View Full Version : Just something I whipped up today...

05-10-2010, 03:19 AM
Having recently been "educated" on what is a 4e map versus any other kind of map, I've been practicing on the concept this weekend. Also since some members don't play 4e (I don't) they don't quite understand what the difference is, so I created this both for an ongoing discussion I'm having on the RPGNet boards and as an example piece for the Poll thread.

This map was created using Xara Xtreme Pro 4.0 (my app of choice), it is a 100 ppi map measuring 36" x 48", JPG - exported from a vector created map using photo images as textures and a few (the trees and broken statue) map objects mostly made in 3D a few years ago, I use as needed.

I just saw Avatar (the movie) last night at a friends house on his HD TV of a blu-ray disc (awesome flick the clarity of detail in blue-ray is better than reality!) Anyway, the map content is my version of the floating mountains (Halleluyah Mountains in Avatar) as inspiration. I placed the ruin site for something more useful in a D&D 4e campaign - there are no such "ruins" in Avatar.

I started this at 2:00 pm roughly and finished before 5:00 pm - basically a little under 3 hours. As I say, this was intended as an experiment, so its not a commission, but I'm using it for a Pathfinder game I'm working on with my players. It was fun to do, and now I want to expand the theme and add other maps for a not-so-much Avatar, but wilderness setting with exotic locations. While I actually do prefer to create hand-drawn stuff, creating a strictly digital map as this one is easy for me to do, and much faster than hand-drawn work.

Just for reference Xara Xtreme is a vector app with powerful bevel/shadow/feather features that allows making maps extremely fast, that's why I use it for my cartography work. The textures are photo images, mostly from CGTextures.com site and some of my own photos over the years. I don't paint, so I don't use paint apps (PS, GIMP) much, except for image alteration/enhancement as I need it. I didn't need it for this map; this is all Xara work.

Since I've been busy on too many projects as of late, I haven't posted many maps recently, so I thought I'd put this in the Finished Maps forum...

Enjoy! CC License for use, since this is not a commission. Use it if you want!


05-10-2010, 08:18 AM
Already said this in the wip thread, but this is a great 4e battle map. I find it incredible that you can work that fast in Xara .... I guess I'm just not wired for vector apps, since I dl'd the trial and it was totally alien and confusing ;)

05-10-2010, 10:40 AM
Nice job. The only issues are inconsistent shadows.

-rope bridge light appears at 10:30, most other shadows indicate light at 12:00
-stair shadows seem off... if the grid is 3'(?) and it is near mid-day from the length of the other shadows, the step hight is huge (>1.5' per step)
-two broken statues have shadows that must be a part of the objects you used as they follow the rotation.

I like the tree across the gap. Can you change its bevel to be curved/sinusoidal rather than sharp at the top to eliminate the look of a flat spot?

-Rob A>

05-10-2010, 11:35 AM
Most these small problems have to do with working at the scale I'm doing this which is 100% at 36 x 48. I should be working at a smaller scale so the bevels and other features are more appropriate. For instance, when I feather the edge of an object at huge scale the feather is very small. Whereas if I were working at 1/4 scale the feathering would go farther. If this were a commission I would do it that way, but again this was experiment in a design paradigm and I was just working quickly without bothering to "do it right." Perhaps I can tweak the map and reupload here - I just need to find the time. And the shadowing, same deal I didn't zoom in to notice that the shadow was off - I should have done that and would have caught the shadow discrepancy.

Good eyes, RobA!


PS: if I were being smart about it, I would have done the vine between the gap as a 3D object, rather than a beveled shape, as in the case here. But I again, because I had to make it to Mother's Day dinner, so I lacked the time to do a proper job. It would have added an hour to the project - which I didn't have at the time.

05-11-2010, 11:10 PM
Now that doesn't at all look like you just "threw it together"! Man, I wish I could "throw together" a piece like that in three hours. Nice job, and have some rep.