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Thread: Automatic Forester

  1. #1
      Fluesopp is offline
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    Post Automatic Forester

    Tired of making those vast forests in photoshop? Tired of having to change your brush every second to get that variation your map requires? Try the new Automatic Forester. With this neat tool your lands will be filled with forests in no time!

    Nah, seriously.

    I got an idea as I sat on the bus from school today and made a little prototype. It uses Ramah's forest brushes.
    The idea came after spending hours on hours trying to get the forests right on a huge map I'm making, using Ramah's quick forest image. But to remove all those trees were really a pain!
    So I figured I could make a program which did it for me. And here it is.
    It can create a 1024x1024 transparent png filled with trees, both as the brushes (transparent) and with a solid white color to avoid trunks from showing through.
    And more importantly, if you load an image into the program, it creates a forest based on the shape. And if you click the screen, it generates a new set of random positioned trees.

    It's still a proof of concept, but I plan on making it possible to load in a background image, being able to add trees independently of the randomizer. (And change the size of the mountains) I also plan on making a quick mountain adder to create massive mountain ranges quickly without having to manually erase those showing through parts of mountains behind.

    It's a simple algorithm which decides where the trees can be positioned, but if you want to take a look or improve it, I'm including the source code.
    Also, I'm aware of the bugs where a tree shows through even with fill on. It's because the algorithm is running two or more times.

    Anyway, it works and it should make those pesky forests easier to make. Just draw a shape where you want your mountains and save it as a PNG with transparency. Everything that is not transparent will receive a treatment of trees.

    ~Fluesopp

    (And I'll open source everything if anyone wondered)

    update: Now with 100% better masking and with adjustable scale. Also included in this package is a panning and zooming tool for those far-away forests.
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    Last edited by Fluesopp; 01-08-2010 at 12:38 PM.

  2. #2
      Ramah is offline
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    That sounds really awesome. Do you have a screeny you could post to show the result?
    And yeah... I know it is a pain to remove the trees around the edge of my forest sheet, made worse by the fact that the style I used had them all pretty damn close to each other. But I've used it a few times now and it is a LOT faster than doing the whole forest by hand a brush at a time. But yes, it is fiddly.

    This sounds like it could be really cool.
    Royal: I'm very sorry for your loss, your mother was a terribly attractive woman.


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  3. #3
      Fluesopp is offline
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    A little walkthrough.

    You may want to create a little forest island for your map. It's not large and it would be pretty simple, but maybe time consuming, to create the forest manually.

    But, you also want a name, and a oddly shaped lake, and some towns around the island. And then suddenly it's not just pay and spray.

    Instead, pain over wherever you want the forest to appear, on a second layer.

    Turn off all other layers and save the forest mask as a PNG file, with transparency.

    (image limit...)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Automatic Forester-1.jpg   Automatic Forester-2.jpg   Automatic Forester-4.jpg   Automatic Forester-5.jpg  

  4. #4
      Fluesopp is offline
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    (continued)

    Open up the Mapper tool and click on the load button.

    Check fill, if you want (looks seriously better) and save the file as a png file.

    Now, open the new file in photoshop and drag it onto your map, holding shift as you do so; it snaps right to the center and align perfectly.

    Add some fancy coloring and Voila! Your forest isle is complete.

    edit: Oh, and since this is only a prototype, be careful. If you choose a file with data already on it, it will not ask you if you want to overwrite. It just does it.. (Gonna add that next, just in case)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Automatic Forester-6.jpg   Automatic Forester-7.jpg   Automatic Forester-8.jpg   Automatic Forester-9.jpg  

  5. #5
      Ramah is offline
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    Wow. That is awesome.

    I can see a few odd bod trees on your screeny where they've gone over another but for a prototype version it's amazing.
    Does it have the ability to load another pack of brushes?

    Have some rep to help keep your heart warm as you continue to develop this.
    Royal: I'm very sorry for your loss, your mother was a terribly attractive woman.


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  6. #6
      RobA is offline
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    If you want something similar in Gimp, here is a script I wrote to do much the same thing, using gimp brushes.

    An example of its use are the forests for my Ascadia map.

    -Rob A>

  7. #7
      Coyotemax is offline
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    a suggestion for you: would it be possible to implement a size feature?

    for example, on me Darklands map, the default sized tree brushes (~30px) were way too large, but when dropped to 1/3 (~10px) they were perfect. Or would it be too hard to program in? I suppose one alternative would be to take your masked area, triple it in size, and save that as the png, then shrink it when it's done.

    Also, another suggestion would be a way to increase/decrease density (more scattered trees, or more overlapping etc).

    Wish I could program so I could help on this.. (and this is in no way trying to slight your work, just giving you feedback as a potential user as to the things that would be useful features to me). Repworthy, for sure!

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    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

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    What's the file-size limit (resolution)?

  9. #9
      Fluesopp is offline
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    I'm working on a size feature. It's not that hard, I just need to figure how to properly scale down the brush images. For now your workaround works.
    And I've experimented with the density. I had a small UI going, but it was just weird and crashed all the time, but it does work.

    And the file-size limit is pretty large. I'm not sure as I haven't tested it yet. Please give feedback if you experience problems.

    edit: It can't load another brushpack. What I have done is to make each brush into two images; one with color, and one 'alpha' image. So you could manually replace each brush with your own if you want.
    Last edited by Fluesopp; 01-06-2010 at 06:52 AM.

  10. #10
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    I'll let you know - try number one will be on my largest image...

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