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Ascension
01-06-2011, 06:05 PM
I've been experimenting with more realism and I think I'm getting pretty close now. Since this is a points of light theme I've been wanting to test-drive some light effects. They might be too much but this is just me practicing. I want the pathway beams to be thinner but this is the general idea. The terrain is final (unless I get a new idea or someone sees something odd) since I'll spend the rest of the month coming up with names and practicing light techniques.

### Latest WIP ###

moutarde
01-06-2011, 06:31 PM
Your first few light effects look really cool. And your names are possibly the greatest names ever ;)

Rythal
01-06-2011, 06:38 PM
Love the style. Love the names. Great job so far! :D

Jaxilon
01-06-2011, 07:09 PM
Gorgeous already. I'm still brainstorming my concept and here you are doing polish....sheesh.

Ascension
01-06-2011, 08:58 PM
Well, in last month's challenge I finally decided to push myself a little further than what I usually do in sat-style so I learned some new things. I knew that I wanted to put some lights in my next map and my usual dark sat-style seemed the best candidate instead of hand-drawn. Antique might have worked, too - that whole glowing runes around the edges or magical incantation words thing - but I'm doing some new sat stuff and I'm hoping to go further there. I spent all day Sunday doing the terrain - mostly hand-painting with textured brushes and colors and getting the blend modes right...I had about 50 layers. Monday, I started the labels and I knew what I wanted for my town markers. Last night I did the lights. I'm going to label up the whole map, hopefully, and the trek will cross the continent to some really spooky place like The Titanic Temple of Epic Eczema. The hardest part is trying to be serious and use serious-sounding names - I just can't help myself but be weird but I'm so tired of the usual sounding stuff like Blackburgh (I'd go with Darkspookyburgh). I tend toward the literal side sometimes when I have no idea and since the theme this month has the word light in it I'm going overboard on light-this, light-that, light beams, lighthearted.

Steel General
01-07-2011, 07:29 AM
Looks great so far.

This is a neat challenge, wish my mapping mojo wasn't still a dry withered husk. :(

ravells
01-07-2011, 10:05 AM
Gorgeous lighting effects, Big A!

LonewandererD
01-08-2011, 11:09 PM
The lights are so pretty :)... They are like my... my... my precious >:) . Seriously though loving the light effects, very well done, I don't think I would stand a chance in a comp against stuff like this.

-D-

jtougas
01-08-2011, 11:13 PM
*slaps forehead* Holy **** that is just too awesome.. :)

Gidde
01-09-2011, 01:41 AM
I love it, Asc, it looks like something from Final Fantasy -- just the right blend of photorealism with utterly fantastic effects. I really like the path and the start lights, keep those as you tweak ;)

Jaxilon
01-09-2011, 03:11 AM
Hey, is anyone else prepared to be blown away? Look in the upper right corner and see what a small portion of the map he's showing us... :o

@Lonewanderer - I know what you mean about feeling like you don't stand a chance. I still plan to enter but it's almost like things around here just keep ratcheting up all the time. It's a blast to watch though :)

tilt
01-09-2011, 03:33 AM
looks fantastic - love the effects :)

and as Jax just pointed out "look at the size of that thing" *lol*

Ascension
01-10-2011, 04:08 AM
Decided that bright lights are not my thing but I did use them for the gate (still not sure I want that thing in there or not). At least I know that I can do 'em if need be. You know me, dark n moody maps, right? So after futzing around with my text (it seemed to be lacking something but I couldn't find it) for the better part of the week and messing around with trendy light effects I scrapped 'em all. Made all the text smaller so as to convey a larger sense of scale and replaced the town markers with candles and torches that I drew then shrunk. Not sure what type of light I want to use for the two big cities - maybe a lantern or bonfire or gas light type thing or chandelier...don't want to draw a chandelier, though. I dunno depends on what I draw the best tomorrow. Once I get that then it's just doing up labels, key, and finish graphics. If I have any space and time left I might do an inset or something. Oh yeah, I added an escarpment on the right side just using some black and white soft round brushes to accentuate things. The text there says Valley of the Action Figures - they're small but they've got a killer kung-fu grip.

### Latest WIP ###

Immolate
01-10-2011, 08:52 AM
I like the names, very Orson Scott Card. The place names are very Hollywood and the candle/torch metaphor as an indicator of size is very clever.

Jaxilon
01-10-2011, 01:35 PM
Love the candle/torch idea, that is great. I think a lantern would rock for the bigger cities.

Gidde
01-10-2011, 10:51 PM
Aww, you got rid of the path, I really loved that. Ok, so now it looks more serious and challengelike, but that was a seriously cool piece of pure-mana light. Would it be horrible of me to ask you to post that as a png by itself? I promise not to steal it, but it'd be a great thing to be able to overlay onto my concept sketches so I can visualize what the skies of my alternate-reality plane might look like.

