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Coyotemax
08-05-2011, 07:41 AM
So I picked up a new comission, this one kind of came at me from nowhere, but it's such a cool project I couldn't say no!

The name of the project is MILA'S FOUNTAIN (http://www.milasfountain.com/) and they also have set up a Facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/milasfountain) (when I first started working with them last week, the webpage was nothing more than a graphic with Coming Soon - they've made a lot of additions in the last week!)
They're traveling to a large fantasy/sci-fi expo in Canada at the end of August to start spreading the word as well, and get people following the project and will enter production and release the episodes next Fall.

I'm LOVING getting back into the mapping. My favourite part is that I finally got things sorted out so that I'm not letting work stifle my creativity.. My only complaint is that I need to a) work at the dayjob and b) sleep. One of the things I love about this map is that I'll get to go nuts with decorating it, and have been given a wide latitude for artistic leeway.. I'm doing at least 3 versions, the ornate wall-hanging size, chart type, and fold up in the pocket. I've been playing around with the terrain features, I think I've settled on a mountain style.. I've expanded a bit from my last hand-drawn map and added a few subtleties as well as some brushwork that made it a LOT less time consuming without compromising the quality.

The outlining around the shoreline is a placeholder at the moment, I've been working on a few interesting effects that I'm starting to really like.



I've got a mockup of one of the islands with all the terrain features added and coloured on the other computer, I was working on the desktop until I switched to the laptop (the laptop has better ram and processor than the desktop plus the 64 bit OS/photoshop.. but the desktop has better monitors.. argh!). I'll post that one in a bit so I can show off the direction I'm headed :)

Ascension
08-05-2011, 07:46 AM
So far so good, man. Glad to see you mapping again.

tilt
08-05-2011, 07:51 AM
looks like a good start... I like the mountains :)

Coyotemax
08-05-2011, 08:17 AM
Thanks to both of you.

Ascension - it's great to be back! Not that i really stopped - just took an extended break. I remember swearing i would never let work get in the way of art again.. i almost fell off the wagon there but I managed to keep my grip :)

Tilt - thanks.. wait till you see them in colour!

I found the test images.. The chart version of the map is going to stay monochrome, but I was playing with colours for the tapestry version, and I'm SO looking forward to working on that for the full map! And I have to say I'm kind of pleased with the ripples around the shoreline for the one (that was intended to be initial mockup to get an idea of geological features).

ravells
08-05-2011, 08:23 AM
Oh wow, that is looking quite beautiful! I love the coastline ripple texture too! The only thing that looks a bit odd to me is the southern tip of the island in the second picture.

moutarde
08-05-2011, 01:21 PM
Looks gorgeous, but the coastline looks too dark/strong. Like ravells pointed out about that southern bit, it makes it look like the details (mountains, forests etc) are below the sea. Some woodcut (or something similar) might help, or even just the occasional mountain or tree whose top rises up and over the coastline, since that style of symbol is semi perspectivy. :)

Edit: Also just realized the coast in the colour picture is blurry, while all your other lines are sharp. In the other image, the coast is very thick and solid, while your other lines are all delicate. I think that might be what's throwing me off more than anything - just that the coastlines feel like they're not really part of the same map.

Ascension
08-05-2011, 04:23 PM
The mountains in the second one look a bit heavy and crisp compared to the other soft and/or thin lines but I like where it is headed. The mountains and trees in the first one are black while the other lines are brown, simple fix there, though.

Diamond
08-06-2011, 12:05 AM
Hey, glad to see a new map from you, man. I like the direction you're going; really like those farmlands in the second picture.

Coyotemax
08-06-2011, 12:35 AM
Yes to everything :) that's a great idea for that one peninsula - if I move the mountains up a bit that will help the perspective, I may do something similar to a few of the other islands as well.

The one with Island Three was one of the first layout plans, I just used one of my mountain brushes and a tree brush so i could lay out ideas on where to place the mountains and forests, i had a kind of colour scheme to help differentiate things - black for mountains,green for hilly areas and trees, I had a few things not on the thumbnail like teal for swamp, yellow/green for the farms etc. I like the wavy lines out in the sea on that one better, I just have to crank up the desktop so i can do it again - i've got the only the 64 bit photoshop on the laptop, and the eyecandy version with the Jiggle filter isn't compatible with the 64 bit :(


Island One was the "now I have the terrain planned out, should I take this in a b/w or painterly direction".

