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SandmanNet
12-28-2010, 03:25 AM
So, I have this map project for the world of Myst. I'm sure some of you have played these games when you were younger :)

I am creating digital Myst books, you can view Myst and the beginning of Riven here:

http://sandman.net/myst

And in them, I have drawn maps of the various islands of Myst. Some are available for download:

http://sandman.net/texter/read.php?id=104818
http://sandman.net/texter/read.php?id=97181
http://sandman.net/texter/read.php?id=97168

While there are a lot of things I'm not happy with in these maps, the most obvious thing is the mountains or stoney surfaces. On the last, Myst Island, it's the hilltop of the observatory and the edges of most of the island. The eroded rock that slopes down into the water.

It doesn't look horrible, but not very authentic either. I want to make really authentic-looking hillsides/mountains/erosion effects. I'm also looking to do these automatically, not hand-drawn. I am currently drawing my maps all by hand using a Wacom Cintiq. But ideally I would like some form of software where I could draw the land and the erosion would automatically be generated. And I can selectively raise/lower the terrain until I am satisfied. I am using a Mac, but I do have a PC at hand if needed.

If you've used Bryce, you know about the greyscale elevation map editor. Something like that, but a bit nicer, is what I'm looking for. It had controls for adding erosion and "ruggedness" to the terrain.

Failing that, I would like to have some really good pointers for creating good looking stone surfaces on a map.

Any help is appreciated.

ProfGremlin
12-28-2010, 01:27 PM
Well, I've never used Bryce but a few years back I played around with both Terragen (www.planetside.co.uk/) and World Machine (www.world-machine.com/). Terragen works off the premise of a greyscale elevation map. World Machine has a whole flow chart that you lay out to affect the terrain. Both have great automatic algorithms for creating erosion. That might be some place to begin. For me, Terragen was more intuitive whereas World Machine took a bit more effort in learning how to work with it. Both created some great land maps, especially if the height field was generated in World Machine and then imported to Terragen (though this is just a bonus not a requirement).

jfrazierjr
12-28-2010, 02:53 PM
Honestly, unless you are looking for something to sell and and the customer has requirements(or your just looking to experiment and broaden your horizons), I would say play to your strengths. You have very nice hand drawn skills...

RobA
12-28-2010, 08:50 PM
I own two Wacom Cintiq, one at home and one at work

Now I'm real jealous. Care to give a review in our tablet vs. mouse thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?552-Mouse-vs.-tablet)?

-Rob A>

SandmanNet
12-29-2010, 06:15 AM
Well, thanks a lot! But I want it to look even better :)

SandmanNet
12-29-2010, 06:18 AM
Now I'm real jealous. Care to give a review in our tablet vs. mouse thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?552-Mouse-vs.-tablet)?

-Rob A>

Hehe, well, I'm sure I'm not the only one using a Cintiq... right?

SandmanNet
12-29-2010, 06:28 AM
Well, I've never used Bryce but a few years back I played around with both Terragen (www.planetside.co.uk/) and World Machine (www.world-machine.com/). Terragen works off the premise of a greyscale elevation map. World Machine has a whole flow chart that you lay out to affect the terrain. Both have great automatic algorithms for creating erosion. That might be some place to begin. For me, Terragen was more intuitive whereas World Machine took a bit more effort in learning how to work with it. Both created some great land maps, especially if the height field was generated in World Machine and then imported to Terragen (though this is just a bonus not a requirement).

Thank you for your suggestions, I will look into them.

Ascension
12-29-2010, 07:33 AM
If I remember correctly, the only other person using the Cintiq is the owner of the website, Arcana. I'm currently, saving for one, though.

DevinNight
12-29-2010, 12:03 PM
add me to the jealous list.
I spent a bit of time looking at your work. It's really good and it made want to dig out my Myst and Riven games. I still might.
I'd have to agree that your hand drawn work is great and I'm not sure why you need to do it any other way. I would think that the hand drawn look would fit your project better.
Anyway, nice stuff thanks for posting.

TheShouting
12-29-2010, 12:20 PM
This is great. I always loved the Myst series.

SandmanNet
12-29-2010, 03:05 PM
add me to the jealous list.
I spent a bit of time looking at your work. It's really good and it made want to dig out my Myst and Riven games. I still might.
I'd have to agree that your hand drawn work is great and I'm not sure why you need to do it any other way. I would think that the hand drawn look would fit your project better.
Anyway, nice stuff thanks for posting.

Well, thanks a lot! Maybe I've underestimated it. I'll think about what you've said.

