As I stated in my last post I think that the colours in the map are a bit too bright, so i need to do something about that. In Photoshop I create a new adjustment layer called “Gradient Map”. You find it at the bottom of the layers window. Click on the Black/white circle to open the menu shown below.
The “Gradient Map” adjustment layer will add a new layer in which you can select gradient effect, select the one that goes from black to white. This will turn your picture into a black and white picture. But don’t worry all the colours are preserved in the layers below.
Now it is time to lower the opacity of the Gradient map layer, when you do this you’ll see that the colours start to slowly shine through the Black and white. In this way you can control the strength of colour in your map. I usually set the opacity between 40-50% depending on how it looks. You have to try some different setting until you are satisfied.
The next step is to darken the river. After having applied all the different effects on the map the river (or sea if you’ve made a port) tend to be too bright. The easiest way to do this is to create a new adjustment layer called curves. With curves you can darken or bright up a picture very easily. When you do this concentrate only on how the river looks, if the rest of the map start to look too dark just ignore it, we will fix that in the next step.
The easiest way to handle curves is to use the “Click and drag in image to modify the curve” function. To do this you click on the icon with the pointing hand (marked with a red circle in the picture below) in the Adjustments window. Now click with the left mouse button on the picture and keep it pressed while you move the mouse. this will make the picture brighter or darker. Stop when you have the result you want.
Now the whole picture is dark. Add an ordinary layer mask to the curves layer, press ctrl+i to invert the mask to black. This will hide the effect you got from curves. Select the brush tool and the colour white. Paint in the layer mask on the river/sea to make the curves effect show up again, but this time only where you paint. If you think the river/sea turned out too dark just lower the opacity of the Curves layer.
The last thing is to add a border to the map. I like simple borders on my city maps that wont take over the map. This will guarantee that it is the city that will be the focus of the map. I usually just create a new layer that I name border. Select the whole image (ctrl+a) and select edit/stroke from the menu bar. The number of pixels you choose here depends on the size of your map. You probably have too try a couple of times until you get the size you want. When you are done you have a nice and simple border around your map.
That’s about it. The only thing left is to label the map. Decide what places of interest there are in the map and start label them. I don’t know if there is need for a tutorial for this or not. If there is an interest I write something up, just let me know in the comments.
I hope you have enjoyed the tutorial and that you have learned something new from it. Thanks for reading :).