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Simon33600
11-07-2012, 06:41 PM
Ok;


So, my players have bitten a side quest I dangled their way... It is based on the adventure "Sacred shrine (http://www.rpgarchive.com/index.php?page=adv1&advid=817)".


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I decided that the last encounter was in a large forge. I also added the necromancer, that is mentioned in the adventure but that the player never actually meet otherwise...

My idea is that both the chief Duergar and the necromancer turn invisible, then, when the players enter, they ambush them, and call forth the skeletons that were lying in ambush in the ambers on the right.
As I plan it, the necromancer will cast "enlarge" on the biggest skeleton that will grow out of the ambers, trailling the other two clutch its clavicules bones...

It will be a pretty cool scene, I think and will be a good lesson for my players... So far, they haven't fought anything much smarter than an orc and being out-maneuvered and ambushed might teach them some prudence...


I still need to put a lot of work on the furniture (that will come from dundjinni), and to play with the shadows and light effects, this map should be rich with these...

Right now, I only made the shadows for the two anvils, mostly to see how it looked... I tried doing some light effects on the stone margin of the northern fire, but I need to rework it...
I also wanted to light up the side of the anvil facing that source of light, but the results are crap and I need to redo it...

Anyway, lot's of work still ahead...


As usual I'd be grateful for advices and critics...

jtougas
11-07-2012, 07:05 PM
Thats a great encounter set up. The anvils look great as do the shadows. The embers in the forges look a little tiled as the pattern repeats itself quite a lot. Lighting is one of those "black magic" things. I can spend hours working on a lighting effect only to decide that I don't like it. I can give you a couple of tips though. When I need something to be really dark with a dramatic light effect I use what I call a "dark layer" usually a layer of black set to either "overlay" or "soft light" I mess with the opacity until I get what I'm looking for. Then you can make a layer of bright light (in this case over your forges) and then with a big soft eraser with a fuzzy brush erase over the forges to reveal the light source. A blur on both layers helps blend it together. This looks like it's going to be a lot of fun to follow. :)

Jacktannery
11-08-2012, 03:20 AM
Like JT says there is no one way to do it lighting, but here is my advice:

-light on side of forges: good start here; the reason its not looking great is due to the fact that you have added highlights but no shadows. The northern forge looks good but you should reduce the size of the highlights to 1/3 of the thickness like the southern one. Then add a layer over this, where you draw with a fat fuzzy black paintbrush over the western third of each forge. Then reduce the opacity to c. 30% to create a shadow layer. The reason you would not use as overlay layer to create this shadow layer is because it would intensify the already-saturated colour of the forge edge.

- Like JT says the anvils really do look great. The shadows are unrealistic but that's ok. They are also too fuzzy - they need to be sharpened-up by 50% to look more like anvils from the side, and perhaps you can lighten the shadows very slightly. The lighting effect on the northern anvil is very good (I don't know why you are not happy with it - I love it!) and should be added to the southern one. After this, add a second highlight layer using the colour orange and set on overlay (60% opacity) and with a small fuzzy brush go over the sharp edges of the anvil closest to the flame. Then do it again (but don't duplicate) with a very pale yellow. That should work. Also add these yellow-red highlights to the edge of the forge stonework to a lesser extent.

- Agree with JT on the flames. The colour is very good though ; it just needs a little variety - add several layers of patchy black overlays (maybe using a 'turbulent' plasma-filter layer mask or similar) to deepen and darken the fire colour in places.

-shadows and highlights - just add a LOT of these, doing them all by hand. I'd start off with a lighter floor shade, and add a hint of brown/beige to the floor (tip: increase the brightness and contrast of your floor layer quite a bit, then add a layer of pale browny-beige-orange on top set to burn and 40% opacity, it should work) to fit in with the forge edges. Then layer on your shadows and highlight if you add too much colour to the floor you will need to make your shadow layers normal rather than overlay).

-I made some fiery-shadowy maps a while ago that might give you some ideas - follow the link to my Nightwyrm Fortress maps below and check out maps D1-D5.

-Keep the furniture sparse. Don't go for a cluttered realistic forge with dundjinni furniture - the clash of colours and styles will make the map look crap. If I were you I would add nothing to this map at all.

Simon33600
11-08-2012, 06:53 PM
Ok, next installment...

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I think that I took just about all your advices into consideration (well, I did had a bit more furniture, but I wanted some stuff to bounce light off)...

