View Full Version : [WIP] Random Island

03-31-2012, 01:18 AM
Just a quick test project to get back into mapping, testing out a new handdrawn style. The coastline/sea/land are just placeholders until I get the style figured out enough to match it. Suggestions are of course welcome!

03-31-2012, 02:42 AM
I'm envious. I want those mountains! Or the ability to draw them. ;) I'll keep practicing, but oh how sweet to have that ability now. Very good job. Can't wait to see where this map goes. :)

03-31-2012, 06:19 AM
The mountains look great. They're very well defined and the gradients are very nice. My only complaint is that they look a bit too big for the island. If the island is meant to be tiny, then it's ok; but if not, they overwhelm the map somewhat.

03-31-2012, 09:29 AM
@ Joshua: Thanks! The mountains are actually very easy, just extremely tedious. I'll post up a couple in various stages of progress on the next post so you can see. I'm hoping with practice it gets faster lol.

@ silverhead: You're totally correct. Right now I'm working on the "it's extremely tiny" premise, but the map might grow or the mountains may shrink as I start to try to make other elements that match the darn things. :)

03-31-2012, 04:40 PM
Ok, it's not exactly the best tutorial on the planet, but here's a quick step-by-step on how I'm doing these. If anyone has some tips on making the process better/faster, I'd love to hear em!

03-31-2012, 07:02 PM
Why are you redrawing your original lines? To make everything sharper after color and smudging? If that's the case, why not draw in the basic lines for every mountain first, then duplicate that layer and move it on top of everything else when you're done?

03-31-2012, 07:06 PM
I probably will eventually, but up to this point they're changing a little after the shading goes in. I kinda suck at putting them in the right place to begin with ;) I was also thinking about putting the shading on another layer to begin with. Then I wouldn't even have to move them afterward.

03-31-2012, 07:07 PM
Oh. I thought your shading was on a different layer to begin with. :)

03-31-2012, 07:10 PM
No, for right now it's all one coherent piece so that I can fudge the lines into better places afterward :) Unfortunately it's also mostly transparent which is giving me fits trying to put in the next type of elements. So I think I'll be going back to the drawing board and filling them in with some kind of color at the beginning.

04-01-2012, 08:39 AM
looks great Gidde - and wonderful to have you back :)

04-01-2012, 09:23 AM
I'm also experimenting with mountains. Alas, so far my results are not the best, but perhaps your minitutorial has given me some hints (thus, receive some rep!) ;)

But I think I also can give you an advice, I think it's better to work on different levels.
I make one for the outline, one for plain color, one for texture/noise (on multiply, above the color), then one for shadow (hue/saturation regolation level set on multiply, with low brightness and perhaps a hint of dark blue hue to have the night dark effect), and one for highlights (again, hue saturation level set on hard light, with high brightness and a hint of yellowish/gold color for sun effect).
Working on different levels allows you to change colors and brightness afterwards, and it's cool to see various effects.

Alas, my main problem for now is to draw convincing mountain shapes. They always have a little "something" that I don't like. :(
However, I'm trying with your method now, and I hope my hints can help you.

04-01-2012, 10:48 PM
@ tilt: Thanks! It's wonderful to *be* back.

Thanks Morgan (for the rep and for the insight)! There's a couple things in there I wouldn't have thought of, I'll have to try incorporating them :) Hope your experiments go well!

04-01-2012, 11:55 PM
VERY nice start Gidde. The only thing I would suggest is to make the "bottoms" of each mountain no so flat(unless this was exactly the look you were going for!!!). It's something I have been trying to do quite a bit for the past year or so in what little mapping time I have available. Basically, the idea is to make them seem more 3 dimensional vs a static flat painting effect. If you look at this (REALLY OLD) (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=7514&d=1225765614) test I started, you might say they are pretty(or at least I do), but they look much more like flat symbols dropped down. Of course, yours look much better integrated that my example did, but I think the same principle applies. Add to that the fact that I don't have any yet that I am happy with enough to post and show what I mean....

04-02-2012, 12:41 AM
Ooh, I like those too! And good point about the bottoms. They were bugging me, but I hadn't been able to put my finger on it or fix it. The only thing I'd been able to come up with was to cover up the bottoms with hills or trees ;) Wasn't thinking about the flatness though; that gives me some ideas. Thanks!

04-02-2012, 12:45 AM
Thanks Morgan (for the rep and for the insight)! There's a couple things in there I wouldn't have thought of, I'll have to try incorporating them :) Hope your experiments go well!

