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Ascension
07-04-2008, 03:14 AM
I was looking through one of my Viking books tonight and saw a fjord and thought that it might be a challenge. I'm trying out some new techniques in order to get a more painterly look, not fully happy with the water but Ive still got a ways to go on this. No scale yet since this is a test piece to work out the techniques and see if I like 'em and see what others think. I'm thinking of putting in a small village with a few docks (these are Vikings with longboats after all) but the size and detail level won't be set until I come up with a scale. My initial thought for scale when I started this was 1 pixel = 10 feet.

delgondahntelius
07-04-2008, 03:59 AM
1 px = 10' ??? Great googlymoogly ...

Ascension
07-04-2008, 07:21 PM
Update on my fjord. Totally redid the water, added some textures. Think the water still needs some work and maybe the trees could be more defined but I dunno. Changed the scale to 1 px = 2 feet so that my trees would be 40 feet (20 pixels) wide. Thinking about putting some type of castle on the cliff and maybe a cave entrance and quarry. The town will sit on the east side of the fjord and I ready to start crackin on that.

ps. the tree are made out of a picture of parsely

delgondahntelius
07-05-2008, 05:05 AM
The water looks good, but I agree, you might play around with it some more, but you are definitely on the right track...

The left side hill looks as if it fades 'over' the trees... I'm somewhat colorblind and this might be one of those little tricks of the eye for me personally. I personally like my trees to be defined more or less. The faded look always appears as if someone used an eraser on a map... this of course is just a personal preference ...

If this is a true fjord, as in very steep cliffs along the bank of the inlet, It needs some more definition, as it just looks like a small brownish coastline ... perahps a harder bevel...

Looking forward to seeing this come to full bloom :D

industrygothica
07-05-2008, 07:51 AM
By no means am I a master mapper, so take my opinion for what it is...

It looks like the trees are trying to climb up the sides of the cliff, which is good, but might could use a bit more detail. I wonder what it'd look like if you got rid of the ground level and expanded the water (and maybe the cliffs on the right side) so that the cliffs overlooked the water directly. I think the shadow that it casts on the water might have an interesting effect.

Look at this image to see what I mean:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/78/Geirangerfjord_%286-2007%29.jpg

Ascension
07-05-2008, 04:59 PM
Here's the 2 pics I started with. The first is from a book called "Cultural Atlas of the Viking World" (bought it at Borders about 5 years ago) and shows the large fjord called Sogne fjord. I had always assumed that fjords looked like the one in the previous post until I saw this one. So I went to Flash Earth and sure enough there is plenty of green, which I assume to be either trees or land. The main problem is making the land look like it slopes upwards instead of looking so flat. I tried the normal shading stuff but it comes out dark and since most people think my maps are too dark (I think they're too light) well that just leaves me stuck. Also is a screen grab of the finished river banks, re-tinting the river, adjustments to trees to eliminate the fading, added some shrubbery, and my preliminary contouring.

Ascension
07-07-2008, 02:47 AM
Well my lil fjord village has suddenly grown into a small town while I started putting in buildings (it's like some sick compulsion). I've been researching medieval professions and if I put in all the stuff I've come up with then my town will be a full size port city and I'll have to redo everything. Not sure I wanna do that but here is my updated wip and this thread should probably be moved over to the town forum. I'll put in the legend as to what all the buildings are when it's done and the scale is still 1 pixel = 2 feet. Things are going faster now that I've made brushes and layer styles for the buildings and actions to do the shadows (wish I would have done that long ago instead of 2 hours ago). And yes I know my buildings are sitting on top of my trees...I'm working on a flattened image to save my pc from chugging, when the town is done I'll flatten it and stick it back into the original psd file and tuck em up under the trees.

Things to do: finish the town, labels and graphics, tweaking.

Karro
07-08-2008, 12:24 AM
Hmm... Things look a little too straight to be a medieval era village. The roads meet at right angles and run straight, and the buildings appear very regular.

It just seems to me that the buildings don't really stylistically line up with the rest of the map. It looks good, mind you. Great work so far...

StillCypher
07-08-2008, 04:51 PM
Hmm... Things look a little too straight to be a medieval era village. The roads meet at right angles and run straight, and the buildings appear very regular.

Oh, m'gosh... That's the exact same thing I was thinking! "Too tidy! Too sterile!"

Otherwise, though, you're making enviable progress. I'm impressed. :)

Ascension
07-08-2008, 08:43 PM
I think this fjord has died. I had fixed the "too straight" thing by rotating a bunch of buildings to align with the roads. I had added about oh 100 or so more buildings over the past 2 days then a storm was coming up about an hour ago. My first thought "save it". While the save was winding up the power went out and the file is now corrupted. I can't get it to load up in anything but the lil previewer in windows still shows the correct preview. After 5 days of adding walls, roads, and buildings, then fixing some critiques I am now left with dookey. Will it ever stop raining here in the midwest?! I really don't want to redo 5 days worth of labor because what was fun before will now be a chore. I'm just so angry at being helpless...a stupid 10 minute storm ruined 5 nights. Ah well, c'est la vie, eh?

