View Full Version : How do I create ice shelf?

08-21-2010, 06:11 AM
Hey there,

I'd like to create ice shelf in an arctic region for a satellite map. So far not a problem, I could draw them by hand (if I get it right). But if there is any common technique out to produce ice flow the easyier way, I'd be glad to hear about it. :)

I use CS4. Something like a filter (Craquelure f.e. - but I didn't get the result that I wanted) or even a plugin maybe?

This is what I want:


Steel General
08-21-2010, 08:47 AM
There maybe a plug-in out there somewhere - anything's possible.

You may want to try some kind of shattered/broken glass brushes (there's plenty of those) a combination of those may give you the effect you want. Probably be a ton of work though :)

08-21-2010, 10:13 AM
Broken glass is a good hint, thanks. I'll see if I can find some brushes of that kind. :)

08-21-2010, 02:18 PM
Four things on broken glass: 1) it produces more straight lines and not so much round bits, 2) before breaking it yourself cover one side with contact paper so that it doesn't explode everywhere (you can get clear contact paper which is a plastic really), 3) different glass produces different effects - plate glass (drinking glasses, mirrors, old houses have this, glass shelves are usually of this type, and some tabletops) breaks in mostly big chunks or in striations; tempered glass (like a patio door and double-paned windows) breaks into a million little bits - it will have a printed logo in a corner; and laminated glass (your car windshield and most commercial windows like at retail stores) is two sheets of glass glued together so breaking one pane might not break the other pane - look at the side edges and you can see easily, 4) the more lead in the glass (the edge will be green) the more crystalline it is and therefore prone to straight-line breakage - it also has that nice "ping" sound like in fine stemware. Ceramics break in big chunks and powder. Hard plastics break straight-line, similar to glass, and soft plastics break ragged-edge similar to paper but a CD cover works pretty well. Rusted metal is always good.

What you want is a good mix of big and small, straight and round so I might walk around the streets and look for potholes or broken concrete and photograph that. Or maybe find a mud puddle. You could always search the internet but who knows what you will find or how long that will take. Getting back to paper, fold it up and rip it up into small and big chunks then rearrange everything to fit but leave some gaps. Cheese slices are also good for this. If you have the means, take a flat pan and freeze a thin amount of water to make something like a pane of glass, then break the edges up with a big wooden spoon (don't hit it too hard or it will go everywhere just push on it), then photograph before it melts or sketch it if you're fast enough. Food coloring or Kool-Aid (don't know if they have that in Germany) can help you see things better. Chocolate also works pretty well with this method (since it's a solid at room temperature and easier to photograph but the chunks are not quite right). Take a candy bar, melt it into something thin, then freeze, then break it up. Magic Shell is liquid at room temperature so I don't recommend that - plus I don't know if they have that in Germany.

Well, anyways, those are some ideas. I guess you know why I call myself the mad scientist :)

08-21-2010, 04:26 PM
I cant help much but to point you to some links I know of. The Land Information guys of New Zealand do some fab maps for download and they have modest restrictions on their use. Even if used them for reference then I would check out:
I dont know if they are useful but I know they are large sizes and small scale maps of arctic regions.

08-23-2010, 09:42 AM
@ Ascension:
Yesses, is that the glasser speaking out of you? :D

I drew the ice by hand, as I didnt find the brushes I was looking for. This was yesterday and I'm somehow finished now - not really happy with the result, looks not real enough in my opinion. Before today I had no time to look into the forum to read your awesome answer. Wikipedia says to Magic Shell, it quickly freezes on icecream. Yes, I remember a syrup I tasted once that does the same. If I don't get it finished by hand now, this sounds like a good (and making a huge mess) alternative. :)

@ Redrobes:
Ah, great, I'll take a look at it. I was searching with google for ice shelf but got only the two pictures I posted on top. This seems to be the site I was looking for. :)

Thank you both. :)

This is what I actually have. Any suggestions or can I leave it as it is?


08-23-2010, 10:03 AM
I think it looks good :)

08-23-2010, 11:23 AM
It does look pretty good but I'm not sure that I would think "Ice Shelf" if I hadn't already known that's what you were going for. It looks more like broken clay to me. Maybe it's no white enough? This will be good to figure out in the end because I think it will come in handy at some point.

08-23-2010, 12:03 PM
Yeah, thanks Jax. I'm with you, it also feels 'wrong' to me. I don't think, it is the color (anyway, it could become a bit more white, you're right). I think it is the kind the shards are arranged. I drew it before I had better reference images than those two on top. The files in Redrobes link are like 50 mb large - I don't have DSL actually. No chance for me to get those images right now.

I also asked myself, if ice shelf would exist in a region between two lands, while in the northern sea no more ice shelf is. I did not find an answer yet. Located north of the large island still is an other island. The northpole, so to say. Is it possible, that ice shelf is not only around the arctic poles? Okay, it is a fantasy map ... but I do not feel comfortable with a world that does not obey our physical laws. :(

08-23-2010, 12:10 PM
I'm wondering if the Ocean color around the base of these Ice cubes should be more blue with minerals, and if that might help....hmm, have to go check out 'Glacier Bay' in Alaska on Google Earth. <- might give some insights.

08-23-2010, 12:38 PM
This is an interesting idea with the colors. I'll just try it, thanks.

There is no way to use google earth online, I have to download it, right?

08-23-2010, 02:19 PM
Go to google maps. If you can get any satellite photos of the ice shelves there then take some screen captures, then go to photoshop and paste it into a new document. Then crop out everything leaving only the parts you want. Turn the image black and white and then up the contrast so that you get a mostly solid black and white- like a alpha map. Use this to make a ice shelf brush. Do it multiple times so that you have a myriad of brush types that you can then use in concert to create unique shapes in your image. Stamp in outlines of the ice on your work in a new layer and when you get what you want then lasso select the layer so everything you've stamped in (which should be a solid color) will be selected. Hit CTRL-H to hide the lasso and then start painting in the ice details in a new layer on top of the old one or just paint over it. That's what I'd do. Hope it helps.

08-23-2010, 03:03 PM
I got this by using the 'cracks' plug-in filter from the Alienskin Xenoflex 2 filter pack. They're a bit pricey but I use them all the time. The clouds filter (10 times better than the PS one) is worth the price alone for mapping. It doesn't look quite like the pictures you've posted, but I think it's not bad. I smoothed the edges a bit and added a black stroke, but you could play around with it to get the general effect you want.

08-23-2010, 04:30 PM
If you don't want to download Google Earth then use what I use...flashearth.com (http://www.flashearth.com/) Here's a screenie of someplace north of Canada.

08-23-2010, 05:08 PM
@ tovette:
I was on google maps, but did not find any ice shelf regions. :( I'm still there, scrolling around the world. I'll hold my eyes open and try out your method soon, if I found something. Thanks. :)
@ Ravells:
Your result is really nice. I think I have heard about that filter stuff some time ago. Seems to be quite useful. If I'm ever in the mood to buy plugins for ps, I will definitely think about Xenoflex.

@ Ascension:
I found flashearth.com some moments ago, as I was searching for an online version of google earth. Thanks for the screenie! That was right that what I needed. Nice find! :)

Uhm ... how awesome must it be to create such an image with photoshop ??? Oh no ... I can't resist ... must try this style ... aaaah ...


08-23-2010, 08:27 PM
This is the goal I've been working towards for 5 years and CalvinKyle is closer to it than I am. I guess that if I could create an image 25,000 miles across I could approximate the awesomeness of our earth.