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View Full Version : The Blackwood, A Folkloric Mini Setting



ThatGuyEli
02-14-2012, 12:32 AM
Hey all! This is my first time uploading a map to the forums. I've been mapping for a year or so now, but I hadn't uploaded anything so far because I'd just been following tutorials. This is the first time I decided to fly solo (though I found excellent help from StarRaven's brushpack!), and I'm very pleased with the results.

I had started a thread elsewhere on the forums asking for help with how to orient the map. Lots of medieval maps were oriented with East at the top, and I thought about doing the same thing for mine. In the end, I decided on a north orientation, and after a fruitless search for a good brush online, I decided not to include a compass. Again, most maps from the relevant time period (1200s CE) that I saw didn't have a compass rose anyway, so it's no biggie.

This setting is inspired heavily by German folklore, with a sprinkling of Chinese Wuxia to keep the flavor from being too bland. Normally my maps have been basically "satellite" renders, and--as you can tell--this is a much more hand-drawn piece. Any criticism or comments are definitely welcome!

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Jaxilon
02-14-2012, 02:48 AM
I think it looks good...I bonk thee with my mighty rep-hammer.

Lukc
02-14-2012, 03:59 AM
I think it looks fantastic! Really something out of a Schwarzwald fairy tale!

My only warning would be about the red on green - I'm boring like that sometimes - but it could be an issue for people with color-blindness (like me!) ... although you use red in big enough patches that it still functions.

Sapiento
02-14-2012, 04:04 AM
Fine mix of ideas!

Eilathen
02-14-2012, 08:21 AM
Wow, cool map. I want to start roleplaying in that setting right away :)
Very nice trees and mountains! Are these all from the starraven brushpack? Care to point me to that particular brushpack?
And have some rep.!

the-golem
02-14-2012, 09:11 AM
What's WIP about this? Looks pretty durned finished to me :P Although, to be honest, the river shorelines look a smidge pixelated compared to the hand drawn feel of everything else. Maybe you could put a slight blur on the rivers' edges, just to soften things up a touch.

Still, excellent work.

ThatGuyEli
02-14-2012, 11:29 AM
Thanks everyone! Lukc, potential issues with red on green was something I hadn't thought about! I tried to think about what kind of colors would have been available in the 1200s, and it seemed like red was a pretty popular choice. Whoops!


Wow, cool map. I want to start roleplaying in that setting right away :)
Very nice trees and mountains! Are these all from the starraven brushpack? Care to point me to that particular brushpack?
And have some rep.!

Thanks! I may not ever run a campaign online, but if I do it will be over at the Giant in the Playground forums.

Here's a link (http://starraven.deviantart.com/art/Sketchy-Cartography-Brushes-198264358?q=gallery%3Astarraven%2F2342810&qo=5) to the StarRaven brushpack. I didn't know about it when I made this map, but there's a high-res update (http://starraven.deviantart.com/art/Sketchy-Cartography-Brushes-198264358?q=gallery%3Astarraven%2F2342810&qo=5) for all the town brushes, too!


What's WIP about this? Looks pretty durned finished to me Although, to be honest, the river shorelines look a smidge pixelated compared to the hand drawn feel of everything else. Maybe you could put a slight blur on the rivers' edges, just to soften things up a tough

The "WIP" part is basically to indicate that I haven't labeled everything yet. I'd like to label all the rivers and lakes, but I don't know what I want to call them!

Thanks for the tip on the rivers. That makes a lot of sense. I'll probably have an updated file uploaded by this afternoon.

Coyotemax
02-14-2012, 12:00 PM
I find the text and the masking/outlining around the text to be a bit sharp compared to the rest. (unlike many others I have no problem with the red text and i think it actually works nicely in this context). It might be worth considering feathering/blurring just a tad to make it consistent with the drawn elements.

that having been said, i really like it. Please tell me you used the forest generator and didn't place all those trees individually ;)

if you wanted to go really nuts (it's tedious but well worth the effort) there are a few spots on some rivers where the trees cut off halfway through (it is subtle but once you see it you can't unsee it lol). masking the river when it flows behind/under the trees can really help with the illusion of depth too. Hard to explain, i can point you to some examples if you don't follow.

Lukc
02-14-2012, 02:12 PM
Oh, in the middle ages they wouldn't have cared about us color-blind folks ;) they'd have slapped red on green and ignored us.

ThatGuyEli
02-14-2012, 06:30 PM
Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I incorporated your changes. What do you think?

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@the-golem, the rivers looked pixelated because I had a small, darker blue stroke on them. It was intended to make them look painted on, and blurring it just aggravated the stroke into a big, dark mess. Instead, I made the stroke a much light blue, and I think it worked.

@Coyotemax, I noticed that too, and it bothered me. I spent about an hour looking for a good Gothic font that looked like it could have been written by a careful hand, and in the end it was just a little too well-defined. I'm blurred everything just a touch. Has it improved?

Thanks to everyone for being a fresh group of eyes. It's hard for me to notice little things like this after a dozen hours or so. :P

::EDIT:: Coyotemax, I sort of placed the trees individually. The brush pack I used came with these really cool puzzle piece stamps with a whole section of trees, but I still had to place a lot of individual trees to make everything blend together the way I wanted. All in all, it took MUCH less time than you're thinking. :P

Coyotemax
02-14-2012, 07:42 PM
I like it!!!

ThatGuyEli
02-18-2012, 02:10 AM
Hey! So I've been tinkering around with things, and I discovered the glory of the "Color Dynamics" option on the hoozit tab for Photoshop brushes. My life is changed.


So I'm re-imagining the map. The first one I pictured to be a large, table-sized map for this major inn on a roadway. This one I imagine to be a wall-sized guy, commissioned by the king and executed by a master cartographer. I'm really digging what I've done with the trees, and I am satisfied with what I've done with the mountains, but I can't seem to find something I like for the wheat fields. Any help? For reference, the section of the map (shown below) is roughly 40 miles wide. At that height, details like wheat fields would be hard to see, but I imagine this being a little bit of an artistic concession.

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Schwarzkreuz
02-18-2012, 11:57 PM
Can you show a bigger WIP from the new map? I think I can answer more easily if I could see the whole proportions.

ThatGuyEli
02-19-2012, 09:47 PM
Here's the whole map. The clearings in the north-central and southeast parts of the map are the ones with the largest areas of plowed land.

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