View Full Version : Relief Map

02-05-2008, 03:10 AM
So, after making my last map, still not really finished, but thats fine if I can perfect the actual beginning proccess, I think I can go back and fix my older map with out any problems.

Well I'm posting this as a "test" it has nothing to do with anything other then what you guys think. The thing I tried to do was make it more flat around the coasts, which before I had what appeared to be a big mountainous area from the mountains to the ocean. Anyways I just want to know your thoughts feels, first impressions anything would be great, because I want to know if this is a style worth the effort of "perfecting" (can't really perfect it but I can try and make it better)

Edit: oh yeah I forgot to mention one little thing there are a few Islands that didn't really "work" like the top right Island that looks like a backwards Z...

02-05-2008, 12:49 PM
I really like it.

What method did you use to create this? Specifically, are all the flat regions just above sea level or are there any plains in higher elevations? The reason I ask is that the lakes look good and I am curious as to weither you ahve any details on thier elevations.

02-05-2008, 02:18 PM
Don't know if your aware but I have a free utility to create terrain a lot like this. It has a mountain pointyness factor which you can adjust to get more or less low lands. Not as nicely colored tho but I am sure you can create a height map to color palette transform which would give the same.


The little app creates a color and a greyscale heightmap. This link gives a free 3D viewer for it too. http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/cgi-bin/viewingdale.pl?category=dragons_flight you could use it with your terrain too if you have the height map for it.

Your sig says 100% photoshop but there are some characteristic streaking on the map which makes me think that its something else...

02-05-2008, 02:42 PM
Thanks guys!

Glen- Well at first when I started doing this, I followed your tutorial, I soon realized (with prior reading of other methods) that I could blend in many techinques and things I picked up. I wrote up a tutorial, but it hardly makes any sense, I made it so I wouldn't forget, but the basic is this.
1-using your tutorial, do clouds/diff clouds
2- Still following your tutorial, use RobA's tutorial for Random coasts, except before you blur it make a second copy of your black and white land.
3- After RobA's tutorial grab the copied one (make sure it has a ROUGH edge) do a large extend, and feather it with a large size, and delete the section. And make sure the layer you used to follow RobA's tutorial has your 60% opacity and screen blending.
4- Then throw on a color gradient.
... Now for the hard part
1- Make 4 layers name them from top of the list down 120-100-80-180, mess with opacity so when done there isn't tons of shadow, and set to Overlay.
2- using the Color Range white as foreground, use the layers to save selections (so Do Color range amount 120, then 100 etc.)
3- Fill the layers with 50% gray, use the Lighting effects, now this is where the color range/saved selections coming. On each layer EX:120 selected, I go to lighting effects, change it to directional, top left as angle, and make sure its a gray color in the preview not white or black. I repeat for 100, 80 180.
4- Now this is the new part I did. I turned off all the recently made layers, and select the gradient map layer, and select the land nearest to the coast, then I select the brown to white, make a feather of about 3 and then turn on the 180 layer(select too) and delete it out.

The key is in the gradient map colors. So Answering your question Glen, yes the land near the water is just a lighter gray color, then from the land color, to the mountains is a bigger gap, then the mountain to the peaks is a short distance of color.

So thats pretty much it. Its all 100% Photoshop, nothing else as you said Redrobes, kind of curious on what you think isn't photoshop though.

02-05-2008, 03:08 PM
Firstly, let me say that to do this all in Photoshop alone is pretty cool. I don't use Photoshop but I know that I could not have done anything like this in PSP. I was wrong in my assumption.

Its the 45 degree streaking in the bottom left bit. Lots of ridges all in parallel. I really don't know why they are there except that I have seen a lot of this sort of thing from using fractal math as a method of generating the randomness. Maybe the cloud filter is the culprit. Do you have any idea ?

02-05-2008, 03:40 PM
Redrobes, yes it is the cloud maps. I found it happens rarely though. The clouds in Photoshop are nice and random, but when you apply the Difference Clouds filter a couple of times the mathmatics begin to show. Since it's similar to the way some fractal programs create terrain for a 3D sphere.

I've found all kinds of this in a few attempts to make the mountian ridges more uniform. Sometimes they become REALLY uniform.

It's easy enough to remark on it in the campaign design as "interesting geography". But then again I grew up near fields that had rows of limestone running across them. A geologic "uplift region" that was the layers literally turned on edge. So I tend to just wave my hand and explain it away rather than worry about it.

02-05-2008, 08:54 PM
This is looking great--I think those really work, Yandor. Lotsa potential here!

02-05-2008, 09:40 PM
Redrobes- Glenzilla hit it on the head, and thanks for the great comments! You too Pyrandon Thanks!

Anything that any of you think would enhance or possible improve this? I seem to like it and don't notice anything wrong other then possible cliff areas, but then again I don't know much about Relief maps =D

02-06-2008, 10:32 AM
In the end you and your gaming group will be the judge. I think the map looks rich and filled with details.

But until you drop it on the table in front of a group of players, point and say, "You are here." it's all conjecture. But when a player points at some terrain and says, "What's over here?" you'll know it's a map that pulls them into the game and makes them curious about the areas they haven't explored.

That's what I am always searching for at least.

02-06-2008, 12:36 PM
hehe guess thats where I'm lacking. I'm no D&D person, I'm doing this out of pure joy and fun. The only audience I have to show these maps too are my family (who don't really care) and you guys that actually know how to draw and make maps... I may plan on using them in a book one day but thats far to the future. But if you seem to enjoy it, and I can't seem to find anything that wrong with it, I'll have to just keep messing with little things here and there to see if I can get a better result. So Thanks Glenzilla, if you want to know anything about how I did it, I can attempt to get a more detailed tutorial up.

02-06-2008, 03:12 PM
I must take my hat off to you then. I don't think I could keep it up without the reaction when I reach for my map folder and the players at the table all scoot their chairs closer.