View Full Version : [WIP] More TIP for Desert Map

05-20-2012, 08:33 AM
Hi everyone,
Finally had some time to do work on some mapping techniques. This is more a 'Techniques in Progress' than a WIP and would only be possible due to the tutorials and techniques explained through this guild. Thank you!!
My plan is to map a desert region of a low fantasy world.
Attached is two maps that I'm practicing techniques on, as i am very new to digital mapping and have no artistic ability. I would greatly appreciate any feedback about any techniques used or even just the overall style.
To describe the TIP maps:
Small Desert Fort
At the top, from left to right, is a rocky outcropping area; then sparse semi-arid vegetation; then a small farm with an outside oven, flat-topped roof house, small coral for animals and an irrigated date palm grove; then a gravel desert area; under is a fort (this was actually made first and needs a lot of work). Under this is a few stone platforms (discussed below).

Wadi and Irrigation
This map is only background texture, plus two features. Firstly a small irrigated farm with date palms and some low plants. At the bottom is the end of a wadi (i.e. dry riverbed).

In particular I would like help with a few matters if anyone has suggestions.
1. The house in the small farm. I'm not happy with it. It would do the job, but just doesn't seem to look right.
2. Connected with the above, how do people make small stairs? This is one I found on the web and just reduced to the right size.
3. The larger water channels. They are meant to be man made, but just don't look very good.
4. Below the fort are a few stone platform textures i have also found on the web. I want ot make them the edge of a quay/dock for the canal that will go past the fort. I just don't know how to do this well. Does anyone know how to make a stone block texure follow the paint brush but keep the same direction? I tried the direction option, but it didn't seem to work. Maybe I was doing something wrong. I really wnat ot paint a stone block at a time.
5. I'm struggling with the ground for the wadi. How can I make the ground look eroded, sandy and like water has gone through there at some point?

Thanks for any help.
Kind regards,

05-20-2012, 09:19 AM
I think this is really good.

1). Actually I like it. I'd add a little more dirt and mud especially inside the orchard and corral, however, and perhaps darken the building roof a good bit.
2) I think you have done a superb job on the steps.
3) I think they are fine.
4) You don't need to paint the stone blocks one at a time; but I can't advise without knowing which programme you use.
5) use your 'gravel desert area' texture heavily on it and it might work.

I don't think the dark clouds over the desert texture in the second image are working - they are too large, regular and shadowy. Perhaps experiment with setting these to overlay, or increasing their detail. Best of all probably would be to create a grainy bumpmap layer and using your dark clouds as the layermap on the grain - might be a bit tricky if you are starting out.

05-21-2012, 12:22 AM
Hi Jacktannery,
Thanks for your quick and informative resopnse. I'm not at my computer at the moment, but when I am I will try your suggestions.
1. I will try the darker roof, that could be very good. Also I'll place more mud/dirt around.
2. Thanks. The steps are just something I found on the net and copied. I was hoping to 'design' them myself, but maybe what I have will do.
3. Great.
4. sorry. I'm using Photoshop CS2 for these. I would really like to have large stone blocks (think pyramids) that can be stepped and form a line that will be curve gradually.
5. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give it a go. Do you know a way to make things look like scratched? My thinking is if I could use some brush or texture that looks like a scratch, then maybe i could use it at the base of the wadi to look like water once flowed down the small channels.

Yeah, I was not overly happy with it. I'll ave to try a bump map if I can figure it out on CS2.

Thanks again,

05-21-2012, 06:29 PM
Hi again,
I've made some changes and attached.
With the small desert fort I changed the house colour and do think it looks better. I've also experimented with a pile of rublle that was dug out of the small canal to the right of the house. Does this work? Is it obvious that is what it is? It is not freshly dug so basically the same colour as the desert. I've also added a canal below the fort. I tried to make the blocks in two levels and the nthe normal ground but I don't like it now. I think I'll just make the normal ground the same 'height' as the top tier.

For the Wadi map I added some bump, but didn't really know what I was doing. I can bumpmap in Gimp, but not photoshop... Having said that it looks much better. Also tried Jacktannery's suggestion for wadi. Thanks! I think it is coming along.

Kind regards,


05-21-2012, 10:39 PM
This is coming along nicely :)

05-22-2012, 05:48 AM
The desert texture map and wadi look a million times better - well done. Th small farmhouse is also looking better with your improvements.

05-22-2012, 10:09 PM
Hi Jacktannery and Gidde,
Thank you for your encouragement. I hope to upload some updated images soon.
Thanks again for all your help and the tutorials from other Guild members.

05-23-2012, 10:09 PM
Hi everyone,
Latest update. I had troubles uploadingthe whole wadi image, so just decided to zoom into the new areas I've been adding.
The canal and forts is actually what I am planning on creating, so this is now becoming more of a WIP.

I need to put a lot of work into the forts and also the channel leading from the water raising device to irrigate the field (top right).
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

BTW the boats are not mine. I found them on the net somewhere. Thanks to whoever made them.



05-24-2012, 06:23 PM
Hi again,
I created this closeup of the fort components of the wadi map. Once I've completed it, I'll reduce the image size and replace the existing fort placeholders.

Any suggestions or errors in this fort that people can see. I need to adjust the colour of the stairs- it doesn't quite work.



05-27-2012, 06:36 PM
Hi everyone,
Latest update. I have finished (I think) the forts in a close-up and then reduced them to fit the map.

How do they look? I'm not happy with the timber 'projection' at the tip of the stone arches. Any suggestions how to improve them? Also if anyone knows a way i could make the 3 buildings inside the forts look more realistic that would be great too. They are meant to have tiled roofs, that slope away from the outside wall they are attached too.

Thansk for any help.

Kind regards,

Edit: tried attachment again