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Thread: [Award Winner] Making Photo-realistic Trees in GIMP: A Mini-Tut

  1. #41
    Guild Member ProfGremlin's Avatar
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    Arsheesh, I just wanted to say thanks. Since your last response to my questions I've spent quite literally hours playing with your tutorial and I have finally! achieved results I'm almost happy with (yeah, we all know the artist always sees the flaws). My biggest stumbling block was one of scale. I'm working with a canvas 2400x3200 @ 300 dpi. At that scale I simply couldn't manage to scale the Clouds Noise filter in a manner that didn't result in a flat looking forest. I know you alluded that was possible but I haven't figured out how to do so yet. I finally gave up and started playing with the Felimage Noise filter. It took a long time experimenting with various settings (keep a text file of notes!) but I finally worked out the settings. With the basis finally in place I was able to apply your notes on individual trees and multiple color layers and found results that are almost respectable.

    [Award Winner] Making Photo-realistic Trees in GIMP: A Mini-Tut-furryforestexample.png

    Thank you for all your assistance and patience, Arsheesh. I'm truly grateful.

  2. #42
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    Hey now that is coming together quite nicely! I'm glad to here that you've got some forests that you are "almost happy with". Sounds like you've already put quite a bit of work into this, and if you are satisfied with the forests now, great (they look good to me), but I did want to at least let you know of a way around the scaling issue. In a recent map I was working with a canvas size of 5544x2250px @ 300dpi and, like you mentioned, the built in cloud filters just couldn't produce small enough cloud patterns to work with at that scale. The solution I found was to use a pre-made tiled difference clouds pattern (courtesy of Ravells), and then used RobA's wonderful "Scale Pattern" script to scale the pattern to the size I needed to render trees. If I recall, the clouds pattern was a little too light for my purposes, and I think I increased the contrast before using it (but I can't remember the details now).

    Anyway, if you are interested, here's a link to Rav's Difference Clouds Patterns (located about midway down the page), and here's a link to RobA's Scale Pattern script.

    Cheers,
    -Arsheesh

  3. #43
    Guild Member ProfGremlin's Avatar
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    Thanks for that, Arsheesh. I'll keep that in mind to experiment with. If you're interested in playing with it, here are the settings I used for the Felimage Noise filter -

    Seed - I just kept clicking New Seed until I found a pattern I liked.
    Width & Height set to 15 pixels
    Sparse Turbulence algorithm
    Ordinary fBm octave blending method
    Octaves - 5.0
    Lacunarity - 2.0
    Hurst Exponent - 0.50

    I found that if you load the Channel for your Forest Outline while setting options you can actually use the Preview function to get an idea of what the render will look like specifically inside your selected area. Clicking the New Seed button lets you preview new renders of your forest texture before you actually render it. Just make sure you Select > None before you Ok your settings on the filter.

    I used all the above in place of step 2 of the tutorial (Filter >Render > Clouds >Solid Noise)

  4. #44
      Master TMO is offline
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    This was PS rather than GIMP, but here's how I did this, in case someone finds it useful:
    [Award Winner] Making Photo-realistic Trees in GIMP: A Mini-Tut-forest-sample.jpg

    * Fill the whole layer in dark green
    * Create your rough selection of the forest borders
    * Set your layer mask equal to that selection
    * Run a large variety of distortion and other filters on the layer mask to roughen up the selection borders. Keep going until it's good and randomly rough. I'm afraid I don't remember exactly what filters I used to create this border. Glass was one of the main ones, iirc. I may have also used Torn Edges, which is another good one for this kind of thing.
    * Set the layer style to Color Overlay in the green of your choice and put it in Overlay mode
    * Add a Pattern Overlay effect, also in Overlay mode. Play with the Scale Effect and which pattern to apply until you find one you like.
    * I already had a layer of terrain shading I applied in Multiply mode, but if you don't, you can create a faux one using Clouds, then transform it smaller so that the groupings of trees don't seem as large and artificial.

    The advantage to doing it this way is that it's easy to start over if you don't like something. Just clear out the layer mask and any styles, and it's done.

    Nothing major here, but maybe someone will find it interesting.
    Last edited by Master TMO; 06-13-2011 at 12:57 AM.
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  5. #45
      arsheesh is offline
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    @ ProfGremlin, thanks for sharing this technique. I may play with it a bit myself.

    @ Master TMO, thank you as well for sharing your technique. The end result looks wonderful. GIMP doesn't have some of the filters you mentioned; neither does it come with layer styles. However, there is a plugin for GIMP that emulates some of the capacities of PS's layer styles. I am in the process of experimenting with other ways to make photo-realistic looking trees, and I'll definitely see if I can reproduce your method in GIMP.

    Cheers,
    -Arsheesh

  6. #46
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    The Color Overlay style can be ignored pretty easily, just by using the color you want in the first place. I used the color layer style just because it made it very easy to tweak slightly to get the best effect.

    Lessee.. without pattern overlay layer style, maybe multiple layers of clouds on multiply would work? I can play around and see if I can duplicate the end result without using styles if you like.
    My Finished Maps | My Planet Maps | My Challenge Entries | Album: Pre-generated Worlds

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    Assuming I stick with fantasy cartography, I'd like to become a World Builder, laying out not only a realistic topography, but also the geopolitical boundaries and at least rough descriptions of the countries and societies.

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  8. #48
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    Well, this isn't perfect, but I think it might be a good start and do better with some individualized tweaking.

    [Award Winner] Making Photo-realistic Trees in GIMP: A Mini-Tut-tree-style-sample.jpg

    * Create base tree layer, fill with the main green color you want to use.
    ** This sample just has a very simple outline to it - I suggest using a much more random outline for trying to replicate reality.
    * Add a layer called Noise1 with a white fill and set it to Multiply (I'm assuming GIMP can do both Multiply and Screen similarly to PS. If not you'll need to find a substitute)
    ** Add 40% Gaussian noise, color (not b/w) if that's an option
    * Add another layer called Noise2 with a black fill and set to Screen
    ** Add 25% Gaussian noise, color
    * Create a new document with dimensions 4x the size of the forest you are wanting to cover
    ** Fill with Clouds filter
    ** Copy the entire layer
    * Paste it onto a new layer in the original document, set the layer to Multiply
    ** Shrink it to 25%


    Some possible tweaks to improve the look to suit your preferences:
    * Add some Blur to the Noise layers to soften them
    * Add another Clouds layer in a lighter green in Screen mode to provide some highlights. Probably need to set the Opacity down low to keep it subtle.
    My Finished Maps | My Planet Maps | My Challenge Entries | Album: Pre-generated Worlds

    ------
    Assuming I stick with fantasy cartography, I'd like to become a World Builder, laying out not only a realistic topography, but also the geopolitical boundaries and at least rough descriptions of the countries and societies.

  9. #49
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    Here's a thread by ravells on breaking up forest edges: http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...-Gimp.&p=61676
    My Finished Maps | My Planet Maps | My Challenge Entries | Album: Pre-generated Worlds

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    Assuming I stick with fantasy cartography, I'd like to become a World Builder, laying out not only a realistic topography, but also the geopolitical boundaries and at least rough descriptions of the countries and societies.

  10. #50
      arsheesh is offline
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    Very nice, I appreciate you taking the time to share this MTMO, once I'm done with the other mini-tut I'm putting together I'll have to play with this a bit. I didn't recognize the names of some of the filters you mentioned, but I think I can figure out how to emulate something similar in GIMP. Who knows, if a better method emerges, perhaps I'll go ahead an re-write this tut; giving you due credit of course.

    Cheers,
    -Arsheesh

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