You're welcome, happy to help if I can! :)

However I have to quote jfrazierjr about the 3D effect. The principle is, you're drawing your mountains in ISO, so you must think the base in an isometric perspective, not a flat line. Most of the times this can be achieved by drawing the central part of the mountain longer than the slopes/sides. That is, imagine the mountain as a triangle. It's flat, 2D. Now trace the height, but instead of stopping at the base, continue for a while. Ta-dah! Pyramid effect! ;)
Experimenting with hand drawn brushes I discovered the result is soo different!

04-03-2012, 12:35 AM
Well, I'm absolutely unhappy with this latest attempt, but in the interest of (hopefully) letting others learn from my pain I'll post it up anyway.

I wasn't feeling the test landmass, so I resurrected an old project where I love the concept but the map itself sucked, created a new landmass for it, and roughed in some general thoughts on where stuff should go (in red). Then I put my latest attempt at the mountains on: this time there's a fill behind them, they're on lots of different layers, the bottoms aren't straight .... and I hate them. I've lost something I had before. Ah well. At least I do like the new landmass shape ;) I'll give the mountains another shot tomorrow.

04-03-2012, 01:16 AM
They are not so bad, but the previous ones were indeed better.
Hmmm, I will point out the differences I notice between the two versions, so that perhaps you can understand what has gone wrong:
- The general mountain shape: you went with much more smooth slopes before, now they are semi-regular triangles. Perhaps you should make mountains larger, raising the sloped with a more morbid line.
- Lack of graduality: you had smaller mountains/hills in the previous section, here there's too much contrast between plains and mountain.
- Density: you had a greater body of mountains, not just a line, and this improved the overall effect, I think.
- Highlights: you had more highlights in the previous version. Though the technique is the same, there's less white, thus less tridimensional effect.

Hope this helps! :)

On the other hand, landmass and border are great. I love the writings and the title of the map!

04-03-2012, 10:02 AM
Thanks, Morgan, that's actually extremely helpful! I've already tweaked them and the result is better, but I think I'm going to rehash the outlines anyway. Your recent mountain thread has been really helpful too, and I want to make them all a bit wider.

The writings and the title and such are really old lol ... this was the original thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?13064-Summerlands-Before-the-Breaking). The problem being, I started with a terrible "before" map and then broke it into too many pieces, making the project way too overwhelming. So I wanted to keep the concept, but fix the map and rebreak it.

04-03-2012, 10:46 AM
Oh, that early thread makes me feel soooo young in this forum. Wait, I am! :D
Well, old or not, I like them anyway. But I must say, your new mountain style is much better!
I'm glad I could help, and also glad that my thread has useful also to someone else. :)
Can't wait to see results, it's a gorgeous project! :)

04-07-2012, 11:08 AM
Ok, went back to the one-layer, starting from transparency, done in Photoshop process (2nd one was in Gimp), but incorporated some of the stuff we talked about with the bottoms and shading and things. I think I like this version best, and I'll be going forward now (I hope!). I also increased the image size, so this is cropped down to the stuff I have so far on the map.

04-07-2012, 12:47 PM
Finished the range and started playing with color.

04-07-2012, 03:12 PM
very nice.... slap a few low hills in there and let's see what they look like...

04-07-2012, 09:05 PM
Love it! I do think you got it right this time!
I quote jfrazierjr, perhaps some hills will give a more morbid effect. But the mountains, as they are, are just perfect! Keep it up! :)

04-23-2012, 03:25 PM
RIP: This project died this weekend along with the rest of my hard drive. Oh well, at least I learned a lot :) I do believe my next project will be paint and paper!

04-23-2012, 04:15 PM
My condolences Gidde. I only just discovered this thread and was excited to see the next stage of the project. I hope sincerely hope that the majority of the contents of your hard drive had been backed up. Anyway, look forward to seeing your next project.


04-23-2012, 07:40 PM
Yeah, everything I *need to survive* was backed up (i.e. the notes for my novel, etc.) ... just not map experiments :(

04-23-2012, 08:04 PM
Yeah, everything I *need to survive* was backed up (i.e. the notes for my novel, etc.) ... just not map experiments :(You should seriously consider something like Dropbox, UbuntuOne, SugarSync or some other online file sync option. I put all my stuff on Dropbox(and recently put my few CD's ripped to MP3 to sync with UbuntuOne which also syncs to my phone) and sync that over 3 computers(2 linux/1 windows). If you want to drop me a PM, I can send you a referral link to DB and I get a bit of extra space. Basically, you save files to folder X and they sync automatically... Also, at least for Dropbox, I know it has versionning support so you can roll back versions if needed to one degree or another.

04-23-2012, 08:19 PM
I have DB :) that's how I saved most of the crucial stuff. Thanks though!