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Thread: I have much to learn

  1. #1
      Maccwar is offline
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    Wip I have much to learn

    I've just started the process of moving my paper campaign maps on to my computer. (Some of them date from as far back as 1992!)

    I've started with scans of graph paper and I've been tracing the outlines of regions and features on to different layers in GIMP. The results already look a lot nicer than the original but I realise I still have a lot to learn.

    The next step I'd like to learn how to do is to have my regional outlines start off as solid coloured lines which fade gently towards the interior of the area as I've seen many times on antique maps (I'm sure there's a technical term for this). I've tried using gradient fills but they looked rubbish. I'm wondering if layer masks are the answer but I've not tried using them before and I don't know which effects I should use.

    After that I'd like to make the features such as the forest and the mountains look better, improve the sea and the lakes and so on.

    Help and suggestions welcomed.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I have much to learn-arandia_sml.png  
    Last edited by Maccwar; 03-04-2009 at 04:43 PM.

  2. #2
      Maccwar is offline
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    I found something similar to what I'm after.

    International borders

    Now to try and get those effects in GIMP rather than PS.

  3. #3
      Karro is offline
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    Do you have each region of color on a separate layer in GIMP?

    If so, then, yes, I think you can achieve this with masks. For each color layer, you'd have a layer mask that defines the border of the region. The outside edge of region would be represented on the layer mask by a hard line from black to white. But the inner portion of the region would be a fading gradient of some sort from white back to black. If you want most of the inner portion of the regions to be the background color, you'd fade to black on the mask relatively quickly. If you want the fade to be longer and more subtle, likewise with the mask.

    Does that make sense?
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      jfrazierjr is offline
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    There are several ways to do this, but Karro is right in that layer masks is the "correct" way in that it's non destructive.
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
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    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  5. #5
      Maccwar is offline
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    I was careful when building the map to preserve as many useful layers as possible so yes I have the colour blocks as separate layers. I'll have a play with masks, glows and blurs and tomorrow if I get a chance and see what I can come up with.

    Thanks.

  6. #6
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maccwar View Post
    I was careful when building the map to preserve as many useful layers as possible so yes I have the colour blocks as separate layers. I'll have a play with masks, glows and blurs and tomorrow if I get a chance and see what I can come up with.

    Thanks.
    While I suggest using layer masks for most things, here is an el-cheapo way that takes less time than with masks (I am sure there are other ways)


    • select a region with the magic wand tool
    • New layer
    • Stroke selection (Edit->Stroke Selection) set to perhaps 5px (play with this a few times until you get what you want at the end with whatever color you want the border to be(a variation of the colored part for that region)
    • Now you have a line around your selection on both sides, so CTRL-I to invert, which selects OUTSIDE your selection.
    • Hit delete
    • CTRL-I again
    • Gaussian Blur to taste. Since you have a selection, the blur will only go in the direction away from the selection and won't "bleed".
    • You could also lower the opacity of this layer some
    • Repeat for each region

    There are also some plugins that will do this faster.

    Now, with that said, the reason to use layer masks is that once you have your layer set up with the mask, you can swap colors out instantly and maintain the exact same effect instead of having to go back and redo the blur part(which you might get the wrong size and have to tweak over and over).
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  7. #7
      Maccwar is offline
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    Thanks jfrazierjr, that works a treat.

    Now to work on some of the other elements.

  8. #8
      RobA is offline
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    If you want to try masks, do this on each coloured layer

    - Alpha to selection
    - Add Layer mask (Selection)
    - Selection Shrink (pick a number.. i.e 25)
    - Selection Feather (twice the shrink amount)
    - Fill with Black

    Now use the levels tool and adjust the gamma (middle top slider) to get the fade out you want, and use the layer transparency to drop the overall opacity.

    The real trick is feathering by 2x the shrink. Feather goes equally on either side of the original selection by 1/2 the feather amount.

    -Rob A>

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      bartmoss is offline
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    Giving some feedback on the map itself, the one thing that struck me is that the lakes could probably use some in-flows.

    Interesting that you have stuff from 1992, that's when I started my fantasy world.

  10. #10
      Qbista is offline
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    Hi.

    Your map looks nice, but I have one suggestion to You - everything is right, but I feel that the route of Your borders is a little bit unrealistic. I think, that You should make them more distorted - currently they look, like a straight line drawn with pencil, distorted only at places, where Your mouse/hand skidded. Borders are commonly running through mountains valleys, linking peaks, and (especcialy) - through rivers - so they aren't straight, or even rarely turning. Some borders are 'just a line on a map' - they were developed just by way of political decisions (i.e. some States in USA or districts of Australia) - but, in this case - they are totally straight.
    I suggest You to put some emphasis to this (I know, that currently You dont have mountains on Your map - try to imagine them, especially - if You want to add them to Your map.).

    About Your question about border style - I know, that You're working with GIMP - but do anybody of Your friends/co-workers have Photoshop? You could easily gain wanted effects using one simple Layer Style - Inner Glow.
    Tell me, if You'll have way to use Photoshop, in that case I'll write You some tut how to give your borders fancy 'antique' fading style (I just need to choose appropriate settings).

    But You're on good way! I will look on Your further works, for sure!

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