View Full Version : Photoshop users: Can you help me to get this tutorial to work?

02-01-2010, 03:32 PM
I'm looking for a forest texture for my 3 maps. I remembered a while ago I posted here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?1139-How-to-create-shaded-relief-maps-in-Photoshop) a tutorial I found on the Cartotalk forum for what must be for me, one of the prettiest forest textures I've ever seen.

I've been trying for a couple of hours to get this effect by going through the tutorial but it just doesn't work. Maybe I'm being thick...maybe the author has left out a step or something...I don't know.

Here is the tutorial. The final effect can be seen in the picture below. Can anyone get it to work?

All help gratefully received!!

You should have a landcover image of forests in solid black color. Convert image to grayscale.
Create duplicate layer. Select nonforest areas (white) in duplicate layer (Select -> Color range: tolerance 0) and delete them.
Use Filter->Texture->Grain: Grain type: soft, Intensity 100%, Contrast 50-75%
Again select remaining black areas with Color range and small tolerance
Invert select and delete
Change image colorspace to CMYK or RGB
Create new Solid Color layer with desired green
Copy/Paste forest texture layer to the Solid Color layer
Add Layer Style to that layer: Bevel&Emboss-> Style:Inner Bevel, Technique: Chisel soft, Depth: as you wish, Size 1-2px
The image is usually to sharp so apply small amount of Gaussian blur to layer (0.5 - 1)
And that it!

02-01-2010, 04:07 PM
It would probably help if he posted the image before he added any effects.
I think the same effect can be obtained by creating a pattern of the forest, make your forest selction the use the layer style pattern fill.
Apply a shading layer above it to give it some dimension and a beveled edge like he says to do.
just keep the forest layer on it's own layer.

02-01-2010, 04:32 PM
I never had any success either with that one. If I get the time I'll go through it again tonight.

02-01-2010, 04:54 PM
I'm getting there...the film grain, turn it into grayscale stuff is all unncessarry, I think you can do this with plain old noise. The trick is to delete everything but the pure black pixels and so long as they run in short and slightly rounded 'wiggles' you'll get the suggestion of treetops when you bevel them.

Devin, I can't see the similarity with your result and the tutorials...I'm probably missing something...

02-01-2010, 06:18 PM
Oh, I hope you sort it. That looks lovely.

02-01-2010, 06:45 PM
I posted a clarification for that tutorial a while ago.
I didn't get exactly the same results as the original, but it's pretty close. I think a couple of tweaks are all it needs.

02-01-2010, 07:13 PM
This is pretty close isn't it? If I'd spent time tarting up the edge and performing some bevelling of the underlying layer to show hills I think it would be pretty good.

I did it up to where it says "Create new Solid Color layer with desired green" and then I ctrl+clicked on the layer and filled it with green.
I didn't copy/paste anything to the underlying layer. I just performed the bevel on the layer that has been worked on. If this is in any way correct there is no need to duplicate the layer at the start. Unless you want some little black dots poking through the trees. Which is maybe what he means with the copy/paste and then gblur.

Edit: Oh, and I forgot, I also had the bevel going down on this screenie. It would look better going up if the edges were sorted.

02-01-2010, 07:47 PM
By gum, I think you've both got it (although Mid, yours has some speckly black bits in it)...not sure if that was just the render though. I don't know how I missed your tut Mid.

Ramah: I always thought the bevel was meant to apply to the individual trees rather than the shape as a whole though....I think you're really close. I'm in the middle of something else at the moment, but will come back to this using both your techniques.

02-01-2010, 10:45 PM
I don't know how I missed your tut Mid.

Well, you didn't, actually. You repped me for it. I didn't like the black speckles, either, but they didn't show up the first time I used the technique, so it was something odd that I did when I made that particular rendition of it. I probably clipped something when I beveled it. Also note the comments I made later in the thread about making it a smart layer so you can blur it nondestructively.

For a refresher on how I used it in a map, reference Mennin's Hallow: http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=4473&d=1213894333

That wasn't perfect, though, since I screwed up and deleted part of it destructively, so I wasn't able to treat the edges as well as I wanted.

