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Kier
02-09-2013, 12:14 PM
Well, I was really not going to do this month's challenge only on the account that I did the exact thing last month's challenge, BUT, DarkWater hit me and I knew I had to. Big question this time, is will I get it done. I have a ton of details all of which I think will have to be custom created for it and I am still such a newbie at mapping and digital art, that everything takes forever as I attempt to learn.

But 1st things first. The paper. First attempt at making paper. I am going for a older, rougher linen, recycled paper look. You know that mushed up recycled paper you made in school, but more refined with the linen lines added. Actually fairly pleased for 1st attempt, need to darken edges a little but not much, but will hold off until I add border, and really border is the only part that will show any of the paper beneath when all is said and done.

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Kier
02-10-2013, 08:06 AM
Next Step the Water.

Not quite sold 100% on it but its fairly close to what I was thinking. Still have not decided on the edge of the water part, probably cut and fade and bleed it in some how so it isnt so jarring, but that really depends upon the border which isnt far behind, except that I am tied up most of the day, and havent really decided completely on the border as of yet. That and the map itself. I really want the entire walled city in the picture, but makes it so small, and I will lose the details that tell the story, so I dont know, maybe 1/2 of it. We'll see.

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Kier
02-13-2013, 08:44 PM
Been a long week already. Worked a little on border though, not sure I like the complete roughness of the 2 border lines, doesnt quite match the font I have chosen for the Title, so I might tighten them up a little and smooth them out, or maybe just the outer one. Kind of thinking I want a polished edge to border, but not quite the map, so is alwasy tough where to fade the line in so to speak.

Maybe I should just call it here, and say the city is submerged. Would that work?

In truth, city is mapped just have yet to decide the scale and drop it in, might have to wait for the writing so I can see how it lays out. Still got a ton of details but think once I break that "dropping the city in" it will flow quickly.

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Jaxilon
02-22-2013, 11:59 AM
You could roughen up the letters instead of smoothing the borders. I'm thinking one of those "make coastlines realistic" tutorials in the tutorial section might work for that. Just another idea.

I imagine you haven't got a lot of feedback yet because everyone is waiting to see some map. What you have looks interesting but I think until some map action takes place most folks hereabouts will hold their tongue.

Bring it on!!!

Kier
02-24-2013, 07:51 AM
You could roughen up the letters instead of smoothing the borders. I'm thinking one of those "make coastlines realistic" tutorials in the tutorial section might work for that. Just another idea.

I imagine you haven't got a lot of feedback yet because everyone is waiting to see some map. What you have looks interesting but I think until some map action takes place most folks hereabouts will hold their tongue.

Bring it on!!!

lol, I am hoping to bring it. I just don't know if it will make this challenge or not. So many from scratch items, I am getting bogged down I think. And last week was an absolute waste. So fried from work I just sat there and stared at my map. Then got tired of that and cleaned up my computer deleting files and backing up. But on bright side GIMP hasnt locked up on me on 2 days. :)

Jaxilon
02-24-2013, 12:28 PM
Hehe, you sound like me. I think, hey, I'm going to sit down and crank something out on this project and then I gaze glasseyed at the screen for 10 minutes, catching up on emails. I then pop up my image to work on and find that I'm about ready to dribble out of my seat with exhaustion. So, off I go to lay down.

I hate it when that happens.

Kier
02-24-2013, 03:13 PM
From the Ashes of Defeat, well, I will probably still be defeated, lol. Stiff competition as usual her. But I managed to get a couple hours in.


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Still have a lot to do, all the details that will bring the post-apocalyptic theme alive, can that even be? Post-apocalyptic in a fantasy setting?

- Max -
02-24-2013, 03:19 PM
Looks interesting but waves looks rather some lightnings so it's not obvious to see an underwater map for now :/

Kier
02-24-2013, 08:08 PM
Looks interesting but waves looks rather some lightnings so it's not obvious to see an underwater map for now :/

But Dude, that was my ode to Metallica :)

Another attempt at the water and the torch lights. Very hard to get the light of the torch cutting through a foggy night. Looked down and found I was working with a 1.3Gig file in GIMP, lol. I hope it doesn't crash.

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I notice I got some cleaning around the edges and at least 1 typo in the journal entry. Off to build some spike barricades, Damn Zombies are a pesky bunch.

Kier
02-25-2013, 11:56 AM
Alright, no new update here regarding photo, although I ran a trial run on the spike barricades, and they look promising. Also got some new ideas for swinging bridges to cover the spans where the walls went under or got broken through. And of course I still have to put up tents on the wall, run-down towers, a fishing boat, floating garden and the city itself, representing the last remnants of the human race.

Damn, its going to be close.

Gamerprinter
02-25-2013, 12:28 PM
Well at least its starting to look like a map - look forward to your progress.

arsheesh
02-25-2013, 02:12 PM
I like it!

