View Full Version : Ice caps and Fractal Terrains?

11-13-2011, 08:04 AM
Hello all, so I went ahead and bought Fractal Terrains and I'm loving it so far. Basically, I was wondering how exactly I would go out about putting in ice caps - I realise this may require me to edit using some other program.

For example I create a world and I am happy with it - what format do I export it on to edit in GIMP? Are there any tutorials on how to draw ice caps in GIMP? (Or the terraformer - I'm not quite sure how this works as I'm totally new to everything).

Also, how would I export say - just the coast lines in order for me to edit it to make a political style map?

Finally, is there any way I can create a contour style map from a fractal terrains world map (is this possible on GIMP, or CC3 or something else?)

Sorry if the questions seem a bit basic, but I keep getting lost and any pointers would be much appreciated.

Many thanks!

Master TMO
11-13-2011, 10:24 AM
I believe it's been said that if you drop the temp below -10 or -40, the terrain shading will show ice instead of water. I haven't played with that yet myself yet. But if that's true, run a selection from the arctic circle on up and lower the temp until ice starts showing. Then I guess you can warm up spots until you have the ice cap you want.

11-13-2011, 11:06 AM
Thanks, I will have to try that - my problem is though, if I do this, won't it just show with the climate colours, and not the usual globe-like colours? I want more or less an altitude view, with ice caps, can this be done? Thanks again

Master TMO
11-13-2011, 11:14 AM
Well phoo. I had thought it would show up using an Image Climate, but it doesn't look like it does. It seems to only show using the Climate or Gaia views. I guess you could export as two layers and copy the ice from the Climate onto your regular terrain layer, but it's a bit of a workaround. Sorry, I'm not sure what the answer is.

11-13-2011, 01:09 PM
Hmm - what is the best way to export maps for editing in a program such as GIMP? I would like to add labels to a map I have been playing with all day, and I would also like to add clear borders around the continents - is this possible in GIMP?. Thanks again!

11-13-2011, 02:16 PM
I haven't touched overlays yet but I suspect that is the best way to incorporate ice caps. Since terraformer deals heavily with overlays, there might be something in the docs for that addon. If not, the author may have some insights.

11-13-2011, 02:32 PM
Yes - the overlays look like they could be effective, look complicated though. My main question now is, which is the best way to save/export maps in order to edit them using GIMP? Also, I remember there was a very good PDF about where to place deserts, rivers, and general map-building, although I have basic ideas I would like to read this again - does anybody have the link (or anything which may be similar)?

11-13-2011, 07:20 PM
If your goal is to get pictures out of FT that you never want to work with in FT again (that is, a one-way workflow from FT to other tools), try File>>Save As with an appropriate image type. This technique will save the current FT view to an image file that you can edit or annotate using tools such as the GIMP.

Contour maps can be exported to CC3 using File>>Save Campaign Cartographer File.

An easy way to separate the land and sea to allow for applying coastline effects is to modify the altitude shader so that the land is white and sea is black (Map>>Lighting and Color, Altitude page). On the Intensity page, set Shadows to None and you'll have a mask that's white where there is land and black where there's water. This mask can be used in the GIMP to separate the land from the sea.

In FT3, ice caps appear in the climate shaders. The regular climate shader shows solid colors. The Image Climate shader was updated for FT3 to include an image for land and for sea, allowing ice caps to flow onto sea as well as land. The Textured Climate shader is new for FT3 and allows swatches of textures to be repeated across climate types (works on both land and sea).

11-13-2011, 07:51 PM
Thanks Waldronate, very useful information there. By 'contour maps' do you mean maps which show contour lines, or just height in various colours as can be done on FT3 itself? (Sorry if my wording is not very accurate).

My goal is indeed to get the shape of the world I want in FT3 and simply save it as pictures which I can edit such as adding place names etc - what is the best way to save these images from FT3 in a high resolution? (So far they are quite bad when I zoom in slightly in GIMP or such)

About the ice caps - my main problem is I want an image with the ice caps and maybe continent extremities, but without having a climate view on the rest of the world (i.e. having altitude view on the rest). I guess I would have to edit this in myself? I cannot seem to get ice to appear from the Image Climate shader, only from the Textured Climate shader...am I missing something?

Thanks a lot, the help is much appreciated!

11-13-2011, 08:46 PM
Contour maps in this case are vector files that contain contours at different altitudes (or climate or temperature or rainfall). These vector files can be exported with unfilled contours or fillled contours.

FT3 has a practical export image size around 6000 pixels in a single image. You can, however, zoom in on a few parts of the image and export those images at high resolution, followed by assembling those images in an image manipulation program such as the GIMP. The multi-image export feature in FT allows multiple zoom levels to be output and these can then be assembled into a larger image. The big question I have to ask, though, is "how large an image are you trying to get?"

If you'd like ice caps (a type of climate) to appear on a non-climate views, then you'll need to do something like exporting a climate view (with ice caps) and your desired non-climate view, then assembling the two images using an image manipulation program like the GIMP.

To get ice caps on the sea from the Image Climate shader, you need to specify an image for land and sea that have ice caps in the same relative place. If you don't case about sea showing as blue, setting the land and sea images to the same image will get you ice caps that are continuous across land and sea.

