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tuore

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I have seen lots of good quality AARs lately (including my AARs), and I've seen even more comments on people wondering "How did you do that?" and "I'd never be able to do that!". Well, now you can try!

Requirements:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS4
  • Monnikje's Blank Worldmaps found here. If you use IN for some reason (MMP2, for example), here's a similar one for IN
  • "Old Map" picture we're going to use in this tutorial, here. Right-click and save it.
  • Able to find the tools mentioned
  • Patience

So, let's get started!
First we need a map background. Monnikje has made a great work converting the provinces.bmp file of Europa Universalis III into empty maps, that means less work for us. I decided to take this tutorial's picture from my Byzantine game.



Next thing we're going to do, we will paint the map's provinces to match the game's situation.



Then we will improve the water parts of the map. Select the wand tool and shift-click on the water regions. Don't forget the smaller parts, in this case the Bosphorus strait.

Right-click on the area(s) you selected and choose Layer from copy. Make sure the new layer is selected in the layer panel before proceeding.
Then go to Filter->Artistic->Underpainting. You can experiment with the settings and styles, but I personally like underpainting and with these settings:



(Texture coverage is on maximum).
Hit OK.
Now we're going to use the "old paper" picture found in the requirements list. Drag the picture to Photoshop. If it opens it as a new project in a new tab (instead of adding it to the existing one), hit ctrl-A, copy and paste it to the project we're making now.

Hit ctrl-T to scale the paper image (make sure the layer is selected!!!) so that it covers to whole image. Then go to the layer tab, where you choose "Multiply" from the drop-down list. By default it's "Normal".



It is now like "beneath" the layers. Isn't it beautiful?



It's already looking like a map, but now let's add texts to indicate the nation names. I like the font Charlemagne Std, but you can use whatever you want.

If you want, you can select the custom shape tool and find a compass shape. Then choose a colour and add it to the image.

Finally, let's tell what this map is by making a box and adding some text:



There it is. Part II with some heavier and harder manipulation coming later. Beware: The second part needs more experience than this.

I added the .psd project in a zip as an attachment, if you want to take a look.
 

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tuore

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Part II - Advanced Editing​

Yes, the map in part I is definitely beautiful. But it can be made even more beautiful!

Requirements:

  • Map made to the same stage as in part 1
  • Registered account at http://forum.cartographersguild.com
  • Mountain brushes from cartographersguild.
  • Skill
  • Some skill on geography (to know where mountains/rivers go, or use google earth)
  • Patience
  • Favourite music
  • Drink with lots of caffeine (to keep you awake :p)

Ok, before we start editing, move the first layer (in the bottom of the list, the one that has the map and it's colours) above the "old paper" layer (and over every layer that has effects, so that only text layers are above it). This way, we can easily continue painting the map.
First, draw away all the region borders. Only leave the borders of different countries.



Then, to make the visibility better, I made the colours lighter, as the current ones were too dark. Download the brushes I linked in the requirements, and draw the mountains.



Then draw the rivers. You can spend time on this as much as you want, I just drew them to their approximate places. Also correct any errors, text misplacements, typos, or anything.



(Please note that I've moved the layer downwards again in every image, to show how it looks with the effects)

And... that's it! If you want, you could download more brushes from cartographer's guild, (Here's a good one) and add houses to represent important places (Jerusalem, Baghdad, Constantinople, for example) and write their names. But I guess that's it.

Was it so hard?
 
Last edited:

tuore

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I suppose I could do similar with Gim. Most of the changes can be made on Gimp and the brushes work too.
 

unmerged(10971)

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The main difference between Photoshop and Gimp (at least 2.6.6, which is the version I have at the moment) that I can see (the "underpainting" stage) can be done the same in this way:

When creating a new layer from the water, make sure it is behind the rest of the map. Then, select the main map and make a drop shadow (Filters -> Light and Shadow -> Drop Shadow), with offsets of zero, blur radius at your discretion and depending on map size (I used 40 for the large filled Europe map), and resizing deselected. The overall result (after applying the paper texture, that's the same) is this:



A larger blur radius would probably better fit what tuore's map has, as I said that part is entirely at the discretion of the person making the map. :) Also, I'd recommend making it a .png file like tuore did rather than .jpg like I did in a rush. :p
 
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unmerged(18239)

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That's very nice. Thanks a lot!
 

unmerged(146885)

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You can do this with paint.NET too:

You put the old map in the background.
You go to ''Layers'' and select ''Import from file''.
You put the map you want to use.
You go again to ''Layers'' and select ''Layer Properties''.
You change the opacity to make the image in the background look ''behind'' the image in layer one:
 

tuore

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Yeah, but compare that with the photoshop version:

 

tuore

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I actually like the Paint.Net one much better.
Well, it's everyone's personal opinion. I consider it much too bright to look like an old map. But I'd say that it would work with HoI2/3.
 

Vishaing

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I personally use Paint.Net for my image editing, and apply text in Photoshop, due to personal preferences for the former and technical limitations in both.

I find the best way to get an 'old map' texture in Paint.Net is to put the Old Paper texture under the map, turn the map layer to 'Multiply' in its properties, but leave its opacity at maximum, and then lower the opacity (if necessary) of the old paper layer that is beneath the map.

This is what happens when you put the old paper layer under a map layer set to multiply, keeping both layer's opacity at the max 255;

Keep in mind that if the above is too bright or light for your tastes, you can always change the old paper layer to multiply and add another old paper layer beneath it.

To add to this already great tutorial, I think it makes the maps look far more 'realistic' if you arc the text, even if only slightly, and put it at an angle. This is why I put down my text in Photoshop, because doing this in Paint.Net is Really difficult and it doesn't turn out as nice. (You need to use a sphere Warp thing, it just doesn't end well, trust me.) Doing this in an Old Style Font can make things even better, if a bit hard to read... For anyone looking for fonts, I would suggest you check out dafont.com, I get all of my fonts from them.

For another piece of advice; I tend to keep a 'Terrain' Layer over whatever layer I am actually drawin borders onto. This Layer will have the borders and color for lakes and rivers on it, as well as any cities I want to keep track of (cities are actually generally their own layer). This way I don't need to worry about stopping precisely at the coastline with my borders, but can continue on into the 'ocean' while the Terrain Layer covers that up and makes everything look nice and pretty like.
 

tuore

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"Bandwith exceeded". Cool effect, I couldn't recognize the map :p.
 

unmerged(150720)

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Thanks for the tutorial. I'm not so good at Photoshop, but just have it on the computer as they have it on my work so i took it home just to install on for personal use if i was ever gonna use. I'm not gonna use it for EU3 maps i think, but this is nice for other pictures you wanna edit! Thanks very much! :)
 

unmerged(116928)

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A very good tutorial, will definitely put it to use. Paljon kiitoksia, Tuore. :D