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Steel General
06-20-2008, 11:37 AM
Hi all, this is my first completed map made with The GIMP (using RobA's fantastic tutorial :)). While I didn't follow every single step in the tutorial I used the majority of it, and am quite pleased by the outcome.

Telperion and Taramir are the homeland of the Taydarin (Sea) Elves in my Campaign World.

There are a couple of things I'm not 100% happy with, and may go back and try to fix. The lake and rivers could be done better. I ended up having to add them after I had finished everything else. Also, the texture of the forest isn't quite as good as what was in the tutorial. Third, I think the color of the grass layer needs to be a little deeper green.

I was looking around the forums for a way to do swamps and couldn't find anything. So I ended up using the Small Galaxy brush, I think it worked OK.

Anyway, take a look, let me know what you like don't like. Leave suggestions, etc.

jfrazierjr
06-20-2008, 12:02 PM
Hi all, this is my first completed map made with The GIMP (using RobA's fantastic tutorial :)). While I didn't follow every single step in the tutorial I used the majority of it, and am quite pleased by the outcome.

Telperion and Taramir are the homeland of the Taydarin (Sea) Elves in my Campaign World.

There are a couple of things I'm not 100% happy with, and may go back and try to fix. The lake and rivers could be done better. I ended up having to add them after I had finished everything else. Also, the texture of the forest isn't quite as good as what was in the tutorial. Third, I think the color of the grass layer needs to be a little deeper green.

I was looking around the forums for a way to do swamps and couldn't find anything. So I ended up using the Small Galaxy brush, I think it worked OK.

Anyway, take a look, let me know what you like don't like. Leave suggestions, etc.

Pretty good for your first time SG!

Ok, here are some tips/comments I have found for this type of map:

Put a noise layer over your land and play with the mode. I ussually use multiply or perhaps hard light This will give you some more and takes basically little to no time color variation to your grass lands.

Good thought on the swamps. The background probably needs to be a bit darker... perhaps make a new transparent layer with a slightly darker green than the grass layer and then put the brush on top? Not sure as I have not tried to do any swamps yet.... With the grass coloration underneath, it looks to much like grassy brushland or heath or something like that instead of swamps. But, it was a very good thought and attempt!

You may want to try RobA's tutorial here: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=594 for a start on something that might be more mountainous looking. Also, there are a few variations of this technique in action here: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=2270 to make it a bit more satellite like in apperance.

You may want to a 2-3 px G Blur to the mountains and forests. The spread just looks odd..

Nice font. Very "regal" looking.

Over all. Very good work.

Joe

Steel General
06-20-2008, 12:25 PM
Thanks for the feedback Joe, I'll definitely take those into consideration when/if I decide to make any changes.

The font is Carribean (http://www.dafont.com/caribbean.font), and it seemed to fit very well. I was goin to use a Tolkien font, but found it to difficult to read at small sizes.

Any ideas (or point me to a tutorial if possible) on what I can do to fix the rivers? I'd much prefer that they "cut through" the forest instead of "lay on top".

jfrazierjr
06-20-2008, 01:23 PM
Any ideas (or point me to a tutorial if possible) on what I can do to fix the rivers? I'd much prefer that they "cut through" the forest instead of "lay on top".

That's a fairly easy fix as long as you have the rivers on their own layer. Just like with the mountain and forest masks you made earlier, you make a river mask, so whatever layers you add the mask to will "cut" out for the rivers. For maximum flexibility in the future create both a mask AND a direct layer (which you will hide). You can do this easily by selecting your rivers, create a new layer, fill "not" river with black, and river with white, then save as mask. You now have a B/W layer and a mask version of the same. The reason to make it a separate layer in addition to just a mask is so if you decide to add any effects such as a bevel or something like that, you can regenerate the mask from the layer and then apply the new mask where ever the old one was(assuming you had not merged down the layer mask previously.

