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Ilvarin
09-19-2010, 11:55 AM
Greetings!
It has been some time since my last post (technical issues), but I was wanting to put this one up for a little C&C. I threw it together in a couple of hours, and I am hoping for any advice to add to the artistic aspect, within the context of my campaign idea. The one word I want the map and background info to convey is "dirty". The central city, Mosford, is a backwater river crossing at the extreme frontier of a crumbling empire. It has always been occupied by some empire or another because it is the only river crossing for over 50 miles in either direction. But it has always been held as an invasion route, or against threat of invasion, not because of the trade that passes through. Consequently, it is a mashup of architecture and social microcosms. It is an ugly town, and just plain filthy.

Anyway, I want the map to convey that from the first glance, but I want it to be well-made on my part. I still have some labels to add, but most of the heavy lifting is done. I would greatly appreciate any advice for polishing it, however. Or any advice, for that matter.

I forgot to mention: the map was done in GIMP.

Thanks

Jaxilon
09-19-2010, 01:05 PM
You might want to think about that perfect town icon you are using because it matches the others on the map. If it's supposed to be a "mashup of architecture" you should consider making another icon that is not so clean cut. As in, have the walls be slightly off and such. Not sure how you can do that but I think if the icon of the town is slightly different it might help. It almost looks like you have blurred the other towns a tad and left Mosford sharp. Maybe you should try it the opposite (blur Mosford and have the others sharp).

You have a nice map going here but it sort of looks more like it was picked up out of the dirt rather than indicating that just Mosford is dirty.

One other thought I had, not sure if it will work, but you might add a gradient of darkness along the rivers edges and have it expand into Mosford. My thought is that maybe it would give the idea that Mosford is a 'muddy' town.

Just be sure to save your original layers while you experiment.

Hope this helps or at least gave you something to think about.

Ascension
09-19-2010, 02:01 PM
It's going to be hard to make a town look like a mash-up at icon size. The only thing that you can try is to draw some buildings out by hand at a large size, stick em together, and then shrink it down to fit the space. Shrinking it down will kill a bunch of the detail, though. So you're in a catch-22. The best way to convey that mash-up feel is to do an ISO city map and just put some dots and squares on this one. You could do your city map as an inset map on this one and thus combine everything into one image.

Ilvarin
09-20-2010, 11:36 AM
Thanks for the suggestions. Actually, for the town names i just ran the opacity to around 80% then used one of my grunge brushes as an eraser to give it a worn look (that was my intent anyway). Thanks, Jaxilon, for the river tip. I knew something was missing. I was tempted to wait to post, but I did want it to be a WIP and not try to make it finished. I am definitely open to the idea of some grunge city symbol brushes, if such there are. I barely squeak out enough time to map, let alone try to make brushes. Maybe I could try hitting the city/town symbols with the grunge eraser, too. hmmmm. Back to the lab . . .