View Full Version : Isometric Dungeons in Photoshop

01-17-2012, 10:29 PM
This is my first attempt at a tutorial. I look forward to your suggestions and recommendations to make this and other contributions better for the community. I have learned that creating tutorials takes a lot more time than I would have guessed.

The methods for this tutorial were developed while making a dungeon map for my campaign world, Ember. It was inspired by a map created by Djekspek that is linked in the PDF.

01/21/12 - I've updated the tutorial and spiced up the presentation a bit.
01/22/12 - Here's the sample dungeon.

41449 The PDF is in this ZIP file







01-18-2012, 02:41 PM
I'm not able to see the first attachment. Is that true for others too?

01-18-2012, 02:58 PM
I'm not able to see the first attachment. Is that true for others too?

It's there for me. it's like contact sheet, but with transparency and there are only a few elements around the center with VAST area's of empty around it....My assumption is that the OP plans to add more content later as he builds it.

01-18-2012, 03:15 PM
I also can't see the first attachment ("Attachment 41315"). But I'm very curious what is behind that, as it's always great to see some tutorials and I love ISO dungeons. The elements already look pretty cool! I'm also glad some of my map inspired you to do this (this is really the best compliment one can get for his work, so thanks fo that! :) cheers, DJ

01-18-2012, 03:43 PM
Yup, I can't see the first attachment either.

01-18-2012, 05:10 PM
Yep, I can't either. But I like the first elements, nice job anyways.

01-18-2012, 06:44 PM
The first attachment is a PDF. I'm away from home now but I'll try to fix the attachment problems tomorrow night.

01-19-2012, 04:34 PM
Okay thanks for you patience guys. I've worked on the attachments in the OP, and though they aren't doing what I'd like them to do, they're working and you should be able to access the PDF by downloading the ZIP and extracting it.

01-19-2012, 04:39 PM
great tut man! and I love the "dropped edge' trick! cheers, DJ

01-19-2012, 05:05 PM
Excellent tutorial. Love the use of layer styles to automate the laying down of the floor squares. Repped and rated.

01-19-2012, 05:44 PM
Impressive tutorial and good shortcuts! Well done!

01-20-2012, 06:20 AM
Thanks for the tut Immolate! There are a lot of free Iso tiles on the internet, so I guess we will see many Iso dungeons/towns/buildings in the future here. This could also be the topic of a light challenge...

01-21-2012, 12:47 PM
Thanks all for the encouragement. I went back and updated the OP tutorial. I found that by using a darker color blend mode on the walls/doors, the background bleeds through enough that you can better understand the layout, but the foreground remains sufficiently prevalent. I find the effect perfectly balanced, so I added it to the afterword of the tutorial.

01-21-2012, 07:33 PM
Very cool. I just finished trying this one out. It makes very neat dungeons. Do you know a source for more elements? You can never have too many dungeon decorations after all. Oh, in the early steps your tutorial has opening the grid file and such and selecting, copy, switch to the document you are working on and pasting. I find it quicker to open the image you want to bring in and just select duplicate layer and change the document to the map you are making.

01-21-2012, 09:40 PM
Some of the most interesting things I learn from working through other people's tutorials is alternate workflow ideas. Thanks for that... I'll play around with it and see how it works for me.

Those elements were mostly hand-made. I've seen lots of stuff online, but nothing that really grabbed me. It was more fun making props myself although I might change my mind if a source of really excellent props comes up.

Are you going to share the map you made? I'd love to see it!

01-22-2012, 11:03 AM
Actually when going through the tutorials I just duplicated your map rather than being original. I am working on another one using your technique. I'll show you what I have so far. I've been experimenting with different methods of laying down tiles. Let me show you my pokemon's.

1. There I wanted to see if I could make a circular room. I used the elliptical marquee tool to lay down a circle and then filled it with tiles.

2. There I used the pen tool and made a blob shape then filled the squares paint bucket.

3. Triangle room. There a used quick mask and shift clicked a triangle then filled the squares with paint bucket.

4. Circle rooms done a bit different. On these I made a new layer, made a circle with the elliptical marquee tool and filled it with a color. Then I moved the circle into position and ctrl+ left click the grid layer icon and then delete the lines from the new circle. Then I filled in the squares to the circle with paint bucket on the layer I made the circle on. Since I made so many I duplicated the layers and moved them into position, flipped them around and put the on the other side. When they were all in position I merged the layers down and they all turn into tiles.

5. Big square room. Around here I remembered another tool. I made a new layer, used the polygonal lasso tool, filled it with a color then merged down.

6. On this one I had a random Idea and thought I would try it out. I used the magic wand tool to select a grid square, expanded it one pixel and filled it with black and made a new brush from it. Then I made a new layer above the tiles layer and just slapped down some paint. Ctrl+ left click the grid and hit delete on the new layer to get rid of the lines. Then I merged down. Now I took the erase tool with my new brush and shift clicked to remove the parts I didn't want.

Maybe some new tricks will occur to me as I go along.

01-22-2012, 02:10 PM
So any shape will work as long as you rotate 45 degrees and scale it down 50% vertically... I think by the evidence that you've got that nailed.

FYI you can rotate and scale a selection just like you can with the layer itself using the select/transform menu. Then you can just fill the area then position it properly. Once in position, ctrl click the grid and then delete, which will be the same as doing a tile-by-tile fill. Good thinking and you just made this whole thing a lot easier for me. These techniques will make more complex irregular shapes more feasible, although you'll have to deal with the walls manually.

The dark tile color is pretty dramatic and may require a darker, more neutral background to balance it. The stairs will probably need to be color-coordinated as well, but that's easily done with a hue/saturation change. I see you started riffing on the stairs to make larger cases. On my next one I'll probably build some significant variations on stairs. Anyway, good start. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

01-22-2012, 02:43 PM
Yeah, I'm putting up walls now. Stairs already colored. I'll change the background near the end. Oh, another thing I did different, the last part of step eleven has you going under the all the under dirt layer with a little brush. Since I am using a mouse and the map is pretty big a big hell no came to mind. So I just added a 3 pixel stroke effect on the outside in normal mode with a dark color. Gives a similar effect and saves a lot of time.

01-23-2012, 12:54 AM
I love what you did in the finished maps section with this Thesslian. I feel inspired to buff up the tutorial now and make some better props.

01-23-2012, 05:29 AM
Thank you. Another trick I used was rather than going over all the wall outlines with a brush I just used the stroke effect again. I suppose you would need to keep different kinds of walls on different layers or those you didn't want to outline, but it speeds up the process a bit. And more props would be very welcome. I tried to make some of Bogie's elements work, but I am just terrible at it.

01-23-2012, 08:28 AM
yea, you can fairly easily see where the stairs "seem" together when chained like Thesslian did, since the top tread is wider than the rest of the stair treads. Anyway, no matter what, this is great work and thanks for sharing!

01-27-2012, 07:28 PM
I'm in the middle of mapping a little church and I got carried away with the stained glass windows. I thought I would share. Hope someone finds a use for them.

01-27-2012, 08:13 PM
Those are awesome!

01-28-2012, 12:00 AM
Wow, much nicer than any of mine. Way to improve on the product!