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Simon33600
04-05-2013, 05:22 AM
Here is the site of a road ambush by highwaymen...

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As you can see, the crafty rogues hide themselves behind camouflaged mantlets (I made these for the occasion, and posted them on Bogie's thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/mapping-elements/16821-mapping-elements-starting-preset-tables-chairs-36.html#post212078))


I don't know how much I like this map, it could almost certainly use some improvement. Getting rid of the line of rocks between the hill and the road would help prettify the map. But this is a tactical element (the hill is much steeper there, forcing the players to climb while under fire or taking the longer way around it -in which the bandits have dug some spear pits) and I wanted it to be clearly represented on the map...

The place also look a bit green... But, he, it is suppose to be the end of summer so that kind of make sense...

mthomas768
04-05-2013, 09:14 AM
I think the boulder to the SW looks a bit lonely and mis-aligned with the hillside. Perhaps rotating it and adding a few others along the line of the hill top and bottom to break up the edge would help? It also looks a bit like it's floating against the background.

Maybe some shadowed ruts in the road, along with some grass in the less worn center?

The manlets need some shadows too. :)

Simon33600
04-05-2013, 06:44 PM
All very good advices! Thanks!

Here is an updated version.
I did work on the rocks and added the shadows... I also tried to add some patches of grass in the middle of the road but was not really happy as to how they turned out and removed them...

I also worked on my rock face through another approach (basically, sticking some bits of mountains I stole from dundjinni) and I think it looks better, although I can't seem to be able to get the shadows to work to add a real feeling of depth to it...

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Meshon
04-05-2013, 06:51 PM
I'm liking that cliff. I haven't found a satisfactory way to do them, but I think you're on to something!

cheers,
Meshon

Simon33600
04-05-2013, 07:19 PM
Wow, thanks.

As I said, the actual hard word was made by the guy that created the original object...

Neyjour
04-05-2013, 07:51 PM
Looking good so far! I also like how the cliff is shaping up. :)

A few suggestions:

1) Try reducing your dirt/soil texture for the road considerably. As it is now, the dirt granules are much too large for the scale of your map.

2) For offset shadows, this is something you can try (which I've been experimenting with myself recently): take the object in question (one of the trees, for example) and make a duplicate of it on another layer. Adjust the brightness/contrast until the duplicate is solid black, then position it where you want the shadow to fall. Place that layer under the tree, then apply a gaussian blur and adjust the opacity until you've got the effect you want.

3) Your boulder looks very blurry. Try sharpening it up a bit.

Hope that helps! :)

EDIT: I've attached a quick example for the offset shadows. (Gaussian Blur: 5.00 / Layer Opacity: 70%)

Simon33600
04-06-2013, 05:54 AM
Hello Neyjour... Thanks for the advices!

Here is a modified version, with my "progress-report" to follow:
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Yep, I have used a technique quite similar to the one you describe before (for example in my "Golden Elk (http://www.cartographersguild.com/members/simon33600-albums-finished+battlemaps.-picture49710-golden-elk-main-deck.html)" map).
It works best if you want your illumination to be almost vertical, but; in this case, I was looking for longer shadows, mostly because I thought my sign post looked crummy and felt the longer shadows were needed to help give the impression of a taller structure...
Still, the example you gave looks really nice... so I tried compromising... I might have blurred it a little bit too much, however, and might revisit this particular layer...

The gravel texture I used did not like being reduced that much. At that point, a very clear tilling effect was quite evident. So I ended up using a different texture. It came with a bit of problem on its own (once reduced; it was not longer tillable, but I fix it reasonably well, I think). Now the only problem I have is that the road appears... under the grass... I made sense before, but now it kinda feel wrong... I might have to revisit that too (I will just use the clone tool to remove the stones that are half-covered by the grass, it should do the trick...).

As for the stones, well, for some of them, the only version I had was as blurry as you see it so I had to change several of them but this was pretty straightforward...

While I was at it, I changed the puddles on the road so that they would sneak between the stones, which make more sense, and redid the spear lining on the stone and its shadow... I am quite unreasonably proud of this shadow! :P




Anyway, thanks again for the advices, that's why I like this forum so much, it really helps me a lot...

Ps- The grass texture on your example is really pretty, do you remember where you found it?

Simon33600
04-06-2013, 06:02 AM
Well, quick update...

I changed the colour of the road grid as it did not seem to match the one one of the new road texture...
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I took the opportunity to move the texture a bit to the left to try and hide the seam under the grid a bit...
Slightly better now, I think and I am looking forward to more advices...

mthomas768
04-06-2013, 09:53 AM
Great progress! Really looking good.

I think the puddles are a bit lost. Maybe try selecting the between-the-cobbles area and filling that with a darker water texture to give the impression of water between the stones? You could do a stretch along one edge and increase the green in the nearby grass to indicate a low/wet spot.

Maybe a few clumps of weedy grass along the road to break up the edge a bit?

Nice work!

Neyjour
04-06-2013, 05:25 PM
Anyway, thanks again for the advices, that's why I like this forum so much, it really helps me a lot...

Ps- The grass texture on your example is really pretty, do you remember where you found it?

