common object example


Create an Old World Map in Photoshop

    ●   Old Looking Background in Photoshop.

Learn About:

Custom ShapesFiltersGradientsBlending Modes

  •   This tutorial is part of the Renaissance Poster Project.

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.

example 2 image

Step #1: Open your Project in Photoshop ~

Open your project in Photoshop




… (Remember: all these tutorials are intended to be
applied to YOUR PROJECT) …


… make a New Layer by going to: Layer > New > Layer

… or hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+Shift(⇧)+n

+ +

… and drag the New Layer to the bottom.

Step #2: Default Colors ~

Hit the letter 'd' on the keyboard or click the default icon to reset the default colors to Black & White on the Color Palette.

Then go to: Filter > Render > Clouds

… which gives you a cloudy background.

Step 3: Posterize ~

Then go to: Image > Adjustments > Posterize

… and adjust the levels.

Step 4: Delete the White Background ~

Get the Magic Wand Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (w) …

… uncheck Contiguous in the menu bar …

… click on a white area and delete it.

Step 5: Background ~

Create a New Layer BELOW the land and call it Background …

… get the Gradient Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (G) …

… set your colors to whatever matches your color scheme - for this example we selected light and dark brown colors …

… select a Radial Gradient

… and drag the Radial Gradient Tool across background of the New Layer.

Try different things! Different gradients! Experiment!

Step #6: Cmd(⌘)+Click the Layer Thumbnail ~

Hold and click the Layer Thumbnail.

Cmd (⌘)+Click ing the thumbnail selects everything on that layer.

Using the Paint Bucket, darken the selected land.


Step #7: Compass Shape ~

Make another New Layer and call it Compass …

… click on Photoshop’s Custom Shape Tool

… click on the Custom Shape Picker in the Menu Bar …

… click the small arrow on the upper right of the box and select All …

… hit Append …

… find the Compass Shape …

… and drag an instance of the shape on the canvas.

Step #8: White Stripes ~

Create another new layer above the compass layer and call it stripes.

Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (m) …

… and create a long rectangle stretching from the top to the bottom.

Then fill the shape with white.

Step #9: Duplicate The Shape ~

Using the Move Tool and the Alt (⌥) Key drag the shape - it makes a copy.

Do as many as needed to fill the canvas.

Step #10: Zoom Out ~

First, you must Zoom Out by hitting the keyboard shortcut: Cmd (⌘)- (minus)

Step #11: Cmd (⌘)+ T ~

Hit the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+T to activate the Free Transform Tool

… and hold to tweak the perspective.

Rotate and tweak the stripes until they look like they come from the corner.

Step #12: Blending Mode ~

Scroll through the Blending Modes and find one you like …







Try Multiply, Screen or Overlay or whatever you like best …


If you see other blending modes you like as you're scrolling down, don't be afraid to experiment.


Blending Modes are awesome!

Hint: You can scroll through the different Blending Modes by hitting Alt (⌥)+Shift+Plus:

Also lower the Opacity of the stripes layer.

Step #13: Create a New Grid Pattern ~

Create ANOTHER New Document in Photoshop by hitting the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+N

… and use the following settings:

Now get the Brush Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (b) …

… set the size to 1px …

… and draw thin lines around the sides.

Then select everything by hitting the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+A and turn it into a pattern by going to: Edit > Define Pattern

Step #14: Go Back ~

Now go back to your map document:

Step #15: Paint the Pattern ~

Get the Paint Bucket Tool or hit the keyboard shortcut letter (g) …

… choose Pattern rather than the Foreground and find your pattern …

… go to Layer > New Layer

… make a New Layer and call it Grid.

Then use the Paint Bucket to fill the new layer with your grid …

… then lower the opacity of the layer to give the grid some transparency.

Step #16: Grain Filter ~

If you want, you can merge all map layers by hitting the keyboard shortcut: Cmd(⌘)+Shift+E and apply a Grain Filter: Filter > Texture > Grain. Choose Speckle for the type of grain but try anything you want …

Modify the grain’s intensity and contrast as you wish.

Step #17: Names and Places ~

Add Names and text as you wish …

Last Step: Save and Attach ~

Go to: File > Save as … and save your file as a .psd


  •   ALWAYS save your projects like this:


  •   DO NOT name your project any other way - Improperly named projects will not receive credit and you will be sad.


  •   NEVER leave your work on the desktop or depend on a flash drive - instead, save your work in a folder you can find later - preferably on a virtual drive where it can be backed up.