I am an aspiring author, and am creating a map of my fantasy world in Photoshop. The map is very detailed, containing information on wind patterns, temperature changes, and tectonic plate movement, amongst other things. I've been able to successfully convey all of this. What I'm having trouble with are the mountains/hills.
I've been able to represent a mountain/hill with a symbol from a custom brush, but I'd also like some way of having the ground 'bulge' outwards so that it looks like there is actually a hill there.
How can I do this?
A fairly generic example of what I want to achieve:
A slightly more accurate example of what I'm looking for. Note how the hill in the lower left corner just seems to 'rise up' from the city:
What I do not want:
Further details, and what I've tried:
I've been able to get around this problem for mountains, by actually drawing the snow and glaciers. This doesn't make the ground bulge, but you can at least see where the mountain extends. This won't work for smaller mountains or hills though, where there is no snow.
I experimented with the Emboss function, which does make a nice plateau/lava flow effect. It does not look like a hill though.
I tried the Pinch function, going into negative numbers so that it would bulge instead of pinch. Unfortunately, the function is so large (effecting the entire image), that I can't localize it enough. Also, I cannot seem to target it on any one area of the image.
The best idea I've had is to make a 3D hill somehow, rasterize it to a flat image, and then somehow turn that into a brush. I could then use the brush to tint the ground so that it looked like a hill. The problems with this are that my 3D creation abilities are questionable, and the brush has to be only black/transparent black to work. Grays, which would be included in the flattened image of the 3D hill, would not convert into a custom brush.
The best result I've had: drawing in black, embossing, and setting the layer to 'Overlay'. It looks halfway decent, though still rather amoeba-like.