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Thread: [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop

  1. #1
      ravells is offline
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    Post [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop

    This tutorial works best with the Alienskin Xenoflex 'little fluffy clouds' filter which I use all the time over photoshop's 'render clouds' filter which is very basic. Considering how much the clouds filter is used, I've always been amazed that Adobe haven't upgraded their clouds filter. The Xenoflex clouds filter allows you to:

    1. Adjust the cloud size
    2. Seamlessly tile clouds
    3. Adjust the hardness of the cloud edges.
    4 Adjust the amount of cloud coverage
    5. Adjust the type of fractal cloud you want (fluffy, wispy or puffy)
    6. Adjust perspective and height of the clouds
    7. Adjust the background colour (including transparency).

    (I don't work for Alien Skin, but their filters are just superb).

    As you can see, it knocks the native photoshop cloud filter into a cocked hat. If you don't have the filter don't worry, I have attached a few seamlessly tiling alienskin cloud filter results in this tutorial. Save it as a pattern fill and you should still get good results.

    This tutorial works in conjunction with my editable photoshop map tutorial (see link in my sig) You will also need the 'jiggle' filter which is now a free download (see my editably map tutorial for the link).

    Let's get started in the next post. But for now this is the final result with the mountains against a simple background and against a complex background.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-final-result.jpg   [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-textures.jpg  

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      ravells is offline
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    1. This is the map with the basic background.
    2. Use the lasoo tool to define where you want the mountains to generally be and fill with white. As with the 'Editable map' tutorial, feel free to overlap coastlines if you want the mountains to abut them. You will delete the overlaps later so the water shows thorough. You can be quite rough and ready with your mountain shape as you can refine it later.
    3. Use the jiggle filter (free download) to break up the mountain shape. Alternatively use the 'ripple' filter in photoshop.
    4. clean up the edges by using a white pencil at 100% opacity and an eraser at 100% opacity. Don't worry about cleaning up the coastlines, just get rid of and fill in white bits at the edges of the map.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-1-basic-background.jpg   [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-lassoo-fill.jpg   [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-jiggle-applied.jpg   [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-clean-edges-4.jpg  

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      ravells is offline
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    5. On your landmass layer select the sea using the magic wand (make sure the contiguous box is unchecked) and then make your mountains layer active and hit delete to get rid of your mountains overlaying the water layer.

    6 & 7. Select the white and use the Xenoflex filter to put in some clouds. Here are the settings I used. If you don't have the Xenoflex filter, use the seamless textures I have added at the end of this tutorial and use an appropriately sized one as a pattern fill.

    8. Create a new layer mask. With the layer mask selected in the layers tab select Image>apply>[name of your mountain layer] (your mountain layer should be selected by default). This makes the black parts of your fill transparent.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-delete-sea-layer.jpg   [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-cloud-filter-5.jpg   [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-clouds-again.jpg   [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-layermask-8.jpg  

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      ravells is offline
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    9. There will be some hard edges on your mountains. Get rid of them now by selecting outside the mountain area using the magic wand, then selec>feather>x pixels (x is a number try 10 to start if it doesn't feather enough then use a higher number, if it feathers too much use a lower one). After the selection hit delete. You may need to undo if the feather is not quite right. Alternatively, just use a soft eraser around the edges of the mountains. Then select filter>render> lighting effects and use the settings shown or experiment.

    10. Set the layer blend mode to overlay as shown in the next image.

    11. In layerstyles, use the bevel and emboss on the settings shown or similar.

    Experiment with different layerstyles with colour fills etc. particularly experiment with different blend modes. I found overlay to be the best one. Use textures in layerstyles if it takes your fancy.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-lighting-effects-9.jpg   [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-overlay-11.jpg   [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-bevel-emboss.jpg  

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      ravells is offline
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    Here are some tiling mountain fill filters from Xenoflex at different scales to try. If you can find a free filter which produces the same results PLEASE post the link here.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-mountains.jpg   [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-mountains1.jpg   [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-mountains2.jpg   [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-mountains3-copy.jpg  

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      ravells is offline
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    Here is a version of the mountains against a more complex background.

    You can use black and white brushes on the layer mask to erase or add mountains.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails [Award Winner] Create long distance mountains in Photoshop-textures.jpg  

  7. #7
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Neat stuff Ravs, very mountain-y

    ...I did something a bit similar a couple of months ago, but never really took it much beyond the starting point.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.



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      ravells is offline
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    Cheers, I was fiddling about with it tonight and thought I would make a tutorial so I wouldn't forget the method! I'm always doing that, I get a great effect by fiddling and then forget how I did it.

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      Ascension is offline
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    Good stuff, bro.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


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      ravells is offline
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    Cheers, but it's not me...it's that magic filter. Look at it...it's got 'mountain' written all over it.

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