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Sharpe
10-18-2010, 04:45 AM
Hello!

I love RPG maps. I hate that I can't make them. I really hate that I can't even seem to follow any of the tutorials to get the desired result.

I can draw pretty well with pencil and paper, but have no skill doing so on a computer.

I'm going to give RobA's tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?1142-Award-Winner-Using-GIMP-to-Create-an-Artistic-Regional-RPG-Map) a shot once again. This will be my third time. I always fail somewhere along the line and the map looks nothing like his example pics.

I will be using my fingertip on my laptop's touch pad...

Sharpe
10-18-2010, 05:25 AM
Post 3: Then Let's Begin (if I have an idea)

<snip>

Now create a new transparent layer (Layer->New Layer) and name it “Land”, pick a big, solid brush in black and trace out the contours using the Pencil Tool, then fill the area you want land in black, and everything else white.
GIMP TIP! – You can drag a colour from the palette or the color selector to an image and it will fill the current selection with that colour.

I've decided to doodle over Dragon Warrior 1's overworld map (http://www.woodus.com/den/gallery/graphics/dw1nes/maps_overworld/dw1-over2.gif).

Sharpe
10-18-2010, 05:43 AM
Now invert the layer (Color->Invert) and blur the image (Filters->Bur->Gaussian Blur) The amount of blur will determine how random the final coast will be. The larger the blur, the more random the coastline will be (in the blurry area). If you have a well defined coast already (like here) use a smaller blur (50px). If you have a poorly defined coast (as is the case when using a random coast technique) make it a large blur.
I blurred my image 25px.


I went back and blurred a few areas more by hand on the main coast to get more randomness there but keeping the detail in the island ring. Note the histogram. What you want is a nice level image, with dark and light more evenly spread out, as opposed to a U shape.
Well, I'm looking at mine and it's completely flat... No idea what the histogram is or why this is important. I guess I'll have to soldier onward...

Okay, I clicked on one of the buttons to see if that helped, and I think it did. By default, mine histogram was set to Linear and I guess it needs to be on Logarithmic. Here's a screen shot: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/histogram.jpg

So, it's 'U' shaped and the tut says you want it flat, but I don't know how to level it out...

Well, I'll just have to continue with a 'U'-shaped histogram.

Sharpe
10-18-2010, 05:48 AM
Create new layer called “Land Noise” and fill it with clouds (Filter->Render->Clouds->Solid Noise) Set the detail to the maximum (15) and the X and Y size to the max (16.0). The larger the size, the more randomness your final coast will have. Give it a new random seed and jot down the number (I put it in the layer name afterwards as a reminder). And change the blend mode to Overlay.
That did just about nothing. Turning the overlay layer on and off, I can see it does do a very, very tiny amount of difference to the coast, but nothing like the example.

I wonder if a lot more blur would help this.

Imma save and go back.

EDIT: Here's a screenshot with blur at 100px: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/histogram2.jpg

Not sure if that histogram is better or worse.

EDIT x2: Okay, that looks a lot more like Rob's example pic. Unfortunately, it looks a lot less like the Dragon Warrior map... :/

EDIT x3: As of right now, I've settled with a blur of 65px. XD

Sharpe
10-18-2010, 06:28 AM
Create a new layer called “Land Clip”, filled with white above that, and set its blend mode to Lighten. You will have a white image. Now, with this layer selected, Open the levels dialog (Colors->Levels) and grab the white output slider, and drag it down. As this happens, the land will be revealed. Stop at a place you like, and click OK.
The part I bolded and underlined, I'm not sure what it means "above that." This is the first sentence of post 4. I think it means above the Land Noise layer. That was the last thing created in post 3.

I made the layer and set it to Lighten Only. Then, I took the slider and "stopped at a place I liked." Since I really have no idea what I'm doing here, I have nothing to base what I "like" off of. I just look at Rob's example and kinda put it in about the same place he did. It's all Greek to me.


