Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! Today’s tutorial is a whole load of fun, and will show you how to create a pirate themed treasure map in Photoshop.

We’ll be using some really creative items from this week’s deal, including a set of isolated paper textures that are the best I’ve ever seen:

The Ultimate Scrapbooker’s Selection (800+ Lovingly Crafted Items) Just $24

We’ll cover a range of techniques, including some professional blending tricks of the trade, as well as some lovely texturing and lighting techniques.

Let’s get started!

Treasure Map Tutorial Tutorial

Step 1:

Create a new document in Photoshop (800X800px).

Download a wood texture photograph and paste it into your canvas.

Here are a couple of nice textures to work with:

Wooden Wall Texture

Wooden Barn Texture

Now apply three adjustment layers to help make the wood texture darker:

Exposure Adjustment Layer Setttings:

Exposure: -2.41
Offset: -0.0026
Gamma Correction: 1.00

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

14 / 1.00 / 241

Color Balance Adjustment Layer Settings:

Midtones: +11/0/-12 (preserve luminosity)

Create a new layer called ‘vignette’ and set this layer’s opacity to 60% and it’s blend mode to ‘multiply’.

Use a soft black paintbrush to paint around the corners and edges of your piece:

Step 2:

Now it’s time to download one of the awesome isolated paper textures available as part of this week’s deal.

This particular texture is part of Wings Art’s contribution to our ultimate scrapbooking selection. If you’ve already purchased the bundle you can access this texture by going to Wings Art > Antique Papers > Clean Texture.

These textures are fantastic, as they’ve been isolated to a plain background, and retain their edges, unlike the majority of textures you’ll find. This means that as in this tutorial, you can use the textures as stand alone papers, not just overlays or backgrounds.

I highly recommend that you take a look at the 800+ incredible creative items in this week’s bundle:

The Ultimate Scrapbooker’s Selection (800+ Lovingly Crafted Items).

It’s jam packed with value, as well as resources that we’ve loved using in our own works. Take a look, and if you feel it will genuinely benefit your work, we hope you’ll grab it at a significant discount.

Now, back to the tutorial!

Paste in the ‘Clean Texture’ into your canvas. Apply a subtle black drop shadow and black outer glow effect, to give the impression of the paper sitting on top of the wooden surface:

Step 3:

Download this fantastic free maps brush set:

Photoshop Maps Brush Set.

Create a new layer called ‘maps’ above your paper texture layer, and apply one of the maps using a black paintbrush. Be sure to give this layer a clipping mask, so that the map clips to the shape of the underlying paper.

Now apply a regular layer mask to your ‘maps’ layer. Use a rough, black paintbrush to mask off the edges of the map area, so it appears to fade into the paper.

Then reduce the opacity of your maps layer to 62% and change the layer blend mode to ‘multiply’.

Step 4:

We genuinely love using items from our deals in our work all the time.

This time, we’re going to use an item from our recent Go Medla Ultimate Vector Collection.

This deal is expired, but you can still grab a 15% discount across Go Media’s store as part of our new perks section. Click here to check out the perks section now.

We’re using a blood splatter from the ‘Blood Drips’ vector pack (this is in mega pack 10 if you managed to grab that deal).

Tint the vector red, and then paste it into your canvas. Apply a clipping mask so that it clips to your paper texture shape.

Reduce the opacity to 85%, and change the layer blend mode to ‘multiply’.

To knock the sharpness out of the blood mark, apply a 4 pixel strength motion blur.

Step 5:

Download this fantastic image of a gold coin.

Extract it from it’s background, and paste it over the bottom right of your treasure map.

We need to work to blend the coin a little better into the scene.

Apply a black drop shadow and outer glow blending option. Play around with the settings until it looks realistic.

Also apply a hue/saturation adjustment layer, with a clipping mask so that it only effects your underlying coin layer. Reduce the saturation of your coin to -20 to blend it better with the surrounding scene.

Repeat this technique to add two more coins to your scene:

Step 6:

Time to start building up some more cool pirate details!

