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Thread: Elevation and Hills in Town Maps

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  1. #1

    Help Elevation and Hills in Town Maps

    Hello, all. First post.

    I have benefited tremendously from this site, as has my Song of Ice & Fire game. I have worked on a handful of maps for my game, using a few techniques that I'm quite fond of. For the most part - though they're not the best in the world - I'm content with the maps I'm making.

    Except for one thing. Elevation in a the town map.

    One of my maps is supposed to be of a town with a tower that sits up on a hill that overlooks it. Now, I use some pretty texture-heavy maps, so something like elevation lines just aren't cutting it.

    Anyone have any links to tutorials or other suggestions for a technique that would work with the style of map I'm making? I am attaching the map in question. Thanks!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Guild Apprentice Elzevir's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010


    Very nice map,

    Elevation in a map like this, without lines, depends mainly on how shadows can be casted by the houses, the trees, and the main environment.

    I made a quick test in photoshop, the "lazy" way i'm fond of.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    As you see, i just added two layers : one white and one black, both in Soft Light. It makes the map "bump" a little, as if the city was on a hill.

    This is, i'm sure, one of the many ways to do it.

  3. #3


    That's really spectacular, Elzevir. I freely admit, I'm not a visual art person - I'm a writer, through and through. I'm also very much a Photoshop amateur. I shall have to experiment with this technique a bit.

  4. #4


    Another way to do it (well, how I do it anyway) is create a new layer on top of your grass/land layer, but below everything else. Set the fill to 0% and use the bevel/emboss layer style. Pick smooth, set the depth to about 115%, size 25, soften 0. Highlight opacity 45%, shadow opacity 65%.

    Then take a large, soft brush at about 30% opacity (you can pick any colour, doesn't matter, you won't see it) and paint on your hills. It'll be a bit like sculpting them.

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