View Full Version : July/August 2011 Lite Challenge Entry: Glandred's Hollow

08-03-2012, 11:46 AM
Hey all...figured this challenge would be a good excuse to try to get to know photoshop better and go beyond the few tutorials that i've attempted. I've decided to use the shape provided as the rough outline of a mountain with interior space used to depict a river valley and town. (I've taken a few liberties with the shape - i.e. I filled in a big hole that was in the top of it - figured that it was very unlikely that my entry would be competitive anyway).

Next step is to start the town...but...i'm really really new at this and would certainly appreciate any comments, critiques, suggestions that could be thrown my way.

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*In particular - not really sure about the scale I should be using. I figure that most of the buildings should be pretty small - but any advice here would also be helpful.

08-03-2012, 02:08 PM
I think scale would depend on how tall the "mountains" are. If you want to make this a town and environs, I would think of them as Hills more mountains, and that would allow you to have a larger scale, with the town around the lake instead of on one side of it. Think along the lines of a Box Canyon town sort of thing. Just a suggestion though ;)

A couple of comments though...You might want to place the river layer on top of the mountain layer because the sources fade into the mountains. Another is maybe to blur the lower layers of the mountains a bit more to have them blend in a bit better. As is they look quite a bit "stepped".

08-03-2012, 05:38 PM
Thanks for the feedback...I've tried to smooth out the mountain edges a bit and will try to play around the with the rivers soon (I saw someone on these forums talking about a path tool and playing with the stroke settings - might give that a try).

This version contains my attempt at the walls, road, bridges, and buildings. (I was quite excited to learn how to import brushes for the buildings - And if anyone knows where I can find more/knows how to rotate brushes, please let me know). Anyone have any advice on how to do fields and trees? How to do bridges better? Any other comments/criticisms are appreciated.

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08-08-2012, 01:52 AM
Not much of a change...just experimenting with brushes

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08-08-2012, 02:19 PM
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08-08-2012, 03:49 PM
Made some more progress. But having a real problem with exporting the image. Can anyone tell me why my mountains look flat in the export compared to the screen shot? I've tried increasing the quality of the jpeg export and that didn't seem to help. (*I'm a real noob when it comes to photoshop.)

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08-08-2012, 07:00 PM
hmmm, I don't know either...Shame, 'cause I definitely like the screen shot very much better. The hills do really stand out in that one and has an overall better feel to it.

08-08-2012, 08:16 PM
I would guess that when you are flattening the image you are losing your layer effects. It is a real problem sometimes and other times It doesn't seem to have an effect. Trying putting a blank layer "BELOW" the mountain layer and then merge it down. That sometimes helps. Also if you are not flattening the image before "Saving as" to the jpeg you will lose all the layers effects. BE SURE to use "SAVE AS" and not "SAVE" then you can simply "UNDO" the image flattening and continue on with the editing progress. It is looking very good. Lets hope this lets you keep the layer effects as it looks much better that way.

08-08-2012, 10:47 PM
Thanks Lostatsea...unfortunately that did not fix my problem. However it did give me some guidance in terms of what to scour the internet for. After lurking around for 2 hours, I finally found a forum entry on some random website which suggested that you try scaling down the image size. My image size was gigantic (4000 pixels x 3000 pixels). I reduced the image size to 1000 pixels x 800 pixels and now the export works properly. I guess i'll just chalk this one up to newbie error and remember to work with more manageable image dimensions from now on.

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I still consider this a WIP - so any suggestions on how I can improve this are welcome.

08-08-2012, 11:49 PM
Oh, I really like the border you've added to this! Nicely done.


08-09-2012, 08:09 AM
Aye, I have to agree with Arsheesh, it's a really nice border you've got there. The whole thing looks so much better with the elevations being more pronounced too.

As for what to add: maybe a legend or some places labelled...

08-09-2012, 10:45 AM
Wish I could take credit for the border (it was listed as free to use without restrictions on Deviantart.com). Haven't learned how to make them in Photoshop yet.

08-09-2012, 12:26 PM
Yeah, gotta like that border. Kinda passes on the kind of mood for this place...dark and brooding, which matches the over all color skeme.

The smaller scale also makes the streams blend in better, and the hills look smoother (unless you worked on those recently - in which case ... nicely done :) )

A legend and labels would not be out of place either...but not nessesary in my mind.

Good work so far.

08-09-2012, 12:31 PM
It's looking great so far. One suggestion: All the buildings are currently oriented exactly North / South or East / West. Rotate them a bit. Generally buildings which are built near roads are oriented to the direction of the road.

08-09-2012, 03:04 PM
Thanks for the suggestions and encouragement. I've fixed the building orientation (now that I've learned how to rotate objects) and tooled around a little bit with some of shadows/strokes. I also redid the map label background.

I would like to do a legend, but I'm worried that it might make the overall map look too busy...i'll probably try it and post it at some point.

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08-10-2012, 04:04 AM
...I would like to do a legend, but I'm worried that it might make the overall map look too busy...i'll probably try it and post it at some point.
Good point, it may well do. A small compass-rose for orientation purposes?

08-10-2012, 11:44 PM
So...this map is suppose to depict a small village which sits in the shadow of a Dwarven stronghold located in the mountain. Because I like to have a back-story for my maps to use in future DnD games, I decided that the name should reflect a myth among the Dwarves of that stronghold. After playing with a random Dwarf name generator (http://grey-starr.ca/Tools/random-male-dwarf-name.htm) I arrived at the name "Glan-Dred Hollows" which would translate into "Forgotten/Lost Maiden". The myth I came up with states that long ago, a brave warrior left on some epic quest and was never heard from again. His wife waited for him in the hollow desperately hoping for his return and the dwarves now say that her spirit remains in a perpetual state of longing (Protecting or tormenting the residents...haven't decided yet).

So, to reflect that story...i created a short little lyric to go around the border. Not sure if I like the way this looks compared to my last post, but I figured i'd post it and see what others think.

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p.s. Yes, I know I have way to much time on my hands to come up with this stuff....I'm just trying to avoid getting back to work on my dissertation.

08-11-2012, 02:04 AM
Wow, this looks great. A bit darker than I would have gone for but it still works out good.

I really like the compass rose you are using.

I like the border text but I'm not sure it would make sense if someone just had access to the map without the back-story.

08-11-2012, 05:59 PM
Nice! I love the way you used the required shape as a change in topography, rather than going with the more obvious shoreline that most of us chose :).

08-11-2012, 08:14 PM
decided to darken up the village part a tiny bit and add a brown tint to the walls so they better match the mountain (where the material would presumably be coming from.)

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