And, probably more importantly, the map looks great. On the big cities, you have a height progression going as well as fire-size. Maybe a signal-fire-tower might look cool for the biggest points of light.

Jaxilon
01-11-2011, 01:57 AM
Actually, if you could make that mana light into a mouse tail that would be the bomb-diggity

Ascension
01-11-2011, 08:54 AM
I'm reading this early in the morning and I don't feel like firing up PS 'cuz it takes too long - I can tell ya how faster. I can tell ya how to make your own pretty easily, though. First use the pen tool and make a path - using the pen tools keeps the curves smooth. Choose whatever brush size you want and stroke the path (i used a 3 pixel soft round). Delete the path. Zoom in closer and make a lil head for the trail, sorta like a sperm thingy, and then either use the smudge tool or the brush and make a pointy tail. Add an outer glow of some color, normal blend, size of around 10 or so, inner glow of the same color but darker with a size of 2 or so (I used a light and dark pink). Duplicate the layer and remove the layer styles. Add a color overlay of something light yellow and lower the opacity until it looks bright. Use a big eraser with a low flow and erase the tail a bit. That's the main beam. The smaller beams were done the same way but with the tablet so that they can be more free-flow instead of precise. The sparkles are the 3-pixel soft round with a spacing of 1000, size jitter of 100, scatter of 1000, count 1 and there are 3 layers of them - one layer has the pink glows, one layer has blue glows, and the top layer has a yellow color overlay.

The ring thing was just a stroked circle, reduced the vertical scale 50%, duplicate the ring and the lower ring gets some glows, rotate the top ring 90 degrees, cut in half so that there is a right side and left side and erased the other half on each layer, apply a few winds to each layer, merge down, rotate back to place, erase a little bit on the part that goes over the middle of the ring, lengthen the streaks vertical scale, give the streaks some glow, then put light beams and sparkles in for accent. Bah, maybe I'll just up the pics.

Gidde
01-11-2011, 03:22 PM
Thanks a ton, both for the pics and the how to. Rep to you, you solved a problem for me before I knew I had it, because when I saw that path I thought "YES! That's exactly what the glowing things in the sky of my world are supposed to look like!" Now I can make a skyscape to show my players.

Ascension
01-17-2011, 01:16 AM
Mostly I've been wrangling with my fonts and layer styles for the past week (plus a lil Civ 5). Now that I finally have them where I want them I can start coming up with names for stuff. Yes, I know they're small. I don't want to cover up everything and I have this habit of working at 200% zoom instead of normal 100% - even if no one else looks that deeply into my maps I know that I did things as good as possible. The different fonts for different areas have a reason (because I like them that way, nyah - heh heh) but I'll put that in the legend...something old and tattered and parchmenty. If I come up with an idea not so cliche then I'll use that instead. Basically it goes like this: death = purpley-gray, angelic = light blue/gold, nature = green, decay = greenish brown, human = light yellow, chaos = orange, demonic = red, order = white, ruins = gray, monsters = black.

### Latest WIP ###

RecklessEnthusiasm
01-17-2011, 02:15 AM
This is a great map, and the vivid colors really do it for me. The only think I think needs any work are the bubble-wrap mountains. Otherwise, this looks like one of the finest entries this month!

LonewandererD
01-18-2011, 02:12 AM
A desert that is not in the south, preposterous! Loving the work Ascension, my only quip is that the text is a little hard to read at this scale, but that's probably me.

-D-

Steel General
01-18-2011, 11:28 AM
Some of the text is a bit tough to read, but this has got that "moody-darkness" that you bring across so well. Great job as always!

RjBeals
01-19-2011, 10:18 AM
gorgeous map. The details are amazing. zoomed in close it looks like a satellite map

ravells
01-19-2011, 10:22 AM
Superb stuff. All those rivers are really paying off. It benefits the coastline too, all those little estuaries make the coastline look much more realistic.

Ascension
01-31-2011, 09:24 PM
I haven't done anything on this because I was experimenting with all sorts of effects n stuff, too much stuff, but I've learned a whole heck of a lot (that I can't even begin to post 'cuz I'd have a post every day of little things and that would be ridiculous). I finally found inspiration for labels this afternoon and rushed a bunch of stuff in - some gold-edged paper and a bunch of names from my memory of various mythos, legends, religion, etc. So it's incomplete and that top part is really lame. Oh well. I might take this into a world map format and space everything out properly 'cuz it looks rather crowded right now instead of being a largely unpopulated world. Plus I've got way more places to add and then do some research on what else to add. So, for what it's worth, here's the final.

### Latest WIP ###

tilt
03-11-2011, 12:05 PM
looks fantastic Ascension, I was away when this contest ran and suddenly remembered I had to look back on your light effects... I started a WIP to long ago (land of twillight) where I planned to use candles and lanterns for city markers... you beat me too it *lol* now I have to get another original idea.. damn... perhaps I should just learn to finish my projects ;)
Beautiful map - especially love the prismatic gate :)