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Thread: Battlemaps in Photoshop

  1. #11
      wdmartin is offline
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    Good stuff.

    Here's a technique I worked out recently for adding leaf litter to an area. All of the textures used here came from CG Textures. I'm on Photoshop CS6, but I think all of this will work in CS5.

    Suppose you have a nice little outdoor area, like this random pedestal in a field:

    Battlemaps in Photoshop-step1.jpg

    As you can see, it's got some mud and grass layers, basically the same as in madcowchef's tutorial. I made the stone pedestal in a separate file, also using madcowchef's techniques, and pasted it in as a layer by itself.

    Now we want to add leaf litter. Because dead leaves can be blown by the wind over everything here, the leaf layer needs to be above the pedestal. Here it is, using a dead-leaves texture from CG Textures:

    Battlemaps in Photoshop-step2.jpg

    Of course, it obscures everything below it. To fix that, change the blending mode of the leaf layer to "Lighter color". Like this:

    Battlemaps in Photoshop-step3.jpg

    This makes Photoshop compare the colors of each pixel in the leaf layer with the one directly beneath it. If the leaf color is lighter, then it's visible. If the leaf color is darker, then it vanishes. The end result is that only the brightest leaves are actually visible.

    If that's all you need, you could stop there. But if you want a little more control over where the leaves go, hide the leaf layer with a layer mask, then selectively reveal the spots where you want leaves.

    You could just use a round brush for this, but that tends to make it look odd. Here's an example:

    Battlemaps in Photoshop-step4.jpg

    If the brush is soft, the edges of the leaves blur into the grass too much. If it's hard, you wind up with leaves cut off. And either way, you tend to wind up with circles of leaves.

    To correct that, let's use some brush dynamics. I use two things. First, in the brush palette, turn on Shape Dynamics. Here's a screenshot.

    Battlemaps in Photoshop-step5.jpg

    The minimum roundness has been set to 31%, and the roundness jitter turned all the way up to 100%. That should help avoid overly-obvious circular curves.

    Second, let's turn on scattering:

    Battlemaps in Photoshop-step6.jpg

    That has some pretty aggressive scattering -- 248% on both axes, a count of 2, and a count jitter of 86% (making it likely that you'll get more than one ovoid often through a swipe).

    Now we can scatter leaves across the area. Thus:

    Battlemaps in Photoshop-step7.jpg

    Due to prevailing winds, the leaves have fetched up on the left side of the pedestal with a clear area to the right. There are a few spots where the leaves don't look right -- either partially cut off, or overlapping something they shouldn't, such as the edge of a stair. I'll fix those up with a standard brush.

    Battlemaps in Photoshop-step8.jpg

    You can go as far as adding or removing individual leaves, if you like. If the pattern becomes too obvious, you can also add a second leaf layer rotated widdershins, as with madcowchef's grass.

    Hope this is useful to someone.
    madcowchef, Kennyt and Meshon like this.

  2. #12
    Guild Artisan Jacktannery's Avatar
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    Great tutorial Madcow. And that's a really good leaf trick WdMartin.

  3. #13
      madcowchef is offline
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    That's a great one one Wdmartin, good use of blend modes. I'd like to use that one with some trees in bloom for a spray of flower petals on the ground for one of those idyllic ruin maps, the kind that invariably include a overgrown fountain.

  4. #14
      ajb47 is offline
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    Here's my first attempt at following your tutorial, though without the stream. I probably could have used more opacity in a couple of places, especially my cliffs.

    Battlemaps in Photoshop-battlemaptut01obj.jpg

    I do have a question about the tutorial -- on the fancier damage layer mask step, you seem to be saying to add a layer mask to the clipping mask and I couldn't find the option for that. I tried a "Hide All" and it put a black mask on the damage (the part with the Difference Clouds), but what I tried after that didn't seem to match what you had written, and I liked the damage the way it was, so I got rid of the mask. I'm sure it's just my lack of familiarity with PS that tripped me up.

    As for interiors, I was talking about dungeons and buildings and caves where creatures live that the PCs are supposed to encounter.

    Thanks,

    AJ

  5. #15
      madcowchef is offline
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    Your walls look great. I did use a layer mask on the damage layer so only part of the walls got the extra roughness, this implies that the others are relatively flat on top, if not in the best of shape (the rest of the texture to them comes from the texture effect we put on the bevel for the stone work layer). If that isn't how you picture the tops or your walls, then there is no need for the layer mask, you can put the damage over all visible surfaces (you could also do this by turning up the depth on the texture effect of your bevel). Here's where I applied the damage in false color to make it more obvious:
    Battlemaps in Photoshop-tuth.jpg
    Its always better to play with settings and learn what they do, no two textures are the same so opacity effects and other factors always change appearance, I'm just hoping to get you familiar with some of what you can do to make your battle maps more fun.

    What part was unfollowable? I am highly fallible in my writing and very interested in improving it so others can hope to follow my ramblings.

  6. #16
      ajb47 is offline
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    It wasn't "unfollowable", it was more I didn't see the choice you suggested in the menu -- actually it was grayed out. It was these steps:
    "-now put a layer mask on your “damage” layer and hide the whole thing.
    -Select the layer mask for your damage layer
    -make your selected color white
    -Using your funky brush you can now draw in additional damage wherever you messed up the walls extra. its like magic or something!
    -finally to help define the edges of the broken stone we’ll add a layer effect like so:
    "
    When I was on my damage layer, there was no option that flat out said "Add Layer Mask" -- my choices were Reveal All, Hide All, etc. I chose Hide All and it created a filled black layer mask, but when using my funky brush, it seemed to just draw a shadow under the walls rather than damage on the walls. Or maybe I just drew on the wrong layer or some other newbie mistake. I thought it looked OK without that extra step in this case, though, so I deleted the mask and went to the next step.

    Now I want to try to adapt this to creating a beach scene since one of the games I am running by post has the players trapped on a deserted tropical island. I'm thinking a sand instead of dirt layer and a longer grass texture for the grass layer, and a more tropical looking tree texture for trees.

  7. #17
      madcowchef is offline
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    Hmm I usually do it with the button on the bottom of the layer tab, I see now that its greyed out if you do it from the top menu. Hide all does the same thing though. I shall go back and correct that to make it more clear. Thanks!

  8. #18
      Kennyt is offline
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    Great tutorial! Something that MANY could learn from! :-) I'd like to get around to making one as well - for the ghetto GIMP users out there :-D

  9. #19
      madcowchef is offline
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    Would be nicer to have a GIMP tutorial its free. I'm not sure I can afford the newest PS stuff myself. I'm sure at least half of what I did in this one is gimpable, I just don't know which half. I have one more on fancy lighting, but I need to get it worded as close to sensical as I can manage.

  10. #20
    Guild Artisan Jacktannery's Avatar
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    I could probably translate this tutorial from photoshop to gimp for you relatively easily - it all looks doable on gimp to me. I'll take a look over weekend - if I forget bump this thread or PM me.

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