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Kier
02-25-2013, 09:23 PM
Alright. Added the first layer of spikes on the towers. Still have tents or rundown shacks to put over the outer towers. Added the barrel bridge spanning the broken wall section. Still need to spike that area up. and need some sort of barricade, probably spike based on the submerged outer walls, or sort of palisade combination.

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Added some spike barricades but have yet to upload that map. Bridge needs work, damn drop shadow wasnt needed and has blurred the edges, plus when I shrank the bridge its res went berserk. But I think its coming along.

Kier
02-26-2013, 08:38 PM
Beginning to wrap it up. Tonight was an utter failure. Tried for docks around the central tower, but failed miserably, built a palisade on one of the walls and hated it instantly. Put broken down tower roofs to resemble shelter on the towers, hated them. :(

The more details I try and put in(wood piles, Kelp drying racks, fishing nets, docks, ladders) it detracts from the atmosphere of the map, which is what I wanted to achieve the most.

I still think I will give the palisades another try. I think they were a close fit, just off on the log color and shape. And I think some sort of mid-wall on the towers to brace the spikes and tie them in so they don't look like they are just laying there. Still might try a roof of some sort on the main tower if I can build one that fits.

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Jacktannery
02-27-2013, 01:50 AM
Kier, I really like your map (again - loved the last challenge's map too).

What works:
-the water (brillo!)
-the lighting of the water.
-the spikes coming out of the water.
-the overall composition & colours.
-the wall and tower elements.

What's not really working for me:
-the spikes on the tower roofs - they looks wrong, as if they are too big and too flat. This might be related to the two points below.
-the (lack of) shadows on the battlements around the towers. Your battlement walkway sections have shadows below the crenelations, but none at the ends where they hit the circular tower. This gives a jarring two-dimensional aspect even though I can tell from the water that the walkways are supposed to be lower.
-for me, the colour of the lighting is off. I'm not really sure why; it might be that the fires are too orange compared to the miserable-pale-yellow of the actual light; and its certainly that the light seems to surround the base of the towers without creating any shadow. It also brightens the sea with no regard for light and shadow (assuming you are using GIMP, by fiddling with the layer options you should be able to 'lighten' only the bright parts of the waves and keep the black bits black.

Sorry to post all these criticisms the day before the challenge closes; I'm only so critical because I think its great and I loved the skeleton rays from your last challenge!

Kier
02-27-2013, 07:07 AM
No worries about posting any criticisms Jack. Glad to have them, always looking to improve.

1)Tower Spikes, yeah, for some reason they are off, two big, or flat, keep thinking a tower roof or similar will help. I like the ones coming out of the water better, same spike treated differently.

2)Thanks for the reminder on the tower shadows. They got lost somewhere. I had actually strengthened them, but must have started again from a different back-up or lost it. Working file is now over 2 Gigs in GIMP(saving file is 250 Megs) so sometimes it doesnt seem to save. I am just too nervous to merge any layers yet in case i need to tinker with the layer system.

3)right again. This one has me stuck though, I go from different lighting arrangements. My flaming pots look great, or so I am told in a big photo, down small, they annoy me all the flame details get lost and turn too orangy for the glow as you pointed out. But I hate orange glow, I like the pale yellow so maybe I need to drown out the orange in the pots. I currently keep changing the opacity until upcolse they are see through) I keep thinking of a fire from the distance that you see orange flames but it lights everything up yellowish(or so I believe). I'll try and fiddle with the layers and see about highlighting the white and leaving the others black, I may have trashed that layer by cutting some parts out. Thanks for the suggestions there. I was trying to go for the rays of light being caught in the fog and spreading out thicker in some areas and lighter in others.

Glad you liked the skeleton sharks from the last challenge. I really wanted to reuse them here, but resisted the urge(so far)

And do you know off-hand whats the maximum size map I can upload is? I have searched but didnt find it easily. I am hoping to get a little bigger one in, because the layer of fog isnt easily seen cutting in and around the spikes.

Thanks for the comments.

Jacktannery
02-27-2013, 08:36 AM
Working with big maps can be a real nightmare. One thing I do sometimes is make the various elements in individual files, then flatten them and export them to my final image to reduce the number of individual layers. comissions are especially a pain because they always seem to want a ridiculous level of detail and a huge size. The more I map the more tempting is a bigger, more expensive computer....
I can't really advise you on the lighting on the water. It's a tricky one, and will be hard to get right. Good luck on it though.


And do you know off-hand whats the maximum size map I can upload is? I have searched but didnt find it easily. I am hoping to get a little bigger one in, because the layer of fog isnt easily seen cutting in and around the spikes.

According to the FAQ :

What files types can I use? How large can attachments be?
In the attachment window you will find a list of the allowed file types and their maximum sizes. Files that are larger than these sizes will be rejected. There may also be an overall quota limit to the number of attachments you can post to the board.

