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Human Jackalope
10-14-2008, 03:21 PM
I draw my maps by hand on paper. I cannot draw well. I understand tectonics well enough to have realistic mountain range locations and resembling realistic terrain. I have a problem though. Any map I draw by hand has mountains that look like this
/\^<^/\^/\^>^
I know it is so realistic, you have never seen such skill before.

On to the reason I am posting. I enjoy making fantasy worlds. At one point I understood Photoshop well enough to do all sorts of stuff. That was while I was in High School and now 7 years later I want to relearn how to use Photoshop like programs. My Photoshoping was mostly with pictures and playing around with cut and past photos.

I am poor so I downloaded Gimp and started experimenting. While looking around I ran into this post
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=594&page=2
It helped me reacquaint myself with layers and such.

My reason for posting is that I searched the forums and although there are multiple tutorials for doing various things in Gimp I couldn't find a really good introduction tutorial that takes care of basic things like how to make a grassy area look like a grassy area or how to make a swamp like texture. I only vaguely understand many of the mechanics and tools in Gimp so assume I know nothing and please point me toward a really good introduction to fantasy map making tutorial. By the way here is my first ever mountain range (assuming I can figure out how to upload).

I got it uploaded! Oh, and video tutorials work much better for me than written word with picture tutorials that is the only reason I could follow RobA's instructions.

Jkaen
10-14-2008, 03:26 PM
This is your thread
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1142

Helped me get started on all this

NeonKnight
10-14-2008, 03:27 PM
Welcome to the Guild!

I'll let those versed in GIMP answer your questions.

jfrazierjr
10-14-2008, 03:31 PM
I draw my maps by hand on paper. I cannot draw well. I understand tectonics well enough to have realistic mountain range locations and resembling realistic terrain. I have a problem though. Any map I draw by hand has mountains that look like this
/\^<^/\^/\^>^
I know it is so realistic, you have never seen such skill before.

On to the reason I am posting. I enjoy making fantasy worlds. At one point I understood Photoshop well enough to do all sorts of stuff. That was while I was in High School and now 7 years later I want to relearn how to use Photoshop like programs. My Photoshoping was mostly with pictures and playing around with cut and past photos.

I am poor so I downloaded Gimp and started experimenting. While looking around I ran into this post
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=594&page=2
It helped me reacquaint myself with layers and such.

My reason for posting is that I searched the forums and although there are multiple tutorials for doing various things in Gimp I couldn't find a really good introduction tutorial that takes care of basic things like how to make a grassy area look like a grassy area or how to make a swamp like texture. I only vaguely understand many of the mechanics and tools in Gimp so assume I know nothing and please point me toward a really good introduction to fantasy map making tutorial. By the way here is my first ever mountain range (assuming I can figure out how to upload).

I got it uploaded! Oh, and video tutorials work much better for me than written word with picture tutorials that is the only reason I could follow RobA's instructions.


Welcome to the Guild Human Jackalope! You started at the beginning, which is the best place to start! Nice start on the mountains. I too started playing with the mountains and worked outward from there to get to something like this (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=23501&postcount=22). I will eventually do a short video showing how I take the original technique you linked to just a bit further to get the result in the post I link to as I know a few people have asked. Just to get yourself acuainted with GIMP, follow RobA's great tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1142) (be sure to rate the thread and optionally give Rob some reputation).


I like the striations (sp??) in your example. Just need a bit of tweaking to make the banding not totally obvious (though it's not bad for your first attempt!!!)

Joe

Human Jackalope
10-14-2008, 03:33 PM
Thank you for the quick response. The Internet is so big that sometimes I feel like I am IM'ing with the entire world!
I have 7 Billion friends on my friends list!

jfrazierjr
10-14-2008, 03:37 PM
My reason for posting is that I searched the forums and although there are multiple tutorials for doing various things in Gimp I couldn't find a really good introduction tutorial that takes care of basic things like how to make a grassy area look like a grassy area or how to make a swamp like texture. I only vaguely understand many of the mechanics and tools in Gimp so assume I know nothing and please point me toward a really good introduction to fantasy map making tutorial. By the way here is my first ever mountain range (assuming I can figure out how to upload).


Sorry for re-replying to this post, but as I mentioned earlier, RobA's tutorial, though it is written instead of video, is a great introduction to GIMP and shows many various techniques and how they can be applied to map making. At the very least, even if you don't like some of the elements of the resulting map, the tutorial is great for introducing you to the tools GIMP has to offer. Also, Pyrandon has a really good tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1150) for city mapping done in PS (though most of it translates easily to GIMP, ask for anything that does not). Between the two of those, they are excellent first steps IMO because of how thoughly they cover a broad range of techniques. Then you can branch out into the other tutorials that are more specialized.

jfrazierjr
10-14-2008, 03:39 PM
Thank you for the quick response. The Internet is so big that sometimes I feel like I am IM'ing with the entire world!
I have 7 Billion friends on my friends list!