That's when we come to the picture in the first post - I haven't brought the wave ripple back in yet, but I have the island shapes finalized - but not the stroke - and the final look for the line drawing versions of the mountains themselves. Eventually I'll lighten the opacity and blending for the shading so I can do a painterly version as well

Yeah, it's kind of all jumbled, I likely should have been more clear about the order and what each image shows off :P

Tony.m.meijer
08-07-2011, 09:29 AM
A quick question, could you point at a tutorial for the lines around the islands or give a quick explanation on how you do them?

Coyotemax
08-07-2011, 02:57 PM
yes, i'll be doing a new set of lines tonight (blast my day job! i wanna stay home and work on this!), just got some feedback from the client so i'm making a few changes and going ahead with others. I'll document/screenshot my process as i go for posterity.

Speaking of the client, I got confirmation in regards to releasing details about the project and the associated movie/series and will update accordingly when i get home. I've already gone back to update the first post with the movie website and facebook group.

Coyotemax
08-09-2011, 02:20 AM
Ok, so i've scrapped the previous mountains - it was going to be more work to move the existing ones than simply redrawing with the new layout.

We'll have several islands devoted to specific terrain types, I'll be desertifying one, the 2 in the middle will be more mountainous with one being volcanic. I'm leaving plenty of open space on one for the wide rolling plains, and so on :) I've been spending a lot of time soaking up the information in the project bible to make sure I don't go off track.

i think what I'll do is use the basic outline layers like I have for the mountains here, and split off in 2 directions from here once i have forests and specific terrain added.. one version will be primarily linework and will be the functional version (rhumb lines etc, thinking sea chart and maybe even depth markers) with a simple border, and the other will be more painterly and artistic oriented - that one will get the super ornate border.

I've been alternating between the parchment background and straight white as the final version will be printed onto a textured/coloured surface.

I left the wavy water lines in there for now, i love the way this looks. I took screenshots as i went, I'll set up a tutorial thread somewhere when i get around to writing it up.

moutarde
08-09-2011, 02:41 AM
The mountains are great! Very simple, and just plain nice to look at :) Also a really nice touch having the mountains sticking out up over the coastlines.

Ramah
08-09-2011, 05:20 AM
Yeah, those wavy sea lines look great. Looking forward to seeing your tutorial. :)

Diamond
08-09-2011, 01:24 PM
I love this piece. So clean and awesome looking.

arsheesh
08-09-2011, 08:42 PM
Ooh, very nice CM! I also really like the ornate border.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Coyotemax
08-11-2011, 11:26 AM
Thanks! I'ts just a placeholder for the moment, but I may leave it as is for the functional version (just enough to prettify but not enough to distract).

FINALLY got the trees to do what I want them to, created a bunch of new custom brushes for the conifers and deciduous..

This is me testing out Evergreen Isle (working name, unlikely to be the final name for it, heh)
I was originally working on the linework detail layers for the mountains (typically 5 layers all said and done), but the more comments I got and the more i looked at them, the more I liked the mountains as they are. They really did come out kind of elegant.

[edit - oh yeah, the tutorial.. desktop crashed - mouse and keyboard stopped responding no matter what I do, so i can't access the file with all the screenshots, I'll try to remember to do a writeup shortly. RIght now I've been putting all my spare time and attention into the map.]

Coyotemax
08-13-2011, 04:49 PM
Took a bit of a break to start working on the border and artwork of the pretty version.

Now I have to come up with constellations for each of those boxes! In one of the bottom corners I plan on having a globe of the night sky with the constellations depicted in place. I figure major constellations along the top and bottom (The Celestials, important to the mythology of this world) and then sub-constellations for the sides (Turtle, Salmon, Oak, etc).

There's 2 moons for this world, so that made the top corners easy to do, it's now a matter of figuring out how much detail I want to use - something painterly like it is with shading and colours, or start drawing in actual detail.

I have the weekend off while the wife is at work so i expect to get a fair amount of work done in one shot.. yay for lack of interruptions!

(shrunk to 50%)

arsheesh
08-13-2011, 07:23 PM
Ooh, me likes! I'm excited to see how you develop the constellations, this promises to be a very nice piece.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Coyotemax
08-14-2011, 09:04 PM
Dunno.. my linework sucks :) I'm going to need to really work on that for the constellation detail work. I did up a quick and dirty version in the top left rectangular one.

eViLe_eAgLe
08-14-2011, 10:48 PM
Do I see.. A stick figure?
37800

Coyotemax
08-14-2011, 11:21 PM
Yes, in fact if you look closely, you;ll see 22 stick figures :P
Once I get the linework donee it'll make more sense.