Now using the Magic Wand Tool, (making sure Sample Merged is Checked and the Threshold is 0) click anywhere in the dark area. This will define your coast. If you want to adjust it, just undo the selection (ctrl-Z) and change the levels of the “Land Clip” layer. I wand back and tightened the coast a bit.

Okay, so the more white you have, the less coast you're going to have. I went back and added a lot more white. Screen shot: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/coasts.jpg


Now Invert the selection (Select->Invert), create a new black layer called “Land Mask” and fill the selection with white. Now save the selection to a Channel (Select->Save to Channel) and rename the channel to “Land Mask”. This will be used a fit bit later.
Yikes. That was all scary. I don't even know what in the world any of that was.

Here's a screen shot, which looks nothing like any of Rob's examples: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/landmask.jpg

I have a feeling this is only going to get farther away from Rob's examples from now on.

But, maybe not. This is about as far as I made it the last two times I've tried over the last 9 months. Maybe the third time's the charm!

Sharpe
10-18-2010, 06:43 AM
Post 6: Create the sea. (in the beginning...)

To make the ocean/water (and the base contour for the land as well) a two layer variant of the three layer sandwich will be used.
Copy the “Land Mask” Layer, and rename it “Sea Shape”. Apply a Gaussian Blur (Filter->Blue->Gaussian Blur) large enough to eliminate the absolute black and whites of the image. In this case, I used the same size as the image (500px).
I just don't know if I got this right at all. I don't think I even know what this means. I didn't have any absolute black in the image, and if both are "eliminated" that leaves nothing on my map...?

So, Rob made his blur amount the same as his map, so I guess I will too.

Okay. It's totally off. It's like, not even there. Rob's looks like this: http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1436&d=1194552925

Mine looks like this: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/seashape.jpg

Looks like I'm done until I get someone to pull me out...

Sharpe
10-18-2010, 07:10 AM
Well, I'll keep going just to see what happens.


Create a new layer and call it “Sea Noise” Fill this with Clouds (Filters->Render->Clouds->Solid Noise) set to a low size (3) and detail of 15, reseeding the random number. Set the layer blend mode to mode to Overlay, then merge it down with the “Sea Shape” layer by right clicking on the layer and selecting “Merge Down”.
Got it. 'Sept it looks nothing like the example. At all.


Duplicate this layer and rename it “Sea”. Add a layer mask by right clicking on the “Sea” layer, and selecting “Add Layer Mask”. When the dialog opens, select “Channel” (By default it should have the “Land Mask” channel shown and check “Invert”. Click Add.
Okay. Need a right parenthesis after "shown."

Screen shot: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/layermask.jpg

The layer mask next to the layer thumbnail looks like Rob's. The layer thumbnail, of course, doesn't.



Layer masks act like filters that let parts of the image “show though”. Areas where the mask is white will allow the layer to be visible. Areas where the mask is black will be transparent, and the various shades of grey will be varying degrees of transparency. Now right click on the “Sea” layer and select “Apply Layer Mask”. This will remove pieces of the layer based on what was showing through the layer mask. Here I have made all the other layers invisible to see the result:
1440

Well, Rob's looks like what it supposed to. Mine looks like I spilled milk on the screen: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/allwrong.jpg




Also, check out the histogram….that is where we start next.
And, I'm sure mine is all off, not that I even know what it does.

It's actually completely blank. Is that better or worse than 'U' shaped?

I'm done.

Sharpe
10-18-2010, 07:29 AM
....Okay, I'm not done.

I went back to where things started to go wrong.


Now Invert the selection (Select->Invert), create a new BLACK layer called “Land Mask” and fill the selection with white. Now save the selection to a Channel (Select->Save to Channel) and rename the channel to “Land Mask”. This will be used a fit bit later.
There's where things might have went haywire for me.

Before, I created a transparent layer and filled the selection with white. This time around, I created a layer with a Layer Fill Type set to background color (which is black). Then, I filled the inverted selection (the landmasses) with white.

