In the previous installment we looked at a technique to create interesting land masses for your fantasy world map. Now we'll see how we can put terrain textures on our map using Adobe Photoshop and Google Earth.
First I traced the shapes of the terrains on the Outdoor Survival map and filled each shape with a base color, matching closely the colors on the original map. The result came out like this:
One thing a noticed on a vacation to Kauai was how the eastern shore was lush, green, and moist, while the western shore was dry and desert like. This is also true of the continental US. I wonder if other parts of the world have a similar climate configuration?
I chose to use this climate model on Lavivrus, making the eastern shores greener than the western shores.
Now that the shapes of each terrain are defined I would like to add textures to them. I like the illustrative look of the original, but doing a map like that is time intensive. So instead I crack open Google Earth and scan the world for interesting terrain textures. Here is a sample from the Sierra-Nevada mountains I really like:
So I paste this into the mountains layer of our Lavivrus map in Photoshop. Then I scan Google Earth for other textures to get everything we need:
You'd think water would be the easy one, plenty of that on Earth, but I actually had to do an image search on the web to find a nice top down shot of ocean I liked. Google Earth worked great for everything else. For Plains I scroll over to Mongolia and find a nice little chunk of plains to grab. Desert I get from Utah, Swamp from Louisiana, and Forest from the Amazon. I thought a little frozen wasteland at the far north would be nice, what better place for that than Antarctica? Using these as overlays on each of the terrain layers I end up with this:
I softened the edges a bit on the terrain shapes, unfortunately this lost some details like those nice little forest paths, so these textures need some clean up, but it's not a bad start. Note: in describing my process I abbreviated quite a bit, because I do a lot of stamping, tiling, and fiddling with each of the textures to get them to look right. But this is something that just takes time and practice.
Next: generating fantasy names for places on your fantasy world map