View Full Version : The first of my continents

06-13-2009, 10:25 AM
Hey guys, i'm new here and after struggling to finish my maps for a while now i now see that i need help.

Here is Adallia, the first of three continents for my fantasy realm The Everlandias. I've got the territories and idea for the environments all sorted out but i can't seem to get the thing coloured.

I want it to seem to be a big, vast continent and realistic. C&C would help...

NOTE: I use PS Elements 6 and a mouse. Sorry about the size.

06-13-2009, 10:48 AM
Hi Lonelywanderer - that's a really nice start.

One easy way to colour the map is to just overlay lots of textures on top of each other in new layers. Use a soft eraser at varying opacities (I dont' think you have layer masks in elements) to let the textures you want to show through. Make sure you play with the blending modes and the opacities of the layers themselves as well.

To make a map appear huge, you'll need to make it very detailed (large resolution required) and it helps the illusion if you have lots of labels. Do a search on the forum for Bohunk's maps, he's a real master at creating the illusion of massive areas of land.

Just shout if you need any more help / elaboration.

06-13-2009, 10:59 AM
I'm not sure what sort of options are available to you in Elements but I'd make sure that you always have the "land" as a separate layer with the surrounding ocean being clear. That way you can always create a selection and do the painting (greens, tans, etc) on a new layer using the land selection so that you don't paint into the ocean...also use a low opacity airbrush so that you can continually build up the color instead of plopping down a big chunk of green with sharp edges.

Also, my tutorials have all been designed for Photoshop but I know that some people have created some work-arounds to adapt them into Elements so you might want to give that a try. I'm always here to answer questions (well, off and on during the evenings) to try and help you with adapting what you use with what I teach and then those who have used PSE should also be around to answer questions.

06-13-2009, 11:16 AM
yo guys, thanks for the feedback, i now know i've come to the right place

@ravells - I'm defiantely going to look up Bohunk' stuff, i've seen a few of them and they are amazing, the kind of things i'm looking for

@ascension - I have downloaded some of your tutorials, i just haven't had time to sit down and read them yet but your tut on adding noise to terrain helped me solve one of my problems, thnx. I always work in layers, i learned that very early on and do use an airbrush to avoid sharp edges. I've found that adjusting the opacity tends to make it abit too... soft. Its all good but i want my map to look like it is a warmer place, its right on my worlds equator, so i want it to be a bit more vibrant, and bit more lively, y'know

Again, thanks for the feedback guys

06-16-2009, 11:27 PM
Only after trying to work my way through elements 6 did my father reveal that he has a copy of CS3, grrrr.

Anyways i now have a coloured map that i'm content with. Many thanks to Ascension for his great tutorial without which this map would not have been completed. It doesn't look as good as Ascension's map but i think it turned out alright. I still need to tidy up bits and pieces but this will do for now.

Any, heres my map. Any feedback would be most welcomed. I need some encourage for i weep at the prospect of creating two more continents that are even larger than Adallia.

Again, sorry about the size.


06-17-2009, 12:09 AM
First off, I think it looks very unique and kinda cool...the noise gives it this feel. I'm not wild about the red labels, the white ones look good though so maybe try a dark gray instead of red or maybe a brown, I dunno. The rivers are quite odd in that they circle around, split off to the ocean, etc. Rivers start out in the mountains all split up and then join as they reach the plains.

So basically the only real thing that needs tweaking is the rivers and you could leave the rest if you like. I'd certainly like to see the other continents so keep up the good fight.

06-17-2009, 03:11 AM
hey, thanks for the kind words Ascension but those other two maps will be a long time coming, i don't even have a basic shape for them, just ideas.

The noise turned out a bit wierd when i uploaded it, it isn't that noticeable on my copy. The noise and the extra layer of green was supposed to represent heavy tree cover as Adallia is a heavely forested continent.

Now when you say ref labels, do you mean the country labels or the smaller red star labels? I'll try to fix the rivers its just that working so small bugs me and i sort of rushed through it without really thinking.


Steel General
06-17-2009, 06:32 AM
For me it's never a good idea of have red text on a largly green background.

While yours isn't bad, if you're going to keep the red then be sure to put a similar stroke/border around the labels on the land like you did for the sea, though you may need to experiment with the colors some.

As for the rest of the map, other than the river infractions Ascension already mentioned I think the only real nit-pick I have is the sudden transition between terrain types. Never used PS-Elements so not sure if it has and blur/blend options.

Keep up the good work will be looking forward to your other maps.

06-17-2009, 08:08 AM
yeah, i'm going to change the red labels to something a little easier to read

@Steel General - I just changed to Photoshop CS3 and so now have access to blend options. I really want to gwt rid of the noticeable transition between terrains so is there any particular blend option you would recommend for this or should i just go nuts and experiment?

Steel General
06-17-2009, 08:57 AM
You have a couple of options...

I use either Guassian Blur or a Layer Masks - Either would work but I would highly suggest you try and learn how the layer masks work (if you don't already know). They will give you much more control over things.

06-18-2009, 08:20 AM
hey guys

I've tried to do what you have advised me to do and heres what i have. I fix the rives so there are a lot more rivers coming down from the mountains and then joining up before they reach the sea. I change the red lettering to white lettering. I left three labels red because they signify special areas. And finally, i added a blur to try and clear some of the unsightly terrain transitions.

I plan to take small "snapshots" of the map to be used in some of my writings. I.e. a map showing the military movements of Quinobelles and the Demoran Empire during the Fourth Age. These snapshots will be cleaner and more detailed. If i detail this map any further the file would be too big to upload. Its 4.5 mb already.

So, what do you think?


Steel General
06-18-2009, 08:25 AM
In Photoshop when you save it as a .jpg you can adjust the 'quality' of the file it produces.

You'll need to play with a little to find the limit based on your file. The scale ranges from 0 - 12. I've lowered some files as far down as 5 or 6 and still kept reasonable quality to post.

06-18-2009, 08:26 AM
well I'm an idiot

I forgot to upload the map to my last post :oops:


Steel General
06-18-2009, 08:28 AM
The blending you applied, definitely helped.

06-18-2009, 10:45 AM
I like that your nation borders tend to follow rivers and other national terrain. One thing I found particularly helpful when doing that was to duplicate the layer with my rivers, then isolate which ones would be part of the borders. I'd erase the other rivers, then extend the river lines and add new lines for the rest of the borders. Then you can alpha to selection on that layer and grow the selection to make bigger lines if you like, or just apply some blur to fuzzy out the borders, the goal being to make the rivers somewhat visible through the borders, but you still have a border that very accurately follows whatever terrain feature has established that boundary.

And I'm not sure what color would be better, but I must say I'm not in love with the red. Maybe a nice goldenish shade of yellow? A nice shade of purple might work.

All that said, the map has come along very nicely, excellent work.

06-23-2009, 09:06 AM
thanks for the kind feedback you guys, it helps

i've made some more modifications to my map and I'm pretty much content with it as a whole. I made the colours brighter, because brighter maps appeal to me, and i change the red borders to purple.

I also tried to add marshes around Lobradia, they didn't turn out perfect but so long as you don't zoom in too far they work out fine.