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Thread: [Award Winner] Photoshop Mapping with Chuck

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  1. #1

    Tutorial [Award Winner] Photoshop Mapping with Chuck

    Here’s my tutorial for how to make a map in the style of this: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4753

    Special thanks must be said for jezelf, from whose tutorials I borrow frequently and liberally.

    Before you start, I suggest you download these brushes and such that I’ve attached here and a good parchment texture, (http://www.andreas.blicher.info/imag...land_paper.jpg), and you will most certainly want Wilbur for a likely unnecessary step that adds a bit of realism for those not so well-versed in geology, such as me.

    First off, open a new file in Photoshop. Let’s say, a 2500 x 2500. Duplicate the background and run a difference clouds filter (or, alternatively, not make a new layer and run clouds, doesn’t make any difference; see step1 below).

    Then we’ll add a threshold layer via the little icon at the bottom-right (see step2).

    Go ahead and keep the standard 128. Now we can use the burn tool on the clouds layer to make a good continent shape. Burn will cause the black to expand, while holding Alt down while using the burn tool to make it retreat. For now, let’s assume the black is land. So we’ll screw around with the burn for a while and make a fair shape (see step3).
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  2. #2

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    Part 2

    Now that we’ve got a good shape, now’s a good time to merge the threshold and cloud layers together. Then we’ll make a new cloud layer and another threshold layer above the continent. Merge the new layers together. Now we’ll use the lasso tool to select interesting-looking bits. Cut those out (hotkey Ctrl+X; see step4).

    Hide the threshold/cloud layer (now dubbed Threshloud, a 14th-level Photoshop layer) and paste the little land-bit above the continent. Set the layer to multiply and move it about until you find a nice place for it, and go ahead and merge it with the continent (otherwise your layers will add up to epic levels in a short amount of time). Repeat over and over and over again until you have a bangin’ black and white map (see step5). Sometimes it’s a good idea to Gaussian blur your map by 1 pixel and threshold it again to get rid of awkward little fuzz around the coast.

    Now, we begin the forewarned optional step. I use this step to make geologically realistic river systems, though, as previously stated, this is an optional step that can be skipped if you are confident of your river-making skills. This step is nearly exclusively borrowed from this tutorial: http://www.jezelf.co.uk/tutorials_map05.htm.

    First, duplicate your map and invert the colors. Now the land is white (see step6).

    Duplicate that and run a poster edges filter with the settings as high as they will go on the top layer. Duplicate that and run an accented edges filter on the top layer (see step7).

    Gaussian blur that layer at about 7.5 pixels and put the opacity at 65%. On the layer under that, Gaussian blur it at 5 pixels, and drop the opacity to 50% (see step.
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  3. #3

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    Part 3

    Now, make a brand new layer on top of everything, fill with white, and difference clouds the hell out of that sucker. Jezelf suggests 30 times, and that is not a bad number, though of course you can use more or less as desired (see step9).

    Now change that layer’s blending to difference (see step10).

    Duplicate your original inverted layer and move the duplicate to the top, and set its blending to color burn. Now make a new layer, and use a soft black brush on a low opacity to darken areas that you think shouldn’t be mountainous. The whiter the area is, the higher the elevation will be (see step11).

    Now, duplicate visible by selecting the canvas (Ctrl+A) with Ctrl+Shift+C. Open up the channels tab beside the layers tab and make a new alpha layer (basically just like making a standard layer) and paste the picture into the alpha layer. Go back to the layers tab, make a new layer, fill with white, and run a lighting effects filter on that, using settings somewhere around here (notice I haven’t moved from jezelf’s majestic tutorial’s settings; see step12).

    Put this layer on overlay, and you should get something like this (see step13).

    Now, save this map as a .PNG, something like heightmap.png or whatever. Prettypinkpanties.png if you really want. It’s up to you, and I won’t question your filename preferences.
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    Last edited by overlordchuck; 03-17-2009 at 09:19 AM.

  4. #4

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    Part 4

    Now open up Wilbur and open your .PNG file (see step14). Now we’ll begin stealing liberally from this tutorial (http://www.ridgecrest.ca.us/~jslayto...ol1/index.html) so kindly provided by Wilbur for us simple-minded plebeians.

    Fill basins (Ctrl+B) and suddenly your water is green, low-lying land (see step15).

    Now run Filter > Mathematical > Span with Low at 1000 and High at 2000. Run a percentage noise filter at 5%, and your map is suddenly very bumpy, which is absolutely necessary. Believe me. I’ve learned this from experience. Fill basins again (thank God for hotkeys, eh?).

