How to Create Fantasy Map in Photoshop – Free Download

This article is all about How to Create Fantasy Map for games in old vintage style, using Photoshop primarily but you can use any image editor or even the game engines like unity. All of the assets used in this tutorial are free to download and you can use them in any way you like. Yes, that’s right! we are providing high-quality game assets which can speed up your map creation exponentially. Download link is given below, and if you really want to level up your game, you can buy the premium version which comes with lot more assets and tools. Let’s start the process.

Get Fantasy Map Assets Pack Lite here

How to Create Fantasy Map in Photoshop

Start with base, then make layers for overlays.

Assuming that you have downloaded the asset pack and you are familiar with the basics of Photoshop, start by creating a new project with 16:9 resolution. Browse the assets folder to drag and drop the base background layer, then add other layers above it as overlays. These include paper texture, square lines, water background, topography lines, and borders for the map. Tweak the opacity and colors of these layers to your liking, make them look old and rugged like the pirate maps.

Create island, give it textures & borders, then create places on it.

As our base background is almost complete, we can place the main island body, and use the given actions from assets folder to add the colors, and fading borders to the island’s outer edges. just add the actions to photoshop and execute them on island layer. After that, you can place the big cities, villages and dungeons icons from the buildings folder. Placing these early creates a kind-of foundation for forests and mountains, of-course you can move any icon anytime.

Create different regions (deserts, snow, marsh) & Create waves.

Now we can give colored textures to different parts of map to make particular regions like deserts, marshes, and snowy areas etc. if you don’t want the map to be colorful, then you can play with dark and light shades of grey here. Also use the wave brushes to draw waves in water around the island to signify the areas of low waves and high waves. Always, remember to do everything on new layers, so you can make changes later on if needed.

Create mountain ranges using given brushes or create your own.

As our regions are in shape, you can now start with the mountains. Using the given mountain brushes, spread a few big mountains over the island. Then continue with medium ones, and finally the smaller ones to make realistic mountain ranges. To signify the territories, make sure these mountain ranges separate your regions in different parts, which can classified as different states later on.

Create forests, then create forest color textures and place small trees lastly.

Now as our mountains are done, you can proceed with the forests, these cover large parts of most fantasy maps, so go big on these. Using the given tree brushes, Add the big trees first to depict the dense forests, also you can color these areas dark green for extra vibrance. Afterwards add lots and lots of small trees all around the map, just spare the desert areas and spaces around the cities.

Lighten mountains, then create borders and roads finally.

Overall geography is almost finished now, you can now create a white light layer for mountains to give them bit of elevation and coldness. You can also give color to the volcanic mountains like a muddy red tone. After that, use the given dotted brushes with a bright color to create the borders, this will form different states on the island. Finally use a light brush to add the roads and pathways between placed cities and villages.

Drag and Drop map icons like chests, shrines, bosses etc.

As our basic map is looking great now, we can add the icons for places of interest. Browse the icons folder in given asset pack, and place these all over the map, make plenty of copies for each of these. You can also set a color overlay and border for this icons group to make these easily visible. Do pay attention to what you are placing where like dungeons should be near to mountains, monsters in remote regions, towers around the city etc.

Create titles for places, areas and special locations.

Now for the next step, we are going to add text for all of the places and icons, which should have its own name. You can use any fitting font, in this tutorial we are using a free font named “Crimson”. Give a bright color and border to its group for readability. You can also vary the font color and size, according to what you are naming to organize these nicely.

Create rivers and lakes, add island topography & highlight special icons.

As most of the geography is finished now, we can add the rivers and lakes to the map. We prefer to add these later, because water always find its way around the obstacles, and often the rivers flow through the other bodies such as mountains, forests or even cities. Give these dark bluish or green tones, and some wavey textures. You can also add some special icons like player location and current quest marker to the map.

Create Legend for the Map and Place the compass icon.

Now for the last step, we are going to add legend for our map. Use the given torn brush and create a piece of paper which will serve as base for our content details. Then add the icons and labels over this little paper to complete the map legend. Finally, Finish the map by adding a nice compass icon for aesthetics. Do go through all layers multiple times, to see if something needs more polishing.

And there you have it, a great fantasy map for your gaming adventures. Remember, this is just one example map tutorial to spark your imagination and give you assets to craft your own world maps, download link is in description. If you have any suggestions to improve these resources, just let us know in comments below. Thanks for watching.

Pack Highlights:

This free asset pack is personally crafted to create maps for fantasy game projects (check demo image). You are going to need photoshop to create maps (it can be done in any image editor or unity itself but Photoshop is recommended). Basically, you will get everything to create your fantasy map from scratch in this pack. It includes 50 plus assets, named and organized properly in folders, several different styles and all in both black and white colors.

Get Premium Version on Unity Asset Store
Get Fantasy Map Assets Pack Lite here

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