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Thread: Satellite Style Photoshop Terrain - Part 1

  1. #1

    Tutorial Satellite Style Photoshop Terrain - Part 1

    Felseth
    This tutorial is a response by some to see the techniques I used in the Felseth map turned into a tutorial. I've spent some time in that file trying to figure out which layers and effects mattered and reduced it to just a few. I hope that you get the same results as I do when you attempt these steps to build a pseudo realistic terrain.

    Source Tutorials
    Firstly I'd like to point out that I didn't come up with these techniques in a vacuum. I ripped them off from these guys (possibly some others, but mainly these three). They deserve all the credit:
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/co...e-in-Photoshop
    http://oldguygaming.com/adding-reali...lines-to-a-map
    http://www.photoshoproadmap.com/Phot...-in-photoshop/

    Height Map

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've found the following steps consistently create a nice looking height map:
    1. File > New...
      • Width: 10 inches
      • Height: 7 inches
      • Resolution: 300 pixels/inch
      • Color Mode: RGB Color / 8bit
      • Background Contents: White
    2. Edit > Fill...
      • Use: 50% Gray
      • Mode: Normal
      • Opacity: 100%
    3. Layer > Duplicate Layer...
    4. Filter > Render > Difference Clouds
    5. Set the layer style to Overlay and Opacity to 25%
    6. Layer > New > Layer...
      • Mode: Overlay
      • Opacity: 25%
    7. Choose the Gradient Tool from the tool bar
    8. Set the gradient pattern to black and white
    9. Pick the Radial Gradient option
      • Mode: Difference
    10. Click and drag randomly around the layer creating patterns
    11. Layer > New> Layer...
      • Mode: Overlay
      • Opacity: 100%
    12. Click and drag randomly around the layer creating patterns
    13. Filter > Render > Difference Clouds
    14. Layer > New > Layer...
      • Mode: Overlay
      • Opacity: 100%
    15. Click and drag randomly around the layer creating patterns
    16. Select all of those layers and right click > Convert to smart Object
    17. Rename this layer to 'Height Map'
    18. Save your file


    Creating the Shore Line

    Click image for larger version. 

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    1. Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels
      • Set the Input Levels to 59 and 61
      • Adjust them both up or down to reduce or increase the amount of land to water you want (white will be land, black will be water).
    2. Layer > New > Layer...
    3. Rename this Layer to 'Shore Line'
    4. Select > Color Range...
    5. Select: Highlights
    6. Edit > Fill...
      • Use: White
    7. Delete the Levels Adjustment Layer
    8. Layer > Duplicate Layer...
    9. Rename this Layer to 'Land Mass'
    10. Layer > Group Layers...
    11. Rename the group to 'Land'
    12. Select the bottom three layers
    13. Layer > Group Layers...
    14. Rename the group to 'Ocean'
    15. Save your file


    Creating the Ocean

    1. Select the layer named 'Shore Line' in the 'Ocean' group
    2. Layer > Layer Style > Outer Glow...
      • Blend Mode: Color Dodge
      • Opacity: 100%
      • Set the colour to white
      • Technique: Precise
      • Size: 2px
    3. CRTL + Left Click the 'Shore Line' layer if the shore line is not currently selected
    4. Layer > New > Layer...
      • Opacity: 50%
    5. Select > Modify > Expand...
      • Expand By: 25 pixels
    6. Select > Inverse
    7. Edit > Fill...
      • Use: Black
    8. Layer > Layer Style > Outer Glow...
      • Blend Mode: Normal
      • Opacity: 100%
      • Set the colour to black
      • Technique: Precise
      • Size: 20px
    9. Select > Inverse
    10. Layer > New > Layer...
      • Opacity: 50%
    11. Select > Modify > Expand...
      • Expand By: 50 pixels
    12. Select > Inverse
    13. Edit > Fill...
      • Use: Black
    14. Layer > Layer Style > Outer Glow...
      • Blend Mode: Normal
      • Opacity: 100%
      • Set the colour to black
      • Technique: Precise
      • Size: 50px
    15. Select > Inverse
    16. Layer > New > Layer...
      • Opacity: 50%
    17. Select > Modify > Expand...
      • Expand By: 50 pixels
    18. Select > Inverse
    19. Edit > Fill...
      • Use: Black
    20. Layer > Layer Style > Outer Glow...
      • Blend Mode: Normal
      • Opacity: 100%
      • Set the colour to black
      • Technique: Precise
      • Size: 20px
    21. Select the shape tool from the tool bar (U)
    22. Draw a shape of any size
    23. Right Click the vector mask for the newly created layer and choose 'Disable Vector Mask'
    24. Double Click the layer and set the colour to RGB value: 26, 40, 87
    25. Set the layer Opacity to 50%
    26. Save your file


    Setting the Land Colour

    Click image for larger version. 

