View Full Version : FNG could really use some help on this City

03-30-2011, 02:20 AM
I've been reading the tutorials here for a while, and really learning a lot. This is my first city map attempt, and I just don't think I've captured what I'm trying to get here. I'm using GIMP. One of my main issues is that my tablet won't work with GIMP. If y'all could have a look and maybe offer some pointers?

03-30-2011, 02:40 AM
Hey there...and Welcome to the Guild! It's not so very terrible. ;)

The first thing that pops out at me is that your building bevel would look better if it was just on the buildings (red shapes) instead of on the overall building blocks, which include some alleyways. Not sure how that has happened in your map but maybe your alleyways aren't fully erased? Also a bit of a harder "crease" on the bevel might crisp them up a bit. I'm not a GIMP expert so I'm not sure which buttons to push or I'd give something specific. If you get some of this worked out and are feeling adventurous you might think about some color variations in the roofs.

Some ground and water texture would help out.

Looks like you've tried to use some "found" floorplans for the cathedral, keep, and high castle. They're cool but not blending with the style you've put together. I'd suggest maybe using those as references and creating them from scratch in your map. Also, these are showing the building interiors, which is breaking the impression of a bird's eye view of your town.

The forests look pretty good but get a little "wiggly" because of the broad fuzzy band that's around them. Is that a drop shadow?

The mountains are very abrupt, but the shapes and coloring are nice. Ideally you'd like to maybe have some rock surface poking out from at least a little vegetation. Maybe you can put a layer over them and paint in some...or drop them below your grass layer and erase out a bit.

I like your dock shapes...pretty cool. Maybe distinguish them in color a bit from the sandy road color?

The rivers look pretty good and the coastline is nice, especially in the lower right. Rounding off a couple of those little islands might be nice...as they are the first impression is that of a small river that runs coast to coast rather than an island.

Don't think I said so already but I like the overall shape and flow of your town's layout. The mix of building shapes and sizes is good too!

Have some rep for getting rolling!

03-30-2011, 05:10 AM
Looks like a really good start, my thoughts/suggestions (trying not to repeat mearrin):

a. The overall orientation of buildings (with some exceptions) is NSEW which makes the city look a little bit artificial (but that may be intentional, many cities are built on grid systems).
b. The major road pattern looks great, but the minor roads in many places look 'off' in the sense that they don't really follow a coherent pattern. The ones in Old Town look the best.
c. There is a kind of weird optical effect with the minor roads - it looks like you've bevelled a block and then drawn the minor road on top of the roof rather than the minor road 'cutting through' the block.
d. The roads outside the city are pretty jaggy - can you smooth them off a bit?
e. To my eye (and it's a very subjective thing) the level of detail and drawing style between the city buildings and major buildings make for a consistency clash.

Overall it's looking good though!

03-30-2011, 07:43 AM
Thanks. That was pretty much what I needed. I knew you folks would have good criticism. The bevel was a nightmare, seemed that no matter what I did it looked like that. I know part of the problem was I drew the streets and buildings in PSP8, and then moved to GIMP for the terrain and details. My tablet works with PSP. I should have broken the buildings and streets back on to separate layers once I got them to GIMP. At the time, I didn't know how, and sitting here typing this I just realized I do too... duh.

My issues are the bevel, the same color roofs, the inability to depict the terrain under the streets in any meaningful way, the walls look bad, and the drop shadow on the forest that attempts to take over the map. The rocks... oh yeah. That was why I tried to use forest to cover the edges on some of them, so they didn't just pop up there... There's also some color variation on the streets, especially in "The Slide" that I don't like.

I hadn't thought of some of the things the two of you pointed out. There is more I want to bring up and ask about, but it'll have to wait til after work. Thanks again, really. And for the rep!

03-30-2011, 12:17 PM
If the tablet is a Bamboo that in itself is the reason unfortunately. It seems support is best with the higher end models Intuos and Cintiq.

03-30-2011, 12:36 PM
Not quite sure what exactly the issue with the Bamboo is, but I have found that I can't hot plug in my Bamboo tablet while GIMP is running and have it work(Windows or Ubuntu 10.10). I always suggest plugging in the tablet first, and then start GIMP. Other than that, I don't have any problem using my Bamboo with GIMP (and the latest drivers!)

03-30-2011, 07:08 PM
My tablet is a Genius. It SAID it worked with GIMP. I also downloaded 3 different "patches" for it. I've read like 52 forum threads and answer threads about how to fix it, but its always off set. I can't get the tool tip I'm trying to use any closer than 3 inches from where my cursor actually is. It keeps the brush all the way to the right of the screen. Soooo... since I can in no way afford Photoshop, plus, then I have to learn how to use it... I do my drawing in PSP.

My other questions are regarding what the best way to show different building heights would be? I also want to work on the coast, and get rid of the "little rivers" effect. I'd like to use some texture patterns as well, but so far everything is so far out of scale and look all huge and clunky. As I reduce it, it pixelates so bad it might as well not be there.. :/

03-30-2011, 07:18 PM
Can't be much use on the tablet. I have an Intuos 4 and it just stays pluged in and works with all applications in pretty much the same way (though it has some software that lets you change what the functions do for each application if you want)...basic pointing works no matter which software I'm using.

On textures I'll say that you'll never find on that's just the right scale and doesn't look too repetitive that you can just lay it across your entire map unbroken and have it look very good. I find the best way to use textures is to use several and "paint" with them. How you do this is application-specific but in Photoshop I can either use the Pattern Stamp brush (I rarely do this except for small tasks) or by filling a layer and then adding a layer mask to show the parts I want to show (in PS, this is an all-black mask that I paint into using white). In PS you can also fill a layer completely, apply a Pattern Overlay (which you can scale up or down as desired) and then apply a mask...this gives you some ability to change the scale of the texture, even after you've already started working with it. For my terrain I'll generally use a lot of layers of textures like this - mud, sand, dirt, grass, scrubby plants, etc. and never have a solid, contiguous area so that you can see the texture repeats. Maybe experiment with this a bit to see if you can get it down...I think you'll get a better result than just laying down a solid color or texture on your areas.

04-05-2011, 01:23 AM

Re-did the buildings, and worked on the river banks. I was really looking for a river bed picture to steal a texture from, but wasn't successful. Getting closer to the look I want. Next, I'll add more colors to the roofs. The walls and Castles will be fixed up, and re-colored. I really want to avoid the "gray castle walls" look, since the local stone is dark brown. Then, re-do the forests and add more rocks and hills to the surrounding terrain. I'm still looking for another style idea to add vegetation with. I LOVE the look of the trees etc. on the Sanly Bowitz Map, and the Banja map. No idea how either was done. I'll still need to work on the bay and river, and figure out how to keep the rocks from just popping up. Then I'll add the aqueduct system that my players just added to the city...