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GlassSphere
06-12-2008, 11:05 PM
Heya, this is my first attempt at making any city-structure in my maps. It's also my first attempt experimenting with a new really neat way of making a snow/glacial texture. Everything here is photoshop, no outside brushes or textures used.

I'm unsure about the shadows on the mountains, (also a just experimented method). I also wonder if scale of the fort with the mountains/ice peaks kinda looks strange, or does it simply modify how big you picture the mountains?

I'm not really experienced with naming things or the text for maps.
Any feedback is welcome.

Sigurd
06-12-2008, 11:12 PM
Very pretty.

It looks very 3d. I don't know that I'd like to be a Sailor on 'Piles Bay" though.


Sigurd

jfrazierjr
06-13-2008, 12:11 AM
Ooooooo! Very pretty! My first thought is that this is from a video game or something. Kind of like a WarCraft 2 map or something like that. The snow texture is spot on. And dude, the underwater ice flows are just sweet!

One think I am and not a big fan of is the "rigidness" of your mountain tops. Of course, this is a personal preference, but there is very little variation or breaks in the ridgeline which might indicate peaks, dips and grooves, ie height, slope, and directional differences. What did you make this map in? I assume you used GIMP/PS and ran the mountains through a bump map filter?

Joe

GlassSphere
06-13-2008, 03:39 AM
Heh I see what you mean, it kinda does look like WC2.

I made it in PS, no bump mapping, I used a process similar to the "not so random coastlines" only it was completely random, and I heavily used layer style options (bevel, outer glow, inner glow, bevel texture- the thing your probably thinking was the bump map)

My main problem with this method is exactly what you said. I'm still trying to figure out how to get varied slope angles, mountain heights, and more realistic grooves. I was hoping I could find a method that didn't involve any painting, just a bunch of filters or anything that could be rolled up into a quick 'action'.
It's seeming more and more that it will be impossible to get any more realistic mountains without adding a whole new method of making them.

Actually I jsut realized what I left out. Around the bases of every mountain I discovered if I put another mountain layer surrounding it, and softened the bevel a lot, tweaking alotof other settings too it would look like hills, and hills would blend into the plains. mountains and plains do stand out funky.

But still that won't really give any true varation in the mountains.

jfrazierjr
06-13-2008, 11:28 AM
Heh I see what you mean, it kinda does look like WC2. Heh... I want to throw down some orcs and start building up my farms and structures so I can get the dragons out.....


I made it in PS, no bump mapping, I used a process similar to the "not so random coastlines" only it was completely random, and I heavily used layer style options (bevel, outer glow, inner glow, bevel texture- the thing your probably thinking was the bump map)

My main problem with this method is exactly what you said. I'm still trying to figure out how to get varied slope angles, mountain heights, and more realistic grooves. I was hoping I could find a method that didn't involve any painting, just a bunch of filters or anything that could be rolled up into a quick 'action'.
It's seeming more and more that it will be impossible to get any more realistic mountains without adding a whole new method of making them.

Actually I jsut realized what I left out. Around the bases of every mountain I discovered if I put another mountain layer surrounding it, and softened the bevel a lot, tweaking alotof other settings too it would look like hills, and hills would blend into the plains. mountains and plains do stand out funky.

But still that won't really give any true varation in the mountains.

One thing I have been playing with a lot in the past several days is using the burn/dodge tool on opposite sides of the "mountain" burn for the light side and dodge for the darn side using a very small fuzzy brush. Then use the smudge tool (and this is the key for me!) to lightly blur stuff around, including folding and creasing the ridge line to make it less uniformly straight. Then I add my bump map to itself and this produces some really goo effects. Additionally, the smudge tool works pretty well at breaking the hard lines where the mountains hit the regular ground at the end of the process. You get a lot more control than if you used a blur on the whole object, or even if you select, reverse selection, Noise spread, and then blur (and I have been doing to get the blending effect.)

I will say, it takes quite a bit of playing with this to get it looking good, so it's much more art than science, but I think it's worth it. Another key thing is to vary your brush strokes A LOT. All different directions with the smudge tool. Dark side of the mountain to "draw" some of the dark into the light and light side to draw some light into the darks with various angles and even different brush sizes. Basically, if you smudge from the top of the mountain down, the ridge line will soften at the point and appear to move somewhat depending on what brush you used, smaller is usually better though.

