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View Full Version : Making elemnt changes less abrupt, how do?



Akaizhar
01-30-2012, 10:56 PM
To get it out of the way first, I use photoshop and consider myself a general novice. I've created one large map to date, using techniques I have found online. The thing I wish to ask is, how does one make changed between forest/grassland/snow without making it appear so abrupt. I haven't discovered the tools or blending options that allow me to do it. Any ideas?

Example Below.

41709

Langy
01-30-2012, 11:59 PM
Generally, use a wide, low-opacity brush to paint your textures. This allows the textures to 'blend' somewhat naturally. I'm not an expert with Photoshop or anything either, but that's what I did with my Mythic Earth (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?17339-WIP-Mythic-Earth) map; this is the result:

41710

jfrazierjr
01-31-2012, 12:20 PM
Better yet, use multiple layers and layer masks. This is a NON DESTRUCTIVE way to blend textures as opposed to texture painting. ie, you can easily change without having to redo.

Akaizhar
01-31-2012, 11:07 PM
So low opacity is the general rule, I use multiple layers as it is, each one is divided into what it is (forests is one layer, mountains another, etc etc) but the key is low opacity? How do you get those colors across one layer to blend well, or even mixing those colors together?

As you can see from my image, nearly everything is one uniform color. And this is something I would like to fix.

Coyotemax
02-01-2012, 02:07 AM
Since you already keep your layers separated out, it should be easy - the trick with the low opacity is to do a lot of overlapping. the more you paint over the same spot the more opaque it will get, so you do that in the center areas of the region you want to look like, say, grassland. then let it fade out as it goes into the hills. Forests don't need the opacity but if you have a broken up edge, it should work.

The other thing you might want to try is blending modes - overlay for the forests, etc.

Akaizhar
02-01-2012, 03:19 AM
now should I make my "grassland" layer opaque, and then just blend in the rest (excluding mountains and such)?

Coyotemax
02-01-2012, 03:42 AM
What I usually do is pick out a layer to be the base ground. So grasslands work, or plain dirt, or some sort of scrubland. And then everything else blends on top of that. Be sure to post up some results as you go for feedback ;)

jfrazierjr
02-01-2012, 09:25 AM
Take a look at the link in my signature to a real simple Layer Mask tutorial. Even though it targets GIMP, the concept remains exactly the same for PS or any other image editing software that has layers and layer masks(even if the exact steps are a tiny bit different). Using Layer Masks correctly, you can get blending results that would meet your needs and yet never have to "destroy" the contents of the layers, ie, it's easy to undo, add more, remove some, etc at a moments notice.

Akaizhar
02-01-2012, 01:02 PM
Does anyone have any good land textures? I usually throw in a texture on top of some of my colors to give them a little more depth

Coyotemax
02-01-2012, 02:50 PM
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?724-Land-Sea-Fill-Textures

awesome stuff in there :)

Akaizhar
02-01-2012, 03:12 PM
You are a life saver. I'll be doing some editing tonight, and I'll give you guys some updates in the next few days.

ravells
02-01-2012, 03:17 PM
There is a link to a tutorial about this in my sig as well!

Hai-Etlik
02-02-2012, 12:45 AM
It seems to me the problem might not be how hard the edges are, so much as the shapes of the features. Plenty of maps mark features with sharp, discrete symbols; it's easier to interpret than fuzzy blur. Consider these two shapes:

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The edges of the second one are just as sharp, but it it looks a lot more like something you'd expect to see on a map.

Here's a real life example: http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=50.5254&lon=-120.2612&zoom=13&layers=M

Akaizhar
02-02-2012, 06:30 PM
Good idea sir. Also, what is everyones average pixel per inch on their maps? I have mine set to 300, which may be way too high (resulting in slow load times/edit times). Should I drop it down?

Hai-Etlik
02-02-2012, 07:12 PM
My maps are vector images so I only need to pick a resolution when I rasterize them, in which case it depends on what I plan to use the image for. I usually use the resolution of one of my monitors (101 or 96 DPI) for images to be displayed on a screen. For printing I use 300 or 600 for laser printers, 360 or 720 for inkjet.

Resolution by itself doesn't affect the size of the file or computation required. It's the logical dimensions that affect that. Resolution is just a little note attached to the file indicating how big the image should be/was in real life. It does play a role if you specify the size of your image in physical units though. 2000 px x 2000 px is the same regardless of resolution. 10 cm x 10 cm is not.

Akaizhar
02-03-2012, 03:08 AM
Resolution Fixed. Forests, swamps and most things fixed. I have two main problems now...

How do you depict mountains?

How do you depict hilly terrain/badlands?

Here's an example of various features and how I implemented them.

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The light grey with bumps in the top right middle would be what I would like to replace as my hills/badlands (it looks like crap)

Lukc
02-03-2012, 03:48 AM
When printing, app. 600 dpi is good for hard black line art, 300 dpi is enough for masses of colour like photos and other things. On screen the dpi is a bit irrelevant, it's the pixels that matter (well, in combination with monitor size and how much detail you can jam in).

I usually do a lot of my somewhat more "realistic" mapps with texture brushes and lots of painting at low opacity, then a separate overlay layer to depict elevations and such.

