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mearrin69
10-23-2010, 11:29 PM
I'm working on an encounter map for an adventure by Silver Crescent Publishing for its Realms of Twilight (http://www.realmsoftwilight.net/)campaign setting. Basically, the PCs are travelling through some trackless wastes and are ambushed by a tribe of scary barbarian type halflings called "nightlings". They're well hidden in the hills surrounding the PCs and have nasty blowguns. Halfway through the battle a group of shadows, attracted by the combat, burst onto the scene - the area is fairly infused with necromantic energy. It's one of those battles you love to hate as a player.

I have attached my initial sketch and my current WiP. Still lots to do on it but I feel like it's getting there. Any thoughts on how to get the countours to "read" as being at different levels without having them jump into your lap will be much appreciated. The client doesn't want a bunch of non-map markings (other than grid) on there...so I can't just draw a big white dotted line around them (as I did in the sketch). Any thoughts? Thanks!
M

Edit: Oh yeah, it takes place at night (or, rather, I think it's always dark in this world) and there are two moons up. I'm trying to get that silvery moonlight thing going...but I'm not going to try to do shadows from too moons. Oh, no, not me. M O O N, that spells fuggedaboudit.

geamon
10-23-2010, 11:42 PM
The only advice I think I can give for the height is actually to edit the grid. The weight of the lines is kinda high. Seeing as this is in PS I'm not sure whats the equivalent to layer modes but is there a way to manipulate the opacity so that in blends in a little better and not cover up the actual map? I'm assuming you used bump mapping for the hill?

I'm assuming it's the clients request to have the title on the map? Kinda covers a lot of it and I find unnecessary.

Steel General
10-24-2010, 10:32 AM
Depending on the intensity of the light, you may want to consider deepening the shadows...

It's coming along nicely though.

mearrin69
10-24-2010, 01:59 PM
@geamon: Reducing the grid opacity is a pretty good idea. It's already slightly transparent but I'll back it off some more, because it does obscure some detail. Yeah, the title is a request from the client. It could maybe be smaller though.

@SG: Definitely could use some more shadows. Thanks.

The hills are a combination of "bevel and emboss" layer styles applied to the shapes of each of the contours and combined and layers that shade the various levels progressively lighter as they go up in height. I think the bevels are a little too start at this point, so I want to knock them back some and maybe sketch in some details that provide an indication of height change without the neatly beveled edges.

The brushy areas are a bit too leafy and green so I'm going to work on them some more. I'd like them to be more like the brambles Tolkien described in Mordor in LotR. I think adding additional scattered groundcover will reduce their stark appearance a bit as well.

I see now, by the cold light of morning, that the riverbed is way too defined...even though I tried to knock it down into the dirt a little bit. I'll have to do some more futzing with the layer mask that I'm using to hide/expose the rocks.

Thanks for the feedback, guys.
M

geamon
10-24-2010, 02:06 PM
I'm just happy I'm at the point now that I understand the software enough to give input. Like I'm comfortable enough now that I think I can jump into PS and not drown.

Lathorien
10-25-2010, 05:05 AM
maybe a small rock texture to flank the large rock river bead, the transition seems alittle stark to me. If you drop you grid layer to under the lighing effects layers but above the texture layer, the lines should "bend" with the terrain... might create the look you are going for. :)

Jaxilon
10-25-2010, 09:38 PM
That is cool

mearrin69
10-26-2010, 11:35 PM
Little update...mainly to make the undergrowth more "brambly" and to add some scattered growth, bones, etc. to the ground. I used quite a few brushes I got from an issue of ImagineFX magazine. If you've never seen it you should check it out. I think it was like $16 but well worth it, IMHO. Considering a sub but...wow...that's a lot of money for a magazine.
M

tilt
10-27-2010, 03:27 AM
looking good, the small size, though understandable, makes it hard to give full crititque.. some combat maps show a little triangle for difficult terrain - but it looks like all of your terrain is difficult. What is the ball on the compass? a moon? - cause at first I thought it was north, but then I saw the N :) ... oh, and nice coloring :)

mearrin69
10-27-2010, 03:32 AM
Thanks. I can post a larger size, I think (this is 25% of the full-resolution image). Was just trying to conserve space. I'll get a larger sized one up tomorrow. I think the compass center is the company/setting logo...the balls, I think, represent the two moons of the planet.
M

mearrin69
11-07-2010, 12:21 PM
So, the next map for this adventure involves an encampment into which the PCs have been lured. It is located in a plains area with 2'-3' tall grass...with the grass in the encampment area itself having been packed down or cleared. Any thoughts on realistically representing grasslands like this? Maybe I can grab some aerial shots of wheat fields or something?

