View Full Version : June Entry: Mennin's Hallow and environs

06-05-2008, 01:54 PM
Since I have been working on Ascension for a couple of weeks already, that map is disqualified from this month's challenge. I was actually going to skip the June challenge in favor of working on that map, but since I can kill two birds with one stone here, I'll go ahead and submit another site in the campaign I'm brewing up.

Mennin's Hallow is a hidden village of healthy people living in the Uzuid Mountains above the plague-ridden Tawaren Basin.

And here's a teeny-tiny image cut out from the larger map.

06-05-2008, 02:47 PM
You win the award for smallest WIP ever posted...yay you!!!

06-05-2008, 04:00 PM
Woohoo! I won an award! Do I get to design my own badge? I'm thinking a 1px by 1px picture of a sea chart. Here's my wip for that: Pretty good, eh?

I resampled the tiny image to 800 pixels square and started marking in my sketches. I also visited The Welsh Piper for some demographic information from the online population generator there.

Mennin's Hallow occupies about 20 square miles, mostly barren and rocky, and quite cold due to its elevation. It's been inhabited for about 80 years, since the plague casualties began to become significant. There are about 1200 acres of arable land, but much of the rest is suitable for herding goats, which are the economic base of the village.

The total population is about 280, or 60 - 70 families. The population generator indicates the following tradespeople are probably present:
Chandler, charcoaler, cobblers (3), furrier, jeweler, mason, metalsmiths (2), miller/baker, ostler, physician, tailors (2), tavern, weaver, woodcrafters (2), and yeoman. After several rerolls to get the number down, it also indicates 6 nobles, whom I have decided are Mennin's children, with 2 servants. The village's officers include a reeve, messor, woodward, and 3 law enforcement. Finally, there are 3 clerics.

Based on those numbers, the generator suggests 66 buildings: a mansion, a church, 24 businesses, a municipal building, and 39 homes. (Many of the tradespeople live in apartments attached to their businesses.)

Given that this is a hidden mountain settlement, I may place some or many of these dwellings in caves in order to reduce the footprint of the visible village. I will likely refine those numbers as I build the village and determine which trades may not actually be present (I don't foresee a whole lot of business for a jeweler, for instance).

06-05-2008, 04:23 PM
You're astounding Mid. Give it horns! I look forward to seeing what you come up wit, as always.


06-06-2008, 02:00 PM
"Give it horns?" Sorry, I'm not familiar with that expression. What does it mean? Thanks, in any case. Here's an actual WIP image.

First of all, I am again working entirely in Photoshop 7, and I'm going to provide some details of my process. If anyone has any suggestions on places to improve, feel free to speak up.

I started by extracting the height map behind that tiny square from my Tawaren Basin map, blurring it, and playing with the levels, pulling as much information out of it as I could. There's some distinctive banding there as a result of the limited dynamic range of the height map, so I briefly considered doing a contour map. I decided against that, though, since I really would like to get a more painterly look to match my plans for Ascension.

I pasted the grayscale height map into a new image and used a gradient map on it (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map) to make the lowest (darkest) parts a nice, rich green and the upper areas a light brown. I then pasted the new gradient image back into my main document.

I put a solid green layer beneath it and played with some opacity and blend modes until it had the look I wanted. I ran the lighting effects filter (Filter > Render > Lighting Effects) on a gray layer so I could get some shadows and bring some depth to the image. I used those shadows as a guide for a large, low flow, low opacity black airbrush, and I painted in some relief on the north eastern parts of the ridge.

The next three layers are rock overlays. I used the select by color tool on the height field to select three levels of the mountain, and filled each with a different rocky color. I ran the lighting effects filter on each one, then blurred it, reduced the opacity, and set its blend mode to either hard or soft light, depending on which looked better.

The layer above that has some additional shadows, and I'll probably use it to sharpen up the ridgeline, since the image doesn't look properly scaled at the moment.

And above that is the mountain spring, which is too large by far right now. That'll take some work.

### Latest WIP ###

06-09-2008, 01:14 AM
Repainted the river at a more reasonable scale and added the preliminary inset of the village site. I also added some highlights and more shadows.

I haven't decided how I want to approach texturing the treetops and rock. And I'm thinking this is probably close to the treeline, so I'll need to address that, and maybe add some snow as well. That'll be work for down the road, though, after I've done some work on the village itself.

### Latest WIP ###

06-14-2008, 04:06 PM
I've finally begun on the town. It's tiny, and getting results with so few pixels to work with is tough. So far, I have the manor house / civic building, a water mill, and a farm. I'm thinking some noise and a little bit of feathering around the edges will improve the fields quite a bit. I haven't decided if I want to try to indicate plow rows at this scale.

The mill is problematic because there really isn't enough flow from my water to power it, so I may put it at the bottom of a small enscarpment, so it's powered by a waterfall instead of the stream. Obviously, though, waterfalls are difficult... Maybe Mennin & Co devised a way to narrow the stream there. That would be easier.

### Latest WIP ###

06-14-2008, 11:51 PM
What about adding a mill pond and\or dam?

06-15-2008, 12:30 AM
Good thinking. I might have to rearrange some things, but I might as well make the entire pond/lake a mill pond in that case, and I can attach the bridge to the mill while I'm at it.

06-15-2008, 03:07 PM
The dam works well, I think. Here are a few more buildings, and a slight enhancement of the crop fields.

### Latest WIP ###

06-17-2008, 12:01 AM
All the buildings are done now.

### Latest WIP ###

06-17-2008, 01:57 PM
Added some forest in the inset and pasted the town onto the main map.

Does anyone know what the ratio of acres of farmland / people supported for early medieval agriculture would be?

