View Full Version : Island Map for Campaign

01-15-2012, 08:33 PM
I want to thank the community here for the excellent tutorial thread. I have gone from this:


To this:


By following Rob A's excellent and clear instructions and those that he linked to for the forests and mountains.

Now, if anyone can give me any help in getting the coral reef to look a little better, and with the rivers, that would be super.

01-16-2012, 04:18 AM
:) Google maps, satellite image of a coral reef, clone tool. That's one of my suggestions :D

01-17-2012, 04:40 AM
Thank you Lukc.

I did that and found four I will use as a basis:

I'm not entirely sure how to get this effect on my map, but I'll give it a bash.

I may also alter my colour scheme slightly to aim for something more like this:http://varifrank.com/archives/2006/04/it_cant_be_done_1.php

I'm going to try and redo my rivers and have some of them look a little like this:

Finally, I really want to add a cloud layer over the top that will cover the undiscovered parts of the map and gradually reveal them as PCs explore; something like this http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/9841501-leeward-islands-weather-news

Well, that's my plan for next weekend. Not sure if I'll be able to do any of that though.

01-17-2012, 01:52 PM
Thank you Lukc.

I completed the rivers: http://i1006.photobucket.com/albums/af182/jacktannery/IslandMap6-2.jpg and I am quite happy with them, though they need a little more texture and colour blending.

I google-imaged some coral reefs: http://i1006.photobucket.com/albums/af182/jacktannery/reefa.jpg and http://i1006.photobucket.com/albums/af182/jacktannery/reefb.jpg ; I would be very grateful if anyone could give me some advice on creating reefs like this on my map.

01-17-2012, 03:15 PM
Ok - if you look at the coral reefs (aside from clone stamping them directly with photoshop) you can see they have a very bright, nearly white edge, where there might be sand deposited on them. Towards the island you get a gradient going from bright turqoise (a very pale blue-green with a lot of saturation) to a darker blue. In the other direction you see a hint of a narrow gradient going from a darker, inky black-blue to the blue of the open sea. I'd make three layers of stuff and fiddle with their opacity to get a working coral reef ...

Layer 1-sand bars: a white wriggly line along the coast, where you want the edge of the coral reefs. Paint it with a pretty small soft brush and set the blend mode to screen. Possibly set the opacity to something like 90 or 95%.
Layer 2-lagoons: below the sandbar layer paint the lagoon gradient with a large, very soft, low-opacity, low-flow brush (airbrush mode helps) (probably make a mask to keep it on the right side of the sand bars) - make smooth wide strokes, moving away from the coast towards the bars. Send blend mode to normal or lighten and fiddle with the opacity. You might have to drop a few gaussian blurs on the level, before dropping another ripple effect.
Layer 3-the deep blue: below both other layers draw the narrow, inky gradient heading out. Use a soft, medium sized brush. Set it to multiply and fiddle with the opacity setting. This is a bit like a drop shadow, but make it more of a hint than something very obvious. It's also there to make the reefs pop out a bit more.

I can't try that right now because I don't have my tablet here, but that's how I'd do it :).

01-17-2012, 04:33 PM
Thank you very much Lukc. I will try that right away - just finished the rivers at last. It's the little things that take the longest.

01-17-2012, 07:02 PM
Ok I did step 1 and 2 - I have not done step 3 yet. What do you think? Do you think I got the texture and colours right? Thanks so much for your advise - you gave me the confidence to get on with what seemed like an unsurmountable task by breaking it down into those three steps for me (even though I did not fully understand them - still learning...).

Also started the labelling and finished the rivers - and I've finally worked out how to post images in these forums (I think).


01-18-2012, 08:06 AM
Ok - I'm stuck and need some advice.

i originally sized my map without thinking of the long term. 2000 pixels across in size and 144 pixels per inch, I think. But I am having trouble with the labels, because there are simply not enough pixels on the map for me to label properly. the smallest font I can use for legible labeling is size 20, which is too bit.

So the question is: is it too late to add extra pixels to the map? I only need these on my labeling layer - need to double or triple the pixel density, but without damaging the underlying map. I know I should probably have thought of this before I started, but I never actually believed I would manage to achieve a decent looking map when I began.

01-18-2012, 03:19 PM
I think I fixed up the labels, added a scale and added the third dark layer below the reef. I think I am done now - unless anyone has any suggestions for improving the map?


01-18-2012, 04:04 PM
I think it looks really neat and great my idea worked out :) I was going to post a reply sooner, but the site was all kinds of wonky and then I had to go see a doctor about some magic drugs ... I think you got the labels up quite well. I was going to suggest fiddling with the blending options a bit, but it seems you've got that down pat. One thing is that your "lagoon" layer misses the white sandbar a bit in a few places right at the edge. For that I'd zoom in and just smudge tool the sand towards the island a little bit ... or, just use a fine, hardish white brush. (Tried: worked better than smudge)

Anyway, I took the privilege to try to illustrate what I meant:


01-19-2012, 12:41 PM
I did what you said with the reef sandbars and it really worked well. Also improved label legibility, blended the rivers a bit more and tried (with only moderate success) to reduce the mountain contrast.

Anyway: new improved finished version!