View Full Version : My First Image Post: Blackwash Mire

05-11-2010, 05:32 PM
The village of Whitewash exemplifies the power of the Shaping Man. For their blasphemy, for clinging to their Harvest Goddess and her profane temple, He came in the night. Under the watchful eye of the Clyclopean Moon, the Shaping Man reduced their village and orchards to blasted swampland, leaving only their precious temple to mock their misplaced faith. Some say the villagers remain in Blackwash Mire, reshaped by His skillful touch, to protect their temple. The heretics claim they protect a secret deep beneath the harvest goddessís temple; a secret that protected it from even the Shaping Manís fury. But heretics will say anything.


Hi all,
I've been lurking about, trying to learn what I can from everyone on the boards and picking up a lot in the meantime. I've got a project I've been playing with the teach myself cartography, and I'm hoping to get some feedback.

It's just a work-in-progress, obviously; I don't have anything labeled or a scale or even know for sure if I like the layout. The biggest problems I'm having are making the map more immediately readable: It just looks like a big blob right now. I think it would help if I could make the trees (those purpley, greenish jumbles) actually look more like swamp-style cypress trees.

I'd appreciate any feedback. I've learned a lot from this forum and I respect your various skills a lot.

05-11-2010, 05:43 PM
oh no, that is some great stuff. the water depth levels could do with some blending if possible, but I think the trees are great. Looks vaguely Red Epic-ish, and thats a good thing. :)

05-11-2010, 05:45 PM
That is one hell of a first image post! Seriously, this is looking terrific so far! I haven't worked in the hand-drawn style that you are using, so I don't know what to tell you about the forests. I actually thought you were going for a sort of impressionistic look with them. I really like your wetlands, and your use...grunge brushes? Great job on this, I can't wait to see more. Guess what, you have privilege of being the first person that I get to thump with my bran new +2 Mace of repping.


05-11-2010, 05:52 PM
Thank you, Arsheesh.

Most of this map was actually done using standard Photoshop brushes, mostly the wet media and thick and heavy sets to get a really rough texture. I did build a custom rock brush out of the standard Photoshop round, though, and a textured dual brush to make the sinking roads.

05-11-2010, 05:55 PM
Ah, Photoshop has a better starting package of brushes than does GIMP (what I use) apparently. I'll have to see about trying to find some of those brushes, I'd like to experiment with the hand-drawn/water color look that you are doing here.

05-11-2010, 05:57 PM
Photoshop's custom brush panel makes me a happy, happy girl. There's almost nothing it can't do.

05-11-2010, 06:14 PM
Looks good so far.

I like the background and the red text as a border. I like the title text too. I would suggest longer cast shadows for the trees and the house to pull them up out of the map a little - at the moment they look flat on the ground. Indeed the cast shadows from the rocks look longer than the cast shadows from the trees and buildings. I'm not sure whether you really want to go in and do too much to the trees. Yes, they're a little obvious as wet edge PS brushes at the moment, but there's some real charm in them and they're clearly stylised. As soon as you decide to try to make them representative you might be in trouble. However if you want to go into more detail I'd suggest getting some photos of cyprus trees and creating a custom brush that has some of the right leaf patterns. With a high count rate and lots of scatter you can quickly lay in some leaf highlights and shadows to define individual trees. If you want to go crazy then a hard round brush with width set to pen pressure plus some jitter and a little care will let you lay out the trunk and branches on each one really quickly - though I'd set the transparency on that layer quite low so that you're suggesting trees rather than drawing them all out. Hope that helps?

Looking forward to seeing this one come along. In future - there are many WIP forums that this sort of post can go in. The General forums is kind of the off-topic forum so it's not quite the right place. Also, you can upload images directly to the site in the Go Advanced version of creating a post - just click the paperclip at the top of the sceen where you type the post contents. That allows us to see the larger version.

05-11-2010, 06:20 PM
Thank you for the advice, Torstan, and sorry about the poor choice in forums. I'll take a look at some satellite photos of the Everglades and see if I can't make a kick-butt brush or pattern.

05-11-2010, 06:39 PM
This is a wildly good first post map with loads of great things going on. I really love the general layout and sort of haphazard shapes. It really looks like that terrain has been ripped up and shaped. The idea behind it is good too. The colors are great - kinda muted which is right I think for this story. I agree that water depth would look better blended but ill just watch its progress.

05-11-2010, 10:17 PM
I spend nearly most of my time trying to imitate a water color over hand-drawn style (without actually drawing or painting anything) and she knocks me for a loop with her first post. That's very nice looking stuff there but I'd like to see a bigger version (if there is one). About the only thing that I can say is maybe use a little bit of yellow, tan, or orange (other than the house) to reduce the monochromatic feel of all the greens and maybe just a very slight touch of teal in the water. Nonetheless these are minor minor things and if you left it as is I'd still want one. Nice job.

05-12-2010, 02:54 AM
I agree with all of the above - really cool map, fantastic first post. Love the water color look, now I want to go out and get me a pen too... :) ... as torstan said, work on the shadows a little to bring out the height of elements, and I also want to see a bigger version so I can enjoy the details :) .. have some rep :)

05-12-2010, 06:14 PM
Okay, so I took the various bits of advice: I designed a textured tree brush from aerial photos of swamp trees, I added a tiny splash of color, especially to the water to make it read better, and I fleshed out the details a bit more. It's not perfect yet, but I think I'll call this one done and move on to the next project.

Thank you all for your advice. I really appreciate it


I apologize for the size being on the small side. Photobucket seems to be shrinking my work down to an acceptable size.

05-12-2010, 07:11 PM
Nice work. Note that as I said before it's best not to use external hosting and then link the image. Instead upload it to the CG directly. Then you can place it directly in the post as a thumbnail with a larger image viewable when it's clicked. Do this through the Manage Attachments button in the Advanced form for composing a message.

Looks good - and certainly looking forward to seeing what you make next.

05-12-2010, 08:22 PM
Ah, so that's how it's done. Thank you, Torstan.

05-12-2010, 08:49 PM
Ah, now we're talkin. I can see how this was done but no way could I ever get the same look. In my book that gets a big two thumbs up :)

05-13-2010, 12:31 AM
very nice... and the temple has got some height now.. beautiful map, well done :)

05-13-2010, 12:35 AM
This is a great map, love the watercolor style.

05-13-2010, 01:20 AM
Oh, very nice!

Steel General
05-13-2010, 06:50 AM
Neat stuff, thx for posting.