Midgardsormr
07-08-2008, 09:01 PM
Ouch! Even with a UPS, I still like to save into a new file every day. I had about 25 of them for last month's challenge entry. It takes a lot of disk space, of course, but it's well worth it.

industrygothica
07-08-2008, 11:32 PM
I think this fjord has died. I had fixed the "too straight" thing by rotating a bunch of buildings to align with the roads. I had added about oh 100 or so more buildings over the past 2 days then a storm was coming up about an hour ago. My first thought "save it". While the save was winding up the power went out and the file is now corrupted. I can't get it to load up in anything but the lil previewer in windows still shows the correct preview. After 5 days of adding walls, roads, and buildings, then fixing some critiques I am now left with dookey. Will it ever stop raining here in the midwest?! I really don't want to redo 5 days worth of labor because what was fun before will now be a chore. I'm just so angry at being helpless...a stupid 10 minute storm ruined 5 nights. Ah well, c'est la vie, eh?

Alas, you're not alone. I feel your pain.

A lot. ;)

Redrobes
07-09-2008, 06:14 AM
I think this fjord has died. I had fixed the "too straight" thing by rotating a bunch of buildings to align with the roads. I had added about oh 100 or so more buildings over the past 2 days then a storm was coming up about an hour ago. My first thought "save it". While the save was winding up the power went out and the file is now corrupted. I can't get it to load up in anything but the lil previewer in windows still shows the correct preview. After 5 days of adding walls, roads, and buildings, then fixing some critiques I am now left with dookey. Will it ever stop raining here in the midwest?! I really don't want to redo 5 days worth of labor because what was fun before will now be a chore. I'm just so angry at being helpless...a stupid 10 minute storm ruined 5 nights. Ah well, c'est la vie, eh?

Thats bad :( We have had some storms here too and some power outages. I also power off and plugs out over storms in case of mains spikes. We might benefit from a thread about backup strategies - always easier to say after the fact I know but I implement a rigorous set of procedures and since losing several HDs over the years I haven't lost my data since. One quick policy tho is that all my WIPs are numbered and increment up. I have a map in progress with 28 file saves so thats a lot of corruption to destroy them all. You could try to look at some of the temp directories as some programs save copies of the file in case of an outage like that. The file might be saves as a different name but it might still exist.

Karro
07-09-2008, 09:27 AM
Oh man, I'm sorry. I've been there, under different circumstances... Lost tons of writing I had been working on first when I dropped an external hard drive then again a couples years later when my laptop was stolen... Hopefully you can recover and start again.

Ascension
07-17-2008, 11:50 PM
I've been working on hell for a while now, hell 1 is what my priests say it should look like with all the fire n brimstone, hell 2 is what Dante says it looks like-a giant target, hell 3 and 4 were combos that ended up looking like big oatmeal cookies. So after 4 less than stellar attempts at mapping hell I've decided to go back to my lil baby. Here's fjord 2 point oh.

Karro
07-18-2008, 12:03 AM
I've been working on hell for a while now, hell 1 is what my priests say it should look like with all the fire n brimstone, hell 2 is what Dante says it looks like-a giant target, hell 3 and 4 were combos that ended up looking like big oatmeal cookies. So after 4 less than stellar attempts at mapping hell I've decided to go back to my lil baby. Here's fjord 2 point oh.

Those aren't viking longboats, are they?

Midgardsormr
07-18-2008, 12:07 AM
Looks like you've got your brightness issue sorted out now; I can see this image just fine. And I'm so glad, 'cause it's very impressive!

I think you need to dial back the distance on the buildings' drop shadows. They're giving the impression that the houses are flying. Or at least much taller than the walls and towers.

I'm really feeling the frustration of wondering what's just off the edge of the map. I want to see the whole, murderous approach to the castle. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but at least you've engaged my imagination.

Ascension
07-18-2008, 08:37 AM
The boats are trading cogs, longboats will come later once I have something I like. The shadows are there just as a place-keeper for now, I'll remove 'em and redo 'em once all of the buildings are done. The darkness thing gave me the most problems and took the longest to fix, I might set my monitor even darker so that things come out brighter for everyone else...not sure yet. As for the edges, heh heh, I plan on doing additional maps on top, left and right. The top map will show the fields n stuff, the right and left maps will show the mountains and dungeons n such...hope I can replicate my methods (first time I didn't write a tutorial as I went along). Or maybe someone else can jump in and do whatever their imaginations come up with.

