Making a border to your map

After my post of the Halle map I’ve got a couple of questions on how I make the borders on my maps. So I thought I could make a quick tutorial for those interested. This is probably just one way of doing it but it works for me, and hopefully it will work for you too.

I’ve used photoshop while writing this tutorial but it will probably work with other advanced photo editing programs as well. The tutorial also assumes that you know the basics of Photoshop. At least that will make it much easier to follow.

First of all you need to create a new image, I made one that is 120×220 pixels big. Create a new layer in the image and make sure you have it selected. Select all (ctrl+a) and chose Edit/Stroke. In the new window put in the value 25 pixels and select ok.
You will now have a picture that looks like the one below.
border 01
Select the Crop tool (C) and select the image below the upper and lower black border. So that when you crop the picture you shall end up with a picture with only black borders on the sides.
border 02
Now it is time to draw the pattern. This step is much easier if you have a Wacom pen instead of a mouse. It will give a better precision. You can still use a mouse but the work will probably take longer and be much harder.
Select the Brush tool (B) and make the size of the brush something around 15 pixels wide. Create a new layer and start drawing. Make sure that you don’t draw at the top or the bottom of the image (marked red in the picture below).
border 03
When you are done merge the two layers that include the border and the newly drawn pattern. When this is done make sure you have the layer selected and click Filter/Other/Offset. A window like the one below shows up.
border 04
Put in the same settings as in the picture. This will move your pattern so that the top and bottom (the parts that in the earlier picture were red) now are in the middle if the picture. Continue drawing in the middle of the picture and apply the offset filter. Continue this way until you are satisfied with the pattern. When you are done you will have a tile that is seamless at the top and bottom.
border 05
Now it is time to open a good paper texture (try a google search if you don’t have any) and copy the pattern layer to the paper picture.
border 06
Copy the pattern layer and place it below the first one. Then merge the two layers and copy it again. Continue in this way to build up the base for your border. When you are done it will look as in the picture below.
border 07
Now copy the border three times and move those copies to the other sides of the picture. Then merge the now four layers.

As you can see the corners aren’t really looking good. So now we have to make some corner tiles that we can use. Start by choosing the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) and mark one of the corners as below.
border 08
Now make sure that the paper texture layer is selected and choose copy (Ctrl+c) and then paste. You will now have a nice paper textured corner.

Move the layer to the top of your image. Now make a smaller rectangular selection in the corner and click Layer/Inverse and then click Image/adjustments/Curves.
border 09
Now make the outer part of your corner darker by dragging the line in the new window downwards. When you are pleased with the result press ok. Copy the layer three times and place one corner tile in every corner.
border 10
Now it is time to make the rest of the border look nice. Press the Ctrl key and click on the border pattern layer in the layer window. In this way you will select all the black in the pattern layer. Keep the selection and mark the paper texture layer and click copy (Ctrl+c). Paste the copied selection in a new layer and do the same procedure as with the corners to darken the border.
border 11
Well that is about it. You now have a border that you can use in your maps.

One last piece of advice though is that this is just a quick guide how to do this. Experiment while following the tutorial and you will probably find ways that will feel both easier and more natural to you.


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