4e D&D Tactical Mapping

After being swamped with requests [at the Fantasy Grounds forums] for a guide on how I produce my 4E maps, I have finally been able to find some time to collate some useful resources as well as pull together the first in a series of short (15 minutes or less) instructional videos.

Those of you who have followed my mapping will know that I work exclusively in Photoshop. The resource packs I have made available should work with all versions of Photoshop including Photoshop Elements and I believe can also be imported into GiMP using various plugins.

I have bundled the Photoshop patterns, textures and styles I use in my maps and have uploaded these to my resource site (under Misc Items). These are:

  • 4E Styles.asl - This is a pack of Layer Styles including wall, floor, water, and various other effects. The .asl file should be placed in your User Library/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CSx/Presets/Styles folder
  • 4E Grids.pat - This is a pack of tileable patterns for the various grid styles used in 4E maps, it also includes a difficult terrain marker pattern. The .pat file should be placed in your User Library/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CSx/Presets/Patterns folder
  • 4E Patterns-Textures.pat - This is a pack of tileable patterns and textures I use in my 4E maps, it also contains some nice rock/stone textures. The .pat file should be placed in your User Library/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CSx/Presets/Patterns folder

Once copied to the correct folder, start Photoshop and select Preset Manager from the Edit menu. Once Preset Manager is open, select Patterns from the pull down menu and then navigate to and load the two pattern packs. Next Select Styles and load in the Style packs. In both cases Photoshop will load with a default set of patterns and styles, I leave it to you to decide if you want to remove these or not.

The packs are my own creation with the exception of a few scanned textures which are available for personal use but cannot be used in any commercial offering. I am happy for the community to use these for their own gaming needs however would ask that you all refrain from using these in any commercial offering.

Having said that, if anyone would like me to produce maps for a commercial offering I am open to accepting private commissions, if anyone is interested.

Right, now onto the first video. Please excuse me for not having included any audio commentary (I am working on it), this first video walks through the initial creation of a basic tactical dungeon map, nothing special but enough for you to get an understanding of how I approach the basic foundations.

The video starts from the point that the patterns and style packs have already been copied to the appropriate folders and Photoshop started. Over the course of the next few weeks I will walk through using some of the other styles and patterns for outdoor encounters, underground maps and maybe even town/city. I also plan to expand on the packs over time, the intent being to provide a one stop shop for all your Photoshop 4E D&D map creation needs.

Please leave some feedback if you find the video and packs useful.



Part 1 - Rooms, Walls and Doors

Part 2 - Stairs, Plinth and Wells

Part 3 - Pillars and Changing the Colour of the Rock Walls


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