I haven't actually noticed that it says this anywhere, but maybe it is there hidden somewhere. The file limit is very large - I have maps of 4.65MB that are attachments here, so that size is under the limit (probably just about under). I assume you already export your maps to upload as .jpgs at c. 80-85% quality?

Jaxilon
02-27-2013, 10:26 AM
Working with big maps can be a real nightmare. One thing I do sometimes is make the various elements in individual files, then flatten them and export them to my final image to reduce the number of individual layers. comissions are especially a pain because they always seem to want a ridiculous level of detail and a huge size. The more I map the more tempting is a bigger, more expensive computer....

This is exactly the reason I upgraded my machine. I had originally built it to play games but it was nowhere near strong enough to do what I needed to do when I started making maps. Seriously, I'm thinking about upgrading again!

And this is coming along nicely as well.

Kier
02-27-2013, 12:32 PM
I haven't actually noticed that it says this anywhere, but maybe it is there hidden somewhere. The file limit is very large - I have maps of 4.65MB that are attachments here, so that size is under the limit (probably just about under). I assume you already export your maps to upload as .jpgs at c. 80-85% quality?

I export into jpg, I currently use max quality though. Right now current map is 1.4 Megs, so I may have more room than I thought there on upload.

I think I see a better computer in my near future. :)

Kier
02-27-2013, 12:39 PM
Thanks Jaxilon.

I think in the next 6 months or so I will look into a new computer. I wasnt really planning on getting into mapping, just got a deal on ebay for CC3 and add-ons for $11. the Profantasy team transferred the licenses over to me. I just wanted to make a couple maps for my own to help flesh out the cities in my writing, and that led to creating my own symbols, then to GIMP and now I am hooked.

Gamerprinter
02-27-2013, 12:52 PM
For you users of image editors like Photoshop or GiMP, you guys are used to the huge memory requirements and delays of processing, and I can understand your needs for more powerful platforms. I feel I am spoiled using vector applications, like mine program of choice, Xara Xtreme Pro 4 (Xara Designer 6 is current). Vector applications don't require the massive memory requirements for graphics processing. When I apply any process while working with vector graphics the results are almost instantaneous - to the point that when I use any image editor (usually Photoshop) I am constantly derailed from my normal process having to wait for the file to update as I apply any technique. When I create a huge map with lots of layers, the file measures less than 20 MB, even for map dimensions such as 36" x 60". When I export that to an image format, the file can get huge - hundreds of MBs in size.

Another image editing weakness (IMO) is the requirement to set the pixel resolution up front, as you are defining the dimensions of your file. In vector apps like Xara, I determine real world map size, such as 24" x 36" with no consideration of pixel dimension - that only occurs at file export. Any map I design, I can export to 300 ppi resolution at true scale, or reduce an image for letter size PDF format, at 96 dpi. I expect instant results while working on the map. Any post design alterations of the image file can get huge and take time to process. While still in vector format, map creation is fast and fairly low intensity to your computer processing.

Jacktannery
02-27-2013, 04:58 PM
Yup there is no doubt that vector programmes are really great on many levels. I used Vectorworks (mac) for years for work, but I hated it (because it was for work). I would consider going back to vector programmes now if I can find a good free one that works with both mac and PC, but despite the horrible memory usage gimp does pretty much everything I want and suits my painterly not-very-exact style.


I export into jpg, I currently use max quality though
Do this: export you next map at 100% quality jpg. Then export it again at 85% quality jpg. Upload them both here, noting the file size (the 100% will be almost double the 85%), without telling us which is which. I bet no-one will be able to tell.

Kier
02-28-2013, 08:10 AM
Worked on some shadow issues last night, and towers this morning (tower roofs were snagged from the Dundjinni forum(hope I spelled that right, you would think I would know as I frequent there). Will post a little later with a deep red veruss brown, didnt like the red at first shot, but feel the brown is not so good. Still have swinging bridge, and redo my barrel bridge, and maybe a little time on the larger spikes on the tower. oh and trap doors in the towers i think

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Kier
02-28-2013, 08:31 AM
Alright, posting with red roof option. I can't decide which at this point, will leave them up and think through out the day on it.

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- Max -
02-28-2013, 11:07 AM
Your last attachment is an invalid link. Nice roofs by the way

Kier
02-28-2013, 01:05 PM
Your last attachment is an invalid link. Nice roofs by the way

Thanks, I snagged them from the dundjinni forum. I didnt have time to make my own there. I wanted something with more a cedar shingle and maybe board up the holes showing a rush repair.

Kier
02-28-2013, 07:38 PM
Alright the 28th - Its done!

Well sort of, lol. If it works I might try for my swinging bridge connecting some of the four front towers, and possibly a boat.

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Jacktannery
03-01-2013, 04:21 AM
Good job - looks good.