[Award Winner] Quick-and-Dirty Buildings for a Town Map in PS
I wanted to have a map ready for a game last week, and hadn't drawn in the buildings (mostly because it sounded kind of grueling). Instead, I whipped up a quick process that ended up looking real nice.
The image series is attached, and I'll describe each step here. I worked at 2400 px by 3000 px.
1. Work out your geography and draw some roads on a separate layer. Plenty of better mappers than me have tutorials on doing that part, so I'll skip the details on it.
2. Select your roads layer (CTRL + Click the layer image. Invert your selection (CTRL + I). Contract your selection by about 20 px. Anywhere you've got a dotted line will be like a thread through the middle of your buildings, so deselect anywhere you don't want.
3. Convert your selection to a Path. In the Path window at the bottom-right, there's a button for it.
4. Now you'll need a building-shaped brush. I used a 40 px square brush with the following settings (all the Controls are set to "off" with one noted exception):
- Spacing: 200%
- Size Jitter: 50%
- Min. Size: 50%
- Angle Jitter: 1% (Control: Direction)
- Roundness Jitter: 25%
- Scatter: 100%
- Count Jitter: 100%
5. Select the roads layer again and expand the selection by 6 px, then Invert. Make a new layer, and stroke the path. I usually do two or three strokes, and you can experiment with using different brush shapes, sizes or settings.
6. Clean up any stray marks. You can leave it flat for a quick black-and-white map suitable for a game, or use some layer effects to prettify things.
7. As a final step, you can select your buildings layer and create more layers to add depth to the roofs. Just repeat the path-stroking step on new layers and change the layer effects. I added second stories and peaked roofs in the example.