Terrain Mask Tutorial

Right, so here we are. One of the funnest steps to making your map! So far, you have your world, with nice fancy mountains and hills, maybe a few rivers, or just meadows. But what’s a map without more color to it, more environment? A Terrain Mask will apply textures to your map, giving it a more pretty and realistic feel. You can make rugged brown plains, soft and sandy beaches, or even rocky valleys. Well, now that you get the gist of it, let’s get started.


First, take the height map that you just created, and copy it into a new canvas of whatever you use (GIMP, Photoshop). However, be sure to set this canvas to RGB colors, rather than the grayscale it was just on. Take note that you may make more than one layer while creating your mask.

A Terrain Mask will accept three textures. So, what you should do is plan your mask accordingly. Do you want a rock texture? How many? A basic way to start this is consider what will be in your map. If you’ve made mountains, then a rock texture is one of the textures you should consider. This can vary however you like. Be as creative as you want!

So, back to coloring your mask. As said before, a terrain mask accepts three textures. Accordingly, these textures can be applied by Red, Green, and Blue. Red will color your first texture, green your second, and blue your third.

Not just any shade though, be sure your colors are this precise:

image4

See? When dealing with one texture, use one color, and maximize it to 255. Though along the way, if you’d like to mix two colors together, feel free to smudge and vary the tones! The 255 of each color is the easiest way to start, though.

Let’s take a look at your height map. Perhaps it looks something like this:

image1

Lots of different heights to deal with. So, with this in your new RGB file, let’s start coloring!

Since Red is the first texture, I recommend you use that as the default color for your map. Let’s say you want a grassy map, but still with some mud and mountains? Make a new layer and fill it with the color red. After this, you can hide the layer so you can detail with the other two colors.

image2


Now, change your color to green, and start coloring away with what you want your second texture to be. And once you’re done with that, move on to blue. It’s all very simple, and the more skilled you get, the better your mask will look in your map.

Here’s an example of a completed Terrain Mask:

image3

Notice how it kind of corresponds well with the heightmap I started with? The blue seems to be in the lower (darker) areas of the HM, while green is in the more mountainous. It all fits! But, the great thing about the Terrain Mask is it’s completely customizable. So go all out!

To finish up, just save your terrain mask as a .png, so all the layers are formed into one. But don’t close yet! You want to check your mask ingame to make sure it fits your fancy.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s bring this stuff to life. Nope, we aren’t done yet! Move on the the Map Maker: Getting Maps In-Game tutorial!