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Thread: A bit of help, if you please?

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    Guild Artisan industrygothica's Avatar
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    Post A bit of help, if you please?

    I'm not exactly certain where this post should go, so feel free to move it should it fit better somewhere else.

    I have a dilemma (other than that it took me a few times to spell "dilemma" correctly): I want to map. Not I want amap, but I want to map.

    That being said, here's the sticky part... With a pencil, I'm a fair artist. I'm not great, but I'm not completely horrible either. I also know my way around the basics of Photoshop, and have been accused of putting together some pretty decent images. Try as I may, a satisfactory world map has never been one of those images.

    I also have Illustrator 10, and even The Gimp and Inkscape, having learned about them from lurking here, but not a clue how to use any of them. I will learn them if that's what it takes, but I prefer Photoshop.

    Isn't there anyone that would have pity on my poor, frustrated soul and take the time to point me in the right direction and give me a good kickstart for a nice, basic isometric map?

    Thanks in advance,


    -IG

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    Guild Member deanatglobe's Avatar
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    Have you checked out Butch Curry's tutorials at Zombie Nirvana. Very nice for creating parchment looking maps, also very helpful on using layer masks and adjustment masks in mapping.

    http://www.zombienirvana.com/?cat=14

    Hope that helps
    Dean

    \"Nonsense, your only saying that because no-one ever has!\"

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    Guild Artisan industrygothica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deanatglobe View Post
    Have you checked out Butch Curry's tutorials at Zombie Nirvana. Very nice for creating parchment looking maps, also very helpful on using layer masks and adjustment masks in mapping.

    http://www.zombienirvana.com/?cat=14

    Hope that helps

    Indeed I have. Turns out I really suck at drawing mountains.

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      Sigurd is offline
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    Well there is a tutorial section here that I can heartily recommend. Problem is without being you its hard to know where to start .

    Why don't you start with the tutorials and bring back you questions and observations - those, people can help you with. Teaching a man to swim on dry land is almost impossible - you have to get your feet wet.


    sigurd

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    Guild Artisan industrygothica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd View Post
    Well there is a tutorial section here that I can heartily recommend. Problem is without being you its hard to know where to start .

    Why don't you start with the tutorials and bring back you questions and observations - those, people can help you with. Teaching a man to swim on dry land is almost impossible - you have to get your feet wet.


    sigurd
    Yes, yes.. it is most assuredly hard being me. But someone has to do it.

    On that note, I've got something I want to try, and I'll definitely be back with questions afterwards.

    I do appreciate your willingness though.

    I do have a questions that perhaps someone can help me with. It's got nothing to do with isometric maps, which is what I said I wanted help on, but still..

    I see people using all these black and white heightmaps, I believe they're called. How does one incorporate that into the beginning stages of a map in Photoshop? I feel like an idiot for not knowing, but that still doesn't change the fact that I don't.
    Last edited by industrygothica; 04-24-2008 at 04:00 PM.

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      ravells is offline
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    Well, if you like we can do a map together. Why don't you pick an area in the CWBP and I can (try) to talk you through making a map with photoshop. I can do a step and explain how I got there, you can follow using the similar techniques and we can see how we go?

    (not that I'm an expert or anything, but it's just a thought to get you up and running).

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    Guild Artisan industrygothica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravells View Post
    Well, if you like we can do a map together. Why don't you pick an area in the CWBP and I can (try) to talk you through making a map with photoshop. I can do a step and explain how I got there, you can follow using the similar techniques and we can see how we go?

    (not that I'm an expert or anything, but it's just a thought to get you up and running).
    That would be amazing! Thank you. Looking at the landgrab, I'll go with 25 since it seems to have a bit of everything, with the possible exception of some mountains.

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      Torq is offline
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    I couldn't have thought of a better solution. Your'e in good hands. 25 is yours to do with what you please. Height maps are too cool. If you use gimp for anything I can also help you out.

    Torq
    The internet! It\'ll never catch on.

    Software Used: Terranoise, Wilbur, Terragen, The Gimp, Inkscape, Mojoworld

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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    It takes a bit of patience to learn how to use a heightmap in PS. Since I just finished that same process, I'll share what I learned. No screenshots, though. I'm at work and so do not have access to the software.

    The first thing you need to do is to get your heightmap into the document in a form that it can be used. Open the image and make sure it's grayscale: Image > Mode > Grayscale.

    Now go to your layers window and click the "channels" tab. You'll see a single channel that contains all of the grayscale information in your heightmap. Down at the bottom of that window, you'll see several small icons. Mouse over each and read the tool tip. When you find the one that says "new channel," drag your existing channel onto it, and you'll get a copy of it.

    Now change your Mode to RGB color and create a new layer. Bucket fill this layer with your desired base color. Hide the original layer or background that has the heightfield in it. You don't need to see it for it to do its job.

    Now for the tricky part. Go to filter > render > lighting effects. This will open the dialogue where your work is done. Down near the bottom of the window is a drop down labeled "texture channel." Click on it and select your heightfield channel. This is what will translate your heightfield to actual landforms. From here, you'll have to do a lot of experimenting to find the settings that work best for your map. I recommend changing the light type to "directional" and the color of the light to something a little less vivid than the default bright yellow.

    For my Tawaren Basin map for the CWBP, I used a pukey brownish-yellow for my base map, and a very light, slightly grey yellow for the light. I kept the intensity in the 20 - 30 range, I think. The gloss slider was over near "matte," Material was a little bit toward "plastic," Exposure was around +5 and Ambience moved all over the place as I tried to find a good place for it.

    For my base map, I eventually decided to keep the Height in the center instead of all the way at mountainous because I didn't want my land to look too rocky.

    To get the mountains, I switched back to the channels menu and selected the heightmap, then used "Select by color" in the Select menu and clicked on the most white portion of the heightfield. Playing with the tolerance slider allowed me to choose how wide an area I wanted to deal with. I then switched back to my layers menu, created a new layer and filled the selection with a dark grey. Because the heightfield is a gradient image, some pixels are "less selected" than others, so the fill will be naturally feathered at the edges.

    I then reapplied the lighting effects filter, but I moved the Height slider all the way to the right. I repeated that entire process with a tighter threshold in the Selection, and a much lighter grey.

    After that, I merged the two mountains layers, and it was a matter of playing with the brightness and contrast until the mountains looked like rock instead of clouds.

    I learned a lot with the experiment, but as you might have seen in my WIP thread, it took me quite a while to arrive at something that looked good. So keep at it--it may take some time, but you'll eventually figure out how to get what you want.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
    http://www.bryanray.name

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