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Thread: A new mini-tut on sat-style mountains

  1. #1
      Ascension is offline
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    Post A new mini-tut on sat-style mountains

    I spent the day working on experiments for a commission job (even though this isn't the style that he wants I like to play around) and stumbled upon a new variation on my usual technique for mountains. I'll post up the steps tomorrow 'cuz it's kind of late and I'm going to relax before going to bed but I wanted to put up a teaser pic to see if it's worth doing or if I should dump the thread. I thought it was pretty cool but I'm a mad scientist like that sometimes The edges come out pretty good but big chunks in the middle are still dicey.

    ~A~
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A new mini-tut on sat-style mountains-screenie.jpg  
    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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      Vorhees is offline
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    nice work i love the colors of the mountains, the randomness of the mountain range is sweet to

    repped mate , i would love to see the Tut too

    p.s will rep soon it seems i have to spread the love

  3. #3
      Ascension is offline
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    Well let's get started. First, you need to have your continent set up. Here is mine in screen 1.

    1. Create a new layer then grab the 100 pixel soft round airbrush and make white the foreground color.

    2. Draw in where you want your mountains. Try to put your lines next to one another to represent the "folding of the land" phenomenon. screen 2.

    3. On the layer stack hold down the ctrl key and click on the little icon at the bottom for "create a new layer". This will create a new layer but with the ctrl key being held down the new layer will go below the current layer instead of the default above. Fill this layer with black.

    4. Click back on the layer with the white lines. Duplicate this layer and hide the original lines layer below this new layer.

    5. Filter - Blur - Gaussian Blur = 5 pixels. On the layer stack, ctrl + click on this current layer then Select - Inverse (in CS4 ctrl + click on the little thumbnail). Hit the delete key two times then deselect. What this does is to make this set of white lines a little bit thinner. You can go lower on the blur but you will end up with a lot of layers and that will mess up the clouds that we do later as there will be far too many of them. You can go higher on the blur but then you'll end up with too few layers and therefore too few clouds. No blur at all and by the end you'll end up with white dots that won't go away.

    6. Duplicate this layer and hide the layer beneath it like last time and repeat the steps. Keep repeating these steps until you run out of white lines and are left with nothing. You should end up with six or seven layers of white lines.

    7. Click back on the black layer and Filter - Render - Clouds.

    8. Filter - Render - Difference Clouds.

    9. Repeat step eight.

    10. Click on the lowest layer of white lines then set the opacity of the layer to 75%. Hit ctrl + E to merge down. Do two more difference clouds by hitting ctrl + F two times. The important thing here is how the difference clouds interact with the edges of the white lines...you should immediately notice a line running around the edge.

    11. Repeat step ten until all of your white lines layers have been merged into the difference clouds. This is pretty easy because all you're doing is hitting ctrl + E, then ctrl + F two times and repeating. You should have something similar to screen 3.

    12. Now the tricky part, Filter - Render - Lighting Effects. Use the settings in screen 4.

    13. What you get is something like screen 5.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A new mini-tut on sat-style mountains-screen-1.jpg   A new mini-tut on sat-style mountains-screen-2.jpg   A new mini-tut on sat-style mountains-screen-3.jpg   A new mini-tut on sat-style mountains-screen-4.jpg   A new mini-tut on sat-style mountains-screen-5.jpg  

    Last edited by Ascension; 12-27-2009 at 10:58 AM.
    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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      Ascension is offline
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    14. Select - Color Range = black with a fuzziness of 200. Hit the delete key two times then deselect.

    15. If your mountains didn't come out where you wanted them (because of too many layers of white lines requiring more and more difference clouds) then there's an easy fix. Click on the Lasso Tool and at the top of the screen set the feather to 50 px. Drag a loop around a chunk of mountain and drag it to where you want it then deselect.

    16. If you have your document set up with a base layer (basically the land shape), like in my previous tuts, then you can get rid of mountains over the ocean quite easily. For a quick refresher here's how: on the layer stack ctrl + click on the base layer, Select - Inverse, hit the delete key then deselect.

    17. Now grab the Eraser Tool and set it as the 100 pixel soft round airbrush tip. Erase any unwanted mountains. Here's what I have in screen 6.

    18. Let's bring the mountains to life with some layer styles. First is an Inner Glow of a dark brown (hex code 402707 - rgb 64, 39, 7) set to multiply at 100% and a size of 10. Next is a Color Overlay of a medium brown (hex code 5A461E - rgb 90, 70, 30) set to soft light at 100% opacity. Finally is a Bevel and Emboss of Inner Bevel - leave the defaults as is but change the technique to Chisel Soft and set the size at 10. Lastly, duplicate this layer to magnify the effects. Here's what I have in screen 7.

    19. Now it looks a bit fake and plastic so remove the bevel and the inner glow. Duplicate this layer and ctrl + click on it in the layer stack to load a selection. Select - Inverse. Hit the delete key ten times then deselect...this leaves white peaks as in screen 8.

    20. Going through my usual satellite style here's the finished product in screen 9, which I messed around with for about an hour and a half.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A new mini-tut on sat-style mountains-screen-6.jpg   A new mini-tut on sat-style mountains-screen-7.jpg   A new mini-tut on sat-style mountains-screen-8.jpg   A new mini-tut on sat-style mountains-screen-9.jpg  
    Last edited by Ascension; 12-27-2009 at 12:21 PM.
    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)


    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

  5. #5
      moutarde is offline
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    Those look great - I'm gonna have to remember this tut for after I finish my current map

  6. #6
      euio is offline
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    Those are the best mountains I've ever seen. And they actually fit a continental scale!


    EDIT: The snow line needs to move downwards as mountains move northward. Where the flatlands are covered in snow, mountains should be as well.
    Last edited by euio; 12-27-2009 at 07:50 PM.
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      Ascension is offline
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    That's a color tweak that you can paint on later...I did not for my final pic. On a new layer just paint some low-opacity white on the whole northern cold climate. Or if you're in the southern hemisphere then it would be reversed. If you then set the blend to Hue or Color then it turns the area into a grayscale.
    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)


    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

  8. #8
      Redrobes is offline
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    Its a great tut & good technique and color but I dont think the mountain texture looks like mountains. I was wondering what it would look like if you grabbed the texture for mountains from some real ones like in Pakistan or another big range. A USGS heightmap or shaded relief or something.

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      waldronate is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redrobes View Post
    Its a great tut & good technique and color but I dont think the mountain texture looks like mountains. I was wondering what it would look like if you grabbed the texture for mountains from some real ones like in Pakistan or another big range. A USGS heightmap or shaded relief or something.
    The issue is that mountain ranges tend to have a texture that's related to their direction. It's because most mountains are folded or uplifted in such a way that cracks form along the length of the block. This technique uses an isotropic noise and modulating it by the mountain chain locations doesn't affect that. Using overlays from real mountains would have a similar issue, perhaps worse unless they were carefully chosen and manipulated for direction and scale. (Note that some familiar mountain blocks such as the Sierra Nevada in California and the Himalayas along the India front are more uplifted block of uniform rock than and show a fairly simple dendritic pattern etched on the block. Most of the really long chains do show the type of features I'm talking about, however.)

    For an artistic interpretation of continental-scale mountains (that is, for a map) this is an excellent process. For a geologically-oriented one it's not quite there. I would not expect it to be geologically accurate as that is not its purpose.

  10. #10
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    I like it - I think it gives your 'satellite style' maps, a little extra "oomph".

    This gives me some ideas to try with some things I've been playing around with.
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