Worldbuilding #9 – Basic Forests

WB IconWelcome to another edition of the Worldbuilding series. I want to first want to apologize that it has taken me nearly a month to get this out. I am dealing with doctors and working on my disability and that always takes priority over anything else I’m doing right now. I am hoping to try to make up for it this month, but we’ll see what happens.

 

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We just got done doing mountains. Forests are an indirect result of mountains, as water falls on mountains from the sky and create rivers. Rivers affect the climate an area, which in turn makes rainfall, and thus we get forests. Forests can also form as a result of lakes an oceans.

As we have done a few times before, we don’t seem to be going in a logical order, doing forests before rivers. Picking out where forests go will help us determine where where rivers form. Let me put it to you like this, where forests are located, there has to be a river there. either close by or going through the forest.

This will be a two part article, first going through some information about forests and then basic technique. Next article will build upon the basic technique to give us more realistic forests.

There are a lot of definitions for forests, that range from an area with trees, to kelp forests in the ocean, even to non-vegetation of fungi and bacteria. When we talk about forests, we are specifically referring to tree forests.

Tree forests cover less than 10% of the earth surface. They function as habitats for organism, function as part of the water cycle, conserve soil, and give oxygen. There are many types of forests, generally classified by location and climate. The most common types are:

Tropical Rainforests – Dense forests. Year round high temperatures, lots of rainfall. Typically near equators.

Sub-Tropic Rainforests – Tend to be to the North or South of Tropical Forests. Evolved to survive summer drought.

Mediterranean Forest – These forests are found to the south of the temperate regions around the coasts of the Mediterranean, California, Chile and Western Australia

Temperate Forests – Temperate forests. Usually, the broad-leaved hardwood trees shed leaves annually. There are well-defined seasons with a distinct winter and sufficient rainfall.

Montane Forests – These are also known as cloud forests because they receive most of their precipitation from the mist or fog that comes up from the lowlands. Plants and animals in these forests are adapted to withstanding the cold, wet conditions and intense sunlight.

A typical forest is composed of the overstory (canopy) and the understory. The understory is then divided up into the shrub layer, herb layer, moss layer, and the soil microbes. Forests are essential to human life due to their contribution to nature: store carbon, regulate climate, purify water, and can prevent or mitigate floods.

Forests biomes can be altered by a variety of factors. When we think of this, we often think of what we as humans do to forests, but this can also be naturally occurring.

Such factors that humans do can be logging, urban sprawling (population expanding), slash and burn as part of shifting cultivation for farming. These can result in forest fires and acid rain. This kind of change can result in new forest growing, also known as secondary forest, in areas abandon by human populations after limited use.

Some of the natural factors that can causes changes include: forest fires, insects, diseases, weather, competition between species of trees and plant.

You’ll note I listed forest fires twice. With forest fires, we tend to think about those caused by humans. However, there are ways a fire can start in a forest not caused by humans, including: lightning, volcanic eruptions, sparks from rockfalls, and spontaneous combustion. This can be a good thing, as it can clean the forest floor of low-growing underbrush, debris, can open up parts of the forest to sunlight, and add nutrients to the soil. This in turn allows for forests to become stronger over time.

**WARNING** I am not encouraging anyone to start a forest fire. Even a natural one can be harmful to humans and can cause a loss of life. DO NOT START FIRES.

Additional things to remember about forests:

*Running through a dense forest is next to impossible. You might be able to do short bursts here and there, but running at full speed for long period of time… not going to happen. Nor is riding a horse at full speed.
*The loudest thing in the forest is humans. To move silently in a forest requires great skill in stealth. Which also means that it is easy to hear a human coming towards you, even if they are a ways off. The only exception is when the ground is wet.
*The average healthy, mature tree produces roughly 260 pounds of oxygen annually. The average person consumes 386 pounds of oxygen per year. Two trees provide enough oxygen for one person per year.
*More than half of the US drinking water originates in forests. Approximately 180 million people depend on forests for their drinking water.
*Over a year, an acre of forest can consume the amount of CO2 created by driving a car 26,000 miles, about twice the annual mileage for an average driver.
*More than 25% of the medicines we use originate in rainforest plants
*More than 5000 things are manufactured (such as, houses, furniture, movie tickets, books etc) from trees.
*Farming next to forests can help reduce wind, protecting wind sensitive plants

 

FORESTS

The forests we are going to do today will later be used as grassland later. The technique is rather simple. We will be making use of 3 different types of forests: Light, Dark, Black. The differences between these will be indication of density, or how close trees are to each other.

1. Create a New Layer
a. Keep it at the very top
b. Name it Light Forest
c. Set Primary Color: 269926
d. Set Magic Wand Tolerance 15 – 30

I set my Tolerance to 25

2. Go to Land Start Layer
a. With your magic wand, Shift+Click the most Green (bright) area on the map.
b. Go to Light Forest Layer
c. Hit BACKSPACE

3. Go to Effects -> Noise -> Add Noise
a. Intensity: 100
b. Saturation: 50
c. Coverage: 50
d. Tools: Effect -> Blur -> Fragmatation
e. Count: 3
f. Distance: 3
g. Rotation: 60
h. Gaussian Blur: 2

4. Create New Layer
a. Name it Dark Forest
b. Set Primary Color to 1F7F1F
c. Reduce Tolerance between 15% – 20%

I chose 15%

5. Shift+Click the middle of the forest
a. Go to Dark Forest layer
b. Hit BACKSPACE
c. Add Noise
d. Intensity: 75
e. Saturation: 25
f. Coverage: 50
g. Tools: Effect -> Blur -> Fragmatation
h. Count: 2
i. Distance: 2
j. Rotation: 60
k. Gaussian Blur: 2

4. Create New Layer
a. Name it Black Forest
b. Set Primary Color to 155615
c. Reduce Tolerance between 5% – 10%

I chose 8%

5. Shift+Click the middle of the forest
a. Go to Dark Forest layer
b. Hit BACKSPACE

You may notice some holes within the selected part. We need to fill these.

c. Click empty space in middle of the map (Do not Shift+Click)
d. Invert selection
e. Press BACKSPACE

6. Add Noise
a. Intensity: 50
b. Saturation: 0
c. Coverage: 50
d. Tools: Effect -> Blur -> Fragmatation
e. Count: 1
f. Distance: 1
g. Rotation: 60
h. Gaussian Blur: 2

Play around with this like always. You don’t have to have Dark and Black inside Light Woods. You can have a whole patch of any of the 3 if you desire. I had you set it up this way to help you see the contrast.

Worldbuilding 9a

Please leave a comment with any questions you have or show me what design you’ve come up with.

Help Keep This Site Running

This site is a great achievement for me, but due to being unable to work, I may not be able to keep this site running. With your help, I might be able to.

I need $125 by October 30th, 2017. Anything you can give will help.

https://www.gofundme.com/help-madness-worldbuilding-continue

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