The last two use multiple layers in the shape of the entire water area. I usually use a PS filter called Render Clouds using a light and a dark shade. Sometimes I'll run a filter called Difference Clouds over that. I'm not sure *exactly* what that one does technically but visually it makes the differences in coloration more dramatic. I simply mess with the transparency of these layers until I come up with something that approximates what I want. Generally I make the deeper layer colors muddier and the upper layer colors bluer and lighter - outdoor water looks best to me when it's reflecting the sky. Over all of that I will usually use a layer with Render Clouds and then use the Ocean Ripple filter and put that on top (sometimes Overlay, sometimes with Soft Light or something else that looks good).
I may have used a mask with partially transparent edges to make bits of the darkest water layer go away so you can see a little bit of the bed/ground beneath. On the ground itself I painted that fully, just like the land, with dirt, sand, rocks, etc. In the one with docks I think there might even be some sunken boats and crab traps and things...but you really can't make them out.
The whitecaps are simply done by selecting the water shape, creating a new layer, reducing the size of the selection (in PS it's Selection->Modify->Contract I think) by a few pixels and then stroking with white and repeating until it looks good - I varied the size of the reduction and the stroke size each time. Once done I used the smudge tool and eraser with a grunge brush to muck it up until it looked good.
On the map with "Tarina" on it I also used a couple of Hue-Brightness adjustment layers with masks to get that bright sea color...because it didn't really come out right from my color selections.
Just remembered I did one of water in a cavern here (room D):
There's also some crazy, shiny polluted Gamma World water here, but I doubt it's of much use to you!:
Hope any of this helps.
Edit: On slippery, gradual, here's a bigger zoom in of the ruined bridge map:
It actually is a fairly gradual entry to the water (you can see better on the full-sized map but...) and you can see some of the bottom near the edges, less towards the middle of the stream. Same techniques, maybe with more masking of layers since I wanted to show more of the bed. I actually botched up the shore line some in this one...trying to make it seem as if the water was lapping around the rocks there. Didn't really come off very well.
Last edited by mearrin69; 04-14-2011 at 01:20 AM.
I loooooooveeee these maps - particularly Tarnia; the water is outstanding! Thanks for posting your technique and tool list ... the results are very clean and the colors/hues perfect.
Surfarcher - that's a great encounter map. Are you using it in a virtual tabletop program, or just as a personal reference? Some highlights on the water would certainly work well, i'd also recommend sharpening the banks a little. That would give the water areas a more clearly defined edge.
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Thanks mate! In fact it was used for both. Our game is primarily face-to-face... For maps like that maptool is just great for exploration and I pull out sections to print full colour battlemaps for the table. As fate would have it one of our players is overseas for a few months so he'll be playing via maptool for several sessions.
Since I'm now working on a village near a keep snuggled in a bend in a river I'll be doing a fair bit of river work now. Damn, how did I get bogged down in this? I need to do more battlemaps! LOL!