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Jaxilon
07-07-2010, 01:28 AM
This will probably be the toughest thing for me to post because it is a map of my game world I created about 15 years ago to roleplay with friends. I think Ascension said it best in another thread and I paraphrase him loosely, "I will probably never post a map of my world because I could never do it justice when compared with what's in my mind." Also, If I ever get around to writing a book (something I plan to do one day) this would be the place it would start. So while I would love to share just about any other map I could make, for some reason I'm a tad hesitant on this one.

Then I reminded myself that if I want to get into doing digital art, maps and so on I have to get as much experience as possible and I need all the critiques and help I can get. I barely know how to use Gimp well, I learn something new every time I make a new image and I'm sure I do half the stuff the long way so eventually I am sure I will be doing better work than this. So, saying screw the comfort zone, I'm going to post it in reduced resolution that seems to look just fine on my screen.

I will attempt to give snapshots of my WIP on this up to the most current image which has no labels because I removed them from the original scan. These are not the full resolution but have been reduced to 100ppi and saved as .jpg @ 85% quality.

** sorry for the long post but I had to get that off my chest **

1. Scanned in & spliced together - I had drawn this decades ago and the first thing I noticed? Holy crap I didn't know anything about river violations! I must have fixed them and saved over my original.
2. Added ocean layers and some texture.
3. Painted the locations in color - In retrospect I should have just redone them separately and cut/pasted them in but oh well.
4. skipped a bunch of steps but now it's got some colors, legend, compass, and my favorite a little critter I scanned in from my sketchbook :) Oh, and I changed that spiked tower location down south, it just didn't fit well.
5. I experimented with an idea for the mountains and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out I think I'll stick with them. This brings you up to date on the project and next time I will do a proper WIP thread if I can.

StillCypher
07-07-2010, 03:34 AM
The colors here are very appealing. I like the forests, but they seem really big in comparison to the unfortunately blurry-looking mountains. Or maybe I've been staring at the computer screen for way, way too long. The smaller lake at the top looks blurry to me, too. The little patches of field and the houses and the bridges are so cute! :D

tilt
07-07-2010, 05:00 AM
love the colors too... very nice.. I'd cut the bottom of the dragon/seasnake and put some waves around it to make it "sink in" :)
and yes, the colored in mountains are looking blurry, gotta straighten those out :)

Gidde
07-07-2010, 06:57 PM
Honestly, the blurry mountains wouldn't bother me so much except that the coasts/houses/etc. are exact-pencil-precise. So an alternative to crisping the mountains may be blurring everything else?

Ascension
07-07-2010, 06:57 PM
It looks like you have two styles - parchment style with hand-drawing and painting for the land and satellite for the ocean. I love your forests, though. The mtns don't fit with them too well just yet but I'm not good enough to do better :) And yes, you got the gist of what I said right and that's all I can hope for.

Jaxilon
07-07-2010, 10:03 PM
Thanks for the comments and critiques.

@Tilt - funny you mentioned dropping the critter into the sea I had that thought at one point but got sidetracked and forgot it. I think he looks better now, thanks for pointing that out.

I did a little work to see if could make the mountains less blurry - I don't really want to go back and hand cut every one of them but if I have to, I have to. Let me know, I think this does look a little clearer. I may also need to try what giddie said and fuzz up some other stuff. I thought they were a little blurry myself but my wife liked them and she's usually more critical than I am. If I have some time I will attempt a "surreal map version" and we can look at them side by side to see which works best.

@Ascension - It might be a case of wanting to put everything into one map instead of patiently using each style. I might have to go back and create a different ocean but dangit, I just love going for that view down into the water. I'll have to think about another way to show the ocean because nothing is really coming to mind at the moment.

I think the mountains have evolved more than anything else if you compare the original scan. I'm still in that stage where I experiment with everything and these are where I ended up.

Back when I first created this map I was probably reading something like The Sword of Shannara and I think I got the idea for the forests from one of those maps or some other book I read around that time, it's too long ago to recall.

Here is the swimming dragon and touched up mountains. I appreciate everyone's comments because it helps me to double check myself as well as come up with new ways to do things - hopefully, in the process, it also helps the map I'm working on.

edit: and it looks like I may have to do something more with the forests because the mountains seem to me not to quite match as far as painterlyness goes.