Anyway, give that a try and see if you can make that help. For me, even using the smudge tool helps out quite a bit, but you can play with the burn/dodge also if you like.

Joe

GlassSphere
06-13-2008, 01:58 PM
Well heres What I've done so far, I attempted to do the smudging thing on the mountains, It looks alright but it still didn't give it much definition. I realized something that would bring it out more is to smudge the mask of the hill/shorter mountain layer that I added around the mountains, and that turned out really well. I also adjusted the colors of the mountains to be more realistic. One problem I have, I wanted to make a cave entrance (the shard halls) on the side of a mountain, I did what I thought it would look like but it still didnt pop up, so I added a little glow to it. does that help make it obvious, or does it make you think "whats that little glowy thing there?"

Really funny thing that did happen, is I applied the effects I had on the little cave entrance on the light snowy road layer I had (I was thinking maybe to get the road layer in front to also glow) And when I zoomed out I realized "oh yea, all my snow roads are on this layer" but to my surprise, they looked awesome, like strange ice-vein structures. I knew I had to add that somewhere else after taking the effect off the roads. So I did. But the way I made it, they kidna could pass more for little streams than ice veins.

Thanks for your comments.

jfrazierjr
06-13-2008, 03:57 PM
Well heres What I've done so far, I attempted to do the smudging thing on the mountains, It looks alright but it still didn't give it much definition.

This is where using a Bump map with the layer itself comes into play. The smudges get turned into "wrinkles" which simulates various rocky outcrops on a mountain. Also, using the dodge/burn (or even just a pencil with opposite colors) and then using the smudge tool to soften these hard lines and then using the bump map really makes for a nice effect once you get the settings dialed in correctly(which can take a while I will admit).



I realized something that would bring it out more is to smudge the mask of the hill/shorter mountain layer that I added around the mountains, and that turned out really well. I also adjusted the colors of the mountains to be more realistic.

I LOVE the mountains now for the most part. The blending with the terrain is great! They really seem to fade into the underlying snow ground cover. The only thing you might have to worry about is "white flare" where your white is so smooth that no underlying texture can be seen. This is especially the case on the south east side of the Frozen Crater bowl and a few other places. This is where a tiny bit of manual "painting" with a darker color in random directions and smudging can give you some texture definition back to the area without making it look to fake.


Joe

jfrazierjr
06-13-2008, 04:08 PM
Opps... now that I look at it a bit closer, I see a lot of gaps where you sat the original mountains on top of the new mountain bases. In some places, it looks like the original mountains are floating on top instead of being blended into the underlying mountain base. Again, using the smudge tool very carefully with a smallish brush and zoomed in will do a lot to make that transition less obvious. In a few places, there is a solid patch under the mountains of light blue that has no snow folders or any other texture on it and some hard lines where they meet so you may want to take a look at that also. The north-north west side of the seperate mountains between Frozen Crater and the bay is a good example. Still, over all, I love this map. BTW, what DPI is this done in? If this is high enough PPI resolution, this would make an excellent VTT region map due to the beauty of the landscape and colors you have used.

Joe

Joe

RobA
06-13-2008, 04:40 PM
Very nice map!

I normally dislike PS bevel effect mountains but you have made these look quite good!

-Rob A>

GlassSphere
06-13-2008, 05:39 PM
It's done in 72 ppi :? :(
Then again I'm not that concerned because this is really more for testing the methods, because now in the future with the techniques that I've learned... We make it better than it was before.
Better.
Stronger.
Faster.
er...


anyways, Yea, I refined the details alot. I smudged any remaining hard-lined mountainside, I erased most of the 'splatter' rock formations that weren't a mountain shape. (those were not intentional, it's part of the random creation of the mountains.)

But yea,, I'd like to try to make a map for VTT.
err...by the way....
what is VTT?

jfrazierjr
06-13-2008, 08:15 PM
It's done in 72 ppi :? :(
Then again I'm not that concerned because this is really more for testing the methods, because now in the future with the techniques that I've learned... We make it better than it was before.
Better.
Stronger.
Faster.
er...


