View Full Version : WIP - Making photo-realistic overhead buildings in GIMP (Tutorial)

03-07-2011, 04:31 AM
I have been given a reasonable amount of compliments on my photo-realistic style and decided to write a tutorial on how to execute it. As I begin brainstorming and developping the idea the more I realized roofing is very detailed and a lot more comprehensive then I first knew. Therefore, I'm expanding it to more then simple roof shapes since in an overhead view of a building can indicate much more about the internal shape and use. I'm going to make a comprehensive guide to over head view of buildings and open the floor to debate as I progress. This will be a long project so have patience with the progress. I'm still in the R&D stage and with further ado the first of what I've written up.

Making photo-realistic overhead buildings in GIMP
Tutorial created by Julien Johnson for the Cartographer's Guild (http://www.cartographersguild.com)

This tutorial has for purpose to create photo-realistic buildings and houses to be used in encounter styled maps and small scaled towns. Following these steps exactly will create buildings appropriate for use in 100 px = 1 inch = 5 feet square grid maps per my style. Of course through use of different textures and scaling the steps appropriately you can accommodate any scale of map. The following tutorial heavily makes use of bump mapping, layer modes and layer masking. If you encounter issues with these functions refer to the GIMP manual sections linked hereafter. (Bump Mapping (http://docs.gimp.org/2.6/en/plug-in-bump-map.html), Layer Mode (http://docs.gimp.org/2.6/en/gimp-concepts-layer-modes.html)s and Layer Masking (http://docs.gimp.org/2.6/en/gimp-dialogs-structure.html#gimp-layer-mask)) For demonstration purposes, I will be using images with a resolution of 100ppi which already have base textures added. Additionally, the textures used within this tutorial will be available to download within the thread containing this tutorial and linked as the project is completed.

Note: This tutorial is a WIP (Work In Progress) status, will be worked on over time and will be reassembled in PDF upon completion and posted in the tutorial section with editing appropriate to a final product.


1 - Roofing introduction, design and outlining
1.1 - Introduction to roof basics
1.2 - Roof shapes and their applications
1.2.1 - Flat roofs and terraces
1.2.2 - Skillion roofs and lean-to
1.2.3 - Saw-tooth roofs
1.2.4 - Gabled roofs
1.2.5 - Hip roofs
1.2.6 - Pyramidal roofs
1.2.7 - Circular roofs
1.3 - Materials and their applications
1.3.1 - Thatch
1.3.2 - Shingles
1.3.3 - Slate and stone slabs
1.3.4 - Tile roofing
1.3.5 - Metal roofing
1.4 - Determine a roof configuration and pitch
1.5 - Examples of basic roof outlines
1.6 - Examples of elaborate roof outlines
1.7 - Determining the configuration that best suits your building
1.8 - Drawing an outline of your roof