Coyotemax
08-17-2011, 08:12 AM
So I went back to the map itself, rivers and lakes placed - but now the forests are giving me no end of trouble.
Been working with Ramah's forest generator but I just can't get it to look right. I'm going to have to revert to my original plan and expand on my latest forest style to get the look I want. I guess I'll have to take my own advice again.. *looks at the sig..*

Still, tonight wasn't a total loss, at least I have the regions mapped out in detail.

Steel General
08-17-2011, 12:04 PM
Even a little progress is better than none at all :D

Coyotemax
08-19-2011, 01:19 PM
Finally settled on a forest style!

jfrazierjr
08-19-2011, 01:27 PM
Oohh.. thats very pretty... BUT... is all the green forest? It's kind of disjointed and looks like one of those illusion things... like the never ending stair way thing... I guess perhaps some bits of forest needs "closing" to make it a "whole" section.

jfrazierjr
08-19-2011, 01:35 PM
I spoke a bit to soon before I really looked closely.... I REALLY don't like the thick outline combined with the blue rivers AND the fact that the river's mouth is closed off by the outline... It's just way to jarring IMO. Oh.. I really like your woodcut.. it looks like a fingerprint(in a good way!)

Coyotemax
08-19-2011, 01:57 PM
Noted, I'm still working on that. I've actually separated everything into 3 separate files now so I can work with variations for each map. I think I'm going to settle on something from the Forest Generator for the line drawing version. I see what you mean by the "closing" comment, I may work that over a bit more. I really had to add colour to see where it was going before I did too much work on the outlines.

The rivers and edges will get worked over, I've made a few notes with similar observations to yours, thanks for confirming what I saw. I'm still working with major sleep dep (naptime now!) so it's time to take a break so i can step back and look at it with a critical eye ;)

jfrazierjr
08-19-2011, 02:27 PM
Noted, I'm still working on that. I've actually separated everything into 3 separate files now so I can work with variations for each map. I think I'm going to settle on something from the Forest Generator for the line drawing version. I see what you mean by the "closing" comment, I may work that over a bit more. I really had to add colour to see where it was going before I did too much work on the outlines.
I actually like the "mass" forest here in this case instead of individual forest symbols... so hope you stick with that and just clean up and make it into whole groups that connect. So...I hope you stick with this style of forests going forward.


The rivers and edges will get worked over, I've made a few notes with similar observations to yours, thanks for confirming what I saw. I'm still working with major sleep dep (naptime now!) so it's time to take a break so i can step back and look at it with a critical eye ;)

Heh.. thats cool... I think this is a really cool project and can't wait to see it finished... I really dig what you got going here...My only other suggestion would be on the leading spine line of the mountains(the part that "appears" to be coming toward the viewer instead of left or right), perhaps a bit more variation so that it is not mostly straight... You have some really nice cleft lines that give those mountains character... I just would not mind seeing the "spline" do some a squiggle or two to join into those cleft lines... but that's just me... I tent to want to make things quite a bit TOO detailed... which might be why I have so much of a hard time finishing a map!!!!

Coyotemax
08-21-2011, 05:25 AM
I worked the forests over, removed most of the trunks, they weren't really working, I just left the ones on the edges. I kind of like the rivers like this. I also narrowed the outlines for the mountains for continuity.

Steel General
08-21-2011, 06:57 AM
Looking good C-Max...
I'm not sure that the woodcut goes with the style of the map tho, but that's just me.

Diamond
08-21-2011, 01:01 PM
I agree with SG - I thought the woodcut looked fantastic on the monochrome version, much less so here. The blue coastline especially clashes with it, IMO. Maybe some waves done in the style of the forest and mountains?

jfrazierjr
08-21-2011, 08:15 PM
Very pretty on the mountains/forests, though there area few where you did not "fix" the thick stroke... Also, I agree with the others about the sea border... perhaps if you used the smudge tool to "sweep" it out into the woodcut and blend it in..

Coyotemax
08-22-2011, 01:35 AM
Totally agree. Actually the thick strokes are me putting them back in on a different layer, I used a thinner brush to draw out but I might have gone nuts here and there, I still want to get some variation in line weights. Definitely want to adjust for consistency.

I agree on the woodcut effect, I was thinking there might be a way to keep it in for this style, but I think I'll just replace it entirely with something painterly. Definitely going to keep it somehow on one of the versions.