Repeat the techniques used to apply the blood stain to the map, and use a couple of smaller blood splatters to form an ‘X’ shape. Place this in a suitable place on your map.

Now pause for a second and exclaim loudly “X marks the spot! YARRR!!!!!”

We’re getting into the pirate mood now, so it’s time to download this image of a golden dagger.

Extract it from it’s background and paste it into our canvas like so:

You know the drill by now – drop shadow and outer glow effect, to give the impression our dagger is sitting on top of the map surface:

As pirates tend to be a violent bunch, unlike us designers, you should apply another blood splatter, positioning it on your dagger blade.

Use a clipping mask to ensure it is clipped to the dagger blade shape.

Then set it’s opacity to around 75% for a nice effect:

Step 7:

Download this great image of a compass.

Extract it and paste it into your canvas:

Apply a drop shadow and outer glow effect to your canvas. This will need to be more intense than on some of the other elements, as the compass is a larger object, and so will be causing more intense shadows:

Now we want to make the compass more golden in color, to fit with the wider composition.

Apply a hue/saturation adjustment layer and color balance adjustment layer, being sure to give each a clipping mask to your compass layer:

Here’s the result; a nice golden compass.

I actually masked off the adjustment layers over the golden ring area of the compass, as the coloring on this was already perfect.

Step 8:

This piece is coming together nicely, but now it’s time to add some extra creative blending!

Often it’s the subtle details that can really make a piece.

We want to give the impression of a pirate looking down on the map. Given that several of the items are reflective, we want to have the pirate’s reflection captured in their surfaces. This is a very subtle effect, but can work wonders!

Start by downloading this free image of a pirate.

Desaturate the photo and paste it into your canvas. Position it above your compass + compass adjustment layers and be sure to use a clipping mask to fit it to the compass shape:

Now reduce this pirate layer’s opacity to 20% and change it’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. Bam! Instant realistic, subtle reflection, adding plenty of depth to our glassy compass surface!

Step 9:

Repeat this pirate reflection technique, applying it over your dagger blade and gold coins.

Even if the reflection isn’t very noticeable, it will make these surfaces a little less perfect, and make them feel more like a cohesive scene:

Step 10:

It’s time to start lighting our image, which should really help to bring the various elements together.

Create a new layer called ‘dodge/burn’. I’m going to show you a neat trick for dodging/burning your images in a non-destructive way!

Go to edit>fill and fill your canvas with 50% gray. Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. This will hide your 50% gray fill, but allow you to dodge/burn on this layer and have it effect your underlying composition in a non-destructive way.

Begin using the dodge and burn tools to accentuate the light and shadow in your piece, and try to work to tie things together.

Here’s a look at the dodge/burn layer at ‘normal’ blend mode:

And here’s a look with the layer correctly set to ‘overlay’ blend mode:

Step 11:

To add further lighting to the scene, create a new layer called ‘vignette’.

Use a soft black paintbrush to brush shadows around the corners and edges of your piece, bringing the attention towards the center.

You can also apply a nice lens flare effect, reflecting off of the glass surface of your compass:

Step 12:

To complete your piece, we’ll add some final adjustment layers (settings below):

Gradient Map Adjustment Layer Settings:

Black-white default gradient map
Layer blend mode: Multiply
Opacity: 15%

Gradient Map Adjustment Layer Settings:

Purple-orange default gradient map
Layer blend mode: color
Opacity: 8%

Black+White Adjustment Layer Settings:

Default black+white adjustment layer settings
Layer blend mode: linear light
Opacity: 9%

Photo Filter Adjustment Layer Settings:

Warming Filter 81
Layer blend mode: normal
Opacity: 50%

And here’s the final result:


You can view your final outcome below. We hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to take a look at this week’s deal. The isolated paper textures you’ve just worked with are just a TINY sample of the 800+ incredible creative resources as part of our Ultimate Scrapbooker’s Selection. You can preview everything included via the link below, although the deal is ending soon, so you’ll need to act quickly to grab them at a 88% discount.

The Ultimate Scrapbooker’s Selection (800+ Lovingly Crafted Items) Just $24

Enjoy this tutorial? You’ll love this week’s deal: