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GlassSphere
07-01-2008, 08:20 PM
Well here goes another experiment. The water in this was by far the most difficult thing I have yet to make. I also ran into issues of scale, photoshop's render clouds filter isn't adjustable like the gimp's :( So in order to make larger features I had to do something along the lines of "not so random coastlines" X 2.

So the file is 2000x2000 with 200dpi.
The detail is really tiny in this. I couldn't think up of any interesting additions for the moment, such as caves or things. I know I should have attempted a volcano, but was wanting to finish the other details first.
I realized one of my problems is that I love zooming in too much too often. This causes me to focus on making really nicely detailed paths and rivers, then go back to actual size to realize that my nice brook is only 2px wide and a dull color that barley stands out. The same goes for the buildings. Yet then again I did try to keep it somewhat in scale.

This is the first time I really feel that I effectively created a hilly area with mountains. I found the effect by accident too!
There is a bit of history behind some of the areas, and many secrets to be found on these newly settled islands. But unfortunately, I am too tired of wrestling the oceans into a pleasant effect to bother inventing it :D Maybe later. Likely never.

Tell me what you guys think!

Robbie
07-01-2008, 08:26 PM
I'll make you a co-admin of the site if you make a tutorial on how to make that water?

Just kiddin...but it would be quite awesome to know that secret.

Skycast
07-01-2008, 08:29 PM
On an initial sweep the only thing I think it needs is something "below" the water to denote the reef. Also, a sprinkling of smaller islands here and there would go nicely.

jfrazierjr
07-01-2008, 08:52 PM
So the file is 2000x2000 with 200dpi.
The detail is really tiny in this. I couldn't think up of any interesting additions for the moment, such as caves or things. I know I should have attempted a volcano, but was wanting to finish the other details first.
I realized one of my problems is that I love zooming in too much too often. This causes me to focus on making really nicely detailed paths and rivers, then go back to actual size to realize that my nice brook is only 2px wide and a dull color that barley stands out. The same goes for the buildings. Yet then again I did try to keep it somewhat in scale.

If you feel the urge to make a nice hugh town or city with a massive level of zoom enough for a CTT, it would not hurt my feelings.





This is the first time I really feel that I effectively created a hilly area with mountains. I found the effect by accident too!
There is a bit of history behind some of the areas, and many secrets to be found on these newly settled islands. But unfortunately, I am too tired of wrestling the oceans into a pleasant effect to bother inventing it :D Maybe later. Likely never.

Tell me what you guys think!

Very nice map.....DARNY DARN..... I can't give ya any rep cause I must have not spread any out in the past 3 days or so since I last repped you... time to go looking for some nice older maps to rep people on. This is SWEET! and the water is to die for (well, not really)

Joe

GlassSphere
07-01-2008, 08:53 PM
Yea ill Show how, yet im still unhappy with it. Skycast is right, and reminded me that I still need to figure some way out to create a more realistic underwater sand-area around the islands. Simply a ring of a lighter color in the water doesnt really do so well. I also want to figure out how to make realistic looking sand bars, as painting em doesnt seem to do so well.

I could put a few more small islands in. As for the reef, I understand, there needs to be at least some sort of interesting texture or color around that area. I was referring to the lighter colored area in the string of islands as the reef.

Another thing I just realized would make things look abit nicer is some trees on the beach, like palm trees.

Thanks for your all your compliments on the water though! I'll write something up for it tomorrow evening.

torstan
07-01-2008, 09:05 PM
Those mountains are great - repped.

I'd actually like it if the sea went darker as you got further from the islands. It's a very light shade of blue - but then it is tropical :)

Ascension
07-01-2008, 09:12 PM
The only thing I'd touch is making the water darker, love the greenery on the land. Many props

jfrazierjr
07-01-2008, 09:35 PM
Yea ill Show how, yet im still unhappy with it. Skycast is right, and reminded me that I still need to figure some way out to create a more realistic underwater sand-area around the islands. Simply a ring of a lighter color in the water doesnt really do so well. I also want to figure out how to make realistic looking sand bars, as painting em doesnt seem to do so well.


So, what if you make two copies of your water layer, blur the heck out of your selection so the white is around the land fading out and the ocean is your mask part. Then, "paint" in your sand bar areas. Add your blurred water copy over top, add the mask layer and play with the blending mode and/or opacity and of course, the land layer above that. Hmmm I wonder how well that would work to make it looks like underwater sand bars....

Joe

A. Smith
07-02-2008, 02:22 AM
Heh, am I the only one that dislikes the water? It looks too bumpy for me, at that kind of scale...

Ah well...

