View Full Version : Banja, city of the Caliphate of Barr al-Fadi

04-02-2011, 01:10 AM
I've been lurking for several years and decided it's time I posted something. This is a map of Banja, the central city of my D&D 3.5 "arabian nights" campaign (and home to the PCs). I've been working on it for a couple years, off and on, and still have a long ways to go. Still, I think it's far enough along that I'd like some constructive feedback on my work to date, and general technique.


Steel General
04-02-2011, 08:42 AM
Nicely done...and welcome into the light! :D

04-02-2011, 01:42 PM
Very nice. I really like the building shapes. :)

04-02-2011, 08:47 PM
There's something odd going on with the south bank of the river, inside the city - the shadow is like you mean the shoreline to be a cliff or sharp embankment maybe? And if you mean the two hills to drop off sharply toward the water, I'd kind of expect no shadow strip next to their bits of shoreline.

Are there going to be docks of some sort, or does this city turn its back on the river?

The gold building (?) in the middle - it seems to have too little shadow. Unless it's really flat?

The crenellations on the castle towers are out of scale. Unless you intend shooting ballistae instead of bows :-), the slots are as big as your smallest buildings. Normally you'd see slots a foot or two wide, three max?

I agree - the buildings are nice. How'd you generate them?

Good job with the groundcover - random and gradient - placed, instead of tiled.

04-02-2011, 11:43 PM
Thanks, JB. I see your point about the shadow on the south shore. Those are two hills with steep drops (almost cliffs) towards the river. It's definitely not correctly lit. I'll see what I can do.

There will be docks, wharves, and warehouses added all along the south river bank. It's still on my "to-do" list.

That gold building is the university and it's currently more of a placeholder for a yet-to-be-constructed building.

Good point about the scale on the castle crenellations. I hadn't really given that any thought. I'll have to re-do them. Thanks for the catch.

The city buildings were drawn in multiple layers (this is Photoshop CS4) using a square brush with size jitter set to about 50%, angle jitter at 0% with control set to direction, scattering set to 600% (one axis only), scatter count to 1 and count jitter at 0%. The bottom layer was a medium sandy tan color with a 30 px brush, the middle layer was slightly lighter color using a 20 px brush, and the top layer was lighter still using a 10 px brush. Once the layers were drawn, I used the inner bevel filter in Alien Skin's Eye Candy 6 to create the edges and then I completed the layers by using blending options to create a drop shadow for the entire layer. I had to tweak everything a bit and make several attempts before I finally got it the way I wanted it.

The ground cover was produced using Bryce 6. In fact, all of the underlying terrain, including the primary shadow overlay for the entire city, was created using multiple passes in Bryce. For the terrain specifically, after I finished the Bryce component and imported it into PS, I had to apply a very fine Craquelure filter, as the raw Bryce image looked very blurry if viewed at any kind of close-up resolution. I'm pretty pleased with the way that came out too.

04-04-2011, 03:01 AM
There's something about the keep that bugs me.. The shadow's I think. Sometimes when I look at it, it seems as if it is on the wall or something. But good job otherwise!!! :D

04-04-2011, 12:07 PM
There's something about the keep that bugs me.. The shadow's I think. Sometimes when I look at it, it seems as if it is on the wall or something. But good job otherwise!!! :DLike many other parts of the map, the citadel is very much unfinished. Per JB's observation, I'll be giving the turrets an overhaul (to correct the scale) and will be working on finishing the rest of that structure at the same time. Thanks!

04-04-2011, 12:47 PM
Your welcome.