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keithcurtis
12-19-2007, 02:28 PM
I've have been searching for a long long time for a way to freehand topography in a fashion that I feel is believable, attractive, doens't require topo data, and above all: fast. The other night I decided to try yet again and finally, finally, hit upon the right combination of layer effects, textures, transparencies, ink colors, brush type and painting technique to give me the effect I had been searching for.
I wanted to make an actual map, and chose the wonderfully horrible GM's map from the webcomic Chainmail Bikini (http://www.feartheboot.com/comic/). For the record, here's the before (http://www.feartheboot.com/comic/galleryimage.aspx?i=35).

Here is an evening's work. This was amazingly fast. I had already generated textures for things like forest and desert. Most of the time was spent refining the mountain technique. The labels took a bit more time. There's a lot more tweaking and fine tuning I would do if this were a production map, but it was a very satisfying exercise.
http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j134/keithcurtis/rpg/Caseys-Map.jpg

The thumbnails below show the map without words, just the landforms, and finally the topo layer without any effects, so that the actual brushstrokes needed to create the mountains can be seen. I had to place the last in front of a pure black background layer, since the brush strokes are very light and not easily seen against white. The final map has a duplicate of this layer set to 50% multiply to enrich the shadows.

http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j134/keithcurtis/CCD/Maps/th_Caseys-Map_NoWords.jpg (http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j134/keithcurtis/CCD/Maps/Caseys-Map_NoWords.jpg)
Map without labels

http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j134/keithcurtis/CCD/Maps/th_CaseysMap_Topo.jpg (http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j134/keithcurtis/CCD/Maps/CaseysMap_Topo.jpg)
Landforms only

http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j134/keithcurtis/CCD/Maps/th_CaseysMap_NoEffect.jpg (http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j134/keithcurtis/CCD/Maps/CaseysMap_NoEffect.jpg)
Landform layer without effects

ravells
12-19-2007, 03:19 PM
I just love the fact that you're doing the map for Chainmail Bikini!

Shawn and Shamus must find a way to work this into the cartoon!

RPMiller
12-19-2007, 03:32 PM
So when will the tutorial be posted? ;)

RPMiller
12-19-2007, 03:35 PM
"Hey, I figured I would spend some of my down time and redo your map."
"Redo my map?!?"
"Yea, I've been toying with some ideas and I think this came together perfectly."
"Let me see that map."
"Hey, why does he get to see the map and the rest of us don't?"
"Stop complaining."
"Isn't the Dead Forest kind of small?"

Or something like that. ;)

pyrandon
12-20-2007, 11:06 PM
Wow, Keith. That is only one night's work?? I say again: Wow!

Seriously, I know you must have 2 billion things to do, but a really quick tutorial would be of immense use to everyone at the Guild... Very helpful, especially considering the source. If you ever can scrape away 30 min, even the most rudimentary guide would be much lauded by the masses! :) :) :)

keithcurtis
12-22-2007, 12:18 AM
Wow, Keith. That is only one night's work?? I say again: Wow!

Seriously, I know you must have 2 billion things to do, but a really quick tutorial would be of immense use to everyone at the Guild... Very helpful, especially considering the source. If you ever can scrape away 30 min, even the most rudimentary guide would be much lauded by the masses! :) :) :)

I'll see if I can get something done after the holidays. :)