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World of Warcraft Style Map Photoshop Tutorial
Hello, thank you for stopping by and checking out my content :)  Let's get straight to it, shall we? 

This template was made with Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 , Gimp or other editing software is not tested. If you tried and it works, great! let me know so i can update this section. 


Note for graphic tablet owners!
You don't have to change Brush Opacity. It should be automatic with pressure. 


Step 1> Download:

Download Part1.rar and Part2.rar and at the bottom of this page and unpack it.

The pack contains everything you need for this tutorial, including:

  • Main Template PSD file 
  • 58 Map Symbols in PNG format, easy Drag & Drop on your map
  • Brush Set  ( 70 Brushes )
  • Font
  • 3 Example Maps Made with this template.

Step 2> Preparation:


  • Install Font from the Font Folder. 
  • Open [WoW Style Map Template.PSD] in Photoshop 
  • Load in [Brush Set Stryxin.ABR]  By selecting your Brush Tool (B) Right Click anywhere on the canvas, Click on Cogwheel in top right of the brush selection and then on "Replace Brushes..."
  • If you mess up something in the tutorial you can always Undo one step with Ctrl + Z  or Undo multiple steps with Ctrl + Alt + Z


Optional Step, Map Generation:

For the purpose of this tutorial i generated random map using this website: https://mewo2.com/notes/terrain/   just to get basica layout of the land. 

Screenshot it, Crop, put the image Layer Between Layer Groups "Roads" and "Water", Make "Water" Group Visible (Eye icon) and lastly, set your "Screenshot" Layer Blending to Multiply. 

You should end up with something like this! 

(This screenshot is provided in the Map Pack if you want to use it for this tutorial.)

Or just get creative and create your own map from scratch!! 

Step 3>  Sea and Coastline:

  • Open up "Water" group, select !!Layer Mask!! (Rectangle with a Circle inside) of Water Layer.    

  •   Select Laso Tool (L)  and Select your mainland. 

Pro tip: If you have Islands, you can add them to your main selection by holding Shift, If you have Lakes you can subtract them from the main selection by holding ALT


  • When you have all your Land selected, make sure you have Black Color Selected.
  • Right click on your selection >> Fill... >> Foreground Color >> press OK. 
  • Or much simpler solution, use the shortcut:  ALT + BACKSPACE.
  • Hide  "Screenshot" Layer  (Click on the Eye next to the Layer ) , on top of the screen  SELECT > MODIFY > EXPAND...  by 25 px. 
  • Select "Coast Line" Layer, Right click on your selection STROKE... > 1 px.
  • Change Layer Fill to 50%.

Good Job so far!

  • You should still have your selection, left click on LAYER MASK of "Water Lines" Layer and Show the Layer it ( Eye icon).
  • Same as before with Water Layer, "Fill..." or simply press ALT + BACKSPACE.   
  • Right Click inside your Selection >> Select Invert  ( CTRL+SHIFT+I )

If you followed every step correctly, your map should look like something like this. (with selection still over your water)

Starting to look decent, right? :)  Lets get back to work! 

  • Select Brush Tool (B), Right click on Canvas, Select Brush 9 from First row and Set Brush Opacity to 25% in Toolbar (top left).
  • Press ALT + BACKSPACE , Swap colors (X) (so you have White selected)
  • Stroke the Coast Line until you have desired effect.
  • When you are done you can Deselect (CTRL +D ) the selection

If you mess up don't worry, if you swap your color back to Black, it basically serves as an Eraser.   

When using Layer Masks  

  • WHITE DRAWS 
  • BLACK HIDES 

We will use this in other steps as well so try to remember how it works :)  


All right, Good work! You should be now familiar with the tools we are using, so lets bump up the pace little bit. 

Step 4> Mountains:


  • Open Mountains Group, Show "Mountains" Layer.
  • Select Layer Mask   ( You can move the layer with Move tool (V) )
  • Select Black Color, press ALT + BACKSPACE
  • Same process as with coast lines! Swap between colors, play with opacity and brush size until you like the result. This is mine after couple minutes of fiddling about. 

  • Exactly same process with Bigger Mountains! Just sprinkle them where you think they would fit. See? its getting easier :)


Step 5 >  Rivers:


  • SELECT "WATER" LAYER MASK
  • Change the Brush Opacity back to 100%
  • Change Brush to Last row, 1st from left (size 10). 
  • Add couple Streams, Rivers mostly start in the mountains and make their way into the ocean or lake.  Again, play around until you like it :)

Tip:  If you select big soft brush ( One we used before for coast lines and mountains for example )  you can make end of the rivers thiner and "dissapear" into the land or mountain. 

Here is my progress


Step 6>  Forests:


  • Open Land Group, Select "Forest" Layer Mask
  • Brush Tool (B),  Select LAST Brush (Second to last is more precise) Set Opacity to 20%
  • With Bigger brush size (around 80 px ) Start Laying down where do you want your forest to be, this is just a first base layer. 
  • We are still working with Layer Mask so X to swap back and forth between Black (Erase) and White  (Draw) to make corrections! 

