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Joshua_101
11-02-2007, 10:04 PM
Here's another shot at the very first map I post. It's based on a D&D 3.5e module called Red Hand of Doom but modified to fit into my homebrew world of Dezoria.

I used Photoshop CS2 to create this map with great help from Pyrandon's tutorial and AidyBaby's Gullside Tutorial. Any suggestions? I think my mountains need some work... Does anybody have some suggestions for drawing river sources as they flow from the mountains?

ravells
11-02-2007, 11:06 PM
for me, it's too smooth and silky. colours are nice though!

su_liam
11-03-2007, 03:17 AM
I assume you have an underlying heightmap for this which you then use the lighting effects filter to make mountains of? You could try making the rivers dig canyons into the heightmap. Use a somewhat weak smudge brush to drag the lower elevations up from the ocean. The stronger the smudge brush the deeper and more extreme the canyons. I haven't tried this exactly but it just struck me as a good idea. I'll have to try that after the inlaws leave.

pyrandon
11-03-2007, 10:49 AM
Joshua, this is a neat map! I agree with the others (and you) that the mountains need some work. They are nifty, but seem too soft and billowy to be "mountains" per se.

There are also two odd qualities I see in this image:

1. The focus appears close-up with the mountain/hills and forests, and yet too distant for the coasts & water. The former are too detailed and the latter are too stylized/general. The result is a discord in the visual effect.

2. Related to #1 above, the mountains and trees are photorealistic, while the waters, coasts, and grasslands are artistic. Again, the effect is a bit jarring.

I hope this helps at least identify some areas to play with. I really like the map & I hope you keep working on it!! :)

Joshua_101
11-03-2007, 08:04 PM
J
1. The focus appears close-up with the mountain/hills and forests, and yet too distant for the coasts & water. The former are too detailed and the latter are too stylized/general. The result is a discord in the visual effect.

2. Related to #1 above, the mountains and trees are photorealistic, while the waters, coasts, and grasslands are artistic. Again, the effect is a bit jarring.

Agreed... I used a photo for the pattern fill on the trees, but I applied the Posterize effect on the forests to try and give them a more artistic feel. Maybe I should either use a different fill pattern or apply more filters/effects to make the trees less photo-like.

Thanks for the input folks! Its really helping to make this map come together.

RobA
11-03-2007, 11:45 PM
To get the mountains less "pillowy soft", you might try multiplying the heightfield by itself, and adding a bit of value noise to it before using the lighting effect/bump mapping.

-Rob A>

Joshua_101
11-09-2007, 01:23 PM
Soooo...

I carved the rivers into the mountains a little bit more towards their springsources and I like it more than it was before, but its not perfect.

I increased the heightmap on the mountains to get a harder more "craggy" effect and I also added some height texture to the grasslands. I really like this effect and with some more work I think I can perfect it.

What I did was draw some feint lighter greens and feint darker greens to get highs and lows in the grasslands then I copied that into a new alpha channel. I applied the Ink Outlines filter from the Brush Strokes filter menu to that alpha channel then blurred it out a bit to soften it. Then I went back to the grasslands layer and applied the Lighting Effects with that alpha channel I just created and made sure it wasn't very mountainous.

So now I need some opinions and tips again! Does anybody have any ideas for my roads? The red roads were created by the Imperial Legions (in the ancient Roman method) and the dashed roads are more like cart paths that have just been worn down over the centuries. I don't wanna just keep them the way they are, but I'd like to somehow "imprint" the roads into the land.

Also, I'd like to depict farmland different from the grasslands... any ideas? The black dots are villages and the black dots with red circles are larger towns & cities. The farmland would be concentrated among the closer southern towns.

RobA
11-09-2007, 01:41 PM
I don't wanna just keep them the way they are, but I'd like to somehow "imprint" the roads into the land.

Since you are adept a bump maps, just create a bump map source of all white roads on a black background, then apply it to a 50% grey layer.

You can use the result in overlay mode and just adjust the transparency to change the intensity of the effect.

-Rob A>

RPMiller
11-09-2007, 01:50 PM
You may also get some inspiration by looking in this thread:
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=992

Your work has a very similar 'feel' to his although his method of creation is different.

Joshua_101
11-09-2007, 04:45 PM
Okay so I tried some different techniques for the roads and decided to just draw a layer with brown roads, drop the transparency a little, and add a slight pillow emboss to it.

I put some detail and flow pattern into the rivers using the smudge tool and then I added the labels.

I am kinda concerned about the map looking too cluttered with all the labels right now. Any opinions on how I can keep the labels (so my players can say "I wanna go to Marthton following the Kingsway") but make them look not so messy?

And I'm still not sure how I'm gonna do the farmlands...

RPMiller
11-09-2007, 05:09 PM
farmland at this elevation: Patchwork of solid polygons filled with "vegetation colors".

pyrandon
11-09-2007, 05:31 PM
Hey, Joshua: definite improvements in the map as it's evolving. Good work. I like the mountains much more--although tehy now appear as rough, rocks hills vs. mts. because 1) they are still not "Craggy" enough, and 2) the trees give a scale indication of much larger than perhaps you intend (on a large-scale map we should not be able to make out bough and leaf distinctions).

I aslo like the river coloring s you did, although I think the sources of the rivers are too chunky; perhaps slim them down and suggest tributaries flowing in? Also on the river note, the two sources that combine above the "r" in "Elsir River" do not make sense: the flows collide, which would not happen in nature: either a lake should be inserted or the vee should be much more pronounced.

Finally, the map is mainly soft, but the coasts at times have a hard edge which stands out. Perhaps blur that just a teeny tiny bit.

Otherwise, nice map! I do not think the labels are distracting at all, either, BTW. I'd keep 'em. Take care,

Joshua_101
11-09-2007, 05:54 PM
Thanks for the tips everybody! I agree about the rivers, but the way I constructed the map, it might be a little difficult to adjust them at this point without recreating the entire landmass.

At this point, I think I'm finished with this map. I might re-visit it later and fix it up, but frankly I'm tired of looking at right now. LOL

Its not perfect, but its been a great learning experience and it has helped me to develop a personal style and workflow. I'm gonna keep all of this in mind when I create my next map and hopefully it will be more efficient. Again, thanks for the input folks!

RobA
11-09-2007, 07:26 PM
Any opinions on how I can keep the labels (so my players can say "I wanna go to Marthton following the Kingsway") but make them look not so messy?

One suggestion - try setting them to overlay or hard/soft light blend modes. any of those will allow more of the background colour to show through.

-Rob A>