01-27-2012, 04:17 PM
I've been wresting with this question myself in redoing my group's world map. Outside of the Gaia shader, There doesn't appear to be a way to do this outside of creating a standard landmass, and then changing the coloration of the CC output, but I think I can live with having to do that.

02-13-2013, 01:06 AM
I wrestled with trying to make ice caps in FT3. The solution I came up with (after getting ideas from Terraformer) is the Image Overlay feature of FT3.

Quick Tutorial on How To Make Ice Caps using Image Overlay in Fractal Terrains 3.

1. In FT3, Change Projection > Orthographic with Latitude 45 for a nice view from space of your work on the North Pole. (Later do this with Orthographic Latitude -45 when you work on the South Pole).

2. In your web browser, search Google Images for "ice". Choose any picture that is icy, blue and mostly white. Download the picture to your computer. OR in GIMP or Photoshop create a white JPG or PNG (or it likes BMP images) image size something like 5000 wide x 500 tall (a low wide picture will work, make it white with some light blue stripes or crosshatch if you like; it will probably be distorted to a circle, or stretched really far out, once applied as an overlay and viewed in a projection, so the ice cap will not look exactly like the "Ice" picture you choose in this step).

3. In FT3, click menu Image Ovelays > Show Overlay Window > ADD > Import Color Image >
Visible? Check Yes.
Always Show Overlay > optionally change it to "Show only if below water (Sea)". If you already have icy snowy ground in parts and you just want to add ice cap over the ocean parts.
Opacity slider > change opacity to about 85%.
Overlay Word Edges: LEAVE TOP 90, CHANGE BOTTOM TO 72, LEAVE LEFT -180 AND RIGHT 180 ! (For South Pole, use TOP -72, BOTTOM -90).
CLICK IMPORT COLOR IMAGE > Browse to your "Ice" picture.
The "Size (samples)" settings can be anything, the program may set it automatically, try Width 5000, Height 1000.

Now you should have a smooth round North Pole Ice Cap.

If you want to change the Transparency (Opacity), or change the Bottom Latitude of how far the ice cap goes down the globe, then go back to Image Overlays Window, and click Edit.

Now you want the ice cap to have non-smooth edges? I find a way to make jagged edges by hand. I did not find a way to make Fractal edges yet.

To make Jagged edges now by hand,

4. In FT3, Change Map Projection to Miller Cylendrical.

5. Image Overlays > Overlay Erase Tool.
View > Toolbars > Selection Options > change Eraser Brush size to Width 111, Height 55.
Now start erasing the straight bottom edge line of the ice cap! Erase up-and-down making some jagged lines.

6. In FT3, Change Map Projection back to the projection that you like. The jagged lines will look quite different in other projections. The jagged lines should extend all the way around the ice cap, in projections that produce circular views of the North and South.

EASIER THAN IT LOOKS WRITTEN OUT -- if you're like me, and you heard "Image Overlays are complicated", don't worry, it's not complicated to do this. It is easy to turn off the overlay if you messed up. No harm to your world. No slow delicate painting of climate and temperatures affecting the fractal modeling and taking time to process.

This could be a way to learn how to do an Image Overlay in FT3 -- not saying I'm right, I'm asking for tips, because this is absolutely my 1st world in FT3, my 1st image overlay, and the 1st time I've presumed to post a tutorial here on the helpful Cartographer's Guild. I don't know if Ice Caps was an intended use for Image Overlay, but it seems to be a workable alternative method, independent of the Temperature model, Altitude Color, and Image Climate selections. I noticed other people had asked for a way to achieve something like this in the past.

EXAMPLE IMAGES (my first fractal terrain world & my first novice "map" posting on Cartographer's Guild -- still keeping most of my world hidden for now, it is a WIP Work In Progress)

IMAGE A - my Ice Cap made in FT3 with Image Overlay and Overlay Eraser. Note my ice cap is roughly circular in extent but jagged edges, over the seas; much of the white at lower latitude is from cold high mountains in northern climates.


IMAGE B - Compare with the cool looking icecaps in FT's Gaia Shader, that everybody wants when using Image Climate shader, Altitude, Climate, and Terraformer shaders.


IMAGE C - Fractal Terrains 3 Image Overlay settings for Import Color Image (import your white icy pic at the arctic polar region)


02-15-2013, 05:33 AM
What a great tutorial! Thanks for posting it. I can't seem to get the erase brush to work properly...don't know why but it doesn't want to erase the overlay at all. It worked for a very short time and then stopped!

02-16-2013, 12:57 AM
Thank you. Good luck with the eraser. I'm not sure what the problem might be. I would Save your map, restart the program, and see if it works again. Also make sure your Tool properties view is open and adjust the eraser size. I have had trouble like you described with other painting tools in FT3 (raise, lower). The tip I've heard is to do short strokes. However sometimes it seems more effective if you hold the mouse and linger in a small area. However for me the erasing worked smoothly enough with tool Width 111, height 88, or so -- a big brush, and the Miller projection, I was able to erase broad swaths fairly quickly. Another idea for you that might or might not help, you could make your viewing window smaller. I think it may process the image faster when the display of the world is smaller on your screen. The main tip is restart the program. I've only done the erasing technique once so far myself. Still working on my world. That would be cool if you are able to produce something from my tutorial tho.