Happy Friday! Are you happy it’s almost the weekend? I sure am, Shane was off for so long over Christmas that we got used to having him around. This was his first week back and we’re ready to have him home again! Today I’m sharing something a little different with you. I have started falling in love with Photoshop. I know- everyone else has but I’m so new to it! I’m a beginner so I thought if I could make this- you can too. Yep, I’m sharing a Photoshop tutorial! I’m going to show you how to make your very own custom street maps wall art. I love the way these turned out and can’t wait to get a frame to put Shane’s up next to mine!
These cute little maps show the street that I grew up on, and after I photographed it I decided I needed to make Shane one too… so that’s the greens streets. I’m a big fan of decorating our home with things that are meaningful to us specifically. Don’t get me wrong, I love pretty stuff- and that can bring joy into my home too. But having something that is special to you? That brings a smile to my face- I want to be surrounded by that. Last week I shared a DIY Special Dates Pillow over at Today’s Creative Blog and talked a bit more about that if you missed it.
Alright… Are you ready to get started? Before we do… if you’re really not into trying out Photoshop… after much Googling I’ve found a couple alternatives for you! First… you could use this map generator to make yourself a pretty and free custom map! The difference- street names and you can’t pick the colours. But it’s free and there’s a black and white version or a watercolor version (pretty!). Option two… I found Jenna Sue who sells graphic city maps for TONS of cities- and you pick the colour! So it may not be your childhood street- but could be your hometown.
If you don’t have Photoshop and still want to make your own… did you know they have a free 30 day trial? If you’re not up for that- I had a friend in highschool who took photos and opened them in Paint (yep, that basic, basic program that comes with your PC) and used the brush to paint similar colours over the photo so it had a cartoon like/ graphic finish. So you could open one of these in paint and paint over the roads in one colour, and everything else in another. But it might take a while.
Okay, so now you’ve decided you’re interested in learning? Good, let’s get started! All of the screenshots are sized down to view here… you can click on them to see them bigger! Begin by heading to Google Maps and search out your street of choice. Screen shot that (on Mac that’s Command, Shift, 4 and then you clip the section you want). Then, open the screenshot (probably found on your desktop) in PS (Photoshop), and rotate it to the direction you want. All rotated? Great! Now you can crop it to the size you want- I chose 8×10.
What you have now is your canvas! Before you start adding colour, make it easy to see what is street and what is not by adjusting the brightness and contrast. This option is under the ‘Image’ drop down menu and the ‘Adjustments’ Tab. I lowered the contrast and brightness and this really made the streets pop. It will also make it easier for the computer to identify like colours.
Just so you know… I changed my mind with the colour after I made the screen shots- that’s okay, you’ll be able to. The second one I made I chose a really bright colour to edit it and then changed it to the proper colours after. I found it easier to see than the greys I chose the first time around.
Get started by selecting the bucket tool- the shortcut for this is ‘G’. Choose your street colour and start clicking on the streets to change their colour. You’ll notice the names of the streets stop the fill process… that’s okay, we’ll deal with them later.
When you’re done with your streets (I totally missed a couple the first time around and noticed later on, no sweat). When you’ve got ‘most of’ the streets, switch to another colour and start clicking on the other areas to fill them in.
When you’re done that, this is what it should look like. It’s still far from perfect. Now switch to your Brush tool- the shortcut for this is ‘B’. Start with your brush size fairly large and take out all those pesky thin lines and details that aren’t streets. You’ll still be left with some in the smaller areas, so downsize your brush and get those. I like to zoom in super close to do this (Command + is a shortcut to zoom).
If you’re anything like me… You’ll be getting excited because it’s looking aaaaawesome. Now it’s time to deal with those pesky street names and other details that are in the way. Switch your brush colour to your streets colour and zoom in and get painting. I find it’s easiest to make the brush the perfect size to fill out my street width, then click along the street until it’s full instead of drawing lines (my hand just isn’t steady).
It looks almost done… doesn’t it!? I did a few more things to polish it up- but you could stop here if you’re happy with it! Use your Magic Wand Select Tool to click on the streets (Shortcut is ‘W’). You can only select one at a time, so alt-click and choose ‘add to selection’ from the drop down menu for the rest of your streets. They’re probably not all connected since you’re cropping from a larger map. Look around the edges to see if there’s a dancing ‘selection’ sign. When you’ve selected all the streets, head to the ‘Select’ drop down menu and choose ‘Inverse’. This will switch to everything you have NOT selected. So all the dark areas (and any little spots you may have missed). If you think you’ve missed any bits, feel free to use the fill tool and dump your colour in there again.
Once you’ve inversed your selection, alt-click again and select ‘Refine Edge’. This is going to smooth out those lines that are a bit bumpy from the street names. Increase the smooth slider, then increase the contrast slider until you’re happy with the look.
That’s it! If you’d like the streets darker/thicker (I did!), then before you refine the edge, switch back to the Bucket Fill tool (‘G’) and click on each street. Each time you click it will add a pixel or two to make it thicker. Just don’t forget those little streets in the corners that aren’t connected to anything else! This is the time that you can switch the colours if you want to as well. When you’re satisfied with how it looks, you can add your text! I ended up using the font Perpetua, but played around with a few. To add text, just click the Text tool and start typing!
So? What do you think? I’m in love with this street maps wall art! The photo is a bit dark, but it printed out this lovely shade of green- and Shane’s print looks perfect next to it. When/if we move, I’d love to make another one for this place to have where our kids grew up in the set! I’d love to hear from you! This was my first Photoshop tutorial- any suggestions (be kind!)? Is this something you’d like to see more of, or stick to the hands on tutorials?