View Full Version : My First post...Pro Map for Orange Cone Games

10-20-2007, 10:44 PM
This is a world map for Orange Cone games.


Take a look. I do custom DnD maps when i can, please comment. If you have requests, and some money:) please let me know.

10-20-2007, 10:52 PM
Holy Hootenany! That is one amazing map. The exact type of cartography I love: rich, textured, engaging, and anything but typical. An all-around amazing pice (yet again) from TheRedEpic!

Would you give a couple "tricks of your trade"? For example: do you rely on any specific filter(s), brush(es), or particular technique(s)? I know you have a strong artistic background & training, but do you use anything other than simply your eye and your pen?

Once again, thanks for posting this. A great, great piece!

10-21-2007, 04:30 AM
Fantastic, I love the style and bright colour scheme. As Don says, some tips would be great.

10-21-2007, 06:28 AM
I agree with everything thats been said. Great Map. Really engaging. Tips would be great, for example how did you get that great sea texture?


10-21-2007, 02:17 PM
Hey Guys,

Thanks very much for your input and comments, i appreciate it. I should have some more maps to put up shortly.

I know you guys have been asking me for tips and tricks, so i will reveal some of my techniques here.

Continental Maps
Step#1: Think
When i approach doing a map, either professionally or for personal reasons, I think about the color palette and shape. Most of the maps i am commissioned to do are of lush rolling hills and grasslands, but those are not the only things maps should be. Terrain has all types of colors and shapes. The key to a good looking map is CONTROLLED CHAOS. Just like nature intends lands and terrain to be, so should you want to emulate this on your cartography. Does the world suffer from plague and disease, what are its races and people like, are they sea farer's or minimalistic mountaineers, where are the bodies of water in relation to the towns and villages, what type of FEEL do you want for the map in general?. I ask myself all of these things before i hop into a map as it helps me sculpt it out.

Step#2: Pencils
I pencil out my geography with crisp clean lines, sharp and easily cleaned up and darkened in photoshop. Drawing general lines for my continents, i then go in and inch my way across the entire map, putting in inlets, shores, cliff or any other detailed matter. After this is done, i scan the line work into photoshop and play around with the levels a bit so they are easily viewed.

Step#3: Separating water and land/Using layers
I make my default Background layer a normal layer, so i can delete and play with it. After my pencils are cleaned up, i select my water bodies and rivers with either the magic wand or masking, and delete them off the layer. This leaves me with just the land mass shapes on an empty transparent background. Not white, but empty. I make a new layer and color it with a shade of bluish green, depending on the map. I then import any textures i have taken or found to be interesting and lay them over the water layer and multiply the layer. The bluish green layer will now merge under the texture, giving the water a nice unique feel. I sometimes use multiple textures to play around with. With the land layer on top, the water is seen through the gaps in the continents.

Step#4: Custom Land brushes and painting
I use my own brushes to color my maps. I make a new document, splash and dimple, and put whatever i want onto the white page, and then define new brush preset, and viola, a new brush is formed. I have a great spatter wispy brush that helps me conduct my controlled chaos. A big key to using brushes is also the brush properties, where you can fool with the angle jitter, how many it lays down, scattering, and even color hue and thickness, all of which are very good at putting photo shop's power to good use for you. As for painting, using my brushes, i will lay down a basic color for the continents (usually a decent green, though a nice Mojave brown will do for deserts), and then slowly build up layers and layers, till i use lighter colors for highlights and grasslands. Multiplying your brush is a great asset i have found, as it sort of forms a natural "Burn" on the same color.

Details details DETAILS!
I use a darker color that suits the continent to darken the edges of the map, while i bring out the light of the shore from the water layer with a very light blue, so this trumps up the edges of the map further. Remember to use specific colors for certain ares to emphasis, say rich rain forest is going to be a much deeper thalo-esque green than a maple wood or oak forest, which will be lighter. Swamps are more of a sickly green, or even brownish black, and the bases of mountains should be a deeper darker hue due to the runoff of excess water. Little things like this along with some creative flourishes can make a maps ignite on the page. Nothing is ever totally straight or wholly one color in nature, so make it so in your maps. Enjoy the unpredictability of your brushes and make allot of happy accidents.

