Easily Make Topographic Maps in Photoshop and Illustrator

Easily Make Topographic Maps in Photoshop and Illustrator

Vector Topographic Maps

You probably saw a few backgrounds (on posters, books and magazine covers, etc) using topographic maps to make a design more appealing. Those kind of maps can be made by hand, scanned and cleaned or more easily made combining Photoshop and Illustrator capabilities. So today, I will show you a quick and easy way to make topographic maps that you can use on any of your designs and at any size since the end result will be a vector.

Step 1

Open Photoshop and make a new file at any size you want. In this case, I will make mine at 1800 x 1200 px.

Step 2

Press "D" on your keyboard to reset the Foreground and Background colors.

Step 3

Go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

Step 4

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 20 px and click OK.

Step 5

Go to Image > Adjustments > Posterize. Set the Levels value to 15 and click OK.
Note: You may increase or decrease this value to get more or less contours on your final image.

Step 6

Lastly, go to Filter > Stylize > Find Edges and save the image as .JPG on your computer.

Step 7

Open the saved image in Illustrator.

Step 8

With the image selected, go to Window > Image Trace and apply the following values.

Step 9

Lastly, click the "Expand" button in the top toolbar.

A Final Note:

Now that you know how easily you can create topographic maps, you may now scale and colorize the map to your liking like you normally do in Illustrator and use it on a wide range of designs since it is now a vector shape.

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