You should have something like this.

  • Change to a more precise Brush (Second to last).
  • Set Opacity to around 50%  and Brush Size to around 50 px
  • Lay down another layer on top.
  • And Couple more after that, changing brush size and opacity as you see fit until you like it.

Result after second layer

After couple more layers and fiddling about. 

  • Now you need to HOLD ALT and Drag "Forest" Layer Mask on top of "Forest Texture",  If it asks you to "Replace Mask?"  you did it correctly, just press Yes.  You should see that gives your forest a nice texture. 


Step 7> Hills:


Remember step 4?  Exactly same process, so just check step 4 if you don't remember details :)

After adding some hills you should have something like this


We are almost done folks! 

Step 8>  Symbols:


  • Now its a good time to add your cities, ruins, caves and other markers.
  • Find "Symbols" and "WoW Map Assets" Layer Groups and make them Visible.  
  • 5 Symbols will pop up in Bottom Left corner.
  • Select Move Tool (V), Check "Auto-Select" in top right corner. 
  • Optional:   Lock every layer group except "WoW Map Assets" and "Symbols" so you accidentally don't drag mountains or something else with a miss-click. 
  • Now you can simply left click and drag the symbols, HOLD ALT to make a duplicate while dragging. 
  • To rotate/resize the symbol  use Transform Mode (press CTRL+T) with specific Layer selected. In Transform Mode you can also Flip symbols by Right clicking and selecting "Flip Horizontal". To Leave TM just press Enter.

You can find more symbols in the Pack that you downloaded earlier. Just drag and drop them into the Photoshop and move the layer to the "Symbols" Group. 


Step 9> Roads and Paths:


  • As always start with Selecting "Road" Layer Mask.
  • Same process as we did with the rivers, check Step 5 for Brush Settings.
  • Draw your main roads.
  • For paths and smaller roads select "Paths" Layer and choose one of the first 3 brushes in "Maps" Brush Section. Give them a try, whatever you like the best. 
  • To Recolor your Road or Paths, you can simply select "Road" or "Paths" Layer and use Paint Bucket  (G) with desired color selected. I used Yellow here for Roads.


Roads and Paths cutting through Forest Cleanup.

  • For Roads, Hold CTRL and Left click on "Roads" Layer Mask. This will make a selection containing all roads. Now  Select "Forest" Layer Mask and press DELETE on your keyboard.
  • For Paths, same process with one difference, before pressing DELETE,  on top of the screen go to SELECT > MODIFY > EXPAND...  by around 4 px. Then press DELETE. 
  • Now you have nice looking Roads and Paths cutting through forests. 

If you followed the steps correctly ,it should look like this. 


Step 10> Colorization:


  • First, select "Land" Layer Mask.
  • Big Soft Brush ( 300px or Bigger ) that we used before. And go around the border of the map so the Border blends in nicely.
  • Select "Land Color" Layer.  Change Brush Opacity to 10-30% And paint with whatever color you want anywhere.   


Here is my result. (Click here for better resolution)


To recolor Forest, you first have to copy "Forest" Layer Mask to "Forest ReColor" Layer Mask, Same process as in Step 6 that was used for "Forest Texture".   Hold ALT and Drag the Layer Mask

As soon as you do this, you'll see that the forest changes color, It should look something like this. 


Now you can simply Select the "Forest ReColor" Layer and paint with whatever color you want.  I recommend using 2nd Brush from "Texture" section with Opacity Set to around 30% for this. Go nuts :)


Step 12>  Finishing touches:

In this step we take a look at the map as a whole, find everything that doesn't fit or looks out of place and fix it. 

  • For this example I painted some lines on mountains that looked like they are vanishing into thin air. 


  • I changed the color of the path that cuts through the forest so its more visible.  And Slightly reduced Opacity of Road Layer so it doesnt stand out that much.  

Step 13>  Labels, Texts, Names:


  • Open "Text" Layer Group, and LOCK every other layer so you don't screw up anything that you made so far. ( small padlock above Layers right next to Fill )
  • 3 Types of Texts should pop up on your screen.  By selecting Type Tool (T) you can change any of them by simply left clicking on them.
  • If you go slightly outside of the Text box in the corners, you can rotate it.  Font size is on top left.  
  • Or you can use Transform Mode (T) like we used with Symbols. 
  • Move Lables with Move Tool (V) or by HOLDING CTRL 

Important Note:   First Letter in texts has bigger Font Size. 

And that's our finished map!  Congratulations, you made it (Hopefully) :D 

Click here for full resolution! 


Thanks for using my tutorial :) 


If you post your creation somewhere all i ask is a shout out or a mention. Thanks again guys for all the support!  

And of course if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to message me!  

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