Detailed area maps:
The same basic principles can be used for a detailed area map, but often, i paint straight over my pencils and don't bother with water levels. Detailed area maps have my own different techniques, as they require more in the way of fine tuning, not to mention an emphasis on the towns and cities, or buildings rather that whole continents.

I won't reveal all my secrets, but i thought that was a decent intro into how i work, and its just one of the ways to tackle a map.

Hope i helped out guys:)

10-21-2007, 02:23 PM
Thanks a million for the tutorial, Jared. I love the textures you've used. They're so rich. I can't wait to see more of your maps!

10-22-2007, 09:38 AM
Thanks a million for sharing some of your creative process, Jared!

-Rob A>

10-22-2007, 10:19 PM
Thanks for the tips, Jared. The more I look at this map (well, all of your maps, actually) the more I like them!

10-22-2007, 11:55 PM
Hey guys,

I got permission from one of my employers to put up some maps that i have done for Trident Games, the creators of an upcoming text/graphical interface online game named Citadel: Lands of the Empty Sky.

You should all look them up, it looks like it going to be a blast! They are in the programming and art direction phase, and i am doing all oft he maps for the GUI. Take a look, as these maps were done a bit differently than the continental map i have above.

All of these maps are specific locations you can visit in the game for various quest and such.




Please comment:)

10-22-2007, 11:56 PM
Here are some more...



10-22-2007, 11:57 PM
and a couple more...



10-23-2007, 10:55 AM
Nice art work.

Though (since I don't know the game mechanisms) seeing a square grid overlayed on a isometric/aerial perspective just looks wrong to me :) Is there a reason the grids are square rather than iso?

-Rob A>

10-23-2007, 11:04 AM
Lovely art work Epic.

10-23-2007, 12:31 PM
Those are amazing, Jared. I'll have to look up that "Citadel" game--looks great & sounds intriguing. I still can't believe you use no filters on these; that's true talent!

10-23-2007, 01:11 PM
I agree. The richness of the color palette is just so good that it really makes you stay and admire the artwork. That looks like it will be a neat game, but I will have to abstain from giving it a go, as I find MMORPGs and the like are addicting and I just don't have the time required to really immerse myself.

10-23-2007, 08:00 PM
Hey Guys,

Thanks amillion for the comments:)

To answer your question, the grid is overlayed over the isometric view so it shows where the player may walk the Standard WASD config allows the player to move only intot he boxes that are connected to each other.

I do think that on some i could have toned down the boxes even more, and i may still in the futre. The orange shaded boxes are "wilderness" boxes, where the play may exit and enter the map.

Personally, I find that mmorg's get very repetive and are not as sophisticated as a game like this one (they always seem to rely on too much game mechanics rather than story telling, as well as the combat being booooooring). And then again, this game may be too slow for the average user (which text based games are for a specific niche crowd anyway).

Here is a link to Trident games website for any that may be interested:

Hope to have some more maps to post soon:)


10-24-2007, 03:42 AM
Wonderful artwork, TheRedEpic! No need to guard your secrets, I fear- you're a true artist. Merely knowing the mechanics won't help us mortals replicate stuff like that!:)

11-05-2007, 12:01 AM
I am surprised my prior photoshop works and experiments didn't click when I actually looked at your maps, nor when I read your little tutorial thing, when creating your water and probably the terrain do you use the "Forum Signature" techinques? Grundge, Fractal, Abstract brushes?

mind you it may not be the "Exact" same but I just never really thought about it like that until I thought about making a signature for these forums

P.S. the person/character in the signatures are just renders taken out of high quality art pictures =D