View Full Version : Mountain Experimentation

Steel General
05-26-2009, 11:15 AM
OK, its a bit slow at work right now so I had time to mess around. I wanted to come up with yet another alternative to doing mountains on a regional / continental map. This may or may not have been tried before but I don't remember seeing it anywhere.

So the image below is a result of about 2 hours of playing around. I think it has potential - just needs a bit of tweaking.

As always C&C encouraged and welcomed.

Here's a list of the steps I took;

New image (1000x1000pxls @200ppi)
Fill with my standard grass texture from Spiral Graphics
New layer

Filter > Render > Clouds (foreground = white, background = black)
Filter > Render > Difference Clouds x4 (not sure it matters as long as its at least twice)
Filter > Sketch > Bas Relief (Detail = 15, Smoothness = 1)
Apply layer effects

Bevel/Emboss (Inner Bevel, Chisel Soft, Depth = 500%, Size=45, Soften = 5). I also adjusted the settings of the shadow/highlights.
Color Overlay (Dk. Brown) set to Overlay
Pattern Overlay (I used Ft. Hills of Ariloa from Spiral Graphics)

Apply Layer Mask

Fiddle with the shape until you find something that appeals to you
Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur of about 8 (adjust to taste)

05-26-2009, 12:07 PM
I really like the look of these mountains! Only suggestion I would have would be to maybe adjust the opacity of the pattern overlay. They feel kinda flat and I think it's because you dont see the bevel very much. Just my opinion ^_^ Looks awesome!

Steel General
05-26-2009, 01:52 PM
I tried adjusting the opacity of the pattern and color overlay's and it really made little noticeable distance. I even increased the bevel still no real change though.

Have to play around some more.

UPDATE: Played around with similar ideas to do forests and foothills - I'm really starting to like how this is coming out. Just hope I decipher all of the chicken scratches (notes) I made to get this far. :D

05-26-2009, 04:55 PM
I think that if you added your multi-layered technique on top of this that maybe you could get more defined peaks and ridges. You could also cover up some of that pattern along the way by doing so (like in the middle where the peaks are). You might be on to something with the forests, not quite there yet but I see where you're headed and like it.

05-26-2009, 06:16 PM
Looking good. I like the way this is coming along. If anything, I'd suggest having the overall shadow be more prominent than the colour on the mountains so that you can make out the texture in the shadows, but not quite as clearly as now. I feel the textures are dominating over the shadows.

Steel General
05-27-2009, 09:53 AM
Had more time to play around with this...tried stacking a couple of the masked layers. Still up in the air as to the results, but I generally think its pretty decent.

Played around with the foothills and forests some more too. I'm happy with the trees, but the hills still need some tweaking.

Tried some without the pattern and color overlays - it just looked to plastic, though it might make a usable height map or something *shrugs*

05-27-2009, 11:34 AM
Hey Steel, I hope you don't mind but I loved the start of your Mountians so much that I had to download the last image and play around with it some to see if I could get peaks the way I like them. I don't know if it is at all what you were going for, but I attached an image showing what I did.

I just did this real quick and didn't have a ton of time to clean it up much.

::EDIT:: After I uploaded this, I put the size on the bevel up to around 40 and it brought out the peaks alot more.

Steel General
05-27-2009, 12:00 PM
No I don't mind at all... It's experimental anyway, if you find any of it useful and can add your own twists to get something you like, then all the better :)

Go ahead and post up the full size version of yours - I'd like to see a larger version.

I was debating on whether to add a third layer of 'peaks' but, haven't got around to it yet.

05-27-2009, 12:10 PM
Here you go Steel, this is basically what I ended up with.


Steel General
05-27-2009, 12:45 PM
@RoH: Thanks, looks good.

I went ahead and did something something similar with my last image - see what you think. :)

05-27-2009, 12:50 PM
Oh yes! ^_^ I really like the way that came out. You can feel the height of the mountains now.

06-01-2009, 10:37 PM
What you have so far looks like a scar in the ground. Either the grass and dirt has been eroded away leaving the bedrock or its a layer of rock above ground like a lava flow. Even with the peaks layer I'm just not getting a sense of elevation.

Just looked at it again. If the peaks were conected I think it would work for me. Be more ridge-like

06-02-2009, 01:33 PM
I can't help but wonder if this could be used to edit a Wilbur grayscale height map. It might create some decent mountain range regions that could be run through Wilbur's erosion algorithms after you re-export the grayscale back in.

Steel General
06-02-2009, 01:35 PM
I have no idea, I've never really used Wilbur.

I was going to put some silly comment about it's affect on Mr. Ed's friend - but decided against it. :)

06-03-2009, 11:33 AM
Wilbur itself wouldn't allow for such edits as far as I'm aware, but to take one of its terrain generations and bring the grayscale image into Photoshop and use a similar technique as you are, I'm thinking it might aid in the creation of more realistic mountain regions.

Steel General
06-03-2009, 02:39 PM
Wilbur itself wouldn't allow for such edits as far as I'm aware, but to take one of its terrain generations and bring the grayscale image into Photoshop and use a similar technique as you are, I'm thinking it might aid in the creation of more realistic mountain regions.

I've thought about that, I think that's probably been done here by someone at some point.

Might have to play around with Wilbur some more...