Your welcome! When you start with the map making, be sure to post up some work in progress threads so we can see the evolution and offer any helpful tips and tricks.

Human Jackalope
10-14-2008, 05:42 PM
I am having problems with the overlay stuff. The cloud texture does not want to show through very well. The picture that I have attached is what my shoreline looks like with the land mask and the land clip layers invisible.

"That technique (the Three-Layer-Sandwich of noise, shape and threshold clip layer, or TLS for short ) will be a basic technique that will be used over and over again,"
I am messing this step up somehow. I have the newest Gimp 2.6 so maybe something has changed since the tutorial was written but it is most likely that I am simply missing some certain step.
Could someone step by step the noise, shape, threshold clip for me as they do it? I redid my entire map four times, following RobA's instructions to a "T" and still can't get it right. The only difference is my background is all white instead of a scanned picture.

jfrazierjr
10-14-2008, 06:16 PM
I am having problems with the overlay stuff. The cloud texture does not want to show through very well. The picture that I have attached is what my shoreline looks like with the land mask and the land clip layers invisible.

"That technique (the Three-Layer-Sandwich of noise, shape and threshold clip layer, or TLS for short ) will be a basic technique that will be used over and over again,"
I am messing this step up somehow. I have the newest Gimp 2.6 so maybe something has changed since the tutorial was written but it is most likely that I am simply missing some certain step.
Could someone step by step the noise, shape, threshold clip for me as they do it? I redid my entire map four times, following RobA's instructions to a "T" and still can't get it right. The only difference is my background is all white instead of a scanned picture.


Using the PDF's, could you tell me exactly where (page number) and I will be happy to help ya out later tonight if no one else beats me to it. Unfortunately, I am not a place to reference the stuff directly right now to figure out where you are in the steps, but this looks close based on what I remember from the tutorial.

Karro
10-14-2008, 06:34 PM
I am having problems with the overlay stuff. The cloud texture does not want to show through very well. The picture that I have attached is what my shoreline looks like with the land mask and the land clip layers invisible.

"That technique (the Three-Layer-Sandwich of noise, shape and threshold clip layer, or TLS for short ) will be a basic technique that will be used over and over again,"
I am messing this step up somehow. I have the newest Gimp 2.6 so maybe something has changed since the tutorial was written but it is most likely that I am simply missing some certain step.
Could someone step by step the noise, shape, threshold clip for me as they do it? I redid my entire map four times, following RobA's instructions to a "T" and still can't get it right. The only difference is my background is all white instead of a scanned picture.

So, are you using a shoreline you've already sketched out, and you're trying to use the 3-layer sandwich technique to produce a more fractalized coast? Or are you just using a very basic shape?

Or... are you a little further along than that? It looks like Post 7 on RobA's tutorial thread? Is that the post where he starts creating the sea, or finishes it? Depending on which of these steps you're on, the image you've attached looks a little odd.

The way it should be done is:

1. Copy the B&W layer you used to create your "Land Mask"
2. Blur it a lot. RobA used a 500 pix Gaussian Blur in his example. On the world map I've been working on, I used over 1000 pix Gaussian Blur. At this stage you should have something that looks like a grayish gradient from very dark to almost white.
3. Create a new layer.
4. Fill this new layer with Cloud noise. (The menu selection was Filters > Render > Clouds > Solid Noise. I don't know if it's different in GIMP 2.6 as I haven't downloaded that, yet.)
5. Set the blend mode of this layer to "Overlay". This should give an effect of creating a swirling cloud that follows the same light-to-dark gradient established in the second step. RobA merges these and copies it to a new layer.

Is this where you're getting hung up?

Jkaen
10-14-2008, 06:36 PM
I don't quite use RobA's method anymore, maybe you will find the solution I adapted from his slightly easier to follow:

First sketch out your landmass in white against black, as shown in picture 1.

On a sperate layer above this generate the noise layer (picture 2) and set it to overlay.

Select the landmass layer and apply a gausian blur (to arrive at picture 3)

Merge the 2 layers together (image doesn't look different) then select colour - threshold and move the slider until you get the landmass you like (picture 4)

Does that make things any easier? (The amount of blur can be varied depending on how random you want your coast to be compared to your sketch)

Karro
10-14-2008, 06:39 PM
I don't quite use RobA's method anymore, maybe you will find the solution I adapted from his slightly easier to follow:

First sketch out your landmass in white against black, as shown in picture 1.