Gluhoded
12-29-2010, 03:31 PM
I've played around with bryce a while ago, and I think it might work pretty well for the effect you want to achieve.
Even the older Bryce version 4 had a simple but rather powerful terrain editor - you can imort gray scale images, edit with a brush, add filters like eroded cliffsides or smoothed out hillsides. very fun to use and very intuitive.

The down side of this is that it would be comp generated, and a lot less cool than your current hand drawn style.

Anyway Riven was one of my favourite games, and It was great looking around your site!

SandmanNet
12-29-2010, 05:26 PM
I've played around with bryce a while ago, and I think it might work pretty well for the effect you want to achieve.
Even the older Bryce version 4 had a simple but rather powerful terrain editor - you can imort gray scale images, edit with a brush, add filters like eroded cliffsides or smoothed out hillsides. very fun to use and very intuitive.

The down side of this is that it would be comp generated, and a lot less cool than your current hand drawn style.

Anyway Riven was one of my favourite games, and It was great looking around your site!

I don't know what to say. Looks like I'll have to work on my hand drawn style enough to make myself satisfied with it.

jfrazierjr
12-29-2010, 05:37 PM
I don't know what to say. Looks like I'll have to work on my hand drawn style enough to make myself satisfied with it.


Yea... you are real strong on the mountains/rocks. they look superb! The thing is that they are far better detailed than some of the other set dressing such as the roads and bridges/ship. The wood planks need some grundging up, but it's the same with the rest of the walking surfaces. As an example, in http://sandman.net/media/modules/articleimages//SND/2006/05/08/17/MystIslandMap2.png, the docks and ship need just a bit more attention to make it look like individual planks instead of like a solid color with lines drawn on it to represent planks. It's kind of like you spent 10 hours on the mountain side/cliff faces and then 10 minutes slapping the other elements down. The other elements would be ok IF the mountains were not so detailed in comparison, but then it would not be as great a piece as a whole either.

I hope this does not come off harsh as I CAN see that you have the skill as demonstrated by the mountain work you have done already.

SandmanNet
12-29-2010, 05:41 PM
Yea... you are real strong on the mountains/rocks. they look superb! The thing is that they are far better detailed than some of the other set dressing such as the roads and bridges/ship. The wood planks need some grundging up, but it's the same with the rest of the walking surfaces. As an example, in http://sandman.net/media/modules/articleimages//SND/2006/05/08/17/MystIslandMap2.png, the docks and ship need just a bit more attention to make it look like individual planks instead of like a solid color with lines drawn on it to represent planks. It's kind of like you spent 10 hours on the mountain side/cliff faces and then 10 minutes slapping the other elements down. The other elements would be ok IF the mountains were not so detailed in comparison, but then it would not be as great a piece as a whole either.

I hope this does not come off harsh as I CAN see that you have the skill as demonstrated by the mountain work you have done already.

It's not harsh at all, it's really helpful. I had already started to create a photoshop workflow to use some filters and actions to create a computer-generated stone surface (using chiseled bevelling for one thing) and now I may have to redirect my efforts to other parts instead.

Thanks a lot for your comments! :)

arsheesh
12-29-2010, 07:33 PM
I agree with everyone's recommendations to stick with the hand drawn erosion which not only looks nice, but seems to better fit the aesthetic of a personal journal anyway. But what I'd really like to know is why nobody has repped you yet?!? Seriously, I've looked through both the Myst and the Riven journals and they are a real work of art. This is one of the best fan-art projects I've seen. So I guess I have the privilege of being the first to add to your reputation (Yeah +2...) here at the Guild. Anyway, keep up the good work.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

SandmanNet
12-30-2010, 06:15 AM
I agree with everyone's recommendations to stick with the hand drawn erosion which not only looks nice, but seems to better fit the aesthetic of a personal journal anyway. But what I'd really like to know is why nobody has repped you yet?!? Seriously, I've looked through both the Myst and the Riven journals and they are a real work of art. This is one of the best fan-art projects I've seen. So I guess I have the privilege of being the first to add to your reputation (Yeah +2...) here at the Guild. Anyway, keep up the good work.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Why thank you. I don't know what reputation does for me, but any appreciation is nice of course :) As you can imagine, I'm very new to this forum :)

Greason Wolfe
01-04-2011, 01:28 PM
If you're really looking to work with greyscale heightfields and some sort of automatic erosion process, you might want to take a look at a combination of Terragen and Wilbur. Wilbur (http://www.ridgenet.net/~jslayton/wilbur.html) has the erosion processes you might be looking for (Precipitation based and Incise Flow along with other editing features) while Terragen can generate photo-realistic renders of your terrains. I use both fairly frequently, particularly with maps depicting smaller areas.

GW