If you’ve ever wondered how to use the digital parchment backgrounds or papers I offer for download, let me help!  The image you see here is my Taur’Syldor map over a parchment background, creating an “aged map” look to it.

To do the same in Photoshop, follow the instructions below:

  1. Start with a hi-res black & white image and bring it into Photoshop.
  2. Make sure the image is completely desaturated by clicking Image > Adjustments > Desatruate.
  3. I’ll usually use the burn tool (the closed hand icon) over the whole image (set to shadows) to make sure all the lines are solid and dark.
  4. Then click “Select” then “Color Range”.
  5. In the window that opens, use the dropper and click on any black line ON THE IMAGE (not in the window that pops up).  This should make an outline of the image appear in the small window (usually looks like an inverted image).
  6. Make sure all the lines you want are highlighted and click OK.  All the black lines on your image should be selected.
  7. At the top of Photoshop, click Layer > New > Layer via copy and the black lines you had selected will be added to a new layer (without the white background). This is just the line art of your image.
  8. Delete the old black & white image layer.
  9. Drag & drop the background you want for the map into the Photoshop image you’re currently working on.  It should give you the option to adjust the scale of the new layer.  Do so and click the check mark at the top of the screen to accept the changes.
  10. Make sure your background image is lower on the list of layers with your map on top.
  11. Save this as a Photoshop file so you can adjust things if needed.  Once you’re happy with how it looks, click to “Save As” and save the new map on parchment image to your computer.

Optional:

  • Once you have the background set in place, go back to the line art image and select Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options.
    • Click the “Blend Mode” dropdown option and sift through the various options to create a lighter/darker or even more a Sepia colored tone to the line art if you want.