Water effect tutorial in photoshop

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AidyBaby
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Water effect tutorial in photoshop

Post by AidyBaby »

Some folks had mentioned that they liked my water texture in my latest maps so I thought I'd do a little tutorial on how I made them. I don't use a standard texture, I create a custom water effect to suit each map. It takes a little practice to get looking good but the end result can be really good.

Create a new layer and completely fill with a mid-range blue [menu:edit/fill]. The layer needs to be completely filled to stop the filter making transparent gaps at the edges.

Then draw in roughly the position of the intended river, sea or lake on the map some variations of blue colour with a softish brush (see the pic below for an idea).

Image

Apply quite a strong gaussian blur to even the colours out [menu:filter/blur/gaussian blur].

Image

Next open the Ocean Ripple filter [menu:filter/distort/ocean ripple] and choose settings that suit the water surface you are seeking. I find a small ripple size and high magnitude works well for large scale maps. The glass filter (set on frost) can also give good results - experiment!

Image

Image

Apply a mask to the layer to hide the parts of the layer that you don't want to see. Do this by making sure the water layer is current and clicking [menu:layer/add layer mask/hide all]. The water layer should vanish, don't panic it's hidden by a complete mask. The underlying layers should be visible if there are any.

Click in the new mask thumbnail in the layers palette (it'll look like a black square to the right of the pattern symbol) to make the mask active. Use a white soft brush to draw the extent of the water. Use a low flow value to draw the edges for a natural water line.

Un-link the mask and the water layer (by clicking the little chain between the pattern and the mask thumbnails) and move the water effect around in your mask to get the best view of the ripples [hotkey 'v' = move].

Image

Insert a hue and saturation adjustment layer [menu:layer/new adjustment layer/hue and saturation] click OK on the next two dialogue boxes. Group with the water layer by alt-clicking between the new adjustment layer and the water layer. This means the adjustment layer only affects the layer it is linked with.

Image

Double click the adjustment layer thumbnail (the left one, not the mask) to open the adjustment dialogue box. Reduce the saturation for a more realistic effect for standard water. Change the hue if you want mud, swamp, etc. and you're done!

Image

Image

Not sure if these filters are available in GIMP but if you've got photoshop it's easy.

[Edit - made the tutorial a little easier to follow for photoshop novices]

-AidyBaby-
Last edited by AidyBaby on Thu May 24, 2007 12:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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dLANbandit
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Post by dLANbandit »

THANKS!

I'm a total newb at this stuff, and information like this helps more than you realize. You are giving me not only a great step by step example. This is also helping me understand the methodology behind it.

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Post by Steel Rat »

Very cool effect, but you lost me at the first step :(
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Post by AidyBaby »

Oh, sorry 'bout that... which bit?
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Post by heruca »

Excellent tutorial. I'll be using it today.

I like the trick about Alt-clicking between layers. Had no idea you could do that.

BTW, I truly thought your water was rendered in a 3D program.

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Post by dorpond »

I must have missed this thread.

VERY VERY VERY COOL!

Thanks :)

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Post by Steel Rat »

AidyBaby wrote:Oh, sorry 'bout that... which bit?


This bit:

Create a layer and completely fill with a mid-range blue. The layer needs to be completely filled to stop the filter make transparent gaps at the edges.

Then draw in roughly the position of the intended river, sea or lake on the map some variations of blue colour with a softish brush.


Are you filling with a gradient? Or drawing in the larger circular area by hand? I get that the smaller squigglies are done by hand.
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Post by AidyBaby »

Ah, I see. No it's all simply drawn by hand with the brush tool. Just keep drawing with a soft brush and picking different blues every so often.

For rivers I find drawing lines along the length works quite well. It can be slightly awkward because at this stage you are guessing where exactly the filter will make the ripples. Experimentation works best.

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AidyBaby
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Post by AidyBaby »

Another example:

Image
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Post by Steel Rat »

Cool, thanks for the clarification.

What approximate settings did you use for the Gaussian Blur?
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Post by AidyBaby »

I used 11.5 pixels in the tutorial example but it comes down to the overall size of the image.

Ideally you want the colours to blur into one another so that there are no hard edges. Strictly speaking, however, there is no absolute requirement for the blur as it ultimately depends on how course your painting work is and the settings of the ocean ripple / glass filter. Sometimes not blurring can give some nice highlights when using the glass filter.

One other thing, I would recommend painting lightlights and lowlights in areas outside where the water will be because the filter 'draws in' the pattern when it's run and this can have the effect of no ripples at the edge of the water. Tough to explain but you'll maybe see this the more you play with it.
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Post by slyder »

neat

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plothos
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Post by plothos »

Any way to replicate this in GIMP? I am not finding anything like the ocean ripple, which is obviously a key.

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Post by RPMiller »

You're probably tired of me saying this, but... go to the Cartographer's Guild. I'm serious. You'll find an incredible tutorial for the GIMP and it even has water effects in it.
You're just jealous 'cause the voices only talk to me.

ImageImage

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plothos
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Post by plothos »

You're probably a lot more tired of having to say it than I am of hearing it. :)

Thanks. Will do.

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