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    1. Select the Layer called 'Height Map'
    2. Layer > Duplicate Layer...
    3. Move the new layer the 'Land' group above the 'Land Mass' layer
    4. Hold down ALT and left click along the bottom of the 'Height Map copy' layer
    5. Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map...
      • The exact positions of the gradient colours will depend on the gray scale values of your height map
      • The five colours of the Gradient Map from Left to Right are:
        • RGB: 199, 184, 157 (Sand)
        • RGB: 133, 150, 101 (Grass)
        • RGB: 84, 99, 42 (Forest)
        • RGB: 117, 100, 93 (Hills)
        • RGB: 157, 144, 118 (Peaks)
    6. Hold down ALT and left click along the bottom of the Gradient Map layer
    7. Save your file


    Relief Map Detail

    Click image for larger version. 

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    1. Select the 'Height Map' Layer
    2. Select > All
    3. Edit > Copy
    4. Switch to the Channels window
    5. Press the Create New Channel button to create a Alpha channel layer
    6. Edit > Paste...
    7. Switch back to the Layers window
    8. Select the 'Gradient Map' layer
    9. Layer > New > Layer...
    10. Edit > Fill...
      • Use: 50% Gray
    11. Filter > Render > Lighting Effects
      • Light type: Directional
      • Intensity: 21
      • Gloss: 0
      • Material: 71
      • Exposure: 0
      • Ambience: 0
      • Texture Channel: Alpha 1
      • Height: 100
    12. Change the layer Style to Overlay
    13. Rename the layer to 'Hills'
    14. Save your file


    Colour Adjustment Layers

    Click image for larger version. 

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    1. Close and select the 'Land' group
    2. Choose the Shape tool (U)
    3. Click and drag anywhere on the image to create a shape (this should be above the 'Land' group)
    4. Right click the shape vector mask and choose 'Disable Vector Mask'
    5. Double click the layer and set the layer colour to RGB: 242, 231, 209
    6. Set the layer style to Multiply
    7. Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation
      • Hue: -14
      • Saturation: -20
      • Lightness: +6
    8. Save your file


    This is just the base for a map. From here you will need to add trees, roads, rivers and other details.

    If you find anything that's hard to follow let me know and I'll clean it up as best I can.

  2. #2
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    I haven't tried these out, but I'm really impressed at how well you overcame the problems with self-made DEMs. I would have never thought of using this technique to make them look more weathered and realistic, but now that I've seen it, I'll be trying it as soon as I can. I just hope that adapting them to a more rigid and defined region of mountains works well (unless I'm mistaken you did both this and your actual map from scratch), but either way having DEMs that already look good and aren't messed up by countless alterations. will be awesome.

    Bravo, and have some rep. Can't wait to see part two.

  3. #3
    Community Leader Gracious Donor ravells's Avatar
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    This looks great kalvin! I especially like the heightmap creation process. I haven't tried to tutorial yet, but how much control does one have in deciding where to put mountains and what shape you want the coastlines to be? It's interesting that the creation of the coastlines comes after the creation of the heightmap (I assume because the heighmap tells you what is high and low?). The topography looks yummy!

  4. #4
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Very cool and informative, I dub thee newly repped! *BONK*
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    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

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    I ran through the tutorial again on my own to see if there were any problems.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6
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    Hmm...I wonder if there is any way of making more realistic continental shelfs? Because the oceans lack the natural continental shelfs one would expect. I suppose if someone wanted serious realism they'd just either take an existing DEM's continental shelf or manually edit in one.

    Kalvinlyle...any word on how much control you have over mountain placement? You must have some since you did that Felseth one...but I wonder how much.

  7. #7
    Guild Artisan su_liam's Avatar
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    I prefer more human input than just patting about trying to simulate the random . That said, I really like the noise this produces. Lots of crowd-pleasing swirlies!

    It would be interesting to see how well this kind of noise would incorporate into something like the Burpwallow Method for noise editing.

    For continental shelves, you could try importing the HF into Wibur and applying an exponent filter or remap altitudes. I'd think that would work as well for this kind of noise as any.

    I also have to say this is a very attractive hypsometric gradient. It even looks good without the hillshade.

  8. #8

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    I've updated the tutorial and posted it here

    I've added:
    1. Editable Land Masses
    2. Continental Shelves


    When I have more time I'll convert it to a PDF and update the first post. The limitation of 10,000 characters and the exclusion of HTML in posts makes it a bit difficult to maintain tutorials here. Anyone have any suggstions?

  9. #9
    Guild Journeyer hohum's Avatar
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    Very cool!

  10. #10
    Guild Member simpfan1's Avatar
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    I cant seem to get smart layers to work
    Darn this really old bootleg photoshop

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