Joe

Karro
06-20-2008, 02:35 PM
That's a fairly easy fix as long as you have the rivers on their own layer. Just like with the mountain and forest masks you made earlier, you make a river mask, so whatever layers you add the mask to will "cut" out for the rivers. For maximum flexibility in the future create both a mask AND a direct layer (which you will hide). You can do this easily by selecting your rivers, create a new layer, fill "not" river with black, and river with white, then save as mask. You now have a B/W layer and a mask version of the same. The reason to make it a separate layer in addition to just a mask is so if you decide to add any effects such as a bevel or something like that, you can regenerate the mask from the layer and then apply the new mask where ever the old one was(assuming you had not merged down the layer mask previously.

Joe


Yeah, so basically, how I handled this was I applied a mask copy of the rivers to the forests, except I enlarged the mask by a few pixels (so the white part that represents the river on the mask is a few pixels wider than the actual blue of the river) and I blurred the edge by a few pixels. This allows the forest to thin out around the edges of the river.

For swamp, the idea I'm considering using (also haven't done one yet, but it's on my list) is an approach similar to the one used for forests, but using a different color scheme. Most swamps, I figure, are forested areas (at least they are in the bayou and Okeefenokee area). I figured I'd tone down the green used with a heavy dose of gray. Your idea to use the galaxy brush is also good, but I agree it needs something a little more to make it pop and appear distinct from the regular grasslands.

All in all, your first attempt looks a lot like my first attempt, especially around the mountains and forests. I played around with the mountains using some other techniques to get what I wanted, but I'm still trying to refine that technique. Dan posted a revised technique for forests that he used that produces results that I think are an incremental improvement on the original technique RobA details.

Steel General
06-20-2008, 03:57 PM
Thank you both for the input, I think I'll probably need to do a major overhaul to get it to appear they way you are describing it. But I was "futzing" about with it and at least got the rivers to look a bit better.

I moved the River Color layer between the two Forest Color layers so it kinda appears like you can see the water thru the foliage, and i put a drop shadow on it to give it a little "depth". Not the best solution, but hey I'm learning.

So here's version 2

Ascension
06-20-2008, 04:14 PM
What I might try on the rivers is to make a copy of that layer, put one below all the tree layers and one on top. Then, for the one on top, I'd lower the opacity or mess around with the blending modes and then erase where it does not go over trees.

My 2 sense/cents/scents

töff
06-20-2008, 04:18 PM
I was goin to use a Tolkien fontSo instead you used the Tolkien name "Telperion"?

Nice maps! :)

ravells
06-20-2008, 05:51 PM
Toff - you have a pm!

töff
06-20-2008, 11:15 PM
Uh oh I'm busted.

Sorry Steel General, I didn't mean to slam you on the Tolkien name. Sorry, it's a pet peeve of mine -- had a lot of trouble with people dumping Tolkien names into one of our online storyworlds.

Seriously, though, the maps are looking good. I have a swamp style somewhere if you're interested.

Steel General
06-20-2008, 11:48 PM
Uh oh I'm busted.

Sorry Steel General, I didn't mean to slam you on the Tolkien name. Sorry, it's a pet peeve of mine -- had a lot of trouble with people dumping Tolkien names into one of our online storyworlds.

Seriously, though, the maps are looking good. I have a swamp style somewhere if you're interested.

No harm, no foul - I came up with that name years ago, and I'm sure it was probably influenced by Tolkein. I didn't know it was one of his actual names though.

And yes I'd definitely be interested in any ideas, etc. you may have to help me get better at this thing. Heck, I only started yesterday, I'm still a big noob!! :D

Steel General
06-25-2008, 02:17 PM
OK, here's my second attempt using RobA's tutorial. I tried using the alternative method of doing mountains that he created the video tutorial for, and experimented with some other stuff.

I pretty much like the way they turned out other than there being to much space between them (I was worried about overlapping, and really didn't need to be :?), and maybe some 'banding'.

The off-colored moutains with the red at the peaks are supposed to be Volcanoes. The sandy-colored areas were done using the 'dunes' brush.

The chasm and the crater were done using the same techniques as the mountains, only inverting the bump map. The crater isn't that great, but I think the chasm turned out OK.

