View Full Version : Yet another technique for mountains

09-11-2008, 10:35 AM
Someone asked me how I did the mountains in my map in this thread.

Map of the Kingdoms (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=2676)

So I thought that I would give a brief description of what I did, because it is a pretty easy technique to use and you can get some pretty decent results.

The basic technique is pretty simple, but I think it may only work in Photoshop. I don't know if you can do it in Gimp...

Basically you create a few different layers. One for small hills, then one for larger hills, low mountains, high mountains, and great peaks (or however you want to do it)

In each layer go to the layer styles. Set the opacity to 100%, but the Fill Opacity to 0% - that way your background colors will show through which allows for a more gradual transition to the mountains.

Turn on Bevel and set the style to "Chisel Soft", then monkey around with the size and depth to get an effect that you like.

For hills I use a brush with some kind of an odd shape. I found one that looks like an asterisk and it works well. Set the size jitter and angle jitter pretty high so that you have a lot of variations within the hills. I also to set a texture on the Bevel layer for the hills, that will keep it looking a little more "rough"

When I get to the mountains, I use a round brush with a soft edge, and then I set it with a slight scatter, and a slight spacing which is what gives the mountains some variations to their height.

If you do that, and use multiple layers, you can end up with some pretty good looking mountains that are also easy to create.

If you would like some more detailed shots, or some of the example brushes, let me know and I can add to this thread.

09-12-2008, 03:12 AM
I have a similar GIMP technique, and since yours in a PS only tutorial i hope i can add my GIMP version without stepping on any toes.

1) Open a new transparent layer for your Mountains.
2) Use the Pre-set Galaxy Brush (large, medium, or small, your choice)
3) Check the Fade-Out Box and set the brush color to White.
4) Dab the Brush where you want mountains, erasing ("eroding" ;)) the edges to your preferance.
5) Filters>Distorts>Emboss (Bumpmap works too but i dont notice a difference when using a white brush colour)
6) Done and it should look similar to this. All in All a VERY FAST style for map BUILDING, and still good enough for a finished result.

Steel General
09-12-2008, 09:10 AM
@Landorl -Your technique is not all that different from what I do, except mine is all just layers, patern & color overlays with some opacity adjustments mixed in.

Thanks to both of you for posting, always good to have other techniques/options to try.

10-21-2009, 12:05 PM
I know it's been a year-and-a-bit, but I've only just joined up. I particularly like your maps, and would love a more detailed description of brushes/layers/etc settings.

If you can, that would be fab.

10-30-2009, 09:31 AM
Actually, if you look at the "Rising up Mountains" thread, that is pretty much what I did for the mountains. http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4405

I used a few different background colors, but other than that, it is quite similar.

If you want something with a good template already set up, I recommend Terraficta. http://terraficta.net/ They have all of the brushes and textures preset, so it doesn't get any easier than that. I modify the mountains from what they do because I think that they don't quite look right, but everything else is great.