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arsheesh
04-19-2011, 12:08 AM
"Veskar remains one of the wildest and most dangerous realms within the civilized lands of Eriond. Itís seas are aswarm with scaled terrors, itís hillsides are overrun with Giants, ancient dragons alight from its mountains and a terrible witch-queen lays siege upon the frozen borderlands. Yet perhaps the most deadly adversary is the extreme weather. Despite these trials, a society of sea-faring barbarians has managed to survive along the coastal regions of Veskar."



Hey Guys, been away from mapping for a spell but there's a chance I might be running another campaign in my homebrew campaign world (http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/age-of-legends) so I thought I'd work on a map of the region we'd be gaming in. Veskar is the northwestern edge of civilization, and its northern borders extend into near arctic conditions.

I decided to go for a photo-realistic style for this map. I used both GIMP and Wilbur, and, as this is my first time using the latter, it took a fair amount of experimenting around with height maps and gradient maps before this WIP met with my satisfaction. Still, there are a few infelicities:



In coming up with my initial height map, I used the airbrush tool (rather than the paintbrush or dodge/burn tool) to adjust the gray-scale. However, when I zoomed in to 100% I found that the brush made circular patterns throughout the height map.
As the northern section of this map is located in sub-arctic conditions, I wanted to use a gradient (from white to green) to show the gradual change in biomes. However, the gradient didn't play nice with the gradient map I had already made to indicate elevation.


If anyone has any suggestions for how to remedy either one of these problems I'm all ears. As always, comments and critiques are welcome. Thanks guys.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Steel General
04-19-2011, 07:42 AM
I'd say it looks darn nice so far.

arsheesh
04-19-2011, 06:24 PM
Thanks SG. OK, got a question for you guys out there. I'm working on forests now and at first I tried using my own forests tut which basically uses cut out cloud patterns for the main clumps of forest and individual trees to fill in the gaps. However, I also tried just creating whole forests out of individual trees (without the cloud patterns). I guess my question is, which style seems most suited to this map? I'm leaning towards just going with the individual tree-forests for this one, but I wanted to get a second opinion before I do so. Thanks.

torstan
04-19-2011, 06:38 PM
I think that at this scale you need to deal with clumps of trees rather than individual trees. You'd never see an individual tree. I like the clumps - they look good.

Ascension
04-19-2011, 11:46 PM
Theory and common sense dictate clumps. But of the two the first one looks more "right" to me because the second one looks like the trees are zoomed in to a regional level (bubbly looking).

Katto
04-20-2011, 03:09 AM
Go for the clumps arsheesh and btw a very fine start!

Steel General
04-20-2011, 07:43 AM
I'd go with the first version.

arsheesh
04-20-2011, 02:55 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys. Ascension, I had a similar intuition about the clumps: the scaling just didn't feel right. Of course like Torstan pointed out, you wouldn't be able to see individual trees at the scale I'm using either. While this is certainly true, the individual trees in the first map could just as easily be seen as representing entire groves. In the end I decided to split the difference. I scaled down the clumps somewhat, adding individual trees to the forest borders. I also added a title to the map. Still working on figuring out a way to give the northern section an arctic look. As previously mentioned, I tried adding an arctic themed gradient but it didn't really work well with the gradient map that I am using. I may have an idea about that though. More to come.

torstan
04-21-2011, 01:03 PM
Looking good. I'd suggest dialing back the weight of the shadows on the clumps of trees. At the moment they have heavy black shadows comparable to the shadows on your mountains. I'm guessing all the forests aren't also forested mountains?

Eilathen
04-21-2011, 01:04 PM
Hey arsheesh,

Not much to add to the things the others said...but i wanted to compliment you on your Age of Legends link in your sig. I really like the style of the site and the pictures are awesome (can i ask where you got those very athmospheric pics you used for each country entrance?) ... i hope we will see more regional maps (only the first country has any entrances, all the other links go to the campaign map, is that correct?) .

Best,
E.

arsheesh
04-21-2011, 02:15 PM
After fiddling with several color maps set to varying modes I finally managed to develop the northern regions into something resembling arctic/tundra regions.

@Torstan, I just now read your post, but I agree. In fact, I toned down the shadows a little in this update, and I may do so further in future updates as well.

@Eilethan, thanks! I've been working on this campaign setting for a number of years and to date have run two long-term campaigns within it. Regarding the pictures, I gathered them from multiple sources. In the acknowledgments section of my site I have a page for Art Credits (http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/age-of-legends/wikis/art-credits) that lists the artists whose work I've used and gives links to their online galleries. As to the civilizations page, you are absolutely correct. I have spent the bulk of my time developing one region withing the world and have yet to really flesh out most of the other regions. This current map however is my first attempt at branching out into new regions of the world. As time allows, I'd like to do the same for the other regions of the world as well.

arsheesh
04-23-2011, 02:52 PM
Just a small update. Spent a bit of time creating a heraldic shield for Veskar. Here's the map with the shield, and the shield by itself. The griffon symbol came from a Medieval font, and the leather pattern I got from this site (http://webworkerview.com/blog/2010/03/23/tileable-leather-patterns-textures/).

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

jtougas
04-23-2011, 03:35 PM
Excellent as usual. I really love the heraldry. I need to create some for my campaign. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

arsheesh
04-23-2011, 05:48 PM
Thanks JT! I rather like the way the shield turned out, and I'm considering doing some more for future maps.

Yandor
04-24-2011, 01:46 AM
Yeah Arsheesh thats one killer shield you got! In all I love how this is turning out

arsheesh
04-25-2011, 06:22 PM
Thanks Yandor! Well I made a bit of progress. I've named most of the major terrain features (and many of the smaller oceanic features), as well as the nations capital and major cities. I still need to add some more detail here, but I feel like the end is in site.

EDIT: I don't know why this attachment isn't automatically displaying like the previous ones.

Ascension
04-25-2011, 08:45 PM
It's some sort of bug in the forum software, happens all the time. I just remove the image, resave the image in whatever program it is in then re-up it. The most I've ever had to do that was 3 times but I've heard some folks go about 6 times. All I can say is lookin good, man.

arsheesh
04-25-2011, 11:08 PM
Oh, gotcha. Thanks. Let's try this again (hopefully it works this time).

Steel General
04-26-2011, 07:42 AM
Nicely done!

My only little nitpick would be that the text on the mountains, etc. is a bit hard to read in some spots.

arsheesh
04-26-2011, 02:03 PM
Thanks SG. True, some of the text is a bit difficult to read at the current resolution. However the map is actually somewhat bigger than what I'm displaying here and it's easier to read at a higher resolution. I set the opacity of the geographical text somewhat lower so that it would be unobtrusive. But I'm not entirely satisfied with the results, so I may tweak things a bit. Thanks for the feedback.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

jtougas
04-26-2011, 04:30 PM
Awesome I love the mountains. Great Job as always :)

arsheesh
04-28-2011, 08:17 PM
Thanks JT. Well I'm calling this one done. You can find the finished version of the map here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?14541-Veskar-Frozen-Lands-of-the-North&p=152095#post152095http://). Thanks to everyone who offered me help and advice along the way.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh