My old workflow was very rigid and ineffective – I needed to go ingame and take more screenshots all the time, I exported each room as a PNG that then I put into one massive PSB (easily over 50,000 pixels wide/high sometimes), where I would work in that large PSB, connecting rooms and adding flavour, which significantly slowed me down even with 32GB RAM and a GTX 1060 6GB.

Additionally, every time I needed to go back and correct a mistake in a room, I needed to reexport the PNG and manually replace it in the PSB. This also meant that sometimes replacing a PNG meant that I needed to re-check all of my edits on top of it, to make sure they still line up.

  1. Take a lot of screenshots.
  2. Once all screenshots are done, dump them into a psd file for each room without much care for lining them up.
  3. Go over each room’s PSD, line up the screenshots then set up rough masks.
  4. Properly do masks, occasionally realising I need more screenshots, having to go ingame and take some new ones and then proceed until all rooms are done.
  5. Assemble the whole area based on the ingame map.
  6. Finalise each room.
  7. Connect rooms, correct room transitions (this was one of the longest parts).
  8. Fill out edges of the rooms (by adding shadows, rags, vines, etc) then add some extra flavour to it (floating crystal pieces, flying motes, fog/light effects etc).
  9.  Connect to the world map.
I needed a more flexible approach that allows me to work in small files and update them manually in the master PSB:
1. I now take screenshots parallel to setting up the PSDs for work: as soon as I finished screenshotting each room, I set the PSD up with all the basic masks to make sure I have all the screenshots I will need.

2. I put all of these PSDs into one huge PSB and line up the rooms roughly based on the ingame map.

3. I then clean up each individual room of seams and then refine their position, making sure no rooms overlap.

4. After that, I create a new PSD for each room connection and work on connecting the rooms seamlessly in a separate PSD. The reason for this is that when I need to update any part of the map, I can do that in a small file instead of working with the big PSB that can be as large as 50,000+ pixels wide/high.

Working this way is significantly faster, and once the PSD is saved, it automatically gets updated in the master PSB.

5. After all the rooms and connections are finished, I then add any extra “flavour” to the map such as the flying motes in Greenpath, or the floating crystal pieces in Crystal Peak, any light or fog effects etc.