer for some strange reason and not the layer where i did my color adjustments. So i think ive pretty much solved that problem and ive also inserted names for capitals. On a side note, all country and capital names are Greek or resemble Greek because this was the Ancient language that the people on this continent spoke, the newer cities and towns will be in English and reflect what i will simply call the Common Tongue that is spoken currently. Any more tips or hints are more than welcome because this is turning out better than i had imagined.

07-16-2010, 04:16 PM
Just two things from me, do them if ya want or not. 1. I'd still erase more of the bumps leaving most of the land relatively flat, just keeping hills near the mountains and maybe a splash here or there. 2. Duplicate the mountains layer and it will be more dynamic...plus you can fiddle with more layer styles there like a brown inner glow, green outer glow, different bevel, etc.

07-16-2010, 04:27 PM
Ive tried to get rid of the hills but the attempt failed, however I do agree with you. As for the mountains that is an excellent idea thanks alot!

07-16-2010, 09:17 PM
Alright so here is an update on my map. I added names for the cities (most of which I am proud of and do have local significance for why they are named that way). I added another layer on the mountains and holy crap it really brought them out, and I think I smoothed the land somewhat but I'm not clear on how large of a change I've actually managed to create. So here is the latest version up for your critique and comments!

07-16-2010, 11:12 PM
I don't know exactly what you're trying to accomplish with it, but the sea bevel is irritating me in places, especially around Bekko. It may just be me, but it looks like the sea actually bevels down as it comes to the coast, not up. So it looks like the whole island system of Bekko is below sea level. There are other places it does that, but Bekko is the most noticeable.

07-17-2010, 12:19 AM
As unique as the stars are, I'd prefer to see some temples, walled cities, and villages. Or just different colored dots/circles to denote the city type.

07-17-2010, 12:25 AM
I don't know exactly what you're trying to accomplish with it, but the sea bevel is irritating me in places, especially around Bekko. It may just be me, but it looks like the sea actually bevels down as it comes to the coast, not up. So it looks like the whole island system of Bekko is below sea level. There are other places it does that, but Bekko is the most noticeable.

Shading should be from the northwest, not from the southeast.

Also, it looks like there are significant gaps between your political polygons - I would close them up, and also align the political polys to the rivers when the border is supposed to follow a river. They are close but not quite coincident and it ends up looking a little messy.

07-17-2010, 12:31 AM
Seretur, in the tut the light source is in the lower right of the screen and not the ubiquitous upper left. On our earth a lower right position is in tune with a morning sun in the northern hemisphere while the upper left would be a sunset in the southern hemisphere. A morning sun is much brighter than a sunset and the sunset would require warmer colors like reds and oranges (which I don't like for atlasy maps). When viewed that way the bevels are just fine...I'm a stickler for accuracy in my tuts and not convention :) But, should he desire to, he can re do the mountains with the light in the upper left on the filter and the bevel light source in the upper left...small changes that should only take a few minutes.

07-17-2010, 02:25 PM
Alright, so I reduced the sea shelf opacity so that might have eliminated the problem of the islands appearing to be underwater. I've also cleaned up the borders and they look alot better; I changed the stars on the capitals to a blue color because I don't think I like building symbols all that much. When I add in towns or villages I will use a color other than white or blue, thanks for the suggestion. The map is coming out quite nicely, if anyone has any other suggestions I'll be glad to hear them before I finish this map and start writing the country histories and backgrounds.

07-17-2010, 06:22 PM
I have a suggestion - if you add a slight outer bevel to your rivers layer, and set the direction to "down", it will help your rivers appear to run through the terrain instead of over it. Right now there seems to be little correlation between the rivers and the relief, and a simple fix like this might make a big difference.

07-18-2010, 10:54 PM
This looks great, but i would recommend moving some of the capitals closer to the middle of their countries. Some near the borders looks great, but if you put nearly all of them on the borders then it starts to look slightly odd.