How To Make Faux 3d Landscapes (pt.1)

Posted by BryanKnowles
Created Jul 28, 2008
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Ok, for this lesson we're gonna need to two main layers, the rocky lands above the water-level, and the smooth out version for the under-water abyss, neatly lined out with a grid like pattern...

Ok, for this lesson we're gonna need to two main layers, the rocky lands above the water-level, and the smooth out version for the under-water abyss, neatly lined out with a grid like pattern, so, lets get started on that first layer.

© Bryan Knowles, 2008 Step 1 Open a New Image, I suggest some wallpaper-like size thats small enough for practice (like 400x300, half of my choice of image size)

© Bryan Knowles, 2008 Step 2 If you've ever seen a tutorial on making a stone like texture from two difference cloud layer, well, thats what were about to do. Give yourself two seperate layers, both of them filled black. Label the top layer "Main", and the Bottom layer "Map".

© Bryan Knowles, 2008 Step 3 Go to Filters-Render-Clouds-Difference Clouds on the top layer, and hide it by turning its visibility off, this way we're now looking at the solid black "Map" layer.

© Bryan Knowles, 2008 Step 4 Press "L", or just select the Gradient tool from the tool box, and throw a gradient in there just about anywhere, then go ahead and use the Difference Clouds on this one also, dont forget to change your seed or the results may be lacking later. If you dont like the "Crack" created, hit ctrl+z to backup before we made the gradient, move it somewhere else, and re-use the difference clouds, making sure to change the seed.

© Bryan Knowles, 2008 Step 5 Turn the "Main" layer back on, and goto Filter-Map-Bumpmap, set your map to, well, the "Map", and raise the depth up to somewhere around 20-40, anywhere in there should work. I'm going to note here that a lower depth will produce flatter lands, and a higher will give to more rocky mountains.

© Bryan Knowles, 2008 Step 6 If you like your results, delete the "Map" layer, duplicate the "Main" layer, and label this new layer "Blurred".

© Bryan Knowles, 2008 Step 7 Ok, were going to need to smooth the crap outta this newest layer, and as the name suggest, were going to blur the living crap out of it. So go to Filter-Blur-Gaussian Blur, and raise the radius until all of the edges are smooth'd out.

© Bryan Knowles, 2008 Step 8 Make a new transparent layer and call it "Grid", and we're going to use Filter-Render-Pattern-Grid on this layer, I always use the default setting, but you can expirament here. Now set the layer's blending mode to "Soft Light", and apply just a touch of Gaussian Blur to it, no more than a 3.0 radius. Now goto Filter-Map-Displace, set both maps to the "Blurred" layer, to shape our grid layer to fit over it nicely, play around with the amounts, and merge this down with the "Blurred" layer. Looks cool right? Lets name this newest layer "Subteranean", ok, jkjk there, lets name it "Subs", sounds shorter and sweeter to me.

© Bryan Knowles, 2008 Step 9 Move this new "Subs" layer down to the bottom, and set the "Main" layer's blending mode to darken only. Ok, heres where it gets a little trickier to explain. Imagine these two layers as two of those really big and square butcher knifes, the "Main" layer being a really old beat-up rusty as it can get knife, and the other one just got cleaned and has a few smudges on it still, and a cool grid pattern. Now, when these two knifes are next to each other, not much is going on, what we want to do is crash the two together so that all that rust just falls off into place giving use an amazing array of continents and penninsulas, so...

© Bryan Knowles, 2008 Step 10 Lets aim our bottom knife-like-layer up to strike, the "Subs" layer, by going to Tools-Transform Tools-Perspective, or just shift+p, and lean this layer back like its, well, leaning back into the picture, and press "Transform". You should get a really cool result like this from where the darker and lighter areas all line up just right, and the leaning itself, all together giving us this faux 3d landscape look.

© Bryan Knowles, 2008 Step 11 Take a break, seriously, cuz in my next tutorial we're going to color this little sucker. © Bryan Knowles, 2008


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