Midgardsormr
07-18-2008, 09:14 PM
You just made my night! This map is just so delicious that I'm eager to see the rest.

landorl
07-19-2008, 01:45 PM
That is a great looking map. I love the town and the fortifications. I can't find anything that I don't like in this!

mathuwm
07-19-2008, 04:04 PM
I would like to see the hell maps

here is a little inspiration

http://www.waynebarlowe.com/barlowe_pages/index_inferno.htm

Ascension
07-21-2008, 12:46 AM
This part is just about done now, maybe a key if anyone really wants to know what all the stuff is. Put in some things in front of the cathedral that I might use to populate the whole map with: single horse, single horse cart, dual horse wagon, quad horse carriage, and varicolored people (haven't got to the barrels, crates, and haystacks yet).

Grr, I just noticed some of my sails got messed up as well as the amphitheatre roof, so I'll fix those tomorrow.

edit: fixed the sails and roof. Kinda want some feedback...populate the town (people, carts, wagons, haystacks, etc) or leave as is? Now to begin on the adjoining maps.

Steel General
07-21-2008, 05:04 PM
Stunning, just absolutely stunning!

Kalomier
07-21-2008, 05:14 PM
Very nice! I especially like the tree textures. I love foliage. The boats in action is a nice touch as well . I am very interested in seeing what that walled-in road leads to on the middle, right side of the map.

Ascension
07-23-2008, 08:01 PM
Since there have been no objections - this, then, is the final version. I fixed a few things like the parks and the fortified street area and deleted wall sections. In my pixel piracy madness, I added a few more things and moved some things. Added a royal carriage outside the castle, put a coach on the road to the castle, put the wagon in the teamsters guild yard, put the cart outside the granary and added a haystack as well, put the horse in the arena, put a knight outside the stables, put a dog running around the shipyard, added a crate and barrel between the cathedral and music hall, and recolored the people. I decided to not populate the whole map with these things to save time (since I'm working on my next connecting map) but put them in just as a bit of flavor for those who (like me) want to zoom in to 400% or more and find a lil treasure. I'll post a key and scale and graphix over in the finished maps section once I get that part done.

Ascension
07-23-2008, 08:18 PM
Here's the next part, it attaches directly to the right side of the map. Since I failed to write myself a tutorial as I went along the first time I was forced to retrace my steps as best I could. Thus, things don't line up exactly and the colors don't blend exactly but I spent 4 nights (2 on topography and 2 on trees) trying to replicate what I had done and I'm not spending another minute trying to replicate. So I learned something there at least, start with one big "thing", save it, and chop off bits to do detail work on. I was thoughtful enough to save my initial clouds layer before enlarging it so that part should line up fairly well, everything else is backtracking.

At any rate, I'm trying to decide what to put in the middle of the clearing. It's walled off with a medium sized wall (not able to walk around on top of it but more substantial than a rock fence). My initial thought was to put the nobles here in their own private lil playground but I'm not so sure now, maybe a monastery or maybe boogeyman/vampire/necromancer type of evil dude to scare the children. While I think and get feedback, I'll work on the key and stuff for the above post.

jfrazierjr
07-23-2008, 08:25 PM
Here's the next part, it attaches directly to the right side of the map. Since I failed to write myself a tutorial as I went along the first time I was forced to retrace my steps as best I could. Thus, things don't line up exactly and the colors don't blend exactly but I spent 4 nights (2 on topography and 2 on trees) trying to replicate what I had done and I'm not spending another minute trying to replicate. So I learned something there at least, start with one big "thing", save it, and chop off bits to do detail work on. I was thoughtful enough to save my initial clouds layer before enlarging it so that part should line up fairly well, everything else is backtracking.

At any rate, I'm trying to decide what to put in the middle of the clearing. It's walled off with a medium sized wall (not able to walk around on top of it but more substantial than a rock fence). My initial thought was to put the nobles here in their own private lil playground but I'm not so sure now, maybe a monastery or maybe boogeyman/vampire/necromancer type of evil dude to scare the children. While I think and get feedback, I'll work on the key and stuff for the above post.

Heh... maybe it's the town cemetary and they built the wall to keep them in at night.....

Ascension
07-23-2008, 08:35 PM
That's a pretty good idea, then I could add the monastery as well and clear out some trees and play with making mausoleums and put the vampire manor on top of some other mountain. Gah, now I'm rolling with ideas and stalling on makin dinner.

Steel General
07-23-2008, 09:33 PM
How about a wizards tower? Or maybe some ancient monolith, ruins, etc.?

jfrazierjr
07-23-2008, 10:23 PM
That's a pretty good idea, then I could add the monastery as well and clear out some trees and play with making mausoleums and put the vampire manor on top of some other mountain. Gah, now I'm rolling with ideas and stalling on makin dinner.


looking at the two maps again, you would need to add to the wall somewhere above the gate walk wall on the second map since the short wall goes into the map 1 into some residences....

