My Photoshop tools
I have attached some of the tools I use to make my pseudo-realistic maps...
All you need in Photoshop is (in z-order from top to bottom)
Mountain layer: apply the layer style, then use the Mountains Dual brush (adjust size using [ and ] ) and paint mountains in. Adjust the layer style -> Bevel/Emboss size & Bevel/Emboss -> Contour scale, so it suits the scale of your map. Smaller mountains can be added using the Single brush... For small hills, reduce the opacity of the brush.
Vegetation layer: use the Grass 2-colour brush, remembering it uses both foreground and background colours. Apply the vegetation layer style.
Land-base layer: filled only where there is land. So land=fill, water=transparent. All you need to do here is apply the layer style.
Ocean layer: just fill it with a deep blue, slightly more on the green side than purple, and not too saturated. Paint over it with the "Waves" brush preset. Now select the "Shallows" brush preset, adjust the size as required, and paint roughly around the coast.
I make additional layers for ice, aridity (lack of precipitation/desert), marshland/swamp. My ice layer includes a massive gradient that reduces the saturation of latitudes close to the pole.
For vegetation colours, choose vibrant greens for tropical areas, yellowish greens for temperate areas, and bluish green for alpine/tundra areas. Learn about biomes, climates and rainfall.
Oh, and a nice little idea... even though the mountains don't look super realistic, in terms of rainwater runoff, you could still find the paths of rivers around the terrain that the random brush gives you...
I recommend coupling the methods above with RobA's random coastlines method.
Finally, remember that you can Ctrl+Click the landbase layer and continue editing other layers (eg vegetation, mountains), and never have to worry about going outside the boundaries.
Thanks for the great tools! Have some rep!
This is great, just great--and very generous of you! (Have some rep from me too)
Would you mind posting a quicki here to show what could be done with these attachments? Thanks again!
I, uh, can't figure out where to put these so that PS can find them. I put them with some like files (same extentions), but PS doesn't seem to see 'em. Also, I have no idea how to apply a layer style... Is this the thing where you double-click on the later to bring up the style menu and it's the top selection on the left? Thanks in advance. Such a noob question. ;)
You load (new) layer styles by clicking on the small "arrow" on the style palette and choosing "Load". See image below.
Originally Posted by OneSeventeen
To add a layer style you just select the layer (on the layer palette) and then click on the style you want to apply. You can remove the style either by
1. clicking on the default style icon on the style palette
2. click and drag the the effect to the trash can on the layer palette
Great tools and have some more rep!
Another forumer's implementation of this tool, as an example of what it can do with only a small amount of tweaking (mostly to make the roughness/smoothness appear suitable for the scale, I assume).