As always comments, critiques, etc. are welcomed.

jfrazierjr
06-25-2008, 03:57 PM
OK, here's my second attempt using RobA's tutorial. I tried using the alternative method of doing mountains that he created the video tutorial for, and experimented with some other stuff.

I pretty much like the way they turned out other than there being to much space between them (I was worried about overlapping, and really didn't need to be :?), and maybe some 'banding'.

The off-colored moutains with the red at the peaks are supposed to be Volcanoes. The sandy-colored areas were done using the 'dunes' brush.

The chasm and the crater were done using the same techniques as the mountains, only inverting the bump map. The crater isn't that great, but I think the chasm turned out OK.

As always comments, critiques, etc. are welcomed.

Pretty good SG. I assume this is still a WIP, so I will point out a few things that you may just not have gotten to.

1) for my taste (ie my opinion), you might want to think about putting a bit more color variation on the water using a rendered cloud set to overlay. This is subjective, so if you don't want that no problem. Secondly for the water, if you have not thought of it, you may want to try a texture to simulate movement.

2) I think the coastline might need a bit more randomness to it to really look it's best. Again, this is all subjective as there may be lots of erosion that might make it really smooth like that.

3) The brown and tan colors for what I will assume are hills is really nicely done. It's not 100% "there", but pretty darn close. What did you do to get that look?

4) now for the big one: The mountains look like they are floating above the land mass instead of part of it. One big reason for this (and I am assuming you used part of RoBA's simple mountains tutorial with the angular gradient trick) is the colors make a fake "shadow" that seems to raise the whole element above the underlying stuff. If this is the specific look you are going for, thats fine, but I don't think you are going for the relief map style right? If not there are a few things you can do to help them blend in more, with various levels of work involved. The simplest and least effective is to select your layer mask and spread and blur. This works to some extent and is fast, but is far from the most effective.

Another thing you can do that I do, which takes little talent, but tons of time to get right is to use the smudge tool and draw the color down and away from the peaks. Also, one of the things I have adapted to the gradient mountains process is to instead of using black and white, use white and gray with gray being the "bottom" of the mountains. For my time, this produces a lot less of the whole floating shadow thing and then I also use the smudge tool to do a bunch of blending "down" the slopes before applying the color layer to the original to get my final bump map.

Joe

Steel General
06-25-2008, 05:09 PM
1) for my taste (ie my opinion), you might want to think about putting a bit more color variation on the water using a rendered cloud set to overlay. This is subjective, so if you don't want that no problem. Secondly for the water, if you have not thought of it, you may want to try a texture to simulate movement.

2) I think the coastline might need a bit more randomness to it to really look it's best. Again, this is all subjective as there may be lots of erosion that might make it really smooth like that.

3) The brown and tan colors for what I will assume are hills is really nicely done. It's not 100% "there", but pretty darn close. What did you do to get that look?

4) now for the big one: The mountains look like they are floating above the land mass instead of part of it. One big reason for this (and I am assuming you used part of RoBA's simple mountains tutorial with the angular gradient trick) is the colors make a fake "shadow" that seems to raise the whole element above the underlying stuff. If this is the specific look you are going for, thats fine, but I don't think you are going for the relief map style right? If not there are a few things you can do to help them blend in more, with various levels of work involved. The simplest and least effective is to select your layer mask and spread and blur. This works to some extent and is fast, but is far from the most effective.

Another thing you can do that I do, which takes little talent, but tons of time to get right is to use the smudge tool and draw the color down and away from the peaks. Also, one of the things I have adapted to the gradient mountains process is to instead of using black and white, use white and gray with gray being the "bottom" of the mountains. For my time, this produces a lot less of the whole floating shadow thing and then I also use the smudge tool to do a bunch of blending "down" the slopes before applying the color layer to the original to get my final bump map.

Joe

Joe,

Again thanks for your feedback. This one is really not anywhere near done. It was more of an experimental thing. In response to your points;

1) Not sure what happened to the water, maybe I accidentally turned the "texture" off and didn't realize it.