Redrobes
07-24-2008, 06:43 PM
You were saying that you didn't have too much feedback. Well I think this map is awesome. Its fabulous but I tend to respond when there is something specific I have to say more than general drool. But I can post some genuine drool if you like :)


In my pixel piracy madness, I added a few more things and moved some things. Added a royal carriage outside the castle, put a coach on the road to the castle, put the wagon in the teamsters guild yard etc
I don't know what res your working to but I can see a pixel or two here and there and it adds to the general authenticity of it all but i'll be damned if I could make out a horse out of that... err... 3 pixels + 3 pixel shadow there. Theres some colored dots on the steps too which I figure is people but could be anything else too. Do you have this at much higher res then ?

I couldn't resist putting the second tile into place on a tiled grid. Did that last night as soon as you posted it. I'll be looking at them as they come in BTW so even though theres no posts as feedback were all still interested.

Ascension
07-24-2008, 10:45 PM
No higher res version sorry, the pixel junk is just something I enjoy doing, mainly for myself...sorta like knowing something someone else doesn't. Kinda lame I guess, but in high school I used to put subliminals in my art so at least I don't do that anymore. I would like to blow it up so that more detail can be shown more clearly like in this months challenge, not sure how to go about that without distortion. Then of course there's the file size stuff that I really try to stay under. Would be cool to do this in a bunch of separate encounter maps. Anywho, thanks :) was hoping I wasn't just spinning my wheels because since I still have the original clouds layer, then enlarged it 400% to do the mountains, theoretically I can do 2 additional maps in every direction out from the city...sort of like building a region from smaller city-sized maps.

Midgardsormr
07-24-2008, 10:58 PM
Let me put it this way: I can almost guarantee that this map(s) is going to find its way into a campaign I run eventually. The only thing I see is that the shadows still indicate that the walls are way shorter than the buildings. Unless those interior walls are intended to be fence-sized?

Ascension
07-25-2008, 04:56 PM
Indeed they are, I have 3 different size walls: a 1-pixel wall that is about fence high, mainly for yards n stuff; a 3-pixel wall meant to be about 10 feet high and 6 feet thick meant to separate the different classes; and a 5-pixel wall meant to be the main defensive wall. I ran 4 sets of motion blur for the various buildings and walls: 1 story buildings and 3-pixel walls got a blur of 5 (copied 2 times, merged onto a white layer, turned up the contrast, deleted the white, then 1 pixel gaussian blur); 2 story buildings and main walls got a motion blur of 10, 3 story = 15, and 4 story = 20...the 1-pixel walls just got a drop shadow of 1 pixel size and distance. This gives me various lengths of shadow in theory but in looking it can be hard to tell so maybe in the future I'll bump up those numbers for the motion blur.

RobA
07-26-2008, 11:29 AM
Ascension - do you actually draw the map elements (boats, tents, etc.) at this size, or do your resize them down from larger drawings?

-Rob A>

Ascension
07-26-2008, 02:25 PM
I make a new document and draw a black shape on a transparent background then turn it into a brush. I usually draw things at 1 pixel = 1 foot for these types of city maps then scale the brush down if I need to. For example, my largest building is the castle, I drew it out as a bunch of black squares and circles then copied it into my map and applied pattern and color overlays and then beveled 'em to get the pitched roofs. The cathedral is part of a set of brushes I made for myself and it is an 80 pixel wide black cross shape, some of the L shaped buildings are 61 pixel wide brushes scaled down to 30 to fit this particular scale of 1 pixel = 2 feet on this map. So, while I do not draw out each shape every time, I make a simple black brush so that I can reuse the shape as often as I want (got a lot of brushes piling up on me now). I also have preset layer styles that I made for myself as well with names like inns, walls, stone, roads, nobles, huts, etc. Of course this could get monotonous if I'm still using the same styles 100 maps from now :) Somewhere on the site I put up a lil gallery of some of the styles I use, on someone else's thread, but I suppose I could upload the whole set as well as the brushes into the resources section for those who use photoshop. But since everyone has there own style and scales vary, in the end it might not be all that useful so that's why I haven't done so yet. Myabe a mini tutorial on how I make the brushes and layer styles and combine shapes might be in order though.

Ascension
07-27-2008, 04:42 PM
Here's the next map, it goes directly north of the city. And for those wondering, the second image shows the whole region's topography to this point. I'll put in roads and stuff when I get the other sections' topography done. And yes, I know things don't line up perfectly and the colors are off a bit, I'm still backtracking on making everything exactly as the very first map and I've got everything figured out except for the snow layer. I did the trees here a bit slapdash as it was late and I was tired.

Redrobes
07-27-2008, 04:54 PM
Snagged... :D