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Playing God, the cartographers way.

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This tutorial is available as a PDF. Click here to view or download it


OK, so this is my first tutorial, and i'm hoping to get everything right, so do criticize in a positive way;It makes us all better. Ever wanted to make a map, but you know not just completely random (already a tutorial for that here )? Well now you can! So how does one go about making one, well first you need yourself some plug-ins. like...

-Mexican Hat Edge Detect

-MultiView Warp


Now you can get started!

1. Open up PDN, any size will do, depending on how big you want your map.

2. Fill the canvas with black, then take a white paintbrush of about 7 and draw some continents, and fill those with white.


3. Gaussian Blur that layer at 30-50, the more blur, the more different your coast line will be from the outline.


4. Turn the visibility off and make a new layer below your blurred continent layer, now render clouds with a small size and keep everything else the same, again smaller size equals more random, so size is up to you.


5. Next while still on the cloud layer, go to adjustments levels and slide the right hand slider to about where I have it, again you don't have to be precise at all.


6. Go to your continent layer, make it visible again, and change the layer property to multiply. You should now have something like this.


7. That looks nothing like a map you say, never fear, just merge your continent and cloud layer, then, go to adjustments threshold and you have something looking like a map, change the settings till you get something you like.


8. Now run your mexican hat edge detect and invert the colors.


9. Now use stylize >outline and set it to whatever makes you happy.

10. You have two options here, you can use a stock, like I did, or you can make your own parchment here , but whatever you do, put it on a new layer under you map. Set your map layer to multiply and you get something a little like this...


Now your map is done, but why stop there when you can keep going, because your lazy! Don't be lazy!

11. Copy your continent layer, and on the copy run your MultiView Warp, have settings set to whatever looks best (a reoccurring theme in this tutorial)


12. The easy step, take you magic wand tool, and change the selection mode to add, on your first continent layer select inside all of the continents, now go to your copied continents layer and press delete.

Wheww, thats was kinda hard, but it is all down hill from here

13. Gaussion blur with about 1-3 your continent and copied continent(water ripples) and then sharpen them with whatever you think looks good, this gives it a nice hand drawn look.

14. Now erase whatever you don't want on your map, like too many water ripples, a huge hole you don't want in a continent, all for aesthetic purposes.

15. CTRL+SHIFT+F to flatten, and you're done!

Final Outcome


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not bad! this one im definately making. but there is another tutorial that teaches

you how to make a different kind of map. but i like this one better. really simple to do

nice job

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thanks!, and can i get a link to that other tut, all i found was the random one. also i would like to mention I figured out the random landmasses from a GIMP tutorial on the cartographers guild, so i can't take credit for that. :D

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oh. well i dont know where the other tut is. im pretty sure they had a forum dedicated to much older tutorials.

i dont know if its still there or something. but thats where i found it, but it was a long time ago :(. ill tell you if

i find it somehow.

EDIT: yeah just found another tut on making a map [[HERE]]. now dont change your tut because of the other one. yours is good as the other one : )

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:wink: yeah i found that one, it's even a link in my tutorial to it. It makes some nice random maps, but not at all any control over what it looks like, that is where mine comes into play. And if you do use mine please post your result. I'd love to see it.

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ooh. haha i didnt see the link. but yeah true it doesnt have a lot of control

well ive been really busy, but ill try to make this, and add other special effects to it later.

ill post my results when i can.

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yeah, a small problem. my displacement map keeps crashing. i have tried to fix it. for now, i cant

even attempt to follow this tutorial..i will continue to try to fix this, and when i do ill show you my result.

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