I got the color key, but I haven't tested it yet. I will do it very soon.
Climate tutorial version 1:
color reference file:
Several assumptions about climates to make thing simpler:
1- July is always the hottest month is the north and the coldest month in the south.
2- January is always the coldest in the north and the hottest month in the south.
3- Some places close to the equator might have a summer temperature colder than their winter temperature. It’s possible if the difference is small. If you encounter this elsewhere, it’s not normal unless you have a very particular microclimate. The color scheme won’t tell you about this issue.
4- I assumed that the temperature variation was constant throughout the year. So if some place has an average temperature of 6 during the coldest month and 12 for the hottest month, the monthly temperature variation is 1.
5- Precipitations map represent the precipitation for a specific month. Yearly precipitations are estimated as follow:
a. If July and January are inside the same precipitation category or only one category apart, the area is considered to receive the same amount of precipitation all year long. Letter f.
b. If the difference between the precipitations of July and January is more than one category apart, the area is considered to have one dry season. If the dry season is the hottest; the letter is s, if the dry season is the coldest; the letter is w.
c. Take note that these 3 letters: s,f,w; doesn’t tell you if the climate is either humid, semi-arid (steppe) or arid (desert). It’s just about the precipitation pattern.
Also, I used 10 levels of temperature, it’s more than Pixie. I use 10 because they are necessary to differentiate some climates. If you don’t have 10, it might cause problem.
Info about color key
You need to work in CMYK for the scheme to function properly. You don’t need the whole map to be in this mode, just the relevant layers. I tried to make it in RGB mode but I could not get a good combination. Most of the time, several climates had the same color, rendering it useless. The ‘’color key’’ is obtained by combining the Cyan (hottest month temperature), Majenta (coldest month temperature), Yellow (hottest month precipitation) and black (coldest month precipitation).
Before starting, you need several layers. You should already have them if you followed Pixie’s tutorial.
1- July temperature map (Summer of the northern hemisphere, winter in the south)
2- January temperature map
3- July precipitation map
4- January precipitation map
0- Create a new file by selecting CMYK as the color mode. Or you can also use the file containing the other layers as long as you make sure that the file is in CMYK, very important. Import the file named ‘’color reference’’.
a. Take the table I made and put it in the same file. You need to make sure that the elements of the table do not overlap with your landmasses otherwise you will miss these parts. So either put the table over an empty spot, at the poles or the ocean, or aside from the map.
1- First thing you need to do is to make sure your precipitation maps only have 5 levels of rain possible so you need to fuse the highest levels of rain. To do that, select the first 4 categories with the magic wand and use inversion. This should select everything that is not inside the 4 first categories. Paint it in the same color as the very wet category.
Why? Past a certain amount, the precipitation stops to have an impact on the climate. This is according to the Koppen classification, because the tourist agency could think otherwise.
2- Temperature maps: You can use the maps you already have. You will need to change the colors.
a. July temperature layer should be paint using Cyan only. Use the colors from the table.
b. January temperature map uses Magenta only. The exact values are as follow for cyan and magenta. To make these two maps, you need to paint the temperatures using the specified colors. One in cyan and the other in magenta. Make sure you only use one of the four colors per layer.
Severely hot: 100, Very hot: 90, Hot: 80, Warm: 70, Mild: 60, Cool: 50, Cold: 40
Very cold: 30, Severely cold: 20, Deadly cold: 10
3- Precipitation maps: Use the values of the table.
Sadly, you will need to make 2 versions of both precipitation maps. One version of the maps is for the north and the other is for the south. The reason you need to do it separately is that the impact of the precipitations on the environment depend if they fall during the cold or the hot season. You need more to keep the area wet if it falls mostly during the hot season.
To make the map, start with the north, with the July precipitation map. Change the previous colors to the appropriate colors in yellow. Do the same process with the January precipitation map but using the blacks. You will need to stop at the equator.
For the south, you will need to use black for July since it’s the cold season in the south. And use the yellow for the January precipitation map. Make sure the north and south layers don’t overlap past the equator. So in the end, you have the July precipitation with yellow in the north and black in the south and the January map with black in the north and yellow in the south.