    Now, go to Texture > Other Maps > River Flow with these settings (see riverstep). Now go to Texture > Transfer > Texture to Height on Grayscale Combine. Now you can go ahead and save your heightmap and load that sucker back into Photoshop. Place it over your original black and white map and set the blending to Screen. Merge the two layers together.

    Now the real work begins.
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    Last edited by overlordchuck; 03-18-2009 at 06:57 AM.

  5. #5

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    Part 5

    Use the magic wand tool to select the land, go to Select > Similar to select all that black crap, and make a new layer above everything else. Now pick a green color, preferably not too bright or saturated, and fill the selection with it. Deselect it and you have yourself some land, matey. Make a new layer under that and fill it with a blue, and behold the azure fields (see step24). You could also put a layer style on the water, such as the one you downloaded at the beginning.

    Now it’s time to whip out those mountain brushes you downloaded. Open up the mountain brushes and the mountain layer style. Apply the mountain layer style to a new layer. The brushes should appear in the Tool Presets area just under the History panel beside the zoom settings (see step25).

    Now, before you go mountain-happy, select the land by Ctrl+clicking on the little thumbnail for the land layer, that way you only brush on the land and not over the rivers or ocean. Now brush some mountains roughly where the heightmap suggested. For particularly high mountains you can brush over it a couple of times. Once you have most the mountains on there, make a new layer with the same layer style and brush some smaller mountains on there for some added detail (see step26). You could also use the provided layer style for snow and brush some snowy peaks on those mountains.

    The map doesn’t seem to pop out a whole lot yet, so Ctrl+select the land layer’s thumbnail and make a new layer. Now, with black selected as foreground color, stroke this sucker again, outside, at about 2 pixels. Don’t deselect yet. Make a new layer again and now go to Select > Modify > Expand and go about 10 pixels or so. Stroke that sucker again. Repeat as desired. Then set this layer on overlay. Now you have a fancy coastline (see step27).

    /highfive

    Now’s where you have some choices to make based on your map. Now is the step where you should customize the terrain, such as making desert, tundra, forests, etc. (Note: Any brushing of details onto the land should be done whilst the land has been selected, so that you are not brushing over rivers) For desert, you could just make a layer of pale yellow and brush with a soft brush where you think it should go. For tundra, perhaps a grayish color, or a white for some severe permafrost. Steppes could be a yellow or brown, perhaps. For forests, you could use this little trick: Use the provided layer style and brush a forest with a soft brush. Now, make a new layer above the forest, select both, and merge them together. This makes the layer style become the layer, and allows you to change the forest’s blending to darken, which will get rid of the somewhat bothersome white inbetween the trees. It is also suggested that you Ctrl+select the mountains’ thumbnails and delete the forests from those areas. This will make sure that the forests cover a small amount of the mountains without covering the most treacherous crags. Now you could select the forest area and on a new layer underneath that fill with black, set to overlay and 10% opacity, and nudge a bit so that you have a nice shadow for your forest (see step2.
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    Last edited by overlordchuck; 03-18-2009 at 06:55 AM.

  6. #6

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    Part 6

    Now that your terrain is good, you can label places on the map, use dots to denote cities, and even make roads by using a brush with settings like these (see step29 and step30).

    Now we begin to make things really spiffy. Pull out that parchment you downloaded, fit it to the size of you map, and set it on multiply. If you put everything in your map that you’ve worked on so far inside a group, you can select the outside of the parchment and use a layer mask on the group to mask out what is outside the paper.

    Other touch-ups include things like burnt edges, which would just be a new layer stroked inside the parchment selection with about 100 pixels, Gaussian blurred, and set on multiply. You could also add blood or ink splatters, play with levels, or whatever you can think of.

    I have attached what I ended up with by the end of my tutorial-writing. I hope I helped someone with this tutorial, even just one person.
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    Last edited by overlordchuck; 03-18-2009 at 06:58 AM.

  7. #7

    Post

    Wow. Thanks for the tutorial. Definitely like the look of this - I just nned to get photoshop to do this.

  8. #8
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Seems like a really well-done tutorial - nice job!
    Have to give it a whirl one of these days.

    @Historyhead - If you use GIMP much of this should be translatable.
    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.



  9. #9
    Guild Journeyer Vandy's Avatar
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    Tutorial Great Tutorial

    Hello, Chuck.

    You've provided a great tutorial. I am sure that many people are going to benefit from following it. Thaks for sharing it!


    TO ALL

    I have attached a PDF copy of the "Photoshop Mapping with Chuck" tutorial to this post for y'all's use. (Look at that! A Southern double contraction!)

    Enjoy.

    Regards,

    Gary

    Click image for larger version. 

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    In the end you will see, you is you and me is me.
    © May 29, 1980

  10. #10
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Thanks Vandy, was considering doing that myself.
    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.



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