PDA

View Full Version : [Award Winner] Yet Another Mountain Tutorial Using GIMP



kjdavies
11-19-2009, 06:04 AM
... or how to create mountains in less than two dozen steps.

I put this tutorial together at the request of a friend of mine, and thought it may be of interest here. This is an initial draft (I'm sure there are spelling mistakes and other brainfarts; I've got a cold and it's getting late) but I thought I'd put it up for review.

This tutorial presents techniques that are derived from RobA's 'Artistic Regional Maps' tutorial, and make maps that look like the attached.


Keith

Steel General
11-19-2009, 07:45 AM
Those look pretty good.

I'm not a GIMP user but I'm sure this will get a thorough workout by those that do.

RobA
11-19-2009, 11:49 AM
That looks nice! Mind if I link to this post from my big 'ARM' tut?

Also a couple of tips that might help, play with them an include them if you wish...

1) with the magic want (fuzzy select) tool in gimp, click and hold the mouse button down. moving the mouse up or down will change the threshold slider and the screen will update to show you the selection! (I only found this out last week, and it is really handy. It also works with the select by colour tool)

2) another option to the mathmap noise filter is the felimage noise plugin (http://fimg-gmplugins.sourceforge.net/) which is what I use to avoid the artifacts the built in noise filter has. It also makes a nice forest bumpmap, btw.

3) I recently discovered a good way to draw uniform mountain ranges. instead of what you made (the big white bugs), draw the ridge lines in white using the 3 pixel hard brush, then use the Filters->Generic->Dialate to grow the white area, and crtl-F to get it 1/2 the size you want your mountain, then blur by the 2x the same amount:
18764

In any case, great addition to the tutorials here!

-Rob A>

P.S. I added a few tags to your post.

kjdavies
11-19-2009, 03:12 PM
That looks nice! Mind if I link to this post from my big 'ARM' tut?

Absolutely not, go ahead. I'd intended to link to the ARM, but at 2:00AM, after six hours working on this with a cold and a headache, I just wanted to go to bed.

(It didn't work; after a couple of hours of not-sleeping I got up again, but didn't want to risk anything dumb happening so I didn't touch this.)


Also a couple of tips that might help, play with them an include them if you wish...

I'd like to review the GIMP tutorial that's here (noticed it last night) and see if it's there, first. I can see putting together a book of common tasks and tricks in GIMP; I found myself wanted to just say 'add a black layer above the $foo layer', but completeness made me do it the long way.


1) with the magic want (fuzzy select) tool in gimp, click and hold the mouse button down. moving the mouse up or down will change the threshold slider and the screen will update to show you the selection! (I only found this out last week, and it is really handy. It also works with the select by colour tool)

I learned about this one recently myself (bought a couple of books on GIMP, haven't finished reading them yet). As I recall it doesn't work with GIMP 2.4 and I didn't want to complicate things any more than needed.


2) another option to the mathmap noise filter is the felimage noise plugin (http://fimg-gmplugins.sourceforge.net/) which is what I use to avoid the artifacts the built in noise filter has. It also makes a nice forest bumpmap, btw.

So I see (I've read the forest tutorial).

What I'd really like to see is a simple and usable GIMP plugin for libnoise (http://libnoise.sourceforge.net/). MathMap purports to include libnoise, but I find MathMap's documentation rather weak -- I had to ask in #gimp how to find out where to find the MathMap plugin after it was installed!


3) I recently discovered a good way to draw uniform mountain ranges. instead of what you made (the big white bugs), draw the ridge lines in white using the 3 pixel hard brush, then use the Filters->Generic->Dialate to grow the white area, and crtl-F to get it 1/2 the size you want your mountain, then blur by the 2x the same amount:
18764

Interesting approach. Often when I do mountains I just scribble a few lines close together (say, 25-40 pixels across) and score some shorter lines across them, then go from there. This looks like it may give a little finer control over it. I'll give it a try.