2) For some reason I had lots of trouble with the coastline on this one, obviously I must've been doing something wrong. Probably missed a step in RobA's tutorial, or did something in reverse.

3) Not sure exactly but if I remember correctly I initially swapped the color maps for the grass and dirt layers (I wanted more of a 'rough terrain'), then I think I reduced the opacity down to about 75% (not at the same PC now, so can't be sure) on those 2 levels. I can't remember which level the dunes are on.

4) I totally agree about the "shadow" on the mountains, needs more blur and spread, and I think the large "gaps" between them doesn't help either. Maybe I'll save an alternate version and try your "smudge" suggestion as well.

So, I'll keep plugging away and putting them out here.

jfrazierjr
06-25-2008, 06:22 PM
Joe,

Again thanks for your feedback. This one is really not anywhere near done. It was more of an experimental thing. In response to your points;

1) Not sure what happened to the water, maybe I accidentally turned the "texture" off and didn't realize it. No problem. Of course, sometimes it's hard to see all the little details when the map is so small (hint, hint)




2) For some reason I had lots of trouble with the coastline on this one, obviously I must've been doing something wrong. Probably missed a step in RobA's tutorial, or did something in reverse.

Yea.. I have found that the other stand alone coastline tutorials Rob produced created much better results in my opinion, so I just combine the two methods.




3) Not sure exactly but if I remember correctly I initially swapped the color maps for the grass and dirt layers (I wanted more of a 'rough terrain'), then I think I reduced the opacity down to about 75% (not at the same PC now, so can't be sure) on those 2 levels. I can't remember which level the dunes are on. Cool. once you figure it out, be sure to let us know. Its a really good take, and like I said, while it needs a bit of something (though I can't think of what right now) it is very nice!


4) I totally agree about the "shadow" on the mountains, needs more blur and spread, and I think the large "gaps" between them doesn't help either. Maybe I'll save an alternate version and try your "smudge" suggestion as well.


If you do the smudge thing, try checking out the "Playing with Mountains" thread that Karro started. I but some basic directions on how I did it over there, but again, it takes some time and with the number of mountains you have, will take quite a bit of time.


Joe

Karro
06-25-2008, 07:27 PM
Joe pretty much covered most of the points I would make.

One thought I would add, based on another tutorial I saw here (one that was technically for photoshop, but might be useful here, too) regards the volcanoes.

At an earlier step, when you still have the B&W gradient (or gray & white given Joe's suggestion) at the peaks fo those mountains where you plan to make them volcanoes, try adding a little bit of a dark spot at the tips of those peaks.

Then, when you create the bump map layer based on that gradient, this should create a small depression at the tip of the mountain, which would make the appearance of a volcanic crater.

Then, I'd consider using a brighter orange-or-yellow color at the very center to simulate the glow of the lava, and make sure to blur the color on that layer (I might put the orange-yellow on it's own layer when you do this) to make it look glowy.

jfrazierjr
06-25-2008, 09:19 PM
Joe pretty much covered most of the points I would make.

One thought I would add, based on another tutorial I saw here (one that was technically for photoshop, but might be useful here, too) regards the volcanoes.

At an earlier step, when you still have the B&W gradient (or gray & white given Joe's suggestion) at the peaks fo those mountains where you plan to make them volcanoes, try adding a little bit of a dark spot at the tips of those peaks.

Then, when you create the bump map layer based on that gradient, this should create a small depression at the tip of the mountain, which would make the appearance of a volcanic crater.

Then, I'd consider using a brighter orange-or-yellow color at the very center to simulate the glow of the lava, and make sure to blur the color on that layer (I might put the orange-yellow on it's own layer when you do this) to make it look glowy.

Though I have not tried, it, I would probably try making a "slightly" irregular circle for each "volcano" and then use a reverse of the angular gradient, with the lightish gray on the insides and a darker gray going out(perhaps 50% going out to 75% or so). Spread, blur, and, a bit of smudge (do this on a different layer) and then bump map each individually and merge down (or merge down and then bump map.) Hmm... good inspiration Karro... I will have to play with this when I get a chance.

