View Full Version : Drawing oceans

10-14-2013, 11:52 PM
So I've got a fantasy map of some islands and decided I'd have a go at putting in some colour. I want to try including an ocean with varying shades of water depth. The style I'm after is similar to what Torstan did with his Westeros map (http://www.fantasticmaps.com/2013/03/the-official-map-of-westeros/) , this one by Viking (http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/24564-skenth-known-world.html) or even just a stylish blue one like Max's (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachments/finished-maps/52987d1363787094-selvarin-fantasy-map-selvarin-finalsmall.jpg).

I'm using Photoshop CS5 but haven't used it in a while so assume I'm a beginner regarding layers, filters and all that. :)

I was wondering if anyone could explain to me, step by step, how to create an ocean with varying depths (or one like Max made). I'll likely ask about doing land but at this stage I just want to get an idea of how to do oceans.

I've included an image of the file I'm working on. So far it only has two layers: a white background and a layer for the island shapes.

(Apologies if this has been asked before!)

Many thanks! :D

10-16-2013, 05:42 PM
I made something similar here : http://www.cartographersguild.com/current-lite-mapping-challenge/24927-september-october-2013-challenge-kingdom-leohtwald.html

I used 3 layers of different blue from light to dark for the water dept. Paint the color according to the dept (you can have more or fewer layers if you want). Then apply a blurry effect for transition purpose.
The thing is, I wanted to have some randomness while still having control. For that, I used a mask on each layer where I added a cloud filter to randomize the opacity. For a better transition, you should play with the opacity of the layers until you get a good result.

It'a a simple method but if you push it a little further you can end with a good result.

10-17-2013, 07:36 AM
Via this tutorial here:
I figured out a way that actually works quite nice for me ..

I'm using Gimp, but I guess, PS has got similar features.

You will need 2 layers for your ocean (let's call them "upper" and "lower" layer).
Fill the upper layer with Plasma clouds (in Gimp: Filter - Render - Clouds - Plasma), turbulence 1 or more; toy around, to see what you like.
Now fill the lower layer with a light blue colour (I used b7c3f9).
Set the layer mode of the upper layer to grain extract.
Merge both layers.
Play around with brightness and contrast to get an ocean you like (I prefer a contrast of -25 and brightness up to 100, depending on the Overall brightness of the original plasma clouds).

I hope, this helped :)

Kind regards,
Kai :)

10-17-2013, 11:16 AM
Filters → Render → Clouds →Plasma... is there something like that in photoshop because frankly, cloud and cloud by difference don't give results as good as plasma.

10-17-2013, 10:18 PM
Thanks for the advice guys. I'll have to give them a shot and get back to this thread with the results. +rep to each of you. :)