In any case, great addition to the tutorials here!

Thanks! I can't say it was fun to write (*click click click click* *three or more screenshots* gets old, fast), but I'm moderately proud of it. Except for the typos I now see.


P.S. I added a few tags to your post.

Ah, good. I didn't think to tag it before I posted, then couldn't see how to add them later.

Keith

kjdavies
11-19-2009, 03:21 PM
A possible improvement to the process would soften the edges of the bump maps. On the bump map layers (high bump map and low bump map), add layer mask (mountain mask channel) and blur the mask by about 25 pixels. This will smooth the edges of the bump maps so the mountains don't suddenly 'spring out of the plain'.

It will also kill a couple of the smaller bumps/hills near the mountains, which may or may not be desirable. I'm not sure if this is better or not, consequently.

K.

kjdavies
11-21-2009, 02:34 PM
Oh, wow.

Rob, I just reread your post on "Making Not So Random Coastlines in GIMP", particularly where it talked about using turbulent noise. Applied that (instead of MathMap's fractal noise) to a couple of scribbled 'mountain ranges', look what I got.

(First is the mountains produced, second has the 'rough ranges' highlighted.)

My initial technique kept everything inside the indicated area (you'll see this one has things outside it), but I can accept this -- deleting undesired elements created would be easy enough.

I'm going to have to remember this.

Keith

kjdavies
12-03-2009, 02:08 AM
Yes not sure how to use it though. I played around with that function and managed to mess up my practice models. Is there a tutorial buried in the forum somewhere?

Not sure how to use what? I suspect this message ended up in the wrong thread....

K.

Vorhees
12-03-2009, 10:00 PM
nice, i got reasonable results, with a few more trys i may get them looking like yours lol , thanks for the Tut

kjdavies
12-05-2009, 12:54 AM
nice, i got reasonable results, with a few more trys i may get them looking like yours lol , thanks for the Tut

You're quite welcome, Vorhees.

bigfirie
07-20-2010, 11:31 PM
Nice work on the tutorial, I found it really easy! Hopefully it will work with what I am attempting.

I am taking an 1895 map of Nevada and creating a locality map for a western RPG to show some terrain. Next step is the town map, then the full state map.

neilkal
09-18-2010, 05:26 PM
Can you offer any hints on how to get a nice tall volcano? I have the following but I'm not quite sure what to change to ensure that I get one tall peak in the middle. I thought it was the ridges, but that didn't seem to do it.
2942229423

kjdavies
09-19-2010, 05:02 PM
Off the top of my head, you might try a radial gradient fill instead of the angular. White in the center to black at the edges. You might also want to apply the gradient in a non-linear manner (or adjust the curve later). You'll also want to -- probably need to, really -- add some noise and blur to break up the sudden drops you'll get at the edges. The gradient generally won't go to zero there, so you'd end up with a bunch of sudden drops.

On that note, if you want the peak to be not quite in the center, apply a small displacement map to shift it. Don't go too big or you'll get what I call 'stretch marks'.

After that, continue as before to get the surface texture and the bump maps.

arakish
09-20-2010, 07:35 PM
Don't know if this will help any. It is basically a height field I made of a single mountain peak. I converted it into a greyscale PNG. It might be able to be used for a volcano. It is 1024 x 1024 pixels, so you might have to shrink it some.

rmfr

RecklessEnthusiasm
09-21-2010, 08:03 AM
Can you offer any hints on how to get a nice tall volcano? I have the following but I'm not quite sure what to change to ensure that I get one tall peak in the middle. I thought it was the ridges, but that didn't seem to do it.
2942229423

It is always tricky to try and achieve a height effect on these kinds of things. I, like most people, resorted to a bevel effect in my July Challenge Entry (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=27499&d=1280196922) along with a fake depth-of-field blur. Steel General did a really good job on this one (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=16844&d=1253038756), too.

kjdavies
10-08-2010, 07:04 PM
I looked into it and experimented a bit more. You're kind of hampered here by the size of the area you're filling. It's going to have a relative shallow slope. I suspect that in order to get the bump map you're looking for you're going to have to crank it up high enough that you'll see some wicked artifacting.

kjdavies
04-08-2012, 12:51 AM
I looked into it and experimented a bit more. You're kind of hampered here by the size of the area you're filling. It's going to have a relative shallow slope. I suspect that in order to get the bump map you're looking for you're going to have to crank it up high enough that you'll see some wicked artifacting.

