View Full Version : [Award Winner] Photoshop 7 - Overworld Map Project

04-08-2010, 11:35 AM
Hi all,

This has been a long time coming and for that I am sorry... but I have started working on the "PS7-OMP". I work in Photoshop 7 because not everyone has a newer version of Photoshop and this cuts down on compatibility issues.


I am not much for typing so I have made a rough video tutorial (Part one & two) and posted it to YouTube here:

PS7-OMP "Part 1" on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N-Jyf4AhY8)
PS7-OMP "Part 2" on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WchHMK095Y4)
PS7-OMP "Part 3" on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Esy52uO-ll0)

To go along with the video here is the .psd file and the brush pre-sets that I am using. This should let everyone (with Photoshop) open the layer styles and play around with the method I am using. I am not sure if you can do this sort of thing in GIMP but it would not surprise me if you can.


Well, After making three parts... I am not sure I have fully explained all of the things you can do with this .psd file. I am sure I will make more videos sometime later (assuming there is interest) to highlight different things you can use the techniques other than making mountains and textured dirt... but for now I will wait to see if anyone likes this method and find out if others would like to add layers, brushes or techniques to the project .psd ...So I really look forward to some of you trying out the .psd file and posting what you come up with.

I am as always open to comments, questions, and critiques :) ...and "happy mapping"


04-11-2010, 03:36 PM
This is great stuff, rpg! I've watched the first one...I love the smudge to get cliffs / texture. Rated and repped and can't wait to see the others, but I'm off to watch the US masters last day now.

04-12-2010, 01:41 PM
Thanks, I am looking forward to comments and critiques as other watch the videos.

I do hope that some of the cartographers here at the guild will test out this method so I can see if I have explained it enough or if more videos or explanation here on the forum is needed.

Here is a more complete test map using the .psd file. I also like telling/writing stories and have taken a piece from one of them for this map.



04-23-2010, 01:07 AM
Rpgmapmaker I'm really surprised there isn't more activity on this, this is an excellent tutorial, and great elements, it reminds me of aeronox and Pyrandon's work and their own tutorials, and tools they used. Both of which were amazing at this style, but needless to say you bring new life and a great look to it! Thanks for the ideas, and tutorial!

A R Frost
04-23-2010, 01:13 AM
Trust me I'm trying to use it in GIMP. I love his style.

04-23-2010, 01:27 AM
Yeah I'm using Gimp as well but I don't know it well enough to duplicate everything here so I wound up just tearing off after a bit and ending up with something else.

04-25-2010, 05:05 PM
I have been playing around with this in GIMP... all I can say is I don't know GIMP and that makes things harder. I was able to find some Script-Fu scripts for layer effects that work okay but are not dynamic... you have to apply them to the layer after you finish drawing in the elements... that makes it very hard to edit on the fly. I only tested the mountain effect and was mostly successful but using the smear tool to edit and shape is not possible the way GIMP applies the effects. I will have to defer making this work in GIMP to someone who knows it better. I am sure it can work but you would need to know the final settings for the Script-Fu effects and have the layers drawn before applying them.

This is what I got... I just used one of the standard GIMP grunge brushes set to 50% opacity and similar settings to the bevel and emboss found in my .PSD


The Script-Fu Layer Effects Website (http://registry.gimp.org/node/186)


07-01-2010, 08:08 AM
RPGmapmaker - this tutorial has been invaluable in my efforts to learn overland mapping thus far! Consider yourself repped.

07-01-2010, 04:54 PM
Awesome style, exelent tutorial.

I'm enjoying making my map.

Good work!

12-09-2010, 02:49 PM
Amazing! Congratulations for this tutorial! :)


05-14-2011, 08:43 PM
If you use the tree brush/tool/thingy on the river layer, you can create a swampy area that looks pretty good. I love these tutorials by the way. :D

10-02-2011, 05:37 AM
Hey RPBMapMaker. I'd like to say thanks for this tutorial. I was looking for a way to make a realistic map and this is just perfect. Thanks soo much!
This is the map I made through your tutorial. Its for a fantasy world Im creating. This is the realm of Athanas. Ive yet to add in the cities/fortress/roads etc. Thanks again.


10-05-2011, 02:37 PM
Kudos to you!

Hence I suck at mapping, I'm going to try this! :D Thanks.

10-25-2011, 12:20 PM
thanks a lot, the tools works perfectly... and it was just what i was needing for making a map...

i will upload a preview as soon as im done

thanks a lot agai
edit (map added)


i've duplicated the tree and mountain layers and got some nice colours for making some other mountains, and even some cherry blossom forests


11-08-2011, 05:20 PM
Great tutorial, so much so that it provokes a first post from me. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing, some of the examples are looking really good. Any plans on an update on your thoughts to getting a decent coastline or larger body of water using this style?

I'd like to add a map to this thread, but am not overly hopeful of getting anything worthwhile finished!

Anyhow, great work!

-------- Edit ---------

My first map!!

Again, thanks a lot for sharing, it's certainly helped me to get a map finished (well, nearly finished anyway!)

12-07-2011, 07:56 PM
I tried this .psd file too and i liked the results. One question or request for RPGMapMaker or anyone with an equivalent version PhotoShop to what he used.