On a sperate layer above this generate the noise layer (picture 2) and set it to overlay.

Select the landmass layer and apply a gausian blur (to arrive at picture 3)

Merge the 2 layers together (image doesn't look different) then select colour - threshold and move the slider until you get the landmass you like (picture 4)

Does that make things any easier? (The amount of blur can be varied depending on how random you want your coast to be compared to your sketch)

Nice variation on RobA's method. I think this is probably a little easier to use, too, once you know where the tools are!

(which... learning these tools was the beauty of the original tutorial!)

RobA
10-14-2008, 06:55 PM
I am having problems with the overlay stuff. The cloud texture does not want to show through very well. The picture that I have attached is what my shoreline looks like with the land mask and the land clip layers invisible.

Can you zip and upload the .xcf?

-Rob A>

RobA
10-14-2008, 07:00 PM
I think it is a variation on this one (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=875).

Jkaen's suggestion is fabulous so long as you don't need a residual heightfield for the land terrain. The reason for the TLS method was to be non-destructive.

@Jkaen - you should post this in the thread I linked to!

-Rob A>

jfrazierjr
10-14-2008, 07:03 PM
I think it is a variation on this one (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=875).

Jkaen's suggestion is fabulous so long as you don't need a residual heightfield for the land terrain. The reason for the TLS method was to be non-destructive.

@Jkaen - you should post this in the thread I linked to!

-Rob A>

Yep, that's the one I tend to use cause I like the fractalization much better then the one in the Regional Map tutorial.

Steel General
10-14-2008, 07:13 PM
That method will also work in Photoshop (if anyone was wondering) :)

Human Jackalope
10-14-2008, 08:22 PM
I had to prepare for a couple of meetings over at the church and had to duck out immediately after my post. Just reading these without opening Gimp back up I think I know where my hang up is from some of what you have said.
The exact place that I am getting hung up is immediately before post 7 and the work on the ocean begins. Using Jkaen's post pictures as a reference I cannot get something to look like picture 3. That caused problems when it came to making the oceans too. I am going to piddle around for a little bit and will try to update where I am before going to bed tonight.

I appreciate the help and encouragement.

RobA
10-14-2008, 08:37 PM
So (if I understand) you aren't able to get something like this (from step 4):
http://www.cartographersguild.com//attachment.php?attachmentid=1430&d=1194552526

The normal reason people get stuck here is because they didn't blur enough in step 4, image 4, relative to the size of the map. The exercise map was only 800x800 and I blurred it 50+ pixels. The "noise" of the coast will be contained within that band, so a narrow band (5-10 px) will barely do anything...

-Rob A>

Karro
10-14-2008, 09:03 PM
So (if I understand) you aren't able to get something like this (from step 4):
The normal reason people get stuck here is because they didn't blur enough in step 4, image 4, relative to the size of the map. The exercise map was only 800x800 and I blurred it 50+ pixels. The "noise" of the coast will be contained within that band, so a narrow band (5-10 px) will barely do anything...

-Rob A>

It's for this reason that I developed an alternate method to get jaggedy coasts when I have a reasonably firm idea of where I want those coasts to go.

Instead of blurring and using the cloud noise to give me fractalized looking coasts (which can require a lot of blurring to get a coast with enough fractalization, but which can really muck up the coast I was originally trying to follow), I used the 'jitter' feature on the brushes. If I select my area and stroke along the edges with brushes of different sizes on a high jitter, I can achieve an aesthetically-fractalized enough looking coast without losing too much definition on the original coastline. And I can manually correct any errors I see relatively easily.

I can get the heightfield effect back by copying and blurring the layer and overlaying clouds, and using my fractalized coast as a mask for this new version of the land.

RobA
10-14-2008, 09:11 PM
"Jitter! Bah - when I was a boy, we didn't have no jitter!"

Great suggestion! Can you write up a little tut showing your process?

-Rob A>

Human Jackalope
10-14-2008, 09:21 PM
I don't have time to post but I finally got the image that you posted RobA. I figured out what I was doing wrong. I can't exactly say what that thing is because I don't know what is going on completely yet. I can't post now but will keep everyone updated on my progress.

Thanks again for all of the quick and eager help.

jfrazierjr
10-14-2008, 09:35 PM
It's for this reason that I developed an alternate method to get jaggedy coasts when I have a reasonably firm idea of where I want those coasts to go.

Instead of blurring and using the cloud noise to give me fractalized looking coasts (which can require a lot of blurring to get a coast with enough fractalization, but which can really muck up the coast I was originally trying to follow), I used the 'jitter' feature on the brushes. If I select my area and stroke along the edges with brushes of different sizes on a high jitter, I can achieve an aesthetically-fractalized enough looking coast without losing too much definition on the original coastline. And I can manually correct any errors I see relatively easily.