I did change the floor for a brownish one and even hand made a few cracks in some tiles (although that might be tough to see...).
I also changed the rock surrounding the room, but it might be a bit too dark now... I'll have to see if I can lighten it a bit...

Anyway, sorry I can't give more details, but it is way past my bed time... I just wanted to post this tonight...


By the way jacktannery, thanks for your maps, these are truly awe inspiring...

jtougas
11-08-2012, 07:10 PM
Those forge embers look awesome now. I would blur the dark layer around them a little so there isn't such a hard edge. It is also VERY dark. You might consider lowering the opacity of that layer a bit so that you can have shadows. This is really turning out great. :)

Jacktannery
11-08-2012, 07:14 PM
Fantastic improvement! Now you just need to make a teensy bit brighter.

Simon33600
11-09-2012, 05:09 PM
Ok, I did separate the darkness layer into the wall and the floor one, that way I can adjust both levels of darkness individually and get a bit more contrast between the two.
I did lower the opacity of the "darkness" layer on top of the room, as you suggested, and blurred the mask a fair bit more...

Here it is:
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Anything else ypu can recommend?



By the way jtougas, because you are interested in encounter design... I am now thinking about making the necromancer a passing Tiefling, that way he could stay back into the embers (Tieflings have resistance against fire damage) and let the fire keep the heroes at bay while he slings his spells...
I was also thinking about using a Tiefling bad guy in the next adventure, so I am not quite sure yet but it seems almost too good to let pass...

jtougas
11-09-2012, 05:29 PM
I think that looks awesome. This turned out great and that's a good idea for the encounter. Your characters will have a tough time getting to the tiefling hiding in the embers. :)

Simon33600
11-09-2012, 05:37 PM
I think that looks awesome. This turned out great and that's a good idea for the encounter. Your characters will have a tough time getting to the tiefling hiding in the embers. :)

Well, one of the party member actually is a Tiefling (in fact the Tiefling necromancer is her uncle and the second hint of an unfolding sub-plot involving her backstory) and I suspect the party barbarian will just rage through the ember and not care about the fire... But it should be fun!

Simon33600
11-09-2012, 05:38 PM
And thanks for the compliment and rep, by the way!

Jacktannery
11-10-2012, 10:25 AM
Looking really nice.

Now you need to add some nice flame-coloured highlights to the bucket, the door, the barrels of coal, the weaponrack, and the anvils. Make sure only to apply highlights to the edges of each of these features - the edges closest to the forges.

Your existing anvil highlights are the right colour, but a bit small.

The main thing you need to do is to remove your black layer directly over the edges of the objects. Not sure what your set up is, but assuming you have:
1) the black layer over floor and object on its own layer, and 2) the objects mentioned above on their own layer, then this should work:
a) add layer mask (white) to black layer (maybe it already has one? If so that's fine).
b) go to layer with one or more objects and 'alpha to selection' so only the object is selected
c) go to the black layer layer mask, and using the most fuzzy brush quite big, go around the edge of the object in a black colour. This should remove the blackness around the edge of the object with a very sharp edge to the floor and a fuzzy edge to the inside of the object. Perhaps you will need to use the blur tool a bit - just make sure you still have the 'alpha to selection' selected.

Simon33600
11-10-2012, 06:30 PM
Ok, I did both add some higlights and a dark layer surrounding the objects on the mask...

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How does it look?

jtougas
11-10-2012, 08:47 PM
I think it's right on. I guess now it depends on how bright you think the embers are. The highlights look great. The whole map really looks good and the result was worth the effort you put in IMO. :)

Simon33600
11-11-2012, 06:11 AM
I think it's right on. I guess now it depends on how bright you think the embers are. The highlights look great. The whole map really looks good and the result was worth the effort you put in IMO. :)


I am not quire sure about the aura surrounding the anvils, to be honest.

But that'd be easily fixable.

Jacktannery
11-11-2012, 06:43 AM
I am not quire sure about the aura surrounding the anvils, to be honest.

I agree - there are not right. They look like an aura rather than a reflection of the flames. Ditto for the weaponrack. The flame highlights should:
-Be sharp only on the outside, and fuzzy on the inside of the object.
-Cover c. 20% of the object.
-Only affect the edges closest to the forges.
-Be MUCH brighter.