Now it looks more like Rob's (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1431&d=1194552537). Here's a screen shot: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/mask2.jpg

The only issue I see is that my coastline is completely razor straight and flat...

But, I want to see how this goes so I'm not going to worry about that right now.

Sharpe
10-18-2010, 07:45 AM
To make the ocean/water (and the base contour for the land as well) a two layer variant of the three layer sandwich will be used.
Copy the “Land Mask” Layer, and rename it “Sea Shape”. Apply a Gaussian Blur (Filter->Blue->Gaussian Blur) large enough to eliminate the absolute black and whites of the image. In this case, I used the same size as the image (500px).
I still don't know what that means, but I can read the pictures just fine. :D

I think (hope) this looks pretty close: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/blur.jpg



Layer masks act like filters that let parts of the image “show though”. Areas where the mask is white will allow the layer to be visible. Areas where the mask is black will be transparent, and the various shades of grey will be varying degrees of transparency. Now right click on the “Sea” layer and select “Apply Layer Mask”. This will remove pieces of the layer based on what was showing through the layer mask. Here I have made all the other layers invisible to see the result:
1440

Hey! Hey!!! I think mine looks a lot like Rob's! Screen shot: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/gettingsomewhere.jpg


Also, check out the histogram….that is where we start next.

Oh, boy. Here Rob goes with that damn histogram again... XD

Sharpe
10-18-2010, 08:22 AM
Now we want to stretch out the colours in the “Sea” layer across the entire black to white range. With the sea layer selected, auto normalize the image (Colors->Auto->Normalize). The histogram will now have little gaps in it. As the greys have all been spread out. To fix this, select the non-transparent area (by clicking on the “Sea” layer and selecting “Alpha to Selection”. Invert the selection (Select->Invert) and fill the area with white. Remove the selection (Select->None) and apply a 20px Gaussian blur.

Note the histogram is now filled in.
Okay. Yeah, I guess it is: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/histogram3.jpg


Now the next bit of magic. Set the foreground colour to the darkest water colour (water 5) by clicking on it in the Palette Editor (that we set up at the beginning), and set the background colour to the second lightest water color (water 5) by Ctrl-clicking on it.
Oops. The tut says two Water 5's. I think the second one should be Water 2 probably.


Now we will turn the B/W into colour, by clicking Color->Map->Gradient Map, and the water is almost (for now).
Almost... finished?

Well, well. Third time might be the charm after all! :)


Repeat this, flipping the signs, so set X to -20 and Y to 20. This screen grab is after the first one.


This will give a nice wispy, random looking water edge, once the land is put in place…
Okay, but my land area isn't white like Rob's example pic.


Now that the ocean is completed, the land can be build up. Create a cop of the “Sea Shape” layer and name it “Grass”. Create a layer mask using the “Land Mask”channel. Click on the layer icon so we now edit the layer, not the mask.
Should this mask have been "inverted?" All of the others so far have been. I'm going to leave it checked. Well, no, it doesn't say to have it inverted and it always did before so I'll uncheck it.


Ctrl-Click on the dark green (Ditch) colour to make it the background and click on the light green (high ground) to make it the foreground colours, then Colour->Map->Gradient Map.
Nothing happened. :/

Okay, I looked at Rob's screen shot and his Grass layer is on top. I moved mine to the top and the land turned green.

Here's what his looks like: http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1457&d=1194634418

Here's what mine looks like:

Actually, I'm not going to take the time to upload a screen shot as I'm too tired. Suffice it to say, it looks like ****.

I don't know. I'll start over again at an earlier step.

Sharpe
10-18-2010, 09:59 AM
Couldn't sleep. Gotta do this...


...I don't get it. I tried again making a map at 500x500 px so just about everything would be the same as Rob's. I get to the same step.


Now we will turn the B/W into colour, by clicking Color->Map->Gradient Map, and the water is almost (for now).
Okay. Looks good...


