View Full Version : WIP: Abbotsford Map with Falls (Gimp)

11-19-2011, 06:35 AM

I've held off on posting any WIP threads here at CG for the longest time, in part because when I look at the talent you the community have shown, my meager offerings pale in comparison. Your all very talented and quite ingenious in your designs.

In any case, over at Dragonsfoot Chat I was asked if I could create a large 50 mile regional map for a friend that will be the focus of an adventure that progresses via river upstream and needs the following:

Giant Beaver Dam
2 Lakes (1 with an island where lizard men reside)
Rural Village at bottom of map

This is my first time using Gimp, so this is both a WIP and also an ongoing lesson in to what the software is capable of.

I've made some progress on the layout, but mostly its been a case of designing a texture set that blends together. With that work done - still need to go back and ImageSynth a couple of the textures before calling them final - I've moved on to the layout.

Included here are a couple images - a 1/4 scale full map (5000x5000 - 128 meg full size), and two images which include full size close ups of the Waterfall and Giant Beaver Dam.

I hope this is in the correct section and that my work is worth viewing.

Cheers and thanks,


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Steel General
11-19-2011, 10:31 AM
This is a fine start...

One thing that jumped out at me is that there is no indication of the elevation change in the land on either side of the falls.

11-19-2011, 01:21 PM
I'm having a mental disconnect with the beaver dam in the stream.

Typically beavers build a dam so that it floods the land behind it. That's so they can build their houses with underwater entrances. With no pond behind, there's no logic to building the dam.

11-19-2011, 01:48 PM
The start is nice, as nlowell mentioned, the beaver dam is built to get underwater entrances, maybe you can put it where the river leaves the lake.
Concerning the lake, you might consider some incoming stream, with the amount drained through your river, the lake and/or the river would run dry pretty fast.
You could try to randomize the grasslands more, it looks 'cloned'...

11-19-2011, 06:10 PM
A nice map Silverleaf, to add to other comments, a waterfall is usually at the head of a gulley or canyon that has been cut as the waterfall 'moves up' the river so unless you have a story reason for a new waterfall for accuracy you might want to add a canyon feature.


Mark Oliva
11-20-2011, 01:33 AM
The lines that show water flow bother me. They don't work well with the raster graphics that you have elsewhere. I'd suggest that you replace the water lines with varying blue-shaded textures with a feather blur. Then replace the white foam with a raster texture that has some transparency and a feather blur. The best kind of texture would be one that has varied color shades in it, not just pure while. There are a lot of textures available that will fill the bill. Just as an example, I'm attaching the one one I like personally.


11-20-2011, 10:32 AM
Hi guys,

Many thanks for the feedback, and all of your tips and concerns are certainly noted. 8)

I've been in contact with my friend whom asked for the map, and apparently everything about the setup is wrong (remember I had mentioned this was originally a "free to employ artistic license). So, he sent me a new layout, which is attached below. I'll be posting an update here fairly regularly, and will be taking into consideration all of your replies. Your the vets and I know when to listen.

Thanks again!


11-21-2011, 12:41 PM
Argh - I feel for you. I get that at work - "we gotta have one of those websites, can you make us something?" <mumble, mumble?> "Oh, specs? We don't know - just build something. We can always tweak it later, right?"

Which isn't a bad gig, if they're paying by the hour :-). By the job, not so much.

At least the new input is pretty specific now - I bet you can come up with something good for him.

11-21-2011, 03:51 PM
Hiya JB,

Lol, yeah I took it with a grain of salt, but your right - now I've got a better plan to go from.

Okay, here is an extremely rough layout with the new info. Things I'm not happy with are (maybe I should just say what I'm happy with):

1)Elevation changes (shaded areas near where rapids appear) aren't dark enough - nor can I figure out the best way to make them look correct in Gimp. I've tried every fricking filter effect, including those in Gimp-Fu, and so far nothing is a quick and simple fix. (I know it might not be a simple filter effect, but I believe I'm just irritated with this brainblock I have on it right now.) Suggestions on how to accomplish a realistic looking elevational change are needed. In other words..HELP!..lol

2) The salmon ladder needs to be shrunk in width, (that is the small stream just south of the northernmost rapids).

3) How I'm going to do a river running through a marsh.

4) Gully seems straight forward, but I said that about the elevation changes.

Tons more texture work, and overlaying of various items yet to be done. At this point I'm more frustrated than anything.


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11-23-2011, 01:58 AM
Fairly brief update.

Expanded Map East-West
Added marsh at base of fall, prior to beaver dam.
Added enchanted Forest, with a few trees in the river.
Added Forest Cover



11-23-2011, 02:13 AM
2nd Update:

This style of map has been rejected. I'll be trying a completely different style, simpler in fashion to a line drawing on aged parchment.


11-23-2011, 03:22 AM
I feel your anguish and frustration. Good luck.

11-23-2011, 05:25 PM


I switched to Fractal Mapper 8 for this map, but will keep Gimp for the rare effect down the road - like the old weathered map script.

Laid out 50 mile map, dropped in textures, river, and trees. Added marsh, bayous and beaver dam, dropped in watersplash/ford, created canyon, island and smaller details. Pulled into Paint Shop Pro for text, extra shadowing on river and canyon. Hopefully this is accepted.



11-23-2011, 07:08 PM
I love the concept, but the mixture of different illustrations styles (hand drawn mountains, photorealistic forest etc..) is a bit jarring to me and makes it look more like a collage (which is great if that's the look you're after). If you want something more consistent, is there a symbol set all drawn by the same person that you could use? (I don't use FM8 so I can't really help you there).

11-23-2011, 09:00 PM
I love the concept, but the mixture of different illustrations styles (hand drawn mountains, photorealistic forest etc..) is a bit jarring to me and makes it look more like a collage (which is great if that's the look you're after). If you want something more consistent, is there a symbol set all drawn by the same person that you could use? (I don't use FM8 so I can't really help you there).

Hiya Ravells,

I really appreciate your feedback. This is the 2nd map made in this style with mixed media - I didn't really think of it as a collage, but that seems fitting. Truth be told, I'm happy with this look, but...

You ask a very good question about 1 full set of symbols drawn by the same person - which don't exist that I know of. I've been tempted to try creating a matching style to the photo-realistic forest, but so far have come up empty on this board. So if you know of an artist that has created a set of photo realistic mountains I'd love to see them.

The technique for the trees works really well, so IF I can discover a way to do the same with mountains/hills, this will probably wind up being my main method.

Thanks again,

11-24-2011, 04:23 AM
My pleasure, just sorry I can't be of more help.

It look like you're using Star Raven's mountain brushes (not sure without checking) and I think she had some forests to with it. You might also want to try using Ramah's 'tree thing' application (you can find it in the 'Elements' section of the forum.

I don't think I have ever seen photo realistic mountain symbols...I think that they would just be impossible to draw because in real life mountains form continuous chains rather than being discrete little mountain objects which is how they are stylised as symbols.