View Full Version : Alternatives to threshold/cloud method that works for higher resolution landmasses?

08-29-2013, 11:36 AM
Hello all,

I'm partial to printing things out, so I like higher resolution, and the cloud/threshold method for shape generation that I've tried in some of the tutorials doesn't work on very large documents.

I've seen Old Guy's tutorial, but it relies somewhat on noise, another size sensitive filter.

And I know I can draw them... I've been trying some custom brushes and Schwarzkreuz's coastline brushes.

I just figured I'd ask about the other options out there because my cartographic vocabulary isn't that strong, so my search terms seem to be lacking specificity. So...

Are there other methods of continent generation that people use for high resolution large format projects?


08-29-2013, 04:16 PM
Hi RD-

Your posts were caught in the moderation queue so I deleted the duplicate and approved this one.

-Rob A>

08-29-2013, 04:25 PM
No I think it's still a good technique but you need to use other tools to make it look good. For example, you could select a piece, move it and decide to make it part of the shore. You add then like puzzle pieces. You can also use the pencil and eraser to create bigger pieces. And finally, the dupplicate tool could also help you.

08-29-2013, 06:11 PM
Exactly what do you mean by High resolution and large scale ? More info equals better response. If you are only using the using the technique for the generation effect (depending on your machine try running )it at a even bigger size and after you get the shape you want size it back down. Or vice a versa depending on the distortion you're trying to eliminate>! More info equals better response

08-29-2013, 07:36 PM
By higher resolution I mean a 60x48 map at 300dpi. Kind of like the maps that came with D&D back in the early nineties (and maybe still do).
I know printing at 300dpi isn't necessary. I print great photographs at 254, 221, and even 185, depending on the printer I send it to, but I'm sticking with 300dpi because it is more than enough and it makes math easier...

Here is a capture of the clouds on a 60x48 document at 300dpi
Can you imagine moving all those little pieces around to create a coastline that matches your sketch? Bleck.

So is there a way to generate large difference clouds, or get the same effect through other means?
I'm currently doing what I think Azelor is suggesting, arranging continents in a 2000x2000 pixel document, scaling them up, and going around the edges with the brush tool and eraser so the coastlines don't all look like stair cases.

08-29-2013, 09:41 PM
Are you SURE that that is the size that you are working with? I have a I7 980 with 24gb ram machine running 64 bit windows 7 and just running the clouds took it enough time for me to have a water break...

On to the question at hand, are you starting with a sketch, or are you using the clouds/threshold to define the coast? If you start your drawing at the dimensions you want (60x40 @ 300dpi) the resolution of the threshold should be at the resolution that you need. I am not sure of the mods you made to the threshold setting to get that image, but when I did that at those image settings, the image was pretty well defined between the black and white......

08-29-2013, 10:39 PM
Try new document 6 by 4 300dpi. Run clouds to taste the threshold to taste. 57329Then image size 60 by 40 300 dpi resample. There is a Recent thread under "How to" Forum How do you come up with your continent-shapes or regional-shapes? for other Ideas for creating interesting land shapes.

08-29-2013, 11:54 PM
As lostatsea suggests, your best solution is likely to manually build up a fractal by:
1) generating a basic shape at lower resolution,
2) resample to a larger resolution (typically 2x, but probably not more than 4x),
3) perform difference clouds as many times as you like,
4) and repeat steps 2 and 3 until you get a size that you like.

I'm really lazy and use a fractal generator program like Wilbur to do something similar to steps 2 through 4 for me automatically at the size I specify.

08-30-2013, 01:43 PM
The pieces are sharp when I generate them. It is just that they are tiny, and it would probably take 500 of them to make a even a small coastline, and when you do it that way they start to lose their organic look because there are so many patch-worked together, and I might as well have drawn it anyway.

Thanks lostatsea, http://www.cartographersguild.com/how-do-i/22922-how-do-you-come-up-your-continent-shapes-regional-shapes.html is very helpful.

Seems like I'll just use them as a shape and redraw their edges. Accurately converting them to vectors and resizing rasters well takes too long...