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View Full Version : Experimental Coloring and Texturing-Feedback Desired!



Shadownox
07-22-2012, 03:36 AM
So it's probably a bit too early for me to be straying from tutorials and basic map-making, but it's in my nature to experiment and try to do something different/other than the norm. This is an experimental coloring and texture that I'm playing with. I haven't added any defining features to it yet; just basic land forms, an ocean, and somewhat defined coastlines.

What do you think about it? Could I potentially make a reasonably decent map with this (and if so what style would you suggest?), or is it wishful thinking and a bit too unorthodox? I'd really appreciate any suggestions on how to possibly improve on any elements of it that you find lacking. Thanks!

46822

Ghostman
07-22-2012, 03:54 AM
That sort of monochromatic coloring could work, especially if the textures you're going to use will conform to it. That said, the cloudy ocean would be a problem regardless of the color scheme. Maps with this kind of sea are pretty common here because the style is used in some tutorials, wich is unfortunate because it's so prone to looking more gaseous than liquid and also tend to give you that "the landmasses are levitating far above it" impression. It gets even worse when you can't use the usual blue color to indicate that it's a sea.

Shadownox
07-22-2012, 04:22 AM
Hmmmm....I see what you mean. It looked worse when I first overlaid the cloud layer onto the ocean layer, but I thought it helped a bit when I added that bit of non-cloud red coloring between the land and the ocean. I used a Gaussian Blur on a land mask black and white image, applied an expanded mask that was five pixels wider and then overlaid it onto the cloud texture.

What would you suggest doing differently for the ocean?

Ghostman
07-22-2012, 08:03 AM
Using smaller clouds and with a narrower contrast between the extreme (lightest and darkest) shades to them might help somewhat. You could also add a wide band of shallow water around the coasts that gradually fades off, so that you won't have deep water areas touching the coastline at any point. Applying some texture to the water might also do wonders, but that really depends on if you can find a good texture to use.

Personally I'd be tempted to experiment with a nearly 'flat', very dark-colored ocean. I think something like that could work quite well with this coloring and those landmasses.

Troedel
07-22-2012, 04:08 PM
I try to stay away from clouds layed down with a heavy hand. Use them very subtle and try to work out the sea with a brush. I tend to use a grunge brush with different shape dynamics. There is a tutorial by tear ( saderan if i remember correctly ) that helps you to create very beautiful oceans. But it takes some time and a tablet is useful ( that can be said in general ;), if you are into mapping and drawing get one, itīs a different world )

Shadownox
07-22-2012, 05:50 PM
Using smaller clouds and with a narrower contrast between the extreme (lightest and darkest) shades to them might help somewhat. You could also add a wide band of shallow water around the coasts that gradually fades off, so that you won't have deep water areas touching the coastline at any point. Applying some texture to the water might also do wonders, but that really depends on if you can find a good texture to use.

Personally I'd be tempted to experiment with a nearly 'flat', very dark-colored ocean. I think something like that could work quite well with this coloring and those landmasses.

46842

How does this look? I went more subtle with the clouds, darkened it, and added a band of lighter blended color around the coast that hopefully looks subtle and blended enough to avoid the floating cloud look. I think the floating effect is a lot more reduced now, though it might still be present.

I'm planning on improvising Ascension's Atlas style textures for mountains, forests, etc. Do you think, with the right coloring, this would be a good fit, or would you propose a different form of detailing?


I try to stay away from clouds layed down with a heavy hand. Use them very subtle and try to work out the sea with a brush. I tend to use a grunge brush with different shape dynamics. There is a tutorial by tear ( saderan if i remember correctly ) that helps you to create very beautiful oceans. But it takes some time and a tablet is useful ( that can be said in general , if you are into mapping and drawing get one, itīs a different world )

Oooo I might have to look into that. I'm not the most patient person in the world, but I'd definitely be willing to try it. I'll try the grunge brush technique if I can find some more information on how to make one and how to best apply it. I'll be hunting for that tut. If you find the link for it, please let me know. :) (Also, do you think that my revision helps)

Thanks!
Shadow

Ghostman
07-23-2012, 03:28 AM
It's certainly looking much better to my eyes now. The sea's pretty good, while the band of shallows could use some softening.

Troedel
07-23-2012, 08:10 AM
Take a look at the link below. I find those minituts very helpful. There is one about making grungy brushes. Use a low opacity and start building up colour, it will not work with one sweep.
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?16819-Assorted-tips-and-tricks (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?16819-Assorted-tips-and-tricks)

Map away ;)

Hai-Etlik
07-24-2012, 12:34 AM
Try to think about what information you are trying to present. There will be shapes (features) and information about them (attributes) which you present in a particular way(symbols). You want a clear distinction between symbols that mean something, and decorative elements. Try to avoid clouds and textures that look like they are trying to be symbolic. If you just have "water" without any attributes like depth, it's best to present it as flat and even as possible, with maybe a simple coastal effect to help emphasize the coastline.

It's a good idea to get the features of a map complete before you even start styling it. You might find things go better if you have everything placed before you worry about water textures.

If you are trying to mimic a had drawn "in character" fantasy map. Consider the tools, techniques, data and goals of your notional cartographer. Why does the water have the texture it does? Is it the underlying texture of the paper/parchment/whatever? Is it an unevenness in the medium used like a watercolour wash? Is it aging, wear, or other "distressing"? Or is it an intentional part of the symbol like stippling or a wave pattern?

Remember that a map is a functional thing, not just a decorative wallpaper. If it's hard to read, it's a bad map regardless of how pretty it is. (It might still be a good map inspired image though).

Troedel
07-24-2012, 04:08 PM
It is a decorative wallpaper first and all... ;)