Midgardsormr
02-04-2012, 01:15 PM
The intended size and viewing distance also influence how high a resolution you want. A poster-sized map is usually okay at 150 dpi, or even 120, because the viewer isn't usually looking at it as closely as they would a page-sized map. At 600 dpi you're getting into the realm of art prints, even bordering on gallery quality for some things.

However, it's always possible to reduce the resolution and rarely possible to increase it, so I generally work at a resolution much higher than my intended end use. As high as is practical given hardware and tool limitations.

I really like the way your mountains look right now. For your hilly terrain, see if you can replicate what you've got going on with the foothills and maybe change the color to something between the mountain and desert colors.

Jaxilon
02-08-2012, 07:09 PM
Also, just for the record I would refer you back to jzfrazierjr's posts above about layer masks. You just have no idea how slick those are until you understand them. It has helped me a lot especially when transitioning from say mountains to plains. I use a low opacity brush on the layer mask and just fade it out to perfection.

Akaizhar
02-08-2012, 11:01 PM
Also, just for the record I would refer you back to jzfrazierjr's posts above about layer masks. You just have no idea how slick those are until you understand them. It has helped me a lot especially when transitioning from say mountains to plains. I use a low opacity brush on the layer mask and just fade it out to perfection.

I don't quite understand how to use a layer mask to be honest. I can create them and but I'm not sure what to do after that point.

jfrazierjr
02-09-2012, 07:12 PM
I don't quite understand how to use a layer mask to be honest. I can create them and but I'm not sure what to do after that point.
Did you happen to go see my tutorial?

Ok... so here is a bit of a VERY quick eg.

Open GIMP/PS and create a new image
Create a selection of half the image and fill with one color
Invert selection and fill with a different color
Use your favorite blur tool to blend them(the blur tool with a brush, Gaussian blur, whatever...)
Now change one side to a different color
:P

That's an example of the NOT right way to do it. Now, using layers masks

Open GIMP/PS and create a new image
Create a selection and fill half with one color
Create and select new layer
Invert selection and fill with a different color
Add a layer mask to the top layer
in the Layer's window, select the mask(it's beside the layer)
Again, selection half the image and fill with white
invert selection and fill other half with black
Now use your blur tool
Change color....

easier no?

Jaxilon
02-09-2012, 07:48 PM
Use the link in JFraz' signature above on layer masks. I didn't get them when I first started either but once I finally got through that tutorial I began to use them all the time. I really can't thank JF enough for that one. Now that I think about it I need to go make sure I rated that tutorial.

On a side note, I kind of suck at following tutorials because I mostly just like figuring things out for myself but every now and then you just gotta do it.

Akaizhar
02-09-2012, 11:34 PM
After playing with layer masks for a half hour, I just realized I must now redo my entire map. You sir... are a genius.

Coyotemax
02-10-2012, 12:23 AM
But look at the positive side - once you've done your map with layer masks, you can edit it all you want afterwards with minimal effort!!! :)

Akaizhar
02-10-2012, 01:06 AM
Yeah so far I'm very very impressed.

Lukc
02-10-2012, 03:09 AM
Plus - once you learn to use layer masks you're probably in the top 50% of graphic design technicians just with that one skill and your job opportunities go up! :D

jfrazierjr
02-10-2012, 01:30 PM
Yea... My first question before I modify something is: can I do this in a non destructive way?

Layer Masks is one excellent way to accomplish this in many cases(but not all). Another is using one(or more) layers set to overlay(or screen or multiply) to create shadows and highlights(instead of directly editing the base layer).

Yes, these techniques require more layers and thus larger image size(and RAM requirements), but in the end, being able to edit at any time without having to redo a bunch of stuff is generally well worth it.

Akaizhar
02-11-2012, 03:53 PM
Layer Masking everything to make it 100x easier. Check.
Found good textures for various terrain that blend well and easily. Check.
Fixed text size/style to a more easily readable standard. Check.
Found a good way to incorporate hills/foothills. Failed. Any ideas?

Lukc
02-11-2012, 05:10 PM
Hmmm ... now it depends ... what is "good" for you?

Akaizhar
02-11-2012, 06:02 PM
Well what I'm looking to do is make the hills both noticeable and non-intrusive, so you can see the forest under the hills layer. Something like that. I was thinking of just doing a texture and not a pattern with no color show through.

alanrex
02-13-2012, 05:22 AM
i don't know if it will help much with your particular style of map, but using the feather command helps me blend colors/lines etc

jfrazierjr
02-13-2012, 02:49 PM
Well what I'm looking to do is make the hills both noticeable and non-intrusive, so you can see the forest under the hills layer. Something like that. I was thinking of just doing a texture and not a pattern with no color show through.

What software? And is the size of your first attachment the final size? If not, can we see the full sized version(assuming it fits the forum upload limit of course)?

jfrazierjr
02-13-2012, 02:53 PM
You sir... are a genius.
Well.. technically, I think I am just few points shy to be considered genius level(thought i am close!). ;) However, since I did not really invent the techniques, nor the software, what I truely am is a overtly zealous evangelist of trying the "darnedest" to never make destructive edits. Not always possible of course, but I look for it whenever I can. If I have to spend 5 extra minutes now, but can edit infinitely later with less effort, I would rather do that...