If you try something like this again and have the horse power on your machine, try to go for something like 200 -300 DPI so people can zoom way in. Others can really help you dial this in better for VTT's other than I. I REALLY think this would be a nice map to use in a game session.




anyways, Yea, I refined the details alot. I smudged any remaining hard-lined mountainside, I erased most of the 'splatter' rock formations that weren't a mountain shape. (those were not intentional, it's part of the random creation of the mountains.)



Yep, some of the places getting blown out by the whites now have just the hint of texture on them so it looks like they have small nooks and crannies.

Looks good. I am REALLY getting very fond of the smudge tool. How well do you think it works in this application?




But yea,, I'd like to try to make a map for VTT.
err...by the way....
what is VTT?

heh.. Virtual Table Top. Software upon which maps are show to players who are represented as tokens that can be moved on the map. In some cases, each player has their own computer and has direct control of their character(s), while in others there is an external monitor and the GM moves the tokens based on the players prompting. Redrobes has one he made named ViewingDale and I know of at least 15+ people here on the boards that have used Maptool. Most of these programs have chat tools and some functionality to roll an arbitrary "dice" and spit out the results to the chat window. If you are following D&D 4E, their Gametable product is an example of a VTT (if it ever becomes real software)


Joe

Midgardsormr
06-13-2008, 08:46 PM
For what it's worth, you can safely ignore "dpi" if you're not designing for print. All that matters to a VTT is the number of pixels--horizontal and vertical measurements--not how large the image will be on paper, which is the only place that dpi matters.

So for the purposes of this discussion, a more useful question would be "What is your working resolution?"

For some guidelines on mapping for VTTs, it may be useful to look over the dormouse's assessment of the various entries for the May mapping challenge: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=2107&page=6

Those comments relate specifically to making battlemat-scale maps.

GlassSphere
06-13-2008, 11:05 PM
Unless sombody requests a print of me, I doubt I'll be printing anything soon. On top of it, I don't have a photoshop 'creativity lisence' thing, as they call it, so it'd be illegal for me to ever sell a print (not that anyone would know but I'd be haunted by it).

What should the measurements / resolution be for a VTT map? Is there a max? Is player scale adjustable in the program? Is the image scale adjustable?
This seems alot more like a region map than a battle scale map, but are region maps also usable in VTT?

I really enjoyed the DnD ruleset and sortof understand it through and through, because of a PC game- Neverwinter Nights. I played on a RP server/world for quite a while. It actually was kinda boring unless a DM/admin was online, then it became fun... that is, if he wasn't giving some epic quest to the other super-high level people. I wonder how/where/when I could play a game or something so I could get somewhat familiar how it works in VTT, I'm certain that would let me know how to create maps alot better designed for game purposes.

jfrazierjr
06-13-2008, 11:41 PM
Unless sombody requests a print of me, I doubt I'll be printing anything soon. On top of it, I don't have a photoshop 'creativity lisence' thing, as they call it, so it'd be illegal for me to ever sell a print (not that anyone would know but I'd be haunted by it).

What should the measurements / resolution be for a VTT map? Is there a max? Is player scale adjustable in the program? Is the image scale adjustable?
This seems alot more like a region map than a battle scale map, but are region maps also usable in VTT?

I really enjoyed the DnD ruleset and sortof understand it through and through, because of a PC game- Neverwinter Nights. I played on a RP server/world for quite a while. It actually was kinda boring unless a DM/admin was online, then it became fun... that is, if he wasn't giving some epic quest to the other super-high level people. I wonder how/where/when I could play a game or something so I could get somewhat familiar how it works in VTT, I'm certain that would let me know how to create maps alot better designed for game purposes.

If you are more intersted in VTT and would like to learn a bit more about D&D at the same time, check out the forums on rptools.net. People frequently post requests for players and some GM's may accept a drop in person who is interested but may not be able to commit to a full time schedule at the time.

Joe

torstan
06-17-2008, 06:43 AM
For maptool, around 2000x2000 px is a good size for a map, but it can go larger as long as the file-size is kept under control. Also, it can hold many maps, so larger areas can be broken up a little.