View Full Version : The Burpwallow Coast

04-30-2008, 04:54 PM
So I started putting together a piece of land to play with Ravells' river method here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1907). This started out as just a quick and dirty map and developed into something I'm very proud of.

The rivers didn't work so well for me, so I just made them using my tablet(niiice tablet).

Anyway, I started with my standard lazy method of Clouds filter followed by Difference Clouds till I liked the look. Using the original noise I found the high area was roughly in the SE corner and most of the land was covered with small lakes until I set the threshold so high that I had small islands.

I created a layer with Pin Light blending mode. I don't use this mode much, because I don't really know what it is, but it worked great here. I drew in a very light grey over the areas I wanted to have as land. I then set the brush to Linear Light mode and painted in a somewhat darker grey(still >128) around the edges and in areas I wanted a little higher.

I then made another layer in Multiply mode to lower the areas where I wanted sea. I also used it to flatten out some of my lowlands. Multiply is a very nice mode. Not only does it lower altitudes, it also smooths, in a way, by reducing slopes(e.g. if you have a region at height 16 next to an area at height 4, multiplying by 1/2 will give you 8 and 2 which also reduces the difference from 12 to 6).

I created a channel and used Lighting Effects on land based on this HF, but I found it a little too uniform.

Now I created my land mask with a threshold layer. I used a levels layer to span the levels on land from 0 to 255. On the Input levels I set the far left to just below my sea level threshold(that's the black point), the far right(my white point) I set as low as I could with out forcing too many of my high points to white, and the middle point(I don't know the term) I pushed a bit to white, flattenning the lowland areas. I saved this HF as a PGM for later. I also saved it to a separate channel.

Lighting Effects based on this modified HF looked really good to me. There were distinctive deposition-flattened lowlands. Ya'a'te! I ended up applying my new hillshading at

Now I created a gradient layer with the land threshold as it's layer mask. This was a pretty simple hypsometric gradient from dark green to white. Based on the heightfield, of course.

I inverted the land mask to use as a layer mask for my ocean areas. This made a nice pattern I thought suggested waves on shallows and reefs. I liked it.

What I had at this point looked nice enough to be worth more work, but still lacked life. A few days previously I had made a good tiling pattern out of a picture of the cliff rocks in a cut near my home. I decided to apply them as an overlay to my map. Two layers filled with my rock pattern one was applied to land with a layer mask at 100% opacity Overlay mode, the other applied to sea with a 50% opacity Overlay. If I had it to do again I would have used an inverted HF on the sea to show more of the rock pattern where the water was shallow(no biggie, live and learn).

I saved the combined color image without shading. Well actually, I cheated a little and used a very low opacity shading with my original HF in order to add some interest to the lowlands. This might have worked better had I used the same light direction as I used in Bryce.

I then created another layer in screen mode with a Bevel and Emboss Layer Effect. I created a layer mask for this and tried Ravells' tut out. I wasn't altogether happy with the Bezierish rivers I got, so I just used my tablet. At some point I apparently turned off pressure sensitivity for my size control. Grrr... But, I was tired, so I gave up.

I quickly created a greyscale image based on the white-ocean black land threshold combined with the river mask for an initial specularity channel. On the ocean and river portion I applied a Cloud filter with the FG set to white and BG set to about 40% grey. I used Levels to bias this a bit to white. I also applied clouds to land in a black to dark grey range.

I imported the pgm of my HF into Bryce. I then used the color image I had saved as the Diffuse and Ambient Color channels and the Specularity greyscale image as the Specularity Value channel for my terrain's material.

I then went into the Terrain Editor. I added Basic Noise, Height Noise and Slope Noise and then I ran the Erode effect a bit. This I smoothed slightly and added some more Slope Noise. Then I eroded it some more. I did not use the Eroded effect, it has some odd artifacts I'm trying to avoid and tends to kind of eat the original HF more than I wanted.

I then rendered with my camera pulled way back with a narrow FOV looking straight down. The rendered image I saved and brought back into PS.

I pasted my Bryce image in under my rivers layer and inverted the light direction in the Bevel and Emboss effect on my rivers layer. I used some Adjustment Layers to desaturate and pretty up the result and here it is.

I may have to do a tut on the method I used here for HF manipulation. If I trusted photoshop's 16-bit coverage I'd say this could be at least as good as what I could do with Leveller. Of course, I know what I'm doing in PS which I can't say of Leveller.

My next stage will be playing with labels. After that, it's back to Ansium.

04-30-2008, 05:33 PM
This is gorgeous! I love bleak coastline.


04-30-2008, 05:54 PM
So beautyful ... wish I could do such thing!