Also, pay attention to scale. Make sure you keep the scale in mind as you build your craters and then add any lava flows after you have the crater if you want...

Joe

jfrazierjr
06-25-2008, 09:23 PM
Joe pretty much covered most of the points I would make.

One thought I would add, based on another tutorial I saw here (one that was technically for photoshop, but might be useful here, too) regards the volcanoes.

At an earlier step, when you still have the B&W gradient (or gray & white given Joe's suggestion) at the peaks fo those mountains where you plan to make them volcanoes, try adding a little bit of a dark spot at the tips of those peaks.

Then, when you create the bump map layer based on that gradient, this should create a small depression at the tip of the mountain, which would make the appearance of a volcanic crater.

Then, I'd consider using a brighter orange-or-yellow color at the very center to simulate the glow of the lava, and make sure to blur the color on that layer (I might put the orange-yellow on it's own layer when you do this) to make it look glowy.


Hmmm Karro, shall you start a "Playing with Volcanos" thread or shall I?

:P

Joe

Karro
06-26-2008, 02:21 AM
Hmmm Karro, shall you start a "Playing with Volcanos" thread or shall I?

:P

Joe

Ask and ye shall receive (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?p=24096#post24096)!

Steel General
06-27-2008, 04:00 PM
OK, this is derived from an old, and very badly done CC2 map. There was a lot of experimentation here using RobA's tutorial as a baseline (it was a slow day at work today). I actually kind of like this so far other than a couple of things;

1. The forests need to be better - just not sure how to fix them

2. I tried following the tutorial on adding rivers, but they kept coming out looking like they were below the "Dirt" level. Also, not sure how I should add a large lake in the middle of the large forest.

3. I would like to add some tundra/icy terrain at the extreme northern edge. Couldn't find any examples of how to do that.

As always comments, critiques, etc. are welcomed.

Karro
06-27-2008, 04:42 PM
1. Actually, I think the forest's aren't looking too bad at all. Could stand some improvement, but practice makes perfect.

2. I know what you mean. What I figured out had to happen was that you need to add a mask to every layer for the rivers once you've placed them. Initially, I had dirt going over my rivers too. What I did was I added the rivers as a black line over the white ground on the land mask, and reapplied this mask to all the layers.

3. Not sure if this will work, since I'm not sure if you can do a gradient from with transparent as a color, but try running a gradient from white (or whitish-blue) to transparent (if possible) on a separate layer above the land color layer (obviously with white at the north). If that fails, try running one from white (-ish blue) to 50% gray and set to Overlay (that should have roughly the same effect as the above). If all your bumpmaps are on separate gray-scale layers, this should preserve all the depth on the map. I'd try it out myself, but I don't have access to GIMP at work.

jfrazierjr
06-27-2008, 05:03 PM
1. Actually, I think the forest's aren't looking too bad at all. Could stand some improvement, but practice makes perfect.

2. I know what you mean. What I figured out had to happen was that you need to add a mask to every layer for the rivers once you've placed them. Initially, I had dirt going over my rivers too. What I did was I added the rivers as a black line over the white ground on the land mask, and reapplied this mask to all the layers.



What I actually like to do is make my land shape and water and NOT apply any effects yet. Then build up my mountains add in rivers and lakes and merge down onto a copy of the sea layer. This helps to make make them look the same as I tend to have trouble getting the lakes to look the same as the seas if I do them on separate layers color and texture wise. I also save a channel with AND without the rivers for the flexibility. This also helps me from having to add a layer and then merge it (which is permanent) and then have to add a second layer to get the whole thing right. Of course, this is also one of the reasons I work on(or copy to) transparent layers so darn much to avoid a lot of this extra stuff anyway. It does not always work, but something to think about and play with if you have the time.

Steel General
06-27-2008, 05:33 PM
Thanks guys, as always I appreciate the feedback and suggenstions.

I'll have to try those ideas out on that once I'm back at work (Yay me - I'm on vacation for a week!), so it looks like I'll have to play around with some different ones at home.