If it’s easier, you can also use different layers for north and south with a total of 4 layers. It the end you still need to merge them.
a. Summer precipitation: paint in yellow. Here are the values.
Very wet: 95, Wet: 73, Moderate: 51, Low: 29, Dry: 7
b. Winter precipitation: Paint in black. Here are the values. The last one is different from the Yellow one. It’s because the magic wand could not select the last category correctly. It was too pale.
Very wet: 95, Wet: 73, Moderate: 51, Low: 29, Dry: 18
***This part might need adjustments, since it might give weird results)
4- Now take you 2 sets of precipitation maps. Set one under the other (doesn’t matter which one) and the other above set to multiply mode. Now you should duplicate these layers and merge them. By doing so, make sure that it keeps the same colors (just to be sure). This will get you the precipitation pattern map.
5- Now, you won’t keep all the categories. Some precipitation patterns contain the same climate zones. It makes no differences if we ignore them and it lessens the possible combinations. So you will merge some of them. Look at the table at step 5 and follow the arrows. Select these colors from the precipitation pattern map and paint it into the new color. This will give you the final precipitation pattern map.
6- Layer placement to get the color key:
a. The precipitation pattern map is placed at the bottom in normal mode
b. Then, the magenta layer set in multiply mode
c. Finally, on top of all, the cyan layer is in exclusion mode
Now I would recommend that you duplicate these layers and merge them into one layer. Make sure you keep the same colors. Name it ‘’color key map’’.
This should produce a color key with 1000 combinations. Well not really, in fact, it’s more than 1000 but we can simplify it. You see, for the coldest temperatures, the precipitations are irrelevant so:
7- Create a new layer for the climates. I recommend putting all the different climates on a different layer each.
a. Using only the temperature layer paint the ice caps and tundra climates, see their colors at the top of the reference file. tO DO THAT YOU NEED TO HAVE ONE OF THE TWO LAYER IN MULTIPLY MODE AND SELECT MORE THAN ONE LAYER WITH THE MAGIC WAND.
Using the magic wand, only keep useful layers visible. Set the wand to be able the select all the layers and to be able to select multiple object one after the other (add to selection). Make one climate at a time and select all the corresponding colors on the table. This will also select the colors of the color key map at the same time. After each color are selected for one climate, paint it in the climate layer.
Start with the ice caps by making only the temperature layer visible (not the precipitation layers). And do the tundra after that. When they are done, make the precipitation map visible. You can proceed with the other climates.
Each climate has a certain number of colors. Some have more than other but it does not mean they are more frequent. Some also have the + next to them, especially the coldest D climates. D climates are already extreme, but this is even more extreme. Some have 80 Celsius in difference between the mean temperature of the coldest and hottest month. The maximum on Earth is closer to 60 Celsius. These climates are not impossible but very unlikely. They are usually found far from the ocean at high latitudes like Siberia but the conditions are more extreme. To have these, the planet probably needs to have a bigger axial tilt and since this tutorial is mostly about Earth-like climates, I consider them unlikely to happen. They can be ignore or left out for later to save some clicking.
Note TO MYSELF: use 300 DPI
when changing RGB to CMYK, don't merge layers. The colors will change, it's normal and it can take some time if the file is large.
Last yellow is 29 but should be 7, need an update
Magic wand tolerance: 10 not lisse (not fuzzy ?)
Paint tool fuziness to 255
Part 3: 2 layers in total
start with july, select the north, to do that choose select all in the selection menu and modify the selection to only 50% of the file's height and select on squares at the top left that is in the top layer before clicking ok.
the ideal is to make a temporary layer with this selection, covering the top half with one flashy color. Put the dummy layer over the south to beging then move it north
do the same for the south but paint it in black, and make sure that all the layer is either black or yellow. If you forget something , you will miss some climates.
After this, do it for january with yellow in bottom and black on top.
Step 5: when selecting rain pattern reduce the tolerance of the magic wand to 0 or 1
That is all for now. I will update the tutorial later.