View Full Version : Getting ready for Dark Sun- My first attempt at a battle map for Athas

07-13-2010, 09:02 PM
Here is my first attempt at a sort of generic desert battle map for the upcoming Dark Sun Campaign setting. I have chosen to stroke all the objects with a 1 px black line to give it the sort of cartoon feel that Wotc's maps often have. Please critique and post any feedback. Good or Bad. I am just now learning the art of cartography as i have been a Photoshop junkie now for a decade, but the learning curve has been steep. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

07-13-2010, 10:05 PM
Looks pretty good to me. Have some rep for your first map (I assume, since you're at 4 posts) - and a battlemap at that, which I find pretty tough to do well.

My co-DM loves Dark Sun, so much so that she'll probably go back on her word and actually buy a couple of 4E books. I've never played in it but it sounds pretty cool from what I do know...bought up the 2E stuff when it came out in PDF so I've actually read a bit on the setting.

As this is in Finished Maps I don't expect you plan on making many changes BUT for your next map I'd suggest working a bit on the shadows to make them more consistent between objects and working on the shading of objects to make them "pop" a bit more as 3D objects seen from above. Neither of these are easy tasks and there, frankly, aren't a lot of tutorials around here on battlemaps. Take a look at some of the forum "masters" use of shadows...as quite a few people around here seem to have them down. Me, I suck at them. :)

07-14-2010, 12:39 AM
Wow, that really looks amazing Nightspaladin. I'm new here too. Maybe I will give a battle map a try next! I feel inspired :)

07-14-2010, 03:03 PM
looking good - love battlemaps myself, working on a big one at the moment.. .ok 2 big ones... ok.. perhaps 3 *lol* ... and a tutorial ;)
as mearrin said, its the shading and especially the shadows that need the work the most. You need to ground your elements, and I'm sorry to tell you - but a drop shadow won't do it :) ... hand painted shadows, then you'll get the look you need, or sometimes I use 5 shadow layers copied from the original object :)

Steel General
07-14-2010, 04:39 PM
Dark Sun... more like Death Sun! ;)

07-14-2010, 11:57 PM
Yeah, that's my main problem, grounding of objects. I can't seem to manually add a shadow that doesn't either make it look floating or just be a dark diffused blob around the mass. Any suggestions on tutorials or people to talk to/art to look at?

Here is a look at what i am talking about. This is without any prefab drop shadow and manually adding some shadows. I am not happy with the look. iIt is a little too blobish for me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated

07-15-2010, 12:28 AM
I've had some success with: 1) duplicating the layer and moving it under the object then nudging it in the direction the shadow should fall, 2) adding a layer style of Color with black, 3) duplicating that layer several times and moving each one further away from object, 4) blurring each layer (Blur->Gaussian) a little more strongly based on how far away it is from the object, 5) merging all of the layers together and then changing its blend mode to Multiply and playing with the opacity until I'm happy. How far you move the shadow layers, how much you blur, how many layers, etc. is all highly dependent upon the height of the object. You can see the technique on my Argria map in the CWBP (link (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?8176-Region-1-Map-27-Town-01-Argria/page9)). Probably not the best method but it has worked semi-well for me in the past. Hope that helps!

07-15-2010, 02:13 AM
Really nice job and it's fantastic to see more battlemaps.

07-15-2010, 01:25 PM
thank you mearrin for spelling that out :) ... it's a "long" process but it works. Alternativily you can just hand paint the shadow on the rock - use a big soft brush along the line of the rock (on a different layer of course), then stroke again with a smaller brush again with a even smaller - this way you lay the heavier shadows close to the rock. Then you can further ground it by shadowing the bottom of the rock where the rock hits the ground so the two shadow areas "connect". :)