Its hard to explain without the actual file of which to show you - perhaps have a look at ENC 28 Madness at Gardmore (follow link below) and look at the table with the ches-set. Do you see that the top right of it is much lighter and yellower than the bottom left? Ditto the rubble. That was done using the technique I outlined above: 1 dark overlay layer on the bottom left of the object (you skip this part, instead you need to delete the black covering half of the object); 1 white layer set to overlay on the top right 65% opacity; 1 bright orange layer set to 65% opacity on the top right (important! - not exactly the same as the white layer - otherwise you would see edges).

Ok I think I know what has gone wrong - you are drawing your light layers OUTSIDE of the object, which makes it look as if there is a lightsource coming up from underneath. They need to be INSIDE the object only. I think you got my instructions mixed up above - reversed the black/white or something. Or mixed up about Alpha to Selection? This was supposed to select everything EXCEPT the transparent bits.

jtougas
11-11-2012, 01:53 PM
This is my interpretation of what I think the light coming off the forge might look like (this is really quick so it's not perfect) just to give you some ideas. :)

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Simon33600
11-11-2012, 06:26 PM
I am not quire sure about the aura surrounding the anvils, to be honest.

I agree - there are not right. They look like an aura rather than a reflection of the flames. Ditto for the weaponrack. The flame highlights should:
-Be sharp only on the outside, and fuzzy on the inside of the object.
-Cover c. 20% of the object.
-Only affect the edges closest to the forges.
-Be MUCH brighter.

Its hard to explain without the actual file of which to show you - perhaps have a look at ENC 28 Madness at Gardmore (follow link below) and look at the table with the ches-set. Do you see that the top right of it is much lighter and yellower than the bottom left? Ditto the rubble. That was done using the technique I outlined above: 1 dark overlay layer on the bottom left of the object (you skip this part, instead you need to delete the black covering half of the object); 1 white layer set to overlay on the top right 65% opacity; 1 bright orange layer set to 65% opacity on the top right (important! - not exactly the same as the white layer - otherwise you would see edges).

Ok I think I know what has gone wrong - you are drawing your light layers OUTSIDE of the object, which makes it look as if there is a lightsource coming up from underneath. They need to be INSIDE the object only. I think you got my instructions mixed up above - reversed the black/white or something. Or mixed up about Alpha to Selection? This was supposed to select everything EXCEPT the transparent bits.


Oh, ok, I struggled all evening before coming back to this thread and looking back at what you wrote... I then followed the link and looked at encounter 28... I see what you are talking about now, and I have a couple of idea as to how to do it...

Simon33600
11-12-2012, 06:23 PM
Ok, here is another version, with the side of the objects opposed to the fire darkened...

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jtougas
11-12-2012, 07:13 PM
Thats it !! looks great. (I'd still make the light more yellowish red but that's just me) :)

Jacktannery
11-12-2012, 07:19 PM
Ok that's what I meant. You might want to go over it again (jt's idea is a good one) but its really good. The bucket and green thing to the north does not work - is this hanging up above the forge? If so, the top of it would be completely in shadow so you'll want to re-darken this like you had it originally, which would deal with that jarring green-ness. I just compared the very first map you posted up here in post 1 and the latest version, and it has certainly improved greatly. Well done.

jtougas
11-12-2012, 09:29 PM
I second Jacktannery's opinion. Keep up the good work :) and have some rep for all your hard work :)

Simon33600
11-13-2012, 04:19 AM
You are right, it should be all in the shadows. I'll fix it.

Simon33600
11-13-2012, 04:29 AM
This is my interpretation of what I think the light coming off the forge might look like (this is really quick so it's not perfect) just to give you some ideas. :)




That makes sense. I'll had a wider aura surrounding the furnaces (there is already a small one within the forges themselves, maybe I should also make it redder...).

What I am not sure is: shouldn't this aura be grossly circular? At least, a constant width away from the flames?

I think it should be on its own mask under the furniture and under the shadows they cast, right?

Jacktannery
11-13-2012, 05:08 AM
I think it should be on its own mask under the furniture and under the shadows they cast, right?

There are numerous ways of doing it, but the best way is to have 2-3 c. 50% opacity overlay layers of pale reddish-orange or whatever colour you want. For each layer, take a HUGE very fuzzy brush and scribble around your forges - each of the 2-3 layers you scribble a slightly wider area around each forge. Then blur each layer up with the blur tool to avoid hard edges. The piling up like this of three hand-drawn fuzzy overlay layers will create the illusion of hot red light fading from the forge to the outer walls. Then you select you shadows (alphas to selection) and delete that part of each layer, then do the same for the furniture - but then you have to make sure to draw a NEW set of reddish forge-heat reflections over the top of the furniture, just like we discussed above.

