IX. Fields & Finishing
First, I decided last-minute to add farm fields. I created a new layer called "fields" just below the "elevations" layer, set its blending mode to "overlay," and filled it entirely with a dirt-brown color. Then I ran Filter->Texture->Texturizer on it, set to canvas with high scaling (125%) and low relief (10). Then place a layer mask on it and fill with black so all the "fields" disappear.
Then use a white color to paint in fields where you want them. To finish them off, blur the mask a bit (make sure the mask is highlighted in the layers display, not the brown!), and play with Image->Adjustments settings such as brightness/contrast, levels, and color balance. If you wish, you can also blur the fields themselves, plus use stippling brushes to enter tiny little rows of crops, etc. Opacity of the layer could be adjusted too, to blend with the rest of the landscape a bit.
Next choose a font and label your locations. When you're done, ctrl-click them all and Layer->Merge Down. Then place a layer style of drop shadow, making settings fit your tatses. I also placed a very slight guassian blur (3 px.) to soften the hard edges.
If you wish, you can also increase the canvas size (Edit->Canvas Size) and frame the map by creating and filling a new layer as the lowermost of the stack.
If you plan to print this map, size really will not matter: you'll print it to the largest size you can manage. If working in a digital environment only, think about how closely you'd ideally want the viewer to zoom. This style of map is not intended to be looked at through a microscope, thus I scaled my image down to 900px square; this way 100% zoom is the perfect, closest distance I'd like someone's eye to get a clear shot.
For all intents & purposes this is a finished, usable, "realistic" map! [see image, below] In the next post, though, I'll give some other ideas for post-production filters and fun tweaks to transform "Koppollex" into a more "artistic" map.
Forgive me, but what font did you use to label your map? It looks great!
X. Filter Fun
Now, the above style is perfect for a finished map, but I myself prefer to utilize the power of Photoshop's many filters to create a somewhat more "artistic" appearance. With filters the sky is the limit as to which look you choose for your finished map.
Before filtering do the following:
1. Group all your text (if in more than one layer) by ctrl-clicking them all, then clicking the "create a new group" folder in the layers window
2. In the same way also group the entire map ASIDE FROM your matte/frame. I named my new group "map elements".
3. Drag the group containing your map elements to the "create a new layer" button, which creates a new group. Then Layer->Merge Group. I renamed mine "map". This layer will serve as your copy-able map upon which you can run multiple filters; you will not change this layer.
4. Copy the new "map" layer and rename it "filtered map". This layer will be the actual layer you will filter.
5. Hide both "map elements" and "map", and lock all layers other than "filtered map".
[see image, below, for how your layers window should end up.]
The first is one of my favorites: poster edges. The layers are, from top to bottom:
1. Dry brush--very smudgy, set to 30% opacity
2. Poster edges, set darker/thicker. This was then Gaussian blurred up, & set to 30% opacity
3. Poster edges, thin & clean
The next is basically the same, but using the watercolor filter. This one is too smudgy to be used as a detailed location map, perhaps, but I think it has a pleasing appearance.
1. Watercolored with medium shadows & high detail, then blurred slightly. Layer set to "lighten" & 50% opacity
2. Watercolored with 0 shadow & high detail. Blurred only about 3 px.
These are two of a million varieties, my friends. You could even go back and filter individual elements or combinations of the original elements, such as I did with the third map. For that one I chose the basic roads, homes, elevation, river, rocks, & trees, copied them onto one layer set to "multiply", then Filter->sharpen->sharpen edges about 5 times. Then I ran the cutout filter. For the background I changed my black frame to brown & ran the texturizer filter as canvas. I also messed with opacity and doubled up a couple filters, but you get the idea.
There you are! I hope you found this tutorial at least mildly useful! Take care.
The font I used is called Aniron. It's Lord of the Rings-type font available here: http://www.thehutt.de/tolkien/fonts.html
I love the fellowship font. Great find, Don!
I so appreciate you tying this back to a free random generator. Photoshop ability tied to Gaming Foresight!
Thanks a lot.
Welcome to the Guild Sigurd! Always a pleasure to meet new folks and get feedback. Please feel free to hang out and look around, and post comments and questions. You'll find that we are a very friendly bunch and really want to help each other the best we can.
Originally Posted by Sigurd
Hey thanks, Sigurd! While that free generator is by no means awesome, I've really found it 1) saves me time on some grunt work, and 2) creates patterns that spark my creativity!
Welcome to the Guild, BTW--make sure to post a "hi" in the Member Introduction area! Thanks for your comment, too.
Very informative tutorial indeed, Kudo's to pyrandon and such a thorough step-by-step walk through. When I grow up, I wanna be just like you :)
Hahaha--careful what you wish for! ;)