Well... less typing, more mapping!!!
(and thanks for the feedback, definitely confirmed that it still needs a few things before I settle)

jfrazierjr
08-22-2011, 07:26 AM
Totally agree. Actually the thick strokes are me putting them back in on a different layer, I used a thinner brush to draw out but I might have gone nuts here and there, I still want to get some variation in line weights. Definitely want to adjust for consistency.

I agree on the woodcut effect, I was thinking there might be a way to keep it in for this style, but I think I'll just replace it entirely with something painterly. Definitely going to keep it somehow on one of the versions.

Well... less typing, more mapping!!!
(and thanks for the feedback, definitely confirmed that it still needs a few things before I settle)


Well.. really dig the woodcut... I would personally like to see you keep it and come up with some way to blend the either the land stroke into it in a fade....or just ditch that and make the river mouth fade into it using a mask and the smudge tool.

Coyotemax
09-02-2011, 05:13 PM
I've been working it over for the last few days repeatedly trying to keep it but do something different with the coasts, and also make the river transitions better.

I think I managed to solve all the issues.

AND i'm completely working over the forests. they were WAY too cartoony.
Then I realized what was bugging me..
After I had my revelation, I took a break to soothe my conscience and put some more thought into what I was doing. And now it's time to zoom zoom!

My mind went into overdrive for a bit today and that's when it hit me.. the style I'm developing is doing 2 things at once.
Looking back on the Protector map i did recently, I was heading in a more painterly direction with my linework, which really showed through in the completely different (for me) forest style. I'd always done individual trees before, usually with the forest generator, Protector was my first foray into a massed clumping effect. So the first thing I'm doing is evolving my linework style from that map. And today the thing that was bothering my subconscious finally hit me - the style I'm trying to acheive bears an uncanny resemblance to Ascension's latest map.
I'm not sure why that bothered me so much, I really do think I lost a few days of work on the map trying to go a different direction with the forests without really understanding WHY. I kept coming back to the style I wanted to use, and finally spent an hour going through the Butcher et al WIP thread and figured it out. I suspect my mental state has something to do with changing up the pain meds, but I think I'm ok now.

Now that i've given in to the inevitibility of the Muse (she really doesn't let up, no matter the cost) I'm just powering through the deciduous forests. The coniferous forests will be easy, the only part that might slow me down now will be the jungle-ish forests. But that won't last long I'm sure.

And the thing that bothered me the most.. it felt like I was going into this and just copying Ascension's latest map. But then I thought about it, and of course that's not what I'm doing. I may be emulating the style, but I told my conscience to back off, I was already developing this style previously anyway, and since when has Ascension said "dude stop copying me" - he's one of the most helpful people on this site, he's always full of suggestions and encouragement, and if he doesn't have more 5 star tutorials than anyone else I'd be surprised. And besides that - since when have I ever followed ANY tutorials exactly, used the exact same filter settings, or done anything exactly the way someone else does them? Even from the first map I made i was heading off in my own direction once I had half an idea of what was happening.


One last thing - in case you haven't gathered, Ascension is not just an awesome artist and brilliant teacher, he's a genuinely good man.
Thanks for all the support you've shown (to everyone, not just me).


So yeah, that's all sorted now, like I said, and it's time to power forward! And if someone notices me acting like a weenie, go ahead and slap me and tell me to snap out of it.

here's the new forests on their way, with the new river/shoreline and keeping a much nicer version of the woodcut.

jfrazierjr
09-02-2011, 08:32 PM
a) agree about Ascension... great community member

b) Like the map

c) I STILL liked the last forests /colors before this one and would love to see them come back at some point(her or in another map) since I REALLY liked what you had with the last one

Ascension
09-02-2011, 08:52 PM
Looks good, man. The detailing or coloring will separate the forests so yer good. Oh, and yeah, I'm a pretty cool dude. :)

Diamond
09-02-2011, 11:32 PM
The best thing about Ascension? His modesty.

:D

Coyotemax
09-07-2011, 09:31 AM
making progress. the hardest part was doing each step of the forest layers for the whole map before doing the next step. I like to jump around a bit, but I had to keep it consistent.

Mountains are due for an overhaul next, and then the other vegetation - jungles and swamps..

jfrazierjr
09-07-2011, 09:42 AM
Very cool... it still looks a bit cartoony, but I LIKE that.... The mountains look really good too, so I would love to see them stay. I still don't like the thickness of the land shape stroke though.... Anyway, I am eagerly awaiting this piece to be finished!

eViLe_eAgLe
09-07-2011, 09:51 AM
Nice work!