### Latest WIP ###

06-18-2008, 08:09 PM
I went back to the very handy Medieval Demographics Made Easy document, which estimates that 1 square mile could feed about 120 people. I knocked it down to 80 people to account for the lack of skilled farmers, short growing season, and poor soil, leaving me needing about 3 square miles to support my little community. I added the fields, but I still need to add some more farmhouses and barns.

I decided to have fun putting in some forests next. I'm largely happy with them, but their addition makes the rest of the map look a little poor. I definitely need some grass and rock texturing to complement the forests.

Do they look like they're following the contours of the land properly? I am thinking they make it look a bit more flat than I had intended. I also need to address the tree-line. I hadn't realized how soft the edge of my mask was. It makes it look like the trees are insubstantial instead of unhealthy.

### Latest WIP ###

06-19-2008, 12:53 AM
Lots of texturing work and color correction. Thanks to Anna for the grass texture and Noctua Graphics (http://www.noctua-graphics.de/english/fraset_e.htm) for the rock. And jaerdaph for originally posting the link to Noctua.

At this point, C&C are coveted. Any suggestions at all?

### Latest WIP ###

06-19-2008, 01:06 PM
I finally added those missing farm houses and barns, did some more texturing work, cleaned up the edges of the forest, and added scale bars and a title.

I am still interested in further suggestions, but I went ahead and posted the current map to the CWBP forum.

### Latest WIP ###

06-20-2008, 02:42 PM
I cross-posted into the CWBP forum, and some additional feedback there indicated that my scales were screwy. So I resized the barns, adjusted the scales, added some labeling and a legend, dropped in a couple more structures, added some paths, and pasted in the compass rose from the larger Tawaren Basin map. Together with the Lydian and Chaucer fonts, I think that adds some degree of stylistic unity between the two.

Additional suggestions are, as always, welcome!

### Latest WIP ###

06-22-2008, 10:11 AM
I decided to give the main image some additional utility with some labels, a couple of paths, and arrows pointing the way toward the nearest other major settlements. I also brightened it up just a bit more. This is probably my final entry.

### Latest WIP ###

06-23-2008, 10:12 PM
That's ... pretty. WOW.

06-23-2008, 11:18 PM
Thank you very much. I think I am prouder of this map than of anything I have made yet. I quite surprised myself with it.

06-23-2008, 11:41 PM
Thank you very much. I think I am prouder of this map than of anything I have made yet. I quite surprised myself with it.

This is great. I like the adding the few labels on the main map. It makes it stand out a bit more and gives the whole map a bit of extra something.

Darn. Your the 3rd person today I have tried to rep but I have to spread some more around first...


06-24-2008, 02:56 AM
Very Cool Mid. I really love your forest texture. How did you achieve it?


06-26-2008, 03:53 PM
I borrowed a technique described at cartotalk, conveniently linked here somewhere in the tutorials forum. It was a bit hazy on the details, so I'll go ahead and reconstruct what I did here, but at a reduced resolution for speed and storage purposes. Reducing the res will make the scaling of the forest change, I think.

Starting with the shaded relief map, as in pic #1 below, use a hard-edged black brush to paint in where you want tree cover (pic 2). The borders will be a bit too regular, so select that layer and save the selection to a new channel: Select>save selection. In the channels window, go to the new selection and run the spatter filter on it: filter>brush strokes>spatter (pic 3).

Load the selection, invert it, and delete it from the trees layer, resulting in pic 4. Now, the next part of the process requires changing the color space to greyscale, and since you obviously do not want to damage the image, select the layer, copy it, and paste it into a new greyscale image of identical resolution (pic 5).

06-26-2008, 04:18 PM
In the new document, I set my colors to black and white and ran the Grain filter: filter>texture>grain. Settings were 100 intensity, 57 Contrast, and Soft Grain type. Since I am in greyscale mode, the normal multicolored effect of the grain filter does not occur. I can now switch back to RGB: Image>Mode>RGB.

I select the black areas of my forest with Select by Color and low fuzziness. I chose 5 this time around. Select, invert, and delete makes the texture.

A new layer gets filled with the green I want for the darker parts of the forest, and I place that layer beneath my texture (pic 1 below).

Bevel the texture layer with an inner bevel, soft chisel, depth to taste, and size higher than 6. Shading should match whatever you've been doing on your map--mine's from the southwest. Highlights should be a light green and shadows a dark green. (pic 2)

Flatten the image, select all, and copy it. Go back to the original image and paste.

Select your original trees layer and move the selection so it overlaps the new trees as neatly as possible (marquee tool set to new selection will allow you to do this). Invert the selection and delete the new layer. Move the new layer so it lines up with the old one, then turn off the old trees layer. You should have something that looks like pic 3.

Experiment with blending modes, brightness/contrast, and hue/saturation/lightness until the new trees blend in with your existing terrain nicely. I used Soft Light, adjusted brightness down and contrast up to get pic 4.

Use the dodge and burn tools to enhance the shaded relief (pic 5).

07-01-2010, 01:46 PM
Due to an incompatibility between the CGTextures.com license and the Creative Commons under which the CWBP is licensed, this map is ineligible for inclusion in the CWBP and its previous CC license is unenforceable. This map is now all rights reserved until such time as it is redrafted or the CGTextures elements are relicensed.

08-01-2011, 06:16 PM
This is a bit of threadomancy here, but I've seen a lot of tree styles for maps and this is by far the best. Ideal for realistic trees of that scale due to the interaction with elevated terrain. Excellent work Midgardsormr!


08-01-2011, 08:49 PM
Thanks! I should reiterate that the technique was adapted from one posted at Cartotalk, but I've also made some refinements in a thread in the tutorials section: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3918-Award-Winner-Local-scale-tree-texture-in-Photoshop-CS3