View Full Version : Creating Regional Boundaries: Photoshop Problems.

03-14-2011, 05:44 PM

I have long read and looked over this forum, it is a most wonderful place and holds host to many, many talented people. Now, I currently GM an online game that will shortly require a campaign map of the British Isles, so to speak. I request that the map is functional and is split into numerous regions or counties.

Here is a picture of my progress so far. It is my first map in photoshop so please, take it easy (:D!);


I have used a layer mask to split the ocean and the land-mass, allowing me to paint freely for the terrain. I do however have a problem that I just cannot solve. I need to split the English land up into smaller provinces that I can re-colour (flood opaque or inner glow lines) as the campaign progresses, according to the faction that holds that piece of terrain. Could anyone suggest a way to do this? Every attempt that I've tried is either ridiculously long-winded and difficult or just floods the entire map in one fill-colour.

Many thanks,

Eiríkur rauđi

03-14-2011, 05:54 PM
I'm not an expert on Photoshop but couldn't you just use some sort of selection tool ? (lasso or equivalent) to draw your boundaries make a new layer and fill that layer with whatever color you wanted to use. I did a very quick pic of what I mean. Obviously you'd want to put these new layers under your text labels to keep the text white. I just guessed at a region boundary and used the first color that was in my palette. One other benefit of this method is that you can turn the layers on and off if you need to. Hope this was helpful :)


03-14-2011, 06:01 PM
Hi, first of all, that map looks very good! Not sure if this helps but the way I would do it is to duplicate the landmass mask-layer (you wanne keep the original), then use a small pointed eraser to erase the borders between regions on the copy and then select/copy/paste each region onto a new different layer. Then each "region-layer" can get inner glows, color overlays etc... maybe there is a less destructive way to do this but cant see directly how in PS... cheers, DJ

edit: hehe, saw that 2 post crossed. It should indeed be possible to have a seperate layer with the borders and then use the selection tool (select from all layers with low tolerance) to select shapes from the ladmass (hiding the land-color layer before selecting) and use those selections to cut and paste into regional layers.

03-14-2011, 06:42 PM
I am no Expert but I do know a few tricks.I need to know what version of PS are you using ?

03-14-2011, 06:43 PM
Thanks for the speedy replies!

I am currently using CS3.


@ djspek; the problem is that my map has no boundaries at all. I want to add them in and define them, internal and external (IE, coast lines)...

03-14-2011, 06:50 PM
I would look on google images and find a line drawing of british counties quite large image. Like this one: http://www.iwnhas.org/images/VCMAP.jpg
From there you can add that as a layer to your map and align them - assuming your map and this one is of similar projection. Anyway, if you can do that then you can usually use the selection tool to make a shape from the counties map. Then on a third layer, flood fill that selected area and set the layer mode to multiply and it will tint the image layers below it.

Ideally you should have started with a line drawing of the UK and made the terrain map from that then they would have lined up. If they dont line up then you have some stretching to do.

03-14-2011, 06:54 PM
Ah, I forgot to mention; I did intially trace an outline of a large map of the British Isles, so that shouldn't be a problem now.

03-14-2011, 09:15 PM
If this is what you want have a quick Virtually painless solution !!>:)>:)>:)


This is hurried so some what crude. It can be much cleaner !!

03-14-2011, 09:57 PM
With a very dark map like this, you might want to do semi-transparent 'aura' borders. If you have Photoshop, you can just demarcate the borders and then use the magic wand tool to select the region. With the stroke fill and some blurring, you can make borders that are clear, but still show the underlying area, and don't under or over-saturate anything. If you need an idea of what this looks like in use, look at a National Geographic map.

03-15-2011, 06:57 PM
Here is a pdf to try out . Hopefully it will be of some assistance. Don't give up there are plenty of people willing and capable of helping out.:)


04-24-2011, 06:09 PM

Sorry for the late reply, real-life overtook me for a while.

lostatsea; your .pdf REALLY helped me out. I thank you so, so much for it and I thank the rest of you for taking the time out to assist a newbie in cartography.

Anyway, I began work again on the map this morning. The original image has been updated in my first post with the new version. I have successfully split England into the appropiate kingdoms of Wessex, Mercia, Anglia and Northumberland. You can see that I have further begun dividing up the kingdoms into their respective counties and parishes, as demonstrated in the South-East of England. The legend is something I've quickly rammed in, I'll probably remove it altogether at a later point and dedicate an entire document to the naming of such things.

Criticism so far?

05-26-2011, 05:54 AM
@ lostatsea - good idea. BTW, one more question.. Initially I was working fine using Photoshop CS2. But recently I have upgraded my system to win7 and I have uploaded the Photoshop to resolve the compatibility problem...(sorry I didn't remember the current version). Its working fine with Win 7 but the only problem been is I am not able to set the background. Whenever I select the background option it doesn't reflect in the project. Any ideas would be highly appreciated..

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