In this quick guide, I assume you’re already aware of my magic color motto ‘the lower your opacity bar, the better your coloring’.
Mountain color in relation to the ground color: a precarious job
Of course, it’s tempting, you have a landmass and you want to decide where to place deserts, jungle, plains, lush grasslands and of course: ice and snow. It’s tempting, but often not the best decision to color them right away. Here’s why not: many of the mountains and trees you may use to make your world come to life are ‘paintable’ assets. Besides the fact that this means that you can (obviously) paint them, it also means that when you place them, they take the color of the ground. So if you’re first coloring your land (distinguishing deserts from grasslands for example), the mountains you place there, will also become respectively yellow and green.
Avoid not being in control of your own coloring. Place mountains and trees before you color the ground
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s fine that mountains in deserts are more yellow and those on grass are greener. The thing is, that YOU are the one who should decide what color a mountain gets, not the program. There might be some exceptions, but in most cases a map becomes more beautiful when the mountains have a more or less distinct color from the ground color. Think for example of brown mountains on white land, grey mountains on yellow land or even orange mountains on green land.
Find color combinations that you like for mountains and ground instead of using the same color for both
The other big advantage of first placing mountains (and trees) and then coloring the ground, the mountains and the trees separately, is that you can always erase their colors and start again. When you first color the ground and then place the mountains, the ground color will be the base color of the mountains. Erasing the color of the mountains then means going back to the color of the ground. This makes it a lot harder to change colors the way you like it.
Lesson learned: first complete your map with mountains, rivers, lakes and trees before coloring the ground.
At this point do I start thinking about colors