I'm not sure if neilkal is still around (only the one post, it seems), but I realized a while ago he could probably achieve his goal by shrinking his heightmap (to, say, a quarter the resolution each way), generating a first bump map from that, then scaling that back up. He'll probably need to do a bit of smoothing and probably add another, mild, bump map to hide the artifacts (and for some reason I'm thinking a wee bit of displacement might be helpful), but it should come close.

The problem he ran into in the first place was that the gradient is 'very shallow' because of the size of the region it's applied in. Shrinking the image reduces the region the gradient is in and makes it seem steeper, and when he goes back to larger size that steepness should be carried back. Simply generating the heightmap and scaling that back up won't help, you have to create the bump map and manipulate that.

lokiie1984
04-13-2013, 10:36 AM
This is a pretty awesome tutorial. I had a small issue with it last night on step 22 but i might have just missed a step (i needed to invert the layer for the gradient to work.) Now i just have to figure out the best shape to draw mountains. My first attempt was much to wide and they ended up looking like a giant candy bar lol

Thanks for posting it

kjdavies
04-15-2013, 12:13 PM
I'm glad you liked it, lokiie1984. I'm curious about what you came up with, care to post some images?

I've refined the process a little and am still exploring a bit, and have been wanting to revise the tutorial for a while.

zukeprime
04-28-2013, 05:04 PM
After the part where you put in the shaped angular blend, I just cut a hole out of the center with a 5-10px feather, then added extra highlight on a new layer. Merged the two, then continued with the rest of the tutorial.

54029

Quick question though...I've found emboss really makes the mountains pop and takes less steps to accomplish. For example, the volcano above is just using emboss. Is there something I'm missing with not using height maps, etc?

kjdavies
04-28-2013, 06:19 PM
After the part where you put in the shaped angular blend, I just cut a hole out of the center with a 5-10px feather, then added extra highlight on a new layer. Merged the two, then continued with the rest of the tutorial.

54029

Quick question though...I've found emboss really makes the mountains pop and takes less steps to accomplish. For example, the volcano above is just using emboss. Is there something I'm missing with not using height maps, etc?

I'm not sure how I feel about such a perfectly cylindrical crater there, but I have to say I really like how the rest turned out.

As for bump mapping rather than embossing, I started with bump mapping and can't say I ever considered trying embossing. I just did a couple of quick experiments and didn't get anything really conclusive about applying one rather than the other, but I'll look into it in more depth when I have some more time (eating a quick lunch before I continue packing -- moving house Tuesday). You should go with what you like.

I do like how that turned out. Basically four ridges intersecting (roughly) at the peak and merged?

zukeprime
04-29-2013, 02:55 AM
Yeah...I was following your tutorial, step by step, and cross referencing the ascension map tutorial which does it slightly different using embossed layers. The embossing is pretty harsh, but depending on your starting layer, it looks pretty neat. What you see above is my experiment with your tutorial and RobA's recommendation using the 5px lines and dilating, then I used both embossing and height maps to compare. This was just an experiment to see if I could make a cone-volcano with ridges. To be perfectly honest, it's way too symmetrical but I just wanted to show how easily its done: no special steps, I just cut a fuzzy hole out of the middle and filled with black.

Tzi
05-21-2013, 07:59 PM
I've followed this tutorial, I might be somewhat of a novice map maker but this is a wonderful addition. Though for me It will take some tweaking for world wide maps. I am definitely going to use it for my smaller regional maps.