Put your city on the map in 4 layers. Create an artistic old map of your area. Here’s what you should be achieving:
Step 1: Getting the actual map
Go to maps.yahoo.com, find your area and zoom in to a desired level—I went in somewhere between City and Street view in some area in Bucharest, Romania but you can also do a Country view. If your part of the world isn’t covered by yahoo maps, try google mapsor get a regular image of a map from the area you need.
Hit the PrintScreen key, go in Photoshop and paste it in a new document and then Crop (C key) the image keeping only the desired part. Use the Patch Tool or the Healing Brush Tool to remove the center cross.
Step 2: Applying the old paper texture to give it a vintage look
For the second step you need an old grunge paper texture. I used this free image from cgtextures. Paste it on a new layer above the map and set the blending mode to Multiply. If your image turns out to dark, select the paper layer and go to Image > Adjustment > Brightness/Contrast and set set the brightness to a higher value (I didn’t need to). You may also need to adjust its size and position.
Step 3: Adding a photograph
Now you need to find a suited image of your city/region. Well, it doesn’t necessarily have to be related to your region as long as it looks good. I used this image of the The Athenaeum in Bucharest. But I also found fantasy/surreal art images to look great here (examples at the end). Paste the image under the paper layer and adjust its blending mode, opacity and brightness/contrast. I used Multiply with a 50% Opacity but you may want to try other values for your image of choice (like Soft Light for the blending mode or increasing the Brightness).
Step 4: Clear the roads!
Next thing I did here was to create a Layer Mask to the Bucharest Athenaeum layer and while having the mask selected and the foreground to black, I used a 100px brush with 0% hardness to brush away the sky. Then, with the same brush, but after setting its Opacity to 50% I brushed some more on the mask in regions I considered to “crowded” like where there were roads and texts from the map layer and trees and building parts from the Athenaeum image. I then reduced the brush size and brushed some more along the roads. The brush size should be smaller than the road width. Try to only brush inside the roads.
Step 5: A nice final touch, the borders
Your layers should now be in this order: Paper layer (up most), Photograph layer and Map layer. While having the Photograph layer selected, create a new layer (Ctrl+Shift+N), name it Borders and fill it with white (press D and X to make the foreground color white and Alt + Backspace to fill it with color). Hit Ctrl+A to select all, go to Select > Modify > Contract and contract the selection by 19px. Change the Foreground Color to #999999 and hit Alt+Backspace to fill the selection. Go to Select > Modify > Contract again and enter 1px. Hit the Delete key to clear the selection.
And you’re done. Gongrats! Oh, right… I promised the fantasy examples:
I used two layers with two photographs for the one above, both with Multiply blending mode and both with layer masks.
Another cool vintage example:
And another one, of a south Romanian view (click to view full size):