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Replicate the old-world charm of antique maps

Added on Wednesday 26th of May 2010 02:31 am EST


Adobe Photoshop CS/CS2/CS3/CS4

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


When you think of map creation, the first application that comes to mind is probably Illustrator. Because Photoshop is predominately an image-editing application, it gets overlooked when creating technical and artistic imagery such as maps. Not only can you create artistic maps in Photoshop, but you can also use our antiquing technique to create other weathered or time-laden images.


To create an aged one-of-a-kind map in Photoshop, we’ll:

• Provide a black-and-white line drawing of the world so you don’t have to draw one from scratch.

• Create a parchment background to resemble old paper.

• Add subtle coloring to areas of the map for a faded antique feel.

• Add dirt and wrinkle the edges of the paper to give the entire piece an aged appearance.


You’ve probably read countless techniques on how to retouch and refurbish old art and photos to make them look their best. But have you ever considered doing the opposite? We’ll show you how to do just that by speeding up the aging process and turning line art into a worn out and faded image, giving a sense of history and old-time elegance. In no time you’ll be able to transform the boring line map shown in Figure A into the vintage style antique shown in Figure B.





Set your course and map it

Finding the perfect image of a map may be the most difficult aspect of this entire process. Ideally, you should select a black-and-white illustration of the world or a specific area. You can scan an image from an atlas or look online using the keywords blank outline maps. To save you time we did the scouting for you. To work along with us, download the file from the URL given at the beginning of this article, extract the file oldmap.psd, launch Photoshop, and open the file.


Note: When you pick out line art for your antique technique, it’s okay if the quality isn’t perfect. If the lines aren’t crisp, it actually helps to give the map a more aged look.


Make paper with character

Since most of us don’t have prepared sheepskin at hand or easy access to a papyrus plant, we’ll create our own interpretation of authentic parchment paper to give our map an old-world feel.


To create the parchment paper:

1. Click the Create A New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel.

2.  Rename the new layer Parchment.

3.  Click the Foreground Color swatch in the Tools panel to display the Color Picker dialog box.

4.  Enter the RGB values R:228, G:224, and B:211 to create a light beige color.

5. Click OK.

6. Set the background color to white.

7.  Choose Filter > Render > Clouds to create the parchment texture.


To age the parchment paper:

1. Choose Filter > Noise > Add Noise to display the Add Noise dialog box, as shown in Figure C.

2.  Set the Amount to 3%, select the Gaussian option, and then select the Monochromatic check box.

3.  Click OK.

4.  Change the Parchment layer’s blending mode pop-up menu to Multiply, and the map now shows through the parchment paper, as shown in Figure D.





If you’re an antique map lover, then you probably have an idea of how the colors should appear in your image. Many antique maps have common characteristics, one being that the color is more of an outline going from a darker shade around land’s edges to a lighter one in the centers. To achieve this effect, we’ll make use of the Paint Bucket tool and the Feather command.


To color the continents:

1. Drag the Background layer onto the Create A New Layer button.

2.  Reame the new layer Land.

3.  Choose the Paint Bucket tool from the Tools panel and set the Foreground color to light pink.

4.  Click the Paint Bucket tool in a few of the continent areas, as shown in Figure E. Don’t fill all of the continents as pink isn’t the only color you’ll use.

5.  Color in the rest of the continents with yellowish-orange and green until they are entirely filled in (including the little islands surrounding the larger land masses), as shown in Figure F.


Note: To make filling in the land masses easier, you can turn off the Parchment layer’s visibility (just make sure you turn it back on when you’re done coloring) and use the Zoom tool to magnify the smaller areas you color.