The aura of light should be circular if the wall around the forges are circular. If the wall has a lower opening to the front, it might not be circular.

Simon33600
11-13-2012, 06:32 PM
Ok, once more, with feelings...


I shadowed that bucket away and switched the glow colour to an orange rather than a yellow glow; I also copied and extended that glow out on three overlayed layers with a bit of blurring at each steps.


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What do you think of it? Maybe I should darken the shadows on the bucket a bit more...

jtougas
11-13-2012, 06:40 PM
I think that looks good. I admire your persistence. :) I'd make that bucket nearly invisible as it's above the only source of light in the room. Also (and I might have missed this in a previous post) Is that weapons shelf taller than the forges? It kind of looks that way and if it is the very top of it should also be in shadow. This is really great and I'm learning stuff right along with you. :)

Simon33600
11-13-2012, 06:46 PM
Wow, that's a fast response.

Well, looking at it again, I will definitively darken the shadows on the bucket a bit more, but I don't want it to be completely invisible, mostly because I really like the reddish glow on it, especially on the chains...

The tool rack is indeed, in my mind, a bit taller than the forges themselves; albeit not by much, a foot or so higher, so the glow from the forge should still reach its uppermost part, as I see it at least...




I am actually thinking about putting yet another layer of darkness on top of everything in the room; very low opacity, 10 or so percent, just to darken the room back a bit all these light effects are lovely, but it liven the mood a bit too much ;)

Jacktannery
11-13-2012, 07:02 PM
This is really good now.

Don't darken the room. It's already really dark, instead fade the cavern walls to black, in the following fashion (for example):
1) make a new layer. Then fill it with black but only over the grey cavern walls. How you do this depends on your setup - either black everything and delete the floor area, or whatever.
2) make sure this layer is above your walls layer, You should not be able to see any grey walls.
3) Take a very big very fuzzy brush and use the blur tool. Now make strokes from the room interior through the black walls to the edge of the canvas. Keep them rough. Your grey wall will show through darkly at the edges of the room and fade to black at the edge of the canvas.
This will darken the mood hopefully.

I'd also add a gentle layer of low-opacity fuzzy blackness along the eastern side of the floor, under the wall layer.

I disagree with JT and I think the bucket hanging above the forge looks great. Yes, its not technically correct, but it looks nice. The tool rack's fine too.

Simon33600
11-14-2012, 04:40 AM
Indeed, it's dark. The picture looks brighter when I am working on it maximised than when seeing the thumbnail image.... For the fade to black couldn't I achieve this result by dropping a black and white gradient on the darkness's mask?

Jacktannery
11-14-2012, 04:52 AM
Almost - It might be tricky to get a gradient to follow the walls only and not the floor, but ultimately the difference is hand-drawn vs machine. Try them both and see which one you like the best. One of the challenges in working on a digital image is to try and retain minor imperfections all the time; if the entire image is symmetrical and perfectly even, the human eye will sense it and it will 'feel' wrong.

Simon33600
11-14-2012, 05:13 PM
Ok, what do you think of it now?

I did the gradient thingy (couldn't get the hand drawn version to look right) and both adjusted the shadows on the bucket and drawn a fuzy shadow line on the Eastern wall...


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jtougas
11-14-2012, 05:18 PM
I think it looks great. I think we're to a point now that I have to ask. What do YOU think? (I'd be pretty proud if I were you.) :)

Simon33600
11-14-2012, 05:29 PM
Well, right now, I am tired and sleepy :p

I guess I will have to take a step or two back and look at it more objectively before giving a honest opinion... I will the two barrels on the West might need a bit more shadows dropped on them... but I think it is going to be a pretty cool map, I might end up liking it better than my "sunken temple" one. I really like the light effects...
I guess, the next map will have to be a flooded cave with flaming debris floating around... ;)

Jacktannery
11-14-2012, 06:38 PM
Very nice - I think you have it down now. Agree about extra shadows around barrels. Agree with jt.

Simon33600
11-15-2012, 04:26 AM
Yep, the shadows on the barrels should only take a few minutes... So, hopefully, I can post the final version of the map tonight...

Simon33600
11-15-2012, 04:14 PM
So, here is another version with more shadows on top of the barrels...

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jtougas
11-15-2012, 05:11 PM
I think it looks great. I admire all the work you put into this and the finished product really shines. :)