But the line on the ground seems like giant roots... Is yggdrasil in the nearby? :D

04-30-2008, 06:21 PM
Gorgeous. I'll be impatiently waiting to see the expanded tutorial on this one.

I can get an idea of the process from what you've already written but breaking it down a little more would be immensely useful. I'm sure there are many of us here who would love to be able to use this kind of technique in our own maps:)

04-30-2008, 06:42 PM
Me too! Tutorial please! I'd really like to get a better grasp of the early part of the process.

Lovely work, Su Liam!!

04-30-2008, 10:22 PM
Very nice! I really like this coastline, and it's so rare to see good bathymetry like that. I think I'll be coming back to this post later to see if I can duplicate what you've done. And I'll echo the others: more details!

It's really been a delight reading your posts. A lot of the technical discussion goes over my head, but I learn just a little bit each time I read it. So many thanks to you, Redrobes, Monks, Waldronate, and anyone else who's been involved in those tech talks.

05-01-2008, 08:27 AM
Agreed, that's very pretty - especially the mountains. The sharp shadows make them look very authentic.

Just one thing that doesn't quite sit right - the shading along the coast line looks like a drop shadow from the sea on to the land. Now I've seen it I can't help but see the sea as above the land - which feels very strange.

Have some rep for an excellent walkthrough - though of course that shouldn't stop you from going into more detail in the tutorials thread.

05-01-2008, 04:04 PM
* Not quite ready for a tutorial yet. Stealing time as it is.

* I'm not quite sure what Hinaloth is saying about a line on the ground, though I'm curious.

* I'm really, really honored to be referred to in the same place as Redrobes, Monks and Waldronate. Thank you so much.

* The problem, Torstan, is that I have some subtle shading embedded in my colormap itself. Building a bumpmap for Bryce can get complicated and I was tired. It would have worked better if my Lighting Effects weren't lit from exactly the opposite direction as my Bryce render. In PS I used NW illumination, in Bryce I used SE illumination. Me ineptum. I rattled off a quick rerender with more appropriate illumination below. Thanks for the rep.

In the near future, I'll start this process over from scratch, both to see if I can replicate my results and to create a tutorial. Till then, here's ammunition, a little water, I have some chips if you need 'em. Hold out as long as you can my friends...! :)

p.s. I think I found the line Hinaloth is referring to. Apparently I didn't make my rock texture quite as tileable as I thought. Annoying...

05-02-2008, 02:24 AM
That's done the trick. Looks great.

05-04-2008, 04:51 PM
Great looking coastline su_liam! Very authentic and totally cool. I preferred the de-aturated look of the first map though, but I suppose thats just personal.


05-14-2008, 12:11 PM
Apropos of nothing much, here's a LunarCell-like planet I made with planetGenesis and Bryce. Everything was built from planetGenesis noise and rendered in Bryce except the background which was Glitterato and the cloud maps which were generated in LunarCell.

This is just wasting some limited free time I could be using for my CWBP project, but it were fun.

It took about two days...

05-14-2008, 03:23 PM
Its really nicely done su_liam. I love the effects. Seems a pity to waste, maybe the time wasn't wasted from the point of view of the CWBP (nudge nudge wink wink). I'm sure the wiki could do with a nice artistic planetary pic in which the cloud cover obscures the land masses just enough to make it usable as a generic world.


05-23-2008, 04:39 PM
Here's my latest experiment. Looking at some different climate schemes. More of a deserty theme, but with a touch of vegetation around the edges.

Mostly, I was just checking a text idea I had. At least on CS1, you can't apply Layer Effects to Layer Sets. Too bad, really, setting up Drop Shadow, and Outer Glow separately for each label is tedious. I did find I could condense all the text into a single rasterized layer and apply effects to that.

I'm hoping CS3 will be better that way. I intend to purchase it when I start back to school.

This is a somewhat reduced-color version. GIF, JPEG, PNG-8 and PNG-24 were all ginormous.

08-04-2008, 07:33 AM
Desert and icy scened tutorials, textures and such would be awesome. Don't see many of those around and these look great :D

05-27-2009, 02:50 AM
Mmm-kay... I was reminded of this by a couple of things lately... The most important reminder was a hard-drive death that destroyed most of my recent mapping work, including Burpwallow, Tavonni and Oregon.

So now I'm working on a tutorial for this method. Not exactly, 'cause some parts didn't seem to work, and I've been looking at adapting it to Wilbur, which I can now use.

Here, as a teaser, I reveal, the new Burpwallow Coast...

Steel General
05-27-2009, 06:17 AM
Lookin' good so far...

05-27-2009, 08:23 AM
I like it, look forward to the tut.