Repeat this, flipping the signs, so set X to -20 and Y to 20. This screen grab is after the first one.
But, the screen grab is white. I can't figure out why. Mine is all blue and so is the screen grabs in the tut up until that point.

http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/WTH.jpg

Here's what mine looks like: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/again.jpg

It's blue and there's no shore line. I just can't figure it out. Probably because I'm super sleepy.


Now that the ocean is completed, the land can be build up. Create a cop of the “Sea Shape” layer and name it “Grass”. Create a layer mask using the “Land Mask”channel. Click on the layer icon so we now edit the layer, not the mask.

I copied the Sea Shape layer like the tut says, then moved it up to the top of the layers because Rob's is.

Mine looks okay so far, not quite as good. If I could figure out what I'm doing wrong on the Seashore layer, it would look much closer to Rob's. Here's a screen shot: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/seashore.jpg


Post 9:Finishing the Land.

After the bump map we now have this. You can adjust the opacity of the bump map to make it less noticeable if desired:
I pretty well do, again, except for the coast: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/gettingthere.jpg

I'm going to keep at this...

Sharpe
10-18-2010, 10:27 AM
After the bump map we now have this. You can adjust the opacity of the bump map to make it less noticeable if desired:
I did. Knocked it down to 43%.


Merge down the difference layer, invert it, then bring up the layers dialog and adjust it to be a wider band of white on black. This will be used as the layer mask for the dirt….
Awww, crap! I was blowing through the steps until we got to that dang histogram looking thing again...

NO idea what this means, so i just moved the three little arrows close together in the middle, kind of like Rob's example pic.


Go back to the Dirt Layer and add a layer mask, using the “Land Mask” channel. Now right click on the layer mask and select “Apply layer”. This will erase everything that is not above the land.
Not for me. I was surprised when nothing happened.

http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab84/Sharpe103/GURPS/anotherwall.jpg

ravells
10-18-2010, 11:30 AM
Hi Sharpe, unfortunately I don't use Gimp so I can't help, but there lots of gimp users out there. Hopefully someone will step in and help you out shortly.

geamon
10-18-2010, 12:59 PM
Pretty simple your Sea Shore layer is filled with blue (RobA's isn't), aside from that the masks and everything are fine as far as I can tell. So just select that layer make sure you aren't editing the mask for the layer and fill it with with white usually it's set as the BG color as default.

RobA
10-18-2010, 01:29 PM
HI -

Just a comment on your first few posts. The map you start with already has much coastal detail. The proces of blurring and adding in noise is for when you don't have that detail! There is little value in doing it if you have a detailed shape you are trying to maintain. In such a case, check out Old Guy's tutorial: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?9056

-Rob A>

hohum
10-18-2010, 05:50 PM
Hi Sharpe, I will re-iterate what RobA just said. I too tried his tutorial with a predefined coastal shape. If you follow the steps with all the blurs you will wipe out your predefined coast rather than fractalize it. I haven't tried old guys method specifically, but something like it. I think I see what is going on with your coastal smear issue. Right under where you wrote "BLUE" is the key. It says: "Create a new layer called Seashore and fill with lightest water color (water 1) add layer mask and make sure invert is not selected". So my guess is that you didn't fill a layer with the light water color, didn't add or added the wrong mask. See if that helps.

{EDIT}
You might also post a screen cap of your layers dialog or just the xcf file if we are not giving you the right directions.

Sharpe
11-03-2010, 03:23 PM
I tried again to faithfully recreate the 1986 Dragon Warrior 1 map and think I've gotten somewhere this time.

30675


This is with the original map at 10% opacity so you can see just how surprisingly close it is to the original (http://www.woodus.com/den/gallery/graphics/dw1nes/maps_overworld/dw1-over2.gif):
30676

Time to start in on the mountains... I'll place them reminiscent of the Nintendo map, without sacrificing too much realism.