The mountains and farmland are magnificent however... I'm especially curious of the farmland. Did you do that by hand?

GlassSphere
07-04-2008, 04:09 AM
I haven't forgotten about that tutorial, but the thing is, I feel bad about writing a tutorial on the one thing that I feel is incomplete. So I went farther experimenting with water. I also used Google earth as reference and now understand how water works with islands better.

So this is what I got so far! Never mind the lack of tons of things, I took out every unnecessary layer to keep the filesize down, keeping things abit faster (as one of the steps to this is making a 10,000x10,000px layer!! applying an effect then shrinking it down)

Now I'm kinda beginning to miss the blazingly bright sapphire colors of my crystalline ocean :( but It's still easily achievable with this.

jfrazierjr, I'm trying to interpret what your saying. Maybe im confused because I don't have a single water layer :P it was about 3 in the first image, now its at 6-7. But even after merging them into one, I'm still abit lost as multiple layers your naming have the same name- "water layer"

I agree A. Smith that it is abit strangely bumpy had already went through a process of get it as small as it is already, I guess I just needed to do it more.

The farmland is a really amazing discovery. It is actually a default photoshop rock texture! The island layer consists of a mayang picture of some concrete as the image, then for layer properties: color overlays, inner glows for the beach, slight bevels, and a texture overlay, the texture overlay is what makes it look like farmlands. To make it appear in that area, I simply blurred the mayang concrete image to make it stand out! Addition by subtraction! You can tell that this texture is everywhere if you look closely enough. It adds alot of great variety to the islands.

In the picture I also added a bit of coastal coloring to one of the islands. I'm not sure how I like it. I think it would fit better for a non tropical area, but here it needs to be lightblue/sandy rather than muddyness.

Ascension
07-04-2008, 04:24 AM
When I saw your first iteration of this map I said to myself that I knew I'd seen that somewhere so I loaded up all the patterns I had deleted and am trying to incorporate them into something. Thanks for waking up my brain and good job on that land.

delgondahntelius
07-04-2008, 05:04 AM
I honestly think that in the shallow part, that it still looks a bit too splotchy, this however, is probably a personal opinion as opposed to an actual default on your part... it seems as if ... its 'almost' there... but you haven't quite put your finger on that final touch for the shallows ... the rest looks fantastic however... very photorealistic ... almsot like a snapshot from an aerial photo :D

jfrazierjr
07-04-2008, 10:20 AM
jfrazierjr, I'm trying to interpret what your saying. Maybe im confused because I don't have a single water layer :P it was about 3 in the first image, now its at 6-7. But even after merging them into one, I'm still abit lost as multiple layers your naming have the same name- "water layer"

First, this is amazing. Personally, I think I might like the original water a bit more, though this is still great looking.

As for criticisms, the beach pat is too regular. I assume you create a path and stroked the path with your sand color or something? I have some ideas about that if you'd like, but it depends on how your layers for the sand/regular land are lain out.

For the sandbars, assuming you want them below water, you would pick which water layers (perhaps 1, maybe 2 at the most?) you want on top and create a layer mask with a large blur for your sandbar. This will allow you to get your sandbar to fade into the deeper water and disappear.

Joe

delgondahntelius
07-04-2008, 10:28 AM
you could use a gradient mask to fade it under water as well.... it would work nice in conjunction with all of what jojo just suggested...

Naeddyr
07-04-2008, 11:21 AM
As everyone's said, this is looking really good. I much prefer the second type of water, but it seems like those are some damn big waves.

Hm, waves. It would be really cool to have water with wave-patterns... Like dunes. I have to try to make something like that. x]

RobA
07-04-2008, 11:54 AM
Nice map! As stated, it looks like a aerial photo. The only thing that bugs me is how "soft" the shapes are. The jungle edge (and even the shorelines) seem too smooth, making the islands look blobby. It is like it needs more fractalization, or something.

The other thing (regarding Joe's comment on the beaches) is that there should be a difference between the windward and leeward sides of the islands, in terms of the beach widths.

-Rob A>

jfrazierjr
07-04-2008, 01:07 PM
The other thing (regarding Joe's comment on the beaches) is that there should be a difference between the windward and leeward sides of the islands, in terms of the beach widths.

-Rob A>

Thanks Rob, it's good to have something to go on. I knew they looked to uniform to my eyes, but did not really know the real world reason for why they shouldn't. Could you provide some details as far as how the wind affects the beachline? ie, if the wind is blowing E->W, then the beaches on the E side would be [wider|thinner] than thos on the W side?

