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View Full Version : What is the most efficent technique for blending regional palettes in GIMP?



Porklet
05-25-2011, 04:02 PM
I am a GIMP newbie, and I am creating a world map. I want different regions of the world to have distinct color palettes. However, I do not know how to Blend colors to soften lines and have, as an example, arctic grey smoothly transition into a dark green tundra. I also have a red-based region next to a green-based region; is that going to be an issue in regards to Blending?

I have tried the Blending tool, and it turned by image into a half black half white 1960's poster. I tried the Smudge tool, and it did exactly that to very poor effect. I am going to toy around with Filters and what not, but any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

jtougas
05-25-2011, 04:36 PM
I use the smudge tool for up close detail stuff but it can get messy at large scales. You could try a blur on your transitions. Gaussian Blur is the most popular.

Ascension
05-25-2011, 04:44 PM
I just turn down the opacity or flow or both and just paint the colors by hand, building up more color where needed and leaving it pale/translucent where things smudge together. As to red and green blending together, they are opposites so when blended they should turn brown.

Porklet
05-25-2011, 06:17 PM
I use the smudge tool for up close detail stuff but it can get messy at large scales. You could try a blur on your transitions. Gaussian Blur is the most popular.

I have used the Gaussian Blur before, but only on a complete layer. When you say transitions you are referring to the point(s) where one region meets another? Would I select one or both regions in order to utilize the Blur?

Porklet
05-25-2011, 06:20 PM
I just turn down the opacity or flow or both and just paint the colors by hand, building up more color where needed and leaving it pale/translucent where things smudge together. As to red and green blending together, they are opposites so when blended they should turn brown.

When you say opacity/flow are you referring to the Brush/Pencil? Do you alternate colors, or do you try to find the median color for the two regions?

Hai-Etlik
05-25-2011, 06:43 PM
"Dark Green Tundra"? Did you perhaps confuse Tundra (Treeless arctic plain with permafrost layer) with Taiga (Subarctic forest)?

Porklet
05-25-2011, 07:54 PM
"Dark Green Tundra"? Did you perhaps confuse Tundra (Treeless arctic plain with permafrost layer) with Taiga (Subarctic forest)?

It should have read light grey tundra to green fields. Sorry about that.

Ascension
05-25-2011, 08:50 PM
Yes. When I say paint by hand I mean using the brush like an artist would paint on a canvas. Just plop some color down with a very low opacity and if you need more color then keep plopping more color down until it builds up to the point where you want it. I don't use a pencil for this since it has a hard edge while the brush has a soft edge. As for median color, well - yes and no. I change color a lot; I don't just stick with green for forests, white for snow, brown for mountains, and tan for deserts. I'll use a lot of different greens for a forest and mix in other colors for variation like tan, red, orange, black, blue, etc. With a low opacity the colors pretty much blend themself and, at least in photoshop, I can change the blend modes and things will change/blend in different ways. Say like I am using a light green and have the blend mode set to multiply, if I keep painting green over green then the multiply will make each successive brush stroke darker than the last. Now say I switch to a red and change the blend to screen, then each stroke will get lighter and browner since red and green are opposite. If I switch to overlay instead of screen then each stroke will just get browner but not lighter.

Porklet
05-25-2011, 11:13 PM
Yes. When I say paint by hand I mean using the brush like an artist would paint on a canvas. Just plop some color down with a very low opacity and if you need more color then keep plopping more color down until it builds up to the point where you want it. I don't use a pencil for this since it has a hard edge while the brush has a soft edge. As for median color, well - yes and no. I change color a lot; I don't just stick with green for forests, white for snow, brown for mountains, and tan for deserts. I'll use a lot of different greens for a forest and mix in other colors for variation like tan, red, orange, black, blue, etc. With a low opacity the colors pretty much blend themself and, at least in photoshop, I can change the blend modes and things will change/blend in different ways. Say like I am using a light green and have the blend mode set to multiply, if I keep painting green over green then the multiply will make each successive brush stroke darker than the last. Now say I switch to a red and change the blend to screen, then each stroke will get lighter and browner since red and green are opposite. If I switch to overlay instead of screen then each stroke will just get browner but not lighter.

I have already tried them out, and I see what you mean. It does help with adding color gradient (change, you know what I mean). Already, even my most rudimentary attempts at blending are markedly improved, once I employ the Smudge (the Smudge sounds like a Smurf hitman's street name). "Smurf the Smudge? I'm not afraid of that loser. Oh, h-hey there Smudge. I got's your loot."

Thanks for the help. One more question if you don't mind. I am not well versed in color theory, and maybe I have this wrong. Would I be better off having adjacent regions with complimentary colors, i.e. light green to blue green to dark green to etc., rather than grey to green to tan? Or does that not matter as long as I take the time to blend them properly (assuming I can pull it off)?

Ascension
05-26-2011, 01:07 AM
Well that depends on if you're going for art or for realistic terrain. For "artsiness" you'd need some color knowledge (split compliments, contrast, color weight, etc) but for a realistic terrain color palette it sort of doesn't matter about color theory. Mother Nature doesn't design her terrain according to what is symmetrically balanced or if the proper purple is balancing out the yellow. Good blending is a must so you have that right. Get a screenshot of a satellite image and just take some sample colors from that. Photoshop makes that rather easy as we can create a whole color swatch from a screenshot. Take your colors and put them wherever you want them with a few exceptions - swamps don't live right next door to deserts; deserts are largely on the 30th parallel (not the equator) and have yellows, tans, oranges, whites, and reds; white is either at the top or bottom for the poles; mountains can be lots of colors like brown, black, gray, purple, blue, rust, red, etc; forests are various darker greens and browns than plains, oceans are black, blue, teal, cyan, green; stuff like that.

If you were doing color for a political map then color theory is much more important since each country will be a different color. You would not want pastel blues and greens combined with vivid reds and oranges.

Porklet
05-26-2011, 03:32 PM
Well that depends on if you're going for art or for realistic terrain. For "artsiness" you'd need some color knowledge (split compliments, contrast, color weight, etc) but for a realistic terrain color palette it sort of doesn't matter about color theory. Mother Nature doesn't design her terrain according to what is symmetrically balanced or if the proper purple is balancing out the yellow. Good blending is a must so you have that right. Get a screenshot of a satellite image and just take some sample colors from that. Photoshop makes that rather easy as we can create a whole color swatch from a screenshot. Take your colors and put them wherever you want them with a few exceptions - swamps don't live right next door to deserts; deserts are largely on the 30th parallel (not the equator) and have yellows, tans, oranges, whites, and reds; white is either at the top or bottom for the poles; mountains can be lots of colors like brown, black, gray, purple, blue, rust, red, etc; forests are various darker greens and browns than plains, oceans are black, blue, teal, cyan, green; stuff like that.

If you were doing color for a political map then color theory is much more important since each country will be a different color. You would not want pastel blues and greens combined with vivid reds and oranges.

Thanks for the color tips. I saved the list you made in Notepad so I could reference it easily.

One more question: How do you create a color swatch from a screenshot?

Ascension
05-26-2011, 03:55 PM
Follow this link (http://blogs.sitepoint.com/make-swatches-from-photos-in-photoshop/).

Porklet
05-26-2011, 11:29 PM
Follow this link (http://blogs.sitepoint.com/make-swatches-from-photos-in-photoshop/).

What? No Blue Pill Morpheus?

Thanks again.

Ascension
05-27-2011, 04:23 AM
It's easier than me trying to explain things...I confuse people most of the time with my over-wordiness.