Long ago while experimenting I came upon a technique for forests that I really liked. Again, a while back I had a few request for a how-to-do on this but real life kept me from doing anything map related. I've been looking to get back into cartography and have had to essentially relearn everything so I thought this would be a good chance to re-familiarise myself with how to make these forests and share it with you guys.
Unfortunately, I'm using a new form of PS I am unused to and in the transfer from my old laptop almost all of my patterns and brushes were lost. For this particular tut I have lost the pattern file I used but I essentially just took a pic of ivy leaves (Pic 1) and turned it into a PS pattern.
Step 1, Base) After getting your land to look how you want create a new layer named Forest Lower. Again, the brush I normally use has been lost but simply playing around with the scatter and size jitter in the brush screen any standard hard round brush will create the scatter you need. Paint out where you want your forest to go in green, for this I used colour #396312. (Pic 2)
Step 2, Colour) Right click the layer and go to layer styles, also accessible from the layer menu from the top. Go to pattern overlay and find your ivy, for this I adjusted it to scale 50 and the blend style to Lighter Colour. Secondly, go to colour overlay and select the colour #5a7846, set it to 75% opacity and the blend option to multiply. Thirdly add a stroke of pure black, opacity 55% size 1. (Pic 3)
Step 3, Depth) Still on the layer style screen go to bevel and emboss and adjust to the following. Inner Bevel, Chisel Soft, Depth 100%, Size 10, Soften 2, Highlight mode screen 25% (pure white, though light/pale green also works) and Shadow Mode multiply 75% (pure black). For sake of lighting all my light comes from the bottom right. Go to texture and find your ivy again, set depth and scale to +50%. Add a drop shadow. Pure black, size and distance 5, multiply 75%. Add an inner shadow, same as drop shadow but multiply 45%. (Pic 4)
Step 4, More Depth 1) This next part is totally optional, I added it because I thought my forest looked a little flat. Create a new layer called Forest Upper and place it above Forest Lower. Using the same colour and brush from step 1 add some small clumps of dots to over your forest (Pic 5)
Step 5, More Depth 2) Copy the layer style of Lower Forest and add it to the Upper Forest, remove the stroke from upper forest (Pic 6). Voila, that is how I do my forest.
As I found this through experimentation and since it may not suit your map I encourage anyone trying it to experiment with it and maybe find a style or setting more suited to them, I though I might just share my way. Happy mapping.
People come and people go. I walk amongst them, I see their faces; but none see mine. I pass them in the streets but nary a glance is spared my way, for what interest would they have in a Wanderer? Not of this world... Forever Alone... Forever Wandering... LoneWandererD...
RIP Angel "Ingy" Yates - The first inspiration that guided me towards art. You will be missed...
*Most of my Maps can be seen in full resolution on my blog*
*I've made some of my maps into full adventures available for download at DriveThruRPG.com*
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