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Thread: I could use a little advice.

  1. #1

    Wip I could use a little advice.

    Well, I guess this is the first time I've posted. Hello everyone!

    I've never actually finished a map before, mostly due to reformats. I started this one recently and it seems to be going well so I'm hoping to finish it someday.

    I realize that my map is extraordinarily amateurish stylistically in comparison to most of what's on here, but hey, whatever.

    It's very basic at the moment and I'm just wondering if I could get some pointers before I go and do the whole thing wrong. ;D

    I should probably mention I'm using Photoshop CS2. I have two main quandaries, both to do with the forest pattern I've made (the forests on top I forgot to feather, so I'm going to replace those shortly as well as some other general finangling, mostly with rivers).

    Firstly, when filling in large swathes I get a sort of grid appearance as you can see in the image in the bottom right. I tried redoing the pattern but the grid still seems to show up and I'm really not sure how to get rid of it.

    Secondly, something about the forest pattern I made just doesn't seem to look right, does anyone have any suggestions for improving it? I tried looking through some tutorials but they all seemed to be more of the realistic satellite type, or just not anywhere close to what I was going for.

    I'd also just like some general feedback on the map (even though I know there isn't much right now). Specifically, I'm wondering if people think I should do the mountains in a brown, or leave them the base green.

    I'll update this thread as I go along if anyone seems interested. Thank you for looking at my thread.

    Edit: Oh, I also have a tablet in case any advice would centre around that.

    Extra Edit: I should also mention that this is going to be a reference map for a tabletop campaign of mine.

    Triple Edit: Maybe this should have been in regional/world mapping? I am not sure. A mod may move it if that would be more suitable.
    Last edited by TheMeanestGuest; 05-02-2009 at 07:40 PM.

  2. #2


    Hi meanest...(like the nick). Have a go with the tutorial in the link in my sig and see if that helps. If you are after a more graphic (less sattelite) look then don't use the realistic textures mentioned. For the handdrawn mountains there are good tutorials in the tutorial section as to how to make these.

    It's not difficult to make good texture based maps, but (IMO) it is harder to make good graphic handdrawn maps altough with both I think it's more a question of procedure and technique than talent or artist ability, but most of all practice and play.

    Also check out the 'quickstart' sticky in the tutorial section which should set you on your way. If you've got a tablet you're already well ahead of the game in the potential to produce great looking maps!

  3. #3
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    As to the forest, it looks like the edges haven't been given enough love in order to stop the repeating so go back and try to squeeze in an extra tree along the edges. The pattern is technically seamless in that the trees all connect but there it too much white-space along the edges and that makes the repeat noticeable, extra trees or lines will kill some white-space and help out. Another option would be to cut that white space down so that you don't have to have fat trees along the edges that create the white-space. For example if the base image of the pattern is 100 pixels cut it down to like 97 and then re-align the trees along the edges and then reset it as a pattern.

    Mountains look pretty good to me but maybe some more wiggliness to the edge-lines will make them less rigid and more up and down flowing - also some wiggliness in the hatching too.

    All in all, not too shabby so keep pluggin away at it. Making patterns that tile seamlessly is probably one of the hardest things to do by hand and the fact that you're even attempting is a sign of good things. Once you do get it right, make sure you post a copy of it here so that we can all download it instead of doing our own We'd be really grateful and send you fruit baskets...they make a lovely gift.
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  4. #4
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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  5. #5


    When making patterns, I find it is helpful to use the Offset filter. Filter > Other > Offset…

    Set Undefined Areas to Wrap Around. Your pattern will be rearranged so that what had been the edge is now in the middle, allowing you to easily touch up that line.

    The pattern itself doesn't look too bad, I think. You could use some irregularity in the edges, though. They're too smooth, even in comparison to your coastline, which is also pretty smooth. You might look for one of the creating random coastlines tutorials—most of them are for the Gimp, but there are Photoshop adaptations.

    Finally, have you seen the Zombie Nirvana tutorials on YouTube? They're the best place to start for Photoshop mapping, in my opinion.
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  6. #6
    Community Leader NeonKnight's Avatar
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  7. #7


    Hey everyone, thanks for the replies.

    I looked at your tutorial, Ravells, but I couldn't really find any textures that I wanted to use. It was also kind of complicated and a lot of it went way over my head. However, I think I will use your forest tutorial as I have read that over and it seems to be something I am capable of doing.

    I also read your antique maps tutorial, Ascension and I might attempt to incorporate some of that style into my map. I've currently started rethinking my setting involuntarily again, so it may be a week or two before I post an update. I think I'll be keeping my mountains though since they're about the only thing I'm mildly content with.
    Last edited by TheMeanestGuest; 05-03-2009 at 09:45 PM.

  8. #8

  9. #9
    Guild Expert Ramah's Avatar
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    Hey there.

    When I was looking into using a multi-tree brush on my map, I found one good way to do it was to stagger the edges of the brush. I'll try to post an example up when I get some time in a while but basically, you make your new image, fill it with your tree brushes but at the edges alternate between a tree and a tree-sized gap. That way, when you lay out your forests you just lay the pieces like a jigsaw. It's obviously not as fast as filling a selection with a seamless pattern but it does allow for a little more variation to fool the eye by placing the pieces staggered and maybe leaving some little clearings. Then just go around the edge of the forest and place some individual trees to mask the fact it is done in squares and voila, a nice forest.

    No need for feathering to try and mask that it is a pattern and chop trees in half in the process.


    Ok, I very quickly added some examples. They aren't perfect but I didn't spend very long on them at all. With a little more care and attention then better results can be achieved.

    The first image is a quick brush I whipped up from about half a dozen smaller brushes. I added a little shading in between which looks very rough but at smaller sizes the roughness disappears anyway.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I then sketched out a very, very quick forest with this brush. It took me about 10 seconds or so. The brush isn't perfect so there is overlapping in places but that can be fixed with more care spent over the original brush and with placement. I also added some single trees around the edge with one of the brushes I used to make the main forest brush.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    As you can see, it can look very effective with minimal effort. At least I think so. Certainly you have more control than over a seamless pattern.
    Last edited by Ramah; 05-07-2009 at 05:55 AM.
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  10. #10


    Wow Ramah, that is very cool indeed! Have some rep (if it will let me) and I'm definitely going to use this technique! thanks for sharing it, it's a little gem.

    Would you mind cross posting your tip in tutorials section so it doesn't get lost?

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