I also have details of the third and final battlemap, which takes place in a ruined courtyard - but I don't have the publisher's sketch of the courtyard layout, so I'll be starting on the one mentioned above first.
M

geamon
11-07-2010, 12:56 PM
Well maybe you can create the texture yourself. Not too sure if you have a tablet (I'm not speaking from experience just guess work), but I'm assuming you can use a lower opacity brush and do curve strokes in layered fashion from top to bottom filling in the areas the grass is located. Then blur and overlay or merge it with a lower layer that has a grass texture that's been colorized or hued a more earthy yellow color. Of course I'm thinking a lot of work would be needed?

Jaxilon
11-17-2010, 12:38 PM
My first thought is to check out crop circles. Probably they will be over emphasized as far as the crushed down areas but if you manipulate them a bit to soften them up it might work really well. Makes me wonder how it would turn out....ewwww, I'm resisting an experiment now.

mearrin69
03-10-2011, 10:02 PM
For now, I guess, I seem to be using tumbleweeds. It's not exactly grass but it'll do until I can find something better. Trying to knock this one out by the weekend...the whole thing was off for a while but it's back on now and I'm supposed to deliver by 4/15 (this new map, the keep battle map, and then a map of the keep itself).
M

mearrin69
03-10-2011, 10:20 PM
While I'm at it, here's just a quickie to establish layout for the keep encounter map. Around the edges will be the walls of the keep and near the top is the keep building itself.
M

Ascension
03-10-2011, 11:34 PM
Looks good to me.

mearrin69
03-11-2011, 12:52 AM
Thanks! Little more work done on this one. Still getting in the major shapes...
M

mearrin69
03-11-2011, 02:43 PM
Little more progress here.
M

mearrin69
03-26-2011, 03:49 PM
An update on the campsite encounter. I think it's mostly done except for tweaks.
M

mearrin69
03-30-2011, 03:27 AM
This is a very difficult map to come to terms with...
M

Jaxilon
03-30-2011, 03:51 AM
It looks great to me. Pretty spooky in fact if you imagine wandering in there alone under the light of the moon, which is how it looks to me.

ravells
03-30-2011, 07:10 AM
I'm with Jax, I think it looks really good. That silvery light gives a really nice spooky effect!

Sharpe
03-31-2011, 03:00 AM
An update on the campsite encounter. I think it's mostly done except for tweaks.
M
Man, that's awesome! very useful too -- I mean, how often do scenarios involve a camp like that?

mearrin69
04-02-2011, 09:23 PM
Resolved the issue with the client...we're leaving the roof on the gatehouse. I've fixed some wall issues, shadowing, etc. It's mostly done except for the statue...which is still a stand-in.

Yeah, the campsite encounter could come in handy in a lot of games I expect. :)
M

Aegeri
04-03-2011, 10:13 PM
Yeah, I've already found a use for it in my games :D

mearrin69
04-05-2011, 11:22 PM
Just about there, I think. Client wanted less "wasteland" and more green, and for the burnt area in the SE to show up more. Also, added a flagpole and flag. It's black, whaddyagonnado?
M

Aegeri
04-06-2011, 04:24 AM
I thought these were for a set of encounters in a wasteland or something. Or is there supposed to be a bit of change of scenery in the module? I'm actually curious to see what the completed adventure will look like.

mearrin69
04-06-2011, 05:12 AM
Indeed. The whole world is a wasteland to my knowledge...but the client wanted more grass here so he got more grass! I have actually just seen a rough PDF and it looks pretty sharp. Nice artwork. Hopefully nice maps too!
M

arfles
10-10-2011, 12:34 AM
Hi, I don't know if this is out of place to request, but do you have this without any grids? It's easier to use the map without grids in d20Pro. Thanks!

~Arf

mearrin69
10-10-2011, 12:39 AM
Hi Arf,
I do but can't share it as this was a paid commission for a publisher. Sorry about that...I'd happily send it if it was entirely up to me.
M

Banenight
10-11-2011, 05:48 AM
I just have to say I only wish I had 100th the talent you have in making maps. My artistic ability involves a pen a paper and enough lines and circles to make two stick figures!

mearrin69
10-11-2011, 06:01 AM
Why, thank you very much. You've come to the right place to learn, though! Give it a shot and you'll be past stick figures very soon!
M