You're welcome. :) The texture is from CGTextures. You can download it here:
Grass by Jacobo CortÚs Ferreira (http://www.cgtextures.com/texview.php?id=49062&PHPSESSID=bjnm3ttukvn57t5tftql0u7vc5)

Simon33600
04-06-2013, 07:30 PM
You're welcome. :) The texture is from CGTextures. You can download it here:
Grass by Jacobo CortÚs Ferreira (http://www.cgtextures.com/texview.php?id=49062&PHPSESSID=bjnm3ttukvn57t5tftql0u7vc5)

Wonderful! Done, thanks!



Great progress! Really looking good.

I think the puddles are a bit lost. Maybe try selecting the between-the-cobbles area and filling that with a darker water texture to give the impression of water between the stones? You could do a stretch along one edge and increase the green in the nearby grass to indicate a low/wet spot.

Maybe a few clumps of weedy grass along the road to break up the edge a bit?

Nice work!

Thanks for the compliment.
I went ahead and download some clumps of grass from Dunjdini. They look nice full size but, reduced to the correct scale, they are mostly a greenish mush.
I used them, though, both on the road as small, and full size as bushes...

I also worked on the puddles following your comments, and used your suggestion to put a dark patch of grass on the side. I located it close to the cliff as it seemed to make sense that the water would accumulate there... I also added a fairy ring there, which kind of make sense, but might be a bit too much...


Anyway, what do you guys think about it now?

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aquarits
04-06-2013, 08:22 PM
suggestion:

Make the road not too regularly and i guess it will be better if you get some sand btw the paved and the grass. Maybe less blur in the tree's shadow.

Btw, is a nice work and e creative idea :D

Simon33600
04-07-2013, 06:16 AM
suggestion:
Make the road not too regularly and i guess it will be better if you get some sand btw the paved and the grass. Maybe less blur in the tree's shadow.
Btw, is a nice work and e creative idea :D

I agree.
Here is a version where I removed some stones (it also helped the road appears less regular...) and where I remade the trees' shadows and did not blur them quite as much...


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Thanks for the help...

Jacktannery
04-07-2013, 07:10 AM
Simon, your map is very good and has improved a great deal since post 1 - great job! You are turning into a pro.

I LOVE your brilliant spear shadow - it looks great. I also really like your cliff.

To make your cliff 'sit down' in the landscape a bit better, you could try and make a more gentle transition at the bottom of the cliff between the grey rock and grass. Try using a layer mask to fade the transition and see what it looks like. Also you should darken the shadow that shows the steep drop at the TOP of the slope - this should be blacker and a bit thicker. These two things will turn your good cliff into a great cliff. You might also increase the darkness of the slope shadow in the bottom-left of the map a good bit, and add a similar shadow to the east so the cliff does not just stop.

Your tree shadows look much better now that you have followed Neyjour's good advice. Try making yours darker to match her example - it will look better. Also your other shadows. And some of your shadows (on those nice leaf-covered wooden defences) look like they are going over your objects.

You can probably get away with a much thinner grid.

Personally, I don't like the texture you have used for your road, because it looks a bit cartoony. I prefer something like this texture (which I have resized for you from the Nomeradona blog):
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To use this, delete your road texture totally leaving grass background, then make your road layer and fill it with this (seamless) cobblestone texture. I think it is at the right size for your map (which by the way is very small - do you reduce them for uploading to this website? Perhaps you should think about making each grid square more pixels in size next time). Use a layer mask to restrict the cobbles to your road. Fade out the edges on either side using the mask. Make the whole layer 80-90% opacity so they are not too sharp. Now get a very small fuzzy paintbrush and paint black on your mask layer between some of the stones, to make the illusion of moss growing between the cobbles. These are just some ideas by the way - feel free to ignore.

Simon33600
04-07-2013, 02:04 PM
Ok then...

What do you think about it now?

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Normally, the size of the picture should actually be pretty big: 42cm by 29.7 (it is supposed to be printed to scale and fit and A3). I guess the might be resized as a side effect of the compression when I export it... I'll need to check that out...

Neyjour
04-08-2013, 06:54 PM
Looking good! :)

That road texture looks much better than the previous one, and I like how you've cut around the individual stones along the edges. The only thing that doesn't look right is the drop shadow, which makes it look like the road is floating above the grass.

One other thing you might try with the road, is to add a little bit of dirt along the edges, transitioning into the grass.

Simon33600
04-09-2013, 01:23 PM
Actually, I tried that, but I guess the dirt texture was a bit dark (I sampled some pixels between the cobblestones and tried to use that... seemed to make sense, but then, the stones do shade the dirt in between)... Which probably gave this "drop-shadowy" effect.

So, I redid my grass layer mask and put a lighter dirt layer...

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mthomas768
04-09-2013, 01:37 PM
Really coming along nicely!

One thing that sticks out to me is the shadows on the mantlets. They look a bit large and round, especially when compared to the trees. Maybe use a soft eraser to give them a less uniform edge (to indicate branches sticking out here and there) and to shrink them a bit?

Simon33600
04-09-2013, 01:57 PM
Something like that?

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mthomas768
04-09-2013, 02:26 PM
Yes! I might have left a little more shadow, but that looks a lot better to me!

Simon33600
04-09-2013, 03:03 PM
That should be easy enough...

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Simon33600
04-09-2013, 06:17 PM
Or do you mean longer shadows, like this?

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mthomas768
04-09-2013, 07:37 PM
I think the second one looks good! The long shadows are a bit too much to my eye.

Simon33600
04-10-2013, 03:01 AM
I'd tend to agree. I should be able to go for something in between with slightly longer shadows, but not excessively so....

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