I can work with the file perfectly well in my elements 6 copy but if i try to alter his layers to use my own color overlay on the mountains i can't recreate the effect, maybe not possible in elements? If someone who can, would upload a version without the mountains pre-colored brown I'd appreciate it. I'd like to try it with other colors for the mountains.

01-12-2012, 02:14 PM
Hey RPGMapMaker
I've just spent the past week searching for a cartographers software package, but didn't have much luck.
I had all ready decided that any close ups of important villages/towns were going to be created using ZBrush, however due to the poor results of my software search I decided I had no choice but to create my world maps with ZBrush. That was until I found your tutorial videos on youtube last night.

I have used Photoshop for years and even created my own brushes, however your videos opened some exciting new doors for me. THANK YOU!
It's strange how similar your workflow was to using ZBrush. It really blew me away.
Thanks again for sharing the time and hard work you obviously spent developing this technique. YOU ARE A STAR!!!

Vicious the Jester
04-01-2012, 05:23 PM
Looks like this is what I'll be trying to use for my first "real" attempt at a map. Thanks for the tutorial. I'll let you know how things go.

05-11-2012, 08:45 AM
Great tutorial ... very clever.
I loved it.

07-09-2012, 10:46 AM
I had to pop in here and give you praise for your generosity and talent. Thank you for all the hard work you put into map making and then sharing your knowledge and efforts with the community.

I've been drawing paper maps for years but learning on the computer has been challenging and because of people like you and all the other contributors to this site the task has gotten easier and enjoyable.

01-04-2013, 08:21 PM
Something I've found that works, with mountain formation, while I've been dinking around and modifying your own methods to some of my own (your method for mountains is way simpler than what mine was, mine was a sort of clone stamp process, but not as eloquent as some of the others in tutorials.) The erase tool set to a spatter brush at around 45 pixels, give or take per needs, put to flow and opacity 100% can be used to modify the mountain body itself, after your click method, to work possible valleys, passes, and some other terrain features. Basically painting back in the 'flats' before adding in the high and lowlands. I've also found a basic airbrush blur at Normal and 50% strength can help in soft tweaking some of the peak lines in the middle as well as along the click texture. As you can see here.


It's subtle, and as you can also see I've been fingerpainting with the high and lowlands to make some tests with passes (need to narrow them canyons m'self) and a bit of a basin that will likely be turned into a desert. I use a Wacom tablet more than raw mouse, so that would have some added difference to it as well, so that changes the texture as well, and I've been experimenting with both mouse and tablet. But thought some folks might find this little example of what I've been discovering helpful in addition to the plethora of work RPGmaker has done.

04-09-2014, 05:19 PM
I have been trying to figure out how the author set up the original mountain layer in Photoshop. I am using Photoshop CS6, I create the layer, add a color overlay and a bevel, but when I do it bevels the whole image. I guess the problem is, it is not letting me draw in bevel. What am I doing wrong here?

04-09-2014, 09:17 PM
sylven I would guess that you don't have the mountains on a separate layer ! ?

04-10-2014, 03:49 AM
sylven I would guess that you don't have the mountains on a separate layer ! ?

Yes, the bevel/color overlay is on a separate level. I wanted to keep it very basic, so I only have two layers at the moment, a ground layer, and what you would consider a mountain layer (inner bevel / color overlay). Keep in mind though, I am starting from scratch; rather than open the psd file incorporated in the tutorial, I wanted to try to create my own. But like I said, every time I set the bevel layer, it simply bevels the whole page. I made sure my settings were identical as they could be to the tutorial settings without doing a complete copy over, at least for the purposes of figuring out how to do it. I know I am either forgetting to click something so I can "draw in bevel," or the settings are not right. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

By the way, the purpose for making a custom start up is for a more tailored layout, in addition I just want to learn how to create custom settings like this. While I have worked in GIMP, Paintshop, SAI, and several other programs; Photoshop is kind of new to me.

Relyon Sun
02-08-2015, 06:46 PM
I was able to draw this map for my story a year ago using this tutorial after trying to figure out how to grab the autocad file and bringing it into PS7. I tweaked a few parameters but everything else is still the same. I have been playing around with some of the suggestions you guys have posted on here and they are amazing!


02-28-2015, 10:34 AM
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and especially your toolset! In less than an hour I was able to take my map making skills from 0 to novice by following your video tutorials and using your tools and file! I've subscribed to your videos and I look forward to learning more from you. Do you have anything for smaller scale maps, like for overland travel in a DnD game? Thanks again for your attitude of sharing and teaching!

Relyon Sun, Nice job! Very well done.

Hey RPBMapMaker. I'd like to say thanks for this tutorial. I was looking for a way to make a realistic map and this is just perfect. Thanks soo much!
This is the map I made through your tutorial. Its for a fantasy world Im creating. This is the realm of Athanas. Ive yet to add in the cities/fortress/roads etc. Thanks again.


Well done! Looks great!!

03-04-2015, 04:05 PM
Absolutely amazing tools! Using this set up, I can knock out a Local map for my DnD campaign in literally a few minutes. Thank you so much! Heres just a sample I did to proof test it.