View Full Version : WIP: The Harborside Ambush

05-02-2011, 10:48 AM
So, just recently started learning to use GIMP to make maps now that Dundjinni seems to be effectively dead software. My first attempt is the following map that is supposed to represent a raised boardwalk alongside the water of a harbor. A portion of the boardwalk has been collapsed and dropped into the water below. Meanwhile several thugs are camped on the rooftops of nearby buildings waiting to shoot at my PCs with crossbows while a few more are on the boardwalk itself, ready to engage the PCs in melee if they avoid getting dropped into the water. Finally, the water itself is going to be dangerous as it'll have been seeded with chum, attracting a shark that'll not be too pleased with having PCs dropped on it's head.

So naturally, the map sucks and fails to convey all of this. Any input would be greatly appreciated. :)

05-02-2011, 11:01 AM
Looks like a map to me. If it fits your encounter and gives all the information you need to run the encounter than it's fine. Good job. :)

05-02-2011, 04:16 PM
Taking a cursory look I can see somethings you can learn or ameliorate. First is to develop a texture library or the ability to create your own textures seeing as you are using the default GIMP ones (Here's a good source to start from (http://www.flickr.com/photos/zooboing/collections/72157622668797999/)). You also may wanna work with muted or less saturated tones for I find they yield a better overall aesthetic. Second thing is to learn then function of layers and layer masks as these allow for powerful editing (Here's jfrazierjr Tutorial on layer masks (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3143-Award-Winner-Explanation-of-Layer-Masks-in-GIMP(and-PS)&highlight=layer+mask+gimp)). Also you should learn to set a B&W outline as a start point and use that as a base layer to build from, I find the more I have outlined the easier it is to develop a map. When using the Pattern -> Grid filter make sure the offset is set to 0 for both x and y axis so that your grid is centered. The scales that are most common for encounter styled maps is 50 px per square or 100 px per square choose what you prefer and work from there. Take advantage of the internal grid in GIMP and it's snap capabilities to ensure clean lines and ease of manipulation. I leave you with this and wish you goood luck and welcome to the CG.

05-03-2011, 01:11 PM
Thanks for the advice and links geamon. I'll definitely be working on improving my skill. The biggest thing that I'm having to overcome is that I have previously done a lot of my battlemapping with various softwares that do a lot of the work for you (Dundjinni and AutoREALM). So I'm having to learn to get used to the additional steps I have to do in order to achieve the same effects that were often done with a single action.

05-03-2011, 07:45 PM
so I have to admit I'm going to troll for a bit more help. I've been trying to mess around a bit more with some of the various tutorials around here, but I'm not sure I'm seeing how I can use layers to get better 'depth' along the line between the walkway and the water. Anyone have some tips or pointers in the right direction?

05-03-2011, 08:01 PM
Bevels and drop shadows will do the trick.

05-04-2011, 12:34 PM
Here is a quick example of what Geamon was talking about. I took your image added a layer over it and used an airbrush with the following settings to make shadows.
fuzzy circle 19px
scale 5.00
opacity 100.00
mode normal
I use black but a darker gray or a very dark blue would also work.

05-22-2011, 11:01 PM
Well I've started working on a 'new and improved' version of my map that will hopefully start to make things look a little more polished. Below is where I'm at now. I've tried to utilize some of the tricks I've learned regarding using layers and layer masks to make editting much easier as well as giving me 'cheater' ways of accomplishing shadows that are approximately the right shape without having to hand draw them. I'm needing to figure out a better way of doing the dirt atm. Out of curiosity, I've found several repositories of 'seamless textures' out there. I'm having some difficulties finding out how I'm supposed to use them in GIMP. Every time I try to search for information online, I keep running into tutorials about MAKING them rather than USING them lol.


05-23-2011, 01:49 PM
Textures are very easy to use in GIMP. Once you find a texture (or textures) that you like you can make patterns out of them that you can use to fill areas. Here is a quick step by step:

1. Find a texture that you like. (just a note on this step, GIMP can't "scale" patterns like Photoshop so you have to change the size of the original image to fit what you need. It helps to start out with a large image that you can make smaller)
2. Once you find the image and scale it to your desired size save it as a .pat file.
3. Restart GIMP and your new pattern will show up in your pattern dialog box.
4. Now you can use the bucket tool to apply your new pattern.

I hope this helps. Your on your way to a great looking map. I'm looking forward to watching this progress :)

05-26-2011, 05:15 PM
That worked perfectly. Here's what I've got now at this point, complete with 'tokens' to represent PCs and enemies. There's still some areas where I don't feel like it's quite looking right. For example, I'm still not all that happy with how the dock looks, but I'm having a difficult time finding any sort of fill (at the moment) that can duplicate the piecemeal of dock planking. In addition, the road isn't really looking the way I'd want it to at best, but again, that's something I can play with and figure out later. My main goal is learning how to do a lot of these tricks now so that I can begin to use GIMP to churn out good looking encounter maps without 'too' heavy of a time investment. Thus practicing lol


05-26-2011, 05:34 PM
It's looking good. I love the shark. :)

05-26-2011, 05:48 PM
I have some textures for you that might help.

A "Plank" Texture.

This texture is 512px X 512px so it's a little small but I've used it for everything from docks to wooden floors.

A "Road" Texture

This is also 512 X 512 but is one of my favorite "dirt" textures as it has just a little grass in it to differentiate it from a "gravel" road. I hope you can use these and Good Luck. :)

05-27-2011, 11:05 PM
Both of those textures have been an amazing help to me. I really do appreciate all the help as well. I think I'm pretty much at what I'd call a 'finished product' for what I'm attempting to accomplish. I ended up using both textures that you posted, though I used your suggestion for the road to be more of the general dirt layer instead. Then I swapped up the 'road' textures with another stone texture and lowered the opacity a bit to let some of the dirt layer show through. I think it ended up creating a nice sense of a rough, stone road that's being encroached upon by the grass and mud around it. Out of curiosity, is the only way to get the image to show a grid to either take a screencap with the grid turned on or to make a 'grid layer'?


05-28-2011, 05:14 PM
That really looks great. I would either draw or use a stroke in black around where you have the "broken" dock. Put it on it's own layer and you can adjust the opacity till it just shows up. It will add some depth to that area and make it pop. As for the grid here is a really easy tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?715-Award-Winner-Creating-a-transparent-grid-layer-at-any-pixel-width-(Photoshop)&highlight=grids) for making a grid layer. It's made for Photoshop but the steps are the same in GIMP. :)

05-28-2011, 09:31 PM
Theres a filter under patterns that is to create a grid on the current layer. Just set the spacing to how ever px wide and the thickness to your hearts desire and ensure the offset is 0 and your solid.

05-30-2011, 08:02 PM
Thanks guys. Out of curiosity jt, what do you mean when you say to 'stroke' the border? What tool are you referring to in that regard?

06-01-2011, 02:52 PM
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I made an example on your image for you. I used a circle brush (11px) at 0.15 scale (you could also use a smaller circular brush that was just the one that was in front of me) and drew a brown (554400) line along the edge of your dock. I used the shift key to help me draw a straight line. :)

06-01-2011, 06:15 PM
Ah ok, so it's basically just adding additional layers of color along the edges to give more of a sense of depth then?

06-02-2011, 11:47 PM
Yes thats it. It gives the edge some definition.