02-05-2010, 06:56 AM
I think I've got there, it's not quite the same, but I think it's better. That's the good news. The bad news is that the only way I can do it is to use a 3rd party filter (constellation from the Alienskin Xenoflex 2 filter set). What the filter does is create randomly distributed white circles within a selected area. You can adjust the density, the initial size, the size variation and the edge density (unfortunately the last upward only; it would have been lovely to have the slider allow you to make the edges less dense so you could get the impression of scattered trees at the edge of the forest). You can also change the random seed number so it distributes differently with the other settings left the same. I filled identical selections on four layers each with bevel/emboss layer style with the circles. If I had done one layer which was 4 times as dense the bevel and emboss would have applied to overlapping circles, by keeping the layers separate each individual circle retains its own shape giving, (IMO) a more individual 'tree-top' feel. The top layer I didn't bevel and emboss (it just looked better that way). Here are 4 images with the layers being gradually added and the underlying pattern I used for the selection, although when I do it again, I think I'll apply the forest to the whole landmass and use a mask. I would probably also change the colour of the trees on some layers to add some variation.

So the 64 million dollar question is whether there is a native PS filter which can do what the constellation filter does (create randomly distributed circles with adjustable size) - cos if there is, I think we've found a really nice new way of doing forests.

Steel General
02-05-2010, 07:39 AM
Those are some nice looking trees Ravs - the painter (Bob Ross) who used to be on PBS would be proud :)

02-05-2010, 07:43 AM
Thanks SG...I'm thrilled with the result and will be using them a lot. I really like the way there are little gaps betwen them and how, on the edges and with the smaller patches you have individual circles visible which suggest a single tree. Got to find a way of doing this without using 3rd party filters though.

Attached is a upscaled version by increasing the canvas size from 1,000 square to 2,000 square - would have probably been better if I'd started at that canvas size.

02-05-2010, 09:56 AM
Oh stupid me! You don't need any selections, fills or filters at all! All you need is a small hard round brush with lots of spacing and variable size, count and scattering and the rest can all be done with layer styles. I didn't use a tablet and pen for this, but using one you could have more control over the size, scattering etc. (Although I suppose if you have vast amounts to do, a selection and filter would be faster).

The only 'trick' is not to put too many trees on one layer, but to build them up over a number of layers so the bevelling of each tree stays round. Here's a quickie, I've also added a slight stroke and drop shadow to the layer style to give the forest some depth and the appearance of canopies over other canopies.

Ha Ha! After spending hours on this, it was so simple in the end!

02-05-2010, 06:49 PM
You don't even need layers if you use color dynamics on your brush. Pick a dark olive green and a light yellow-green, use a scatter brush, click on the brush editor, increase the scatter and spacing if you want, click on color dynamics, you can mess around with all of the sliders but there's only one important thing that you really need - set foreground/background jitter to pen pressure. The foreground color will come by pressing hard and the background color will come by pressing lightly. If you're using a mouse then it's more like a noise fill - evenly distributed dots of varying color. Oh, and uh, pay no attention to that lil thumbnailer in the top right corner, nothing to see there, move along :)

02-05-2010, 09:05 PM
Oh man that's beautiful!

It wasn't the colours that was the problem it was getting the rounded bevelled shape on each tree rather than having so many trees (dots) on a single layer that the bevel made them lose their definition into a wriggle shape.....does that make sense? Hang on, I'll post an example of what I mean.

02-05-2010, 10:51 PM
Oh sure, I understand...mine had no layer styles at all on it because I've tried it this way (what you're showing) and I always hated how they end up clumping together. So for that multiple layers work great to avoid the clumping. Or you could add opacity and flow jitter (brush editor - other dynamics). The opacity and flow jitter will mean that some shapes are more clearly defined and others are hazier so that when you add a bevel the shapes don't blend together as much. On my previous pic I used a 14 pixel scattered dry brush (a default) and on this one I used 5 pixel soft round and 9 pixel soft round. If you were to use this in pencil mode then you could add a stroke to define the tree edge but you'd get some clumping there due to overlap.

02-05-2010, 10:57 PM
I hate you, Ascension. Even your screeshots look like works of art :)

The really nice thing about layering the treetops is that I think you can have any opacity or layer style you like for each layer and, if you have 5 or six layers, it will somehow magically fit into looking righ with the rest of them.

02-05-2010, 10:59 PM
Sure sure, more layers means more flexibility. Hey, you know what? If you were to use this with like a big square pencil tip then you could make fields.