I can get the heightfield effect back by copying and blurring the layer and overlaying clouds, and using my fractalized coast as a mask for this new version of the land.


Slightly off topic, and not sure if any really cares or not, but I was really excited when I went from the coastline in this post (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=23293&postcount=9) to "glow around the coast in this post (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=23450&postcount=19). Of course, the water is different, but the variable "whitish" glow was accomplished by stroking the coast with the a large (perhaps 150 px????) brush, some jitter (to get the "random" width), and I "think" I played with either the opacity or the brush mode. Not 100% sure since it has been several months. I was rather proud of this when I tried it and after a few tries with various settings, came up with what I thought was a cool effect.....

Karro
10-14-2008, 09:35 PM
"Jitter! Bah - when I was a boy, we didn't have no jitter!"

Great suggestion! Can you write up a little tut showing your process?

-Rob A>

I'll give it a crack, but it won't be tomorrow. I really need to be studying for my last midterm right now... (I just... don't really want to...)


I don't have time to post but I finally got the image that you posted RobA. I figured out what I was doing wrong. I can't exactly say what that thing is because I don't know what is going on completely yet. I can't post now but will keep everyone updated on my progress.

Thanks again for all of the quick and eager help.

I know we'll all say you're welcome... that's why this place is here!

Human Jackalope
10-14-2008, 11:34 PM
This is the first final result. I can't get over the feeling that the mountains feel placed "on top" of the land. I tried to smudge the borders a little bit with the smudge finger and it looks a little better, but I am sure you all know a much better trick to keep the mountains from looking tossed on top of the pile.

jfrazierjr
10-15-2008, 12:45 AM
This is the first final result. I can't get over the feeling that the mountains feel placed "on top" of the land. I tried to smudge the borders a little bit with the smudge finger and it looks a little better, but I am sure you all know a much better trick to keep the mountains from looking tossed on top of the pile.


Yep, the problem is that there is such a hard transition from the mountain colors to the grass land/hills texture. One way to help this a bit is to go to your mountain color layer. I don't know exactly how you have your layers set up, but, the best way (which I doubt you did since the video does not do this) is to keep effects on one layer and colors on another and shadows/highlights on yet another (or even one each). Anyway, select the an area around the mountain using the free select tool with a bit of feature set to it. DON"T draw it to the exact shape of the mountain, close in in a few places, long way out in a few others. Then create a new layer and fill the selection with one of your mountain colors (base of the mountain color) Finally, clear the selection and Gaussian Blur, perhaps 100 px. Make sure this layer is above the main ground and below the mountains. That should give you a slightly better blend. Play with the settings some until you get something you like a bit. There are some other techniques, but this is a quick one that stays close to the original techniques...

Jkaen
10-15-2008, 04:54 AM
RobA: Your right, that is very similar to the technique in that other post of yours you linked to, seems everything I can think of you have done previously! And yes my method is destructive, hence requires alot of use of Ctrl-Z.


This is the first final result. I can't get over the feeling that the mountains feel placed "on top" of the land. I tried to smudge the borders a little bit with the smudge finger and it looks a little better, but I am sure you all know a much better trick to keep the mountains from looking tossed on top of the pile.

What I tend to do now which helps is make a hills layer under the mountain layer and have that transition colourwise from the grass colour to the bottom mountain colour. The technique for hills is pretty much just the same as the mountains but with the bump map scaled down a bit.

Karro
10-22-2008, 07:15 PM
"Jitter! Bah - when I was a boy, we didn't have no jitter!"

Great suggestion! Can you write up a little tut showing your process?

-Rob A>

It's not a great tutorial, but here's a simple example (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=3216)of the method I use with jitter.

A lot of the time, though, I'm being more artsy, and not just us the stroke selection tool, but actuall tracing coastline with a high-jitter brush by hand. Actually, I think the results of doing it by hand are somewhat better, but it takes a lot longer, of course. But using the stroke-selection is a good way to get something to work with quickly.

jfrazierjr
10-22-2008, 10:26 PM
It's not a great tutorial, but here's a simple example (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=3216)of the method I use with jitter.

A lot of the time, though, I'm being more artsy, and not just us the stroke selection tool, but actuall tracing coastline with a high-jitter brush by hand. Actually, I think the results of doing it by hand are somewhat better, but it takes a lot longer, of course. But using the stroke-selection is a good way to get something to work with quickly.

Seems like something YodA should script up.... I might just give it a crack once I get through the script section of the GIMP book I just get, but that will take a week or so.