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View Full Version : January 2013 Entry: The ruins of Ningan/orc worg-lord village



mearrin69
01-15-2013, 02:25 AM
Hi all,
Decided to try the challenge this month. I've got some time and, well, ruined is my thing. :)

Okay. So this is from my fantasy setting. The story, and I'll provide a full one later, is that this was once a town on the southern steppes of Minguo. It's not exactly a unified country...having only held together as a cohesive unit under the First Emperor. When he died, the various factions/geographies of the former nation fell to squabbling in various configurations. They've been doing that for thousands of years. The modern times are known as the Five Kingdoms period. As you might expect, there are five major kingdoms vying for supremacy.

In the meantime, in the rugged southern steppes of Minguo, the fierce orc worg-lord tribes gather and occasionally raid into the heartlands (when they can stop fighting amongst themselves for long enough). They long ago destroyed the southernmost cities and now hold these lands as their own. The city depicted was once a thriving trading city called Ningan. Well, that was long ago, of course. Now there are just a few crumbling walls, spare paving stones, and bridge abutments still standing. An ork tribe has built its own village amidst the ruins. The tribes leader fancies himself the reincarnation of Krakka Kon...but he's really just a pretender in shabby wolf skins.

Yeah. So. This is just a rough draft. :)
M

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amberroberts09
01-15-2013, 06:44 AM
But the rough is also very good and effective.

RjBeals
01-15-2013, 08:39 AM
uh oh - I'm up against mearrin. Next diamond and djespek will join in. I better step it up!

you're rough draft is already amazing. Looks like a satellite image. You've got a great style - looking forward to what you come up with here.

mearrin69
01-15-2013, 10:23 AM
Heh. Not to worry RjBeals, I think you'll do fine...I've seen some of your recent maps! I too fear the entry of Djekspek and the rest of the masters! :) Hopefully I'll have an update tonight.
M

Jaxilon
01-15-2013, 02:51 PM
Heh, that's precisely why I want to be in this month's challenge, to face the Masters :)
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I'll make it but one can hope.

Oh, and I'm diggin your entry so far mearrin69.

Diamond
01-16-2013, 12:12 AM
That's a good idea and sweet execution so far. Lookin' forward to more.

Bogie
01-16-2013, 01:27 AM
Me like, map good!

I hope the final map will be a larger high resolution map so we can see all the cool details.

LonewandererD
01-16-2013, 07:46 AM
Nice! :) Really like the ruined building, particulary the buried look whcih I'm not having much success with.

-D-

mearrin69
01-19-2013, 02:45 PM
Looks as if I'd better get on the ball here. Lots of good entries shaping up. Here's an update with subtle refinements but mainly the addition of old Ningan's defensive wall, or what's left of it. It used to circle the main area of the town before it was sacked by the orcs.
M

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Jaxilon
01-19-2013, 11:32 PM
I have to admit I'm kind of sad I can't zoom in more. The zoom is barely any closer than the initial click. This just looks so good I want to dig into it more. You are an evil teaser :)

mearrin69
01-20-2013, 12:18 AM
LOL. I was trying to save server space. That one's about 75% of resolution. Here's one at 100%. There's really not all that much detail to see...and it looks better zoomed out than in ;)
M

Edit: To do list includes adding rubble and cleaning up ruin edges, some are a bit soft because of my crummy masking. Also, adding some details like pens for the wolves (dire), gardens, and so on in the orc village. I'm also thinking about running the path along the walls to that ruined bridge up north and putting in a rough wooden bridge...seems there should be some way to cross the river. I might add some debris in the river near the ruined wall crossings and bridge pilings, as one would expect some logs or something to have collected. Need to do something with the river as well. It's a bit too uniform. I'll also try to improve the trees...not liking what I've got there right now. Any other suggestions?

For those who are interested, I used RPG Citymap Generator to create a "Small town with incomplete wall around city center" and an "African village (fortified) with circular huts". I did some editing of those maps by hand and then used the generated shapes as a base for my map layers. I really find that program to be pretty useful for mapmaking...even though it sometimes generates dreadful results (especially for roads) you can usually clean them up pretty quickly into something useable.

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anomiecoalition
01-20-2013, 12:55 AM
I really like how your ruins are turning out...I'm still trying to learn photoshop and struggled like hell during one of the previous lite challenges (http://www.cartographersguild.com/mapping-challenge-archive/19812-august-september-2012-lite-challenge-lost-city-ubar-2.html)

Are you drawing the whole building and then erasing part of it...or covering up part of it with your background....or just drawing part of the building?

mearrin69
01-20-2013, 01:12 AM
Thank you very much. There are a ton of ways to do things in PS and it takes a bit of messing around to come up with a good way to accomplish whatever task you're trying to do. I've come up with my methods through quite a bit of trial and error...and I'm always finding new, better ways to do things in it.