Joe

delgondahntelius
07-04-2008, 01:19 PM
Thanks Rob, it's good to have something to go on. I knew they looked to uniform to my eyes, but did not really know the real world reason for why they shouldn't. Could you provide some details as far as how the wind affects the beachline? ie, if the wind is blowing E->W, then the beaches on the E side would be [wider|thinner] than thos on the W side?

Joe

That is what Wikipedia is good for :D .... yer supposed to go and research it jojo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coastal_geography

GlassSphere
07-04-2008, 02:02 PM
Well the splotchy-ness is intended. You can sortof see the blackish patches in the shallow part. I think it's a very realistic texture of a seafloor. It could be patches of black sand or seaweed, but whatever it is, most ocean floors aren't endless seas of white sand. I did blur the original water's waves in the center, so at the moment they are only slightly visible bumps.

As for the waves on the outside being to big. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!!?!??! Is 10,000x10,000 pixels not enough? should I make it up to 20k then shrink it? It'll be twice as small then. Or my computer will explode. That reminds me though, I forgot to slightly distort the waves to be abit more organic.

About the beaches. They are nothing more than a light/white/yellow inner glow applied to the islands right now. As for the jungle being to soft, yea, the line from the jungle to the beaches is really soft but I later hoped to amend it by adding trees onto the edges of the beach.

The island's edges may seem soft, but I realized at this more zoomed-in scale, The coastlines are going to be alot softer than I'm used to. We commonly see maps on the continental scale where the coast should have a lot of bumpiness and variance. But this close anything alot more bumpy on the shorelines would have been quickly eroded away.

GlassSphere
07-09-2008, 12:56 AM
Well, Here is the latest results from a ton of experimentation. After attempting and failing at something for 4 hours straight you get a little bored, so It's been a few days. I think I really got it down. I was trying to do too much when the look was already quite realistic from what I've seen from satellite photos. The things I added are:
1: Underwater lightened around coastlines/beach. This was the hardest part. I wanted to create an effect that didn't look like a simple linear glow. After trying tons of different filters and effects, I found a really simple one that worked fine-. A bevel (might as well be a glow) with an adjusted gloss contour.

2: Shoreline waves. I wanted them abit longer actually, but I'm still amazed at how simple it was to create the effect by getting the typical water/glass distortion to contour with the shorelines.

3: Shoreline Trees. You'll notice that the transition between beach and jungle is looking better, with trees now gradually forming the line. This was interesting to create, as I had to widen the coast before putting the trees on it, or else there wouldn't be enough room for them without some of them jutting into the water.

4: Even smaller outer-ocean waves. 16,000x16,000 pixels!!! EEEEGAADS!. The effect was applied and shrunk back to 2,000 pixels. This took over 30 minutes for 3 steps overall. But oh does it look sooo goooood.

Other: I made a little sandbar by just a little brushing on the island's mask. It doesn't look great, but I know if I took a look at some sandbars I could eventually paint in some better ones.

Whats wrong: Beaches don't have varying width. I know how to, its rather simple, it'd be just 1 more step to widening the beaches for the trees. But to be honest after looking at a lot of beaches with google earth. They all tend to have a very set width. The effect to slightly randomizing the beaches width wouldn't be too realistic either. It would be best to manually adjust it with a simple very light erasing of the island's mask. The main problem with this is the tree-line will also have to be manually adjusted. Not that big of a deal I guess, that in order to manually adjust something you have to also manually adjust that section on another layer.

Tell me whatcha think. Personally I think I've got it down enough to write a really comprehensive tutorial on it.

torstan
07-09-2008, 05:06 AM
Shrinking that sea texture has made a huge difference. Looks great! I look forward to the tute :)

jfrazierjr
07-09-2008, 08:42 AM
Well, Here is the latest results from a ton of experimentation. After attempting and failing at something for 4 hours straight you get a little bored, so It's been a few days. I think I really got it down. I was trying to do too much when the look was already quite realistic from what I've seen from satellite photos. The things I added are:
1: Underwater lightened around coastlines/beach. This was the hardest part. I wanted to create an effect that didn't look like a simple linear glow. After trying tons of different filters and effects, I found a really simple one that worked fine-. A bevel (might as well be a glow) with an adjusted gloss contour.

2: Shoreline waves. I wanted them abit longer actually, but I'm still amazed at how simple it was to create the effect by getting the typical water/glass distortion to contour with the shorelines.

3: Shoreline Trees. You'll notice that the transition between beach and jungle is looking better, with trees now gradually forming the line. This was interesting to create, as I had to widen the coast before putting the trees on it, or else there wouldn't be enough room for them without some of them jutting into the water.