Coyotemax
09-24-2011, 05:48 AM
So i'm stuck. I've reworked the arid/desert island like 30 times, and while I like some of the effects I've made, they don't fit with the rest of the map, so I scrap those layers and start over. Usually I put things off to the side and come back to them, but that's all i have left to work on.

Anyone have any suggestions for non-shaded linework that can really do a good job of representing arid/desert land that I could adapt for this?
I've been going through hand drawn maps for inspiration, and pretty much everything relies on labels, colours, or texturework. there's a distinct lack of linework from what I've seen. Maybe I'm just missing something? On previous maps I used a light opacity brush, a long solid line with high scatter rate, but that doesn't look right at all for this. I'm trying to stick with the pen/ink idea.

Steel General
09-24-2011, 08:37 AM
Maybe something in between a hill and a wave...to emulate sand dunes? *shrugs*

mearrin69
09-24-2011, 12:08 PM
I like the looks of this map. Looking forward to seeing it finished.

For desert, what about something like the style in the lower right of the attached pic (from http://makingmaps.net/2008/04/03/map-symbols-landforms-terrain/, follow the link for some more good examples)?
M

Coyotemax
09-24-2011, 04:50 PM
scatter around some dunes, yeah.

I tried that and they just didn't look right, I couldn't get them to look consistent.

but.... I just woke up and had a flash of inspiration.. I know why they weren't looking right - I need to make them with the same technique as I made the mountains.
D'OH

Thanks ;)

that link is bloody awesome btw. annoys me that I didn't find it on my own! hah!

Ascension
09-25-2011, 12:34 AM
Thanks for puttin the link back up Mearrin, lost it in my crash so I'm very happy to have it back.

Coyotemax
09-29-2011, 03:15 AM
Progress! Going to change the desert background just a bit, but the swamps and some nifty unique areas are all that's left.

jfrazierjr
09-29-2011, 12:45 PM
Progress! Going to change the desert background just a bit, but the swamps and some nifty unique areas are all that's left.

Umm.. where desert??? me no see....:?

Coyotemax
10-05-2011, 05:37 AM
that's mostly because I had it at such a low opacity because my inner artist was saying "noooo don't do it that way" that it was trying to hide what i was doing ;P

MUCH better now. And swamps! and.. unsharp mask is now my newest best friend. i can draw with my favourite brushes, run the unsharp mask with the right settings, and it brings it inline with the rest of the map. I might run that across the tree trunks and forests now.

I think that's all the terrain for the moment - waiting on feedback from client now to see if I'm adding anything else or moving on to non-land/plant features.

Oh and I finally sorted the water - i got the subtlety I was after without having to redo the whole thing!! I just took the layer and duplicated it so i woulnd't mess up permanently.. though you could just as easily use a mask - selected the wavy lines, contracted by 1, reversed selection and hit delete (or with a mask, fill with black). that thinned out the lines for me, I gave it a 0.2px gussian blur to take the edge off, and voila.

LonewandererD
10-05-2011, 08:11 AM
Lovin' it :) . Can't wait to see it in colour.

-D-

Lukc
10-05-2011, 08:42 AM
Now that's a nice link ... :) glad I spotted it!

Ascension
10-05-2011, 04:34 PM
Contract by 1, inverse, delete is also one of my fave things. The waves look very "dry-inked".

Schwarzkreuz
10-05-2011, 09:50 PM
OMG, I realy love this map in Monochrome, I think I fell for the clear, japanese looking simplicity, or something. But to in the sameway, I dont like the colored examples, becouse the clariry is what I realy like about this map. And the new terrain adds alot to the overall feeling. This is already one of my favorites so far.
And well, first time I saw Ascensions Butcher, I also started to draw Trees.....

Coyotemax
01-16-2012, 04:09 AM
Ok after many delays, almost done! Client seems happy, just waiting on names now. once all is done I have 1 or 2 effects to run for the map as a whole to bring it some consistency, then we're done!!

(shrunk to 50%)

Schwarzkreuz
01-26-2012, 05:03 PM
I realy like how the mountains are blending into the forest, for my next map I pould like to adapt your way of rendering the forest, it is very inspiring! The only point I dont like is the heavy Coastline, but thats a minor thing.

ianobscura
01-31-2012, 04:52 AM
Love the'old print' style as well as all the decorations - it reminds me of an early illustration - to print plate you get in a grimoire. :)

dangerdog15
01-31-2012, 08:50 PM
Sooo nice! This map has changed so much and looks awesome.8)