Diomede Lake and Surroundings
Diomede is a small trail-side lake in a prairie/taiga environment, I envisioned it as a usable watering spot and camp-site for merchant caravans. There are several versions of this map, day, night, and no-camp. The map was constructed for the December 2010/January 2011 Lite Mapping Challenge. Thank you all for voting!
To make the snow, I had found and collected several grungy snow textures free for use. I used tools like the High Pass Filter to try and remove any gradients and then the Match Color tool to try and unify the color-cast of each snow texture. Then I laboriously prepared them for tiling using the Offset Filter and the Clone Brush. I then converted them to Fill-Patterns.
The key to making convincing snow (or any natural texture) is to choose textures that create a relatively uniform "gradient" of grunge amounts from near pristine to filthy. I then used masks and the Render Cloud tool to layer up the variations in the snow field, applying more grunge to areas with boulders/bushes. To unify the look even further, I created a "icy-blue" cloud pattern layer, and a "pristine white" cloud layer and used levels of noise and the cloud filter and the crystalize filter and then airbrushed out any rough patches using that top layer. Finish off the terrain using Exposure Adjustment Layers for additional highlights and terrain effects. All in all there must be about 6-10 snow texture layers there. It lends a reasonable if slightly painterly effect for the impression of snow.
The tracks and footprints are simply the terrain layers copied as a smart object with an emboss layer style and then layer masked so the footprints and tracks are white, everything else is black. You need to be careful not to over-do the tracks, or add some black tracks to overly white areas of the mask so there is some definition.
I used Global Light angles for the Day version, but this technique didn't turn out as well as I had hoped when with the bevel-emboss tool when doing a night scene, or any scene with multiple light sources. If I attempt something like this again for a night scene, I will use non-global lighting angles to handle any strange shadows like from fire-light.
This is a beautiful battlemat. Thank you so much for posting your techniques!
Really nice and impressive !
I like the pee stain in the snow! Great detail
Really good work.