4: Even smaller outer-ocean waves. 16,000x16,000 pixels!!! EEEEGAADS!. The effect was applied and shrunk back to 2,000 pixels. This took over 30 minutes for 3 steps overall. But oh does it look sooo goooood.

Other: I made a little sandbar by just a little brushing on the island's mask. It doesn't look great, but I know if I took a look at some sandbars I could eventually paint in some better ones.

Whats wrong: Beaches don't have varying width. I know how to, its rather simple, it'd be just 1 more step to widening the beaches for the trees. But to be honest after looking at a lot of beaches with google earth. They all tend to have a very set width. The effect to slightly randomizing the beaches width wouldn't be too realistic either. It would be best to manually adjust it with a simple very light erasing of the island's mask. The main problem with this is the tree-line will also have to be manually adjusted. Not that big of a deal I guess, that in order to manually adjust something you have to also manually adjust that section on another layer.

Tell me whatcha think. Personally I think I've got it down enough to write a really comprehensive tutorial on it.

VERY nice. The trees overhanging the beach only in certain areas is a great effect. Very convincing and helps draw a lot of attention away from the static width of the beach very well.

The sand bar at the top of the upper right island looks a flat when compared to the one below it (near town harbot). It looks like you are going for the underwater sandbar thing, but are not quite there yet? If so, perhaps selecting just the sandbar and applying a blur to the edges to have a more gradual fade from the middle of the sandbar might help.

Joe

Midgardsormr
07-09-2008, 11:52 PM
I think you need to actually fly out to a tropical island, bring back some sand, and pour it on your monitor. That's really the only way you're going to make this look more real.

Nice work! I'm still quite interested in how you achieved your original water. Maybe it wasn't quite right for this map, but it'd be terrific for others.

Karro
07-11-2008, 01:06 AM
Oh, that's simply gorgeous!

If I even attempted something like this, I think I'd kill my laptop twice over before I'd gotten anything nearly as good looking. Many kudos to you.

landorl
07-11-2008, 12:38 PM
That is an awesome looking map! I like the way that it looks sort of like an overhead picture, but at the same time still has a hand painted artistic feel to it.

GlassSphere
07-17-2008, 10:18 PM
Sorry to post so late.

I really appreciate the comments, it really helps, I'm only satisfied with these effects if it looks good to others, as I can't really go on my own opinion.

What has been going on:

Well I started to write the tutorial and I ran into a ridiculous problem. A part of the water that I thought was simple to recreate and didn't really matter to get specifically the same again turned out to be the key component to making the entire thing look good. This was the underwater texture. For some reason, It appears as if I had merged some multiply effect adding layer onto it as well, making it even harder to remember what was created how. There are a lot of reasons why the texture is so important. with too complex of a texture the water looks really noisy and un-smooth, while water should be smooth in these areas. Another reason is the color of the water greatly affects the feeling. Having some areas with too much of a color variety too fast makes it look like somebody spilled food coloring into the Caribbean.
Yet another reason why the texture is so important, this is the biggest one, I realized that the texture worked -with- the ocean depth.

(the ocean depth is created by the original render-clouds that were thresholded to create the land mask. The original clouds are copied, and turned to multiply or some other darkening effect, and applied to the underwater texture. This creates a very realistic depth effect (more than any glow could possibly do) Cause areas farther away from land tended to be darker in the original clouds (hence why they didn't turn into land during the threshold) hopefully that didn't go over your head. If it did, don't worry, it span around my head many times before it poked me in the eye.

Back to the texture part. The areas that were darker with the depth affect, had -more- texture to it! the concentration of the black stuff on the seafloor became higher in the deeper parts, and there was less in the shallower parts.

So yet, I lost the method to creating this amazing texture.
So I have spent more time trying to figure out how I did that texture again than I had to make this entire map.

but I'm pleased to announce
I found one of the main steps again!

Due to the shape of the texture I had constantly assumed I had used filter-render-fibers. I spent hours trying to use this to no avail. And so of course when once again, I'm just fiddling around, I find it again.
There are more steps that I will learn soon, it'll be easy from here, What I have learned so far is that It started with the original cloud layer, and simply used poster edges on it! poster edges with a high threshold, its like a 3, 1, 9 or something for the values, but yea.

So yea once I get that done and replicated on a test run, I'll start writing the ridiculously complicated yet very easy step-by-step tutorial.

ravells
07-18-2008, 04:00 PM
Oh you poor soul! I've done that so many times with photoshop. Create a great effect with loads of fiddling and then sit there wondering how I did it.

delgondahntelius
07-18-2008, 07:59 PM
What version of photoshop are you using??