Gidde
07-07-2010, 10:08 PM
I really like the swimming monster :)

tilt
07-08-2010, 02:34 AM
a lot better now - and the critter = perfect :)

Seretur
07-08-2010, 02:56 AM
How you do the mountains depends on which style you want to settle on. I think the blurry mountains match the sea more, but the sharper mountains work better with the forest/towns (although for that they still need to be even sharper).

And I also have to agree with Gidde and Tilt, the serpent is awesome :D.

Jaxilon
07-08-2010, 03:50 AM
Alright, a couple more mods - Turned the opacity up on the Serpent. fogged the outline on the trees which makes it look more painted imo and matching to the mountains - at least that was my hope. I also fogged the city icons a bit so they were not quite so crisp. Sort of trying to make everything meet in the middle I hope.

hittin the sack so this is it for tonight.

Seretur
07-08-2010, 04:03 AM
You also did something with the coast, it seems. Very minor, but also contributing to the "meet in the middle".

The tree changes definitely helped. The land icons look much more coherent now. The cities are still a little crisp, but I don't know how you could make them any blurrier without distorting them too much. I take back my suggestion to revert to the previous mountains. Meeting in the middle is probably your best bet. The cliff at the isthmus could use some blurring, to match the other terrain icons, even if it is technically part of the tower icon.

Ascension
07-08-2010, 07:07 AM
I prefer the previous Charlie Brown trees. The problem is that the mtns are more painterly while the forests are more drawn. I'd go back and draw the mtns and put some color under them like the forests. Just my opinion.

jfrazierjr
07-08-2010, 08:13 AM
I prefer the previous Charlie Brown trees. The problem is that the mtns are more painterly while the forests are more drawn. I'd go back and draw the mtns and put some color under them like the forests. Just my opinion.

What he said.... The mountains could use a bit of color and it would not hurt to use a smudge brush to blend them into the parchment below either.

Jaxilon
07-09-2010, 03:15 AM
Ok, I hear what you are saying and I'm still mulling over going back to my original hand drawn mountains but I have made a few more changes. I call these forests the "lead forests" because it looks to me like they are little pieces of stained glass put together with lead....well sorta anyway. I also tweaked the mountains a bit more as well. I think they match a little better now. It's hard to tell after you stare at something for too long though :) I think the trouble comes from the mountains looking more watercolor than the forest..probably because the mountains are more hand painted.

Thanks again everyone who has commented so far.

tilt
07-09-2010, 04:26 AM
still love the colors on this map.. nice and warm - and I see what your saying about the trees, they do have a glass mosaic look :) ... I've noticed the fields too, they are nice but a little out of style - try putting some perspective on them, since they are the only element that has a flat-top-down view :)

Jaxilon
07-09-2010, 10:09 AM
Oh, good catch Tilt, I hadn't even thought about those but you are sooo right.

StillCypher
07-09-2010, 07:59 PM
The colors are really nice. I'm not a big fan of what you did to the trees. I rather like the cities -- but they might be a little too crisp to go with the other elements. Maybe just a very slight blur and a very slight desaturation?

Jaxilon
07-11-2010, 04:32 AM
Merged the two techniques on my mountains allowing the hand drawn to show more. Added a bit of texture to the fields, blurred the city icons a tiny bit and fiddled around with a bunch of small stuff that I can't even remember. Too many hours staring at it I think I need to work on another project for a bit and come back to this with fresher eyes. I can't believe how long I can flip back and forth over a shade of color :!:

Since I'm falling asleep here I'm going to post this where I'm at now. I probably won't get back to this for a few days.

StillCypher
07-11-2010, 02:30 PM
That one lake just to the northwest of the mountains -- the one with the little house on the north shore -- still looks blurry to me. Otherwise, I think this is looking really good. Your mountains match much better now. I very much like the colors you've chosen, but I'm trying to decide if I like the 'juicier' look...

You know what I admire? The ability to restrain yourself in placing forests and mountains. When I'm doing a map, I think, "Ooo, blank area. Something should go there. Trees! More trees!" :D

Jaxilon
07-11-2010, 05:13 PM
Thanks SC for your post. I will look at that lake as well. I have wondered if the lakes were as consistent as they should be and you make me double check which is good. I am thinking about washing out the ocean altogether to see how it looks if I mute the color down...way down. Not sure what you refer to when you say "juicier" but I did back off the oiled look on the mountains by a lot.

Far as forest placement, if you don't have any open ranges where do you get to have your PC's face off against a charging army? hehe