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Thread: Fun with Gradients - Putting rings around landmasses in antique maps

  1. #1
    Professional Artist Facebook Connected Coyotemax's Avatar
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    Post Fun with Gradients - Putting rings around landmasses in antique maps

    **Photoshop, should work with any version, and hopefuly this can translate to Gimp

    So, I've been thinking on this ever since I tried Ascension's tutorial, and read through the big discussion about how to get the rings around the land to look more hand and less straight-edgey-cornerish in the antique style maps. My solution was to use an out glow with a gradient, and hide the imperfections with a woodcut style layer over top. nice enough effect, i suppose, but the thing that's been bothering me for quite some time (from other projects I've been working on as well) was that i KNOW there is a way to get gradients to follow the shape of an object (or path, as it were). Typically, gradient fills go the entire shape, up/down, left/right, radial, diamond, etc - straight directions and that's it. But what if we want to have one follow the coastline?

    So i got to experimenting and stumbled upon a rather nifty ring effect using the Stroke layer effect, of all things - the result is like so:


    I set up a gradient with the following pattern:
    I set up the far left with 5% opacity at position 0%.
    Next is 0% opacity at position 5%
    Then 10% opacity at position 10%
    0% at 15, 20% at 20%
    and so on - you should start to see the pattern now. I found it easiest to set up all my 0% opacities at each 5% mark first, then add in the opacity markers afterwards. i also used the keyboard for typing the numbers in instead of eyeballing it Note I started at 5% and end with transparency right next to the coastline - if you end at 100% opaque you will lose the coastline detail. ( I breifly experimented with setting extra markers to sharply define the lines, but it wasn't a noticeable enough difference to make it worth the hassle)


    I used the following settings in the Stroke style editor itself: (note, shapeburst is our friend - and the key to this entire process.)



    You can also get some neat effects by switching position to inner, or even Center.

    I have this gradient set as black to black in the gradient editor, but you can of course modify the colours with the bottom set of sliders all you want, that can give some nice sepia or rainbow tones if you're not using another method of adjusting the colour..

    I find that the rings look best between 30 and 75 - too much smaller and it just looks like a greyscale stroke, much larger and it starts looking artificial again.

    You can also use the same technique with standard gradients to simply have the gradient follow the lines/shapes you are using, without the rings - this could make for some easy beaches around lakes
    Last edited by Coyotemax; 08-08-2009 at 03:19 AM. Reason: update program info

    My finished maps
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  2. #2
    Software Dev/Rep Redrobes's Avatar
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    Ahhh there's that shape burst again. I read a little about this after Waldronate said about it. Although what its doing is pretty easy to understand what it can do for you seems quite powerful once you think about it. Somebody asked how to I shade a bar so it looks 3D when the bar is curved and you can use shape burst to do it. Its very good at gradients along a curve so I can see immediately now how this works with a stripy gradient. Very cool and will rep if able.

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    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Neat stuff, thx for posting.

    I'd thrash you about the head and shoulders with my Cudgel of Repping, but the Reputation deity says I have to spread the love a bit more.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

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    Guild Artisan töff's Avatar
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    Ah, that's cool, I didn't know about that Shape Burst thing.

    I've tried to do similar effects with shadows & glows, but it's nowhere near as precise.

    Cool, thanks!

    PLUS ... in later versions of PS, you can turn a layer effect into its own layer ... then tweak it as an image. So you can, say coarse-dot pixellate that stroke.
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    Last edited by töff; 08-08-2009 at 12:17 PM.

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    Community Leader NeonKnight's Avatar
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    Cool....looks like I may just start playing with photoshop more.
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    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    One thing to keep in mind with using the Stroke layer style is that it knocks out other layer styles that may be applied over the top of it on the same layer - ie if you add an outer glow you won't see the outer glow...you'll have to make a new layer for the outer glow. Putting the stroke on the inside creates even more problems if you try to turn down the opacity...it just kills everything and creates a transparent ring. That being said, I use it all the time and just put other styles on other layers
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
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    very cool effect, thanks for sharing.
    -D

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    Professional Artist Facebook Connected Coyotemax's Avatar
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    Ascension: good point, I hadn't played with it enough to notice/remember that I like toffs solution though, setting it as it's own layer, that would certainly solve that issue.

    The other reason I wouldn't have noticed that issue is that for effects likie woodcuts and outer glows for the land, i tend to keep each effect on a separate layer. I know i can keep them on the same and just turn them on and off that way, but old habis die hard.

    My finished maps
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    Guild Journeyer altasilvapuer's Avatar
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    Another thing to note, though is that the shape burst gradient is a recent addition. Photoshop 7 (arguably the most common non-CS version) does not have it. I don't know about CS 1 or 2. I know 3 and 4 have it, though.

    I'm still trying to get my hands on a copy of CS3, personally. Still no luck.

    -asp

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