My buildings are drawn whole and then masked back out. If you take a look at the attached pic of my layer stack you can see how I've done it. The "ruin mask" layer contains filled shapes of the buildings with a mask (both attached). The two sub layers over that contain the same filled buildings with a layer style with texture, bevel and so forth. The "building walls" layer was selected and then I contracted the selection and erased the middle portion, leaving me with walls. When you paint into the mask it hides everything sitting on top of it...so you get the look I've got there.

I included the whole stack so you can see how I've done other things as well. The ground layer consists of layers filled with textures and then masked to let layers below show through in places. The brush layer has a layer style to sort of make whatever I paint there pop up and look a bit 3D. The "ork village" folder contains layers for the huts, walls, and so on...as well as the trees. The stuff on top is just a kludgy way for me to do certain things: "overgrowth" lets me paint some vegetation on the ruins and rubble. "building shadows" contains hand-painted shadows to make the ruined buildings look 3D. "tower and wall shadow" lets me paint shadows over the ork huts and trees and things, which live in a higher layer than the wall itself. "grunge" is just a grunge texture set on multiply and masked. I paint into the mask to dirty up the manmade (or orkmade!) stuff, to make it less uniform. I love my grunge layers!

Hope you find some of this useful.
M

mearrin69
01-24-2013, 02:03 AM
Hi all,
I might call this done at this point...but, knowing me, I'll keep tweaking it until the end. Hope you like it!

Looking forward to seeing the other entries completed. Looks like some good stuff coming up this month. Good luck to all!
M

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Troedel
01-24-2013, 03:35 AM
I like this map very much. One thing my eye stumbled upon is the red color for the text. But that may depend on taste and you can't debate about that :)

mearrin69
01-24-2013, 11:14 AM
Yeah. I went with red because of the quasi-Chinese theme of the setting. It is a bit brash, however.

Thanks!
M

Freehand 5.5
01-24-2013, 01:14 PM
I think the red is quite fitting. But you should outline everything in the same way.
One is outlined thick, one thin, one none at all. Maybe it looks better if you outline everything like the Ningan-headline.

... or perhaps you could try to outline it in an average background green.

mearrin69
01-24-2013, 02:39 PM
The difference in outlining/opacity is because the chop (upper right) and rose (lower left) are supposed to be approximating a stamped-on overlay of the sort you see on Chinese documents (using a carved stamp and water-based pigment). The title and scale are modern attachments. I'll have a look at tweaking things...maybe I can come up with a better approach.
M

- Max -
01-24-2013, 03:32 PM
Indeed this red isn't easily readable (especially the small text above the headline). Using red over green makes a complementary color contrast which isn't the easiest to do and to make clear...btw the map is cool :)

anomiecoalition
01-24-2013, 03:46 PM
Have you thought about making a border for the map and placing the title, scale, and symbols on that? Would make it more readable and probably improve the overall aesthetic (IMHO).

BTW...thanks a million for your tips on creating ruins....gonna try some of your techniques the next time I get a chance.

mearrin69
01-24-2013, 05:30 PM
You're welcome. Feel free to PM me or direct me to your WiP thread if you need some help. I'll do what I can.

Thanks for the tips, all. I'll see what I can do about making the overlay look better.
M

mearrin69
01-24-2013, 09:27 PM
BTW, does anyone have any suggestions for the map itself? I'll probably put in a little more work before I call it done, since the deadline is still a week away.
M

Jaxilon
01-25-2013, 01:33 AM
I think this is great but I think it would pop even more if you had more variety to the landscape.

It looks like it's on a rather flat area and for me it makes it a bit too, uniform maybe? I don't know if you have thought about using shadows to create depressions and elevations but if the walled area where somehow raised a bit and the surrounding areas were depressed it might add a little extra dynamism to this. That's my thought to make it shine more anyway. It's still great the way it is but I see some fierce competition coming this month.

You are like me in that I can't quit tweaking until the very end. After a while I start feeling like a dog chasing my tail, LOL.

You know they say a piece of art is finished when you take it away from the artist? I think I have to agree with that.

mearrin69
01-25-2013, 02:02 AM
You're right about that. I did think about messing with some terrain undulation. It's in a pretty flat part of the world, to be sure, but there could certainly be some variation. I'll look into it. Thanks!
M

mearrin69
01-25-2013, 08:42 PM
I suck at borders, but this one needs a story so I added one anyway. I may or may not work on varying the terrain a bit...but I have a commission calling my name so I may have to mark this one done.

Edit: Decided to go ahead and do that. I think it looks better. Replaced the image with that change and at 100% resolution. This is my final answer!

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- Max -
01-25-2013, 10:19 PM
Nice improvment since the last update. The border is fine to me and the engraving is beautiful. Nice job!

Freehand 5.5
01-26-2013, 02:31 AM
Yeah, what Max said.