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Thread: How do I make a modern(ish) map with photoshop?

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    Question How do I make a modern(ish) map with photoshop?

    Hi Forum,

    The campaign setting I created for my D&D games has evolved over the 12 years or so I have been using it, and now the main continent is a lot like 1940s Europe. However I'm still using the map I made for the medieval era, a map I used right through the renaissance, and into the more modern games. I want this to change, so my question is as follows.

    How do I turn this:
    How do I make a modern(ish) map with photoshop?-keldoren.jpg

    Into something like this fine, upstanding member did:
    Antillia

    Now I know that Lingon used watercolours and whatnot but I'm looking to keep this in photoshop. I'm going to start tackling it myself and experiment with a few methods (that I'll eventually figure out) and I'll even put together a tutorial to upload if I manage it. I'm also moderately confident in my 'analogue' arty stuff skills so I'll turn to that too if it needs to leave photoshop (though I'll need to buy supplies). Either way what I am getting at is; has anyone done this before me and are able to enlighten me, or does anyone know how to achieve it and again can they explain it to me.

    Duly appreciated

    Frag
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How do I make a modern(ish) map with photoshop?-keldoren-example.jpg  

  2. #2
      Lingon is offline
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    Hey Frag, welcome to the forums! Thank you for the comments on Antillia! Unfortunately I can't help you with your question, but I look forward to seeing what you come up with

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    I don't use Photoshop or GIMP much, but first of all, I'd get rid of that parchment color/texture and settle for an off-white/cream colored paper texture to start. While some modern maps use map symbols to represent mountains and forests, I don't think that's what you're looking for. So I'd redo all your mountains and forests to resemble more satellite view of real mountains and forest. Use the bump mapping feature in Photoshop to give the forest and mountains a slight emulation of depth with painted shapes. Then for your city/town symbols I'd go for the traditional dots of varying color for varying population sizes and secular capitals - dots or stars. All text labeling you'd pick some modernish simple font, serifed or unserifed - try both. The labeling should probably more closely resemble a modern road atlas map. It might be improved and appear more modern if you actually place some roads on your map, and perhaps include things like an airport or other modern features.
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      Freodin is offline
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    A lot of work. "Modern" maps tend to be a lot more precise than the "antique" types. So I would start off with precisely defining the geography of my land. Make up the profile, the heightlines of the land (and ocean, if you want to show these). Then you can decide on a style.
    Nathan did a small tutorial about the way he shaded his great Gallia maps. With a little effort, you can use that as a basis for a crosshatching shader, or simply use it as a grey overlay.

    If you are going for a physical map, you don't even need any kind of relief shading. Simple colouring of different heights can look quite good... I have an old 1960-ish Reader's Digest World Atlas which uses such a technique.

    A graticule, showing the exact positions of the geography, is also something that should be added.

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    It's going well. Loaded up the alpha channel, made prolific use of layers and blurs, now all I need are some mountain effects and I'll be set. I'll post the result when I'm done.

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    Professional Artist Facebook Connected Schwarzkreuz's Avatar
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    I agree, the parchemnt is overwhelming everything else too much.

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      Nathan is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freodin View Post
    A lot of work. "Modern" maps tend to be a lot more precise than the "antique" types. So I would start off with precisely defining the geography of my land. Make up the profile, the heightlines of the land (and ocean, if you want to show these). Then you can decide on a style.
    Nathan did a small tutorial about the way he shaded his great Gallia maps. With a little effort, you can use that as a basis for a crosshatching shader, or simply use it as a grey overlay.

    If you are going for a physical map, you don't even need any kind of relief shading. Simple colouring of different heights can look quite good... I have an old 1960-ish Reader's Digest World Atlas which uses such a technique.

    A graticule, showing the exact positions of the geography, is also something that should be added.

    Indeed.
    And I would strongly recommand to use a software such as Illustrator to do so.

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    Does anyone know how to add longitude and latitude to a map?

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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Do you simply want technique for drawing the lines, or do you need help determining the projection and aligning the lines for accuracy?

    The previous recommendation for using vector software for the lines is a good one, but if you want to stay in Photoshop, there are a number of approaches you can use. The simplest would be to use the grid filter (I think it's under Render, but it's been a while since I looked for it). Or you could use the Line tool or the Pen tool to make paths that you could then stroke. That's a sort of hybrid vector method, giving you the ability to tweak the paths and then restroke them if you need to make a change. But PS's vector tools aren't the greatest.

    If you don't have access to Illustrator and you'd like to try vector software, I recommend Inkscape, which is a free open source alternative that works pretty well and is relatively easy to learn.

    If you need help with the projection, we'll have to wait for someone a bit more knowledgeable about that kind of thing to come along.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
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      Freodin is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fragilicious View Post
    Does anyone know how to add longitude and latitude to a map?
    That does indeed depend on the kind of projection you want to use.
    With a simple equirectangular projection, you can just do a grid. For anything more fancy, I like to use NASA's G.Projector. It allows you to chose your projection, add your grid and export it to work on in PS. Whether you use the exported pic directly or use it as a template to work on is your decision.

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