How To Make Faux 3d Landscapes (pt.2)

Posted by BryanKnowles
Created Jul 29, 2008
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The sequel to pt.1, coloring!

I'm thinking about revising this one later, Bryan K.

Woo, this one took a while to get done with, hope your're ready to FINISH THAT LANDSCAPE!!1

*NOTE: If you havent already done the previous tutorial, "How To Make Faux 3d Landscapes (pt.1)", I suggest doing so now since I'm starting off where that last ends.

Step 1 Ok, I'm starting with three layers, a "Main" and "Subs" layer from the previous tutorial, and a plain black layer to use for a background until later. First thing we're going to do here is make a new layer, fill it white, set it to multiply, and label it "Mountains". If you've never really used multiply layers for adding in color, let me explain. Think of the color white as the number "1", and black as the number "0", so wherever there is white on the top layer, nothing is changed because 1 times anything is still itself, wherever there is color on the top layer, and white below, the color will come through completely, because, well, its still 1 x something. Now wherever there is black, on either layer, there is no doubt that black will still come through, because in thi case, 0 times anything is going to be 0. This is really helpful because we can "replace" all that empty white space and light shades of grey and still retain the texture from the "Main" layer.

Step 2 Set your FG color to something around ae5e32, we're going to use that to paint our mountain color in on the new layer, so select a fairly large soft brush, whip out that paintbrush tool, and get to coloring. A good tip here would be to try and stay where the depth in the stone texture is the deepest/darkest, as these areas resemble mountains the most. Make sure to zoom both in and out to check out how it looks. Once you're done, you should have something close to this.

Step 3 Make another white multiply layer, and label this one "Forests", setting your FG color around 274918. Color fairly close to where the mountains are, just barely overlapping them.

Step 4 Make yet another mult. layer, label it "Wet Forests", and use the color 1b2b2c. For this one color wherever it was that the "Forests" met or even just came close to the "Ocean" on a steep hill or the southern side (downward on our map), using overlaps of about a full brush size in places, since the two Forest layers are going to act together as one when we are done, so it'll be just like mixing two colors when you're painting by hand.

Step 5 For this next layer, name it "Sands", color it with aea732, and stick to the beaches, low-lying, and just flat as hell areas. Then after that make another layer, "Stone Barrens", color 16191b, and paint it in where the sands meet with some rocky areas, too small to be our mountains, and for some islands that are that same kind of rocky-ness.

Step 6 Okay, it should be getting pretty full in there, but not quite, so we're doing one last Multiply layer for now, labeled "Plains", colored 32ae32, going just wherever it looks good. If you notice a place that you missed earlier that would great as, lets say, a mountain range, then by all means, go back to your mountain layer and color it in (with the mountain color of course). So we got the above ground colors finished, right? Well, no..

Step 7 See how there are so many places that are way too strong? Heres how to fix that. Go to Filter-Blur-Gaussian Blur, and starting at the top coloring layer and working your way down, apply just enough to even out a thin center (look below for examples), but dont worry if you thin it out a little too much, way too much yeah, go ahead and undo that, but a little we can fix also.

Step 7 (b) So lets say that you have a layer that got thinned out a little too much for what you were going for, in that case goto Filter-Enhance-Unsharp Mask, and use a low-medium strenght, playing with the radius some to give it some of its power back in the center. "But wait, now its too strong!!". I hear this all the time. This little "mess-up" was completely forsaw, and we can fix that, too. The opacity. I set the opacity's of my Sands and Barren layers down to about 75%-ish, what i suggest is to drop it to 0, and slowly raise it until you get the look.

Step 8 Now, get all those coloring layers merged in together, getting something like what I have below, setting the resulting layer to multiply, and using the smudge tool for some final touch-ups. If you've never really used it before, let me tell you, its the best tool yet, I cant stay away from it. You can either google up a tutorial dedicated to it, or just take my advice (or both). To blend those pesky little seems in that are between our colors, center the brush on the seem, and make small circles follow the seem itself, then go back over it making slightly bigger circles, until its all good. To make one color move out into another, click the color you want to "Dominate", and move towards the "Submissive" color, working it all in until it looks like what you wanted. And lastly, to "erase" a place you accidently smudged over into, remember that over layer is filled with a white color, but since we have it set to multiply, we cant see it, so just let you're white act as the dominating color I just described.

Step 9 Dang, looks good, one more multiply layer to go, the water. The color that I use for this is 6474db, but like every layer, you're free to expirament around. Now, whip out that magic little fuzzy selection tool, and select all of that empty white space in our color layer, go back to our "Water" layer and press ctrl+, or go to Edit-Fill With FG. Theres the open seas all done for you, now on to the coast. We're no going to do any further editing of this layer like we did to the others with the sharpen and stuff, maybe a slight blur, but not much, so try to get it in as exact as possible. But it you come to some little island thats easy to see zoomed at at like 400%, but is no more than a speck at 100%, by all means, go ahead and drown the sucker, its your Faux 3d Landscape here, do what you want to 'em. Okay, we have the coloring done for it. Joy.

Step 10 Now go add some finishing details, what I did was some grain work on my background layer (that black one we threw out down when we first started). But, as you can tell, this isnt my best work, due to me rushing through parts of it, but...

Now this is still my best landscape work, original was 1600 x 1200


  1. Aug 1, 2008, TheJM said:

    Wow, impressive results.

  2. Aug 4, 2008, BryanKnowles said:

    thanx JM

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