View Full Version : WIP: Regnum Commission/Sw (I make him a Fantasy Map, he makes me a real-life shield!)

08-23-2013, 12:39 AM
I've been asked to make a map as a quid-pro-quo exchange style of commission. The guy in question is an SCA member who makes neat stuff like shields. He's offering to create something for me in exchange for me creating him a map.

He's already made a makeshift map of what he wants. It's a combination of a map from a Palladium Fantasy RPG supplement, and a pasted map that looks like Arsheesh's work. (http://cdn.obsidianportal.com/assets/226622/Regnum-Map-Mine.png)

My first step is defining the coastline.


I traced out the southern continent, and used a combination of the color select tool and the Threshold tool to outline the northern continent. Their outlines look very different; I may need to revise the southern continental coast some.

08-23-2013, 06:21 AM

A nice promising start!

08-23-2013, 09:48 AM
The styles of the original maps clash. They look like they are different scales. I would try to round out the northern island.

08-23-2013, 10:15 AM
That's an excellent thought. The guy who wants this map prefers that I keep the shape and relative placing of the northern continent, so I'll probably just establish a new scale for the new map.

I may be able to justify the different shape with the topography. Perhaps the northern continent is a newer, growing continent, with higher, harsher mountains and rougher terrain that hasn't had much time to erode into smoother coastal plains, while the southern continent is older and more eroded?

Alternately, I could just make the southern coast a bit more jagged. I have a little wiggle room with the source map, thanks to those ludicrously wide penstrokes marking out its coast.

08-23-2013, 12:01 PM
It's hard to see the roughness of the coast at that resolution but it's true that it's different from the other. It don't look like a rough landscape, it's just a different style. Rough terrain would include fjord or more mountains for example.

08-24-2013, 07:57 AM
The guy who commissioned it is giving me a bit more leeway on the shoreline now. I'll adjust them a bit more.

08-30-2013, 09:29 PM
All right, I re-did the coast of the northern continent, smoothing it out some. It's still a bit different from the south, but I think I can make it work with terrain differences. I also increased the sizes of the islands off the northern continent.

This is a preliminary terrain profile, with no mountains or airbrushed adjustments yet.


08-31-2013, 06:57 PM
Today, I sculpted the topography, WILBUR-ized it, and bump-mapped it. I'm getting better at shoe-horning the WILBUR-made rivers where I want them to go by tracing the source map rivers with a black airbrush for several passes with different brush sizes at about 30% opacity, and doing some follow-up sculpting of the surrounding areas. All my planned rivers turned out as I wanted them. There were a few unintended rivers (including one big one), but those are easy to wipe away if the client doesn't want them.


I haven't had much guidance about climate by region. The client said that black and white is fine (I'll throw in a color gradient and greyscale it afterwards to give it a more-natural look) for topography. I have a few ideas for how to do borders; we'll see how they work out.

08-31-2013, 07:30 PM
Looks promising so far!

09-01-2013, 09:00 AM
After giving it some thought, I doubled the dimensions of the map and ran it through WILBUR and bump-mapping again. The client wants to use this for an RPG campaign, and it would probably be nice for him to be able to zoom in some. I also drew in some preliminary borders along the guidelines in his concept map, hugging the rivers and mountains as appropriate. I also added in labels.

The greyscale is a bit too dry for my tastes, so I added some color. I'm not completely satisfied with the look of the result, but it beats the colorless drab of before. I also need to start thinking about how to decorate this thing.


The client needs a couple of small changes to the physical geography: turning one island into a peninsula, and another peninsula into three islands, which shouldn't be hard. He also came up with a better overall political map based on my initial coastal outline. (http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/regnum/wikis/maps-of-the-world-of-regnum) I'm at a 95% solution on the structure and placing of physical geography. Once I make those coastal adjustments, it'll be time to work on the artistic side of the map with labels, borders, scales, a compass rose, and maybe some sort of heraldry for each nation.

09-01-2013, 06:43 PM
I made a few client-requested fixes, re-worked the climates, and the physical geography is done (I think)


I experimented with a new approach to doing ocean effects. Thoughts?

09-02-2013, 04:36 AM
Coming along beautifully Coriolis!


09-04-2013, 10:12 PM
Ok, so the client likes color and climate, but he wants the western part of the southern continent to be desert. Since there are no barriers to justify a desert there (not that deserts HAVE to have barrier mountains; the Sahara has no such), I think I'll elevate the terrain along the western and southern coasts there, turn those into deserts, and turn the current deserts into prairie/grasslands. I'll work on that this weekend.

In the meantime, I've been working on some logos to be used with Arsheesh's Heraldic Shield tutorial, something I've been wanting to try for marking territories and decorating. Here are some of my inkspace creations associated with this map (I'm a little under halfway done putting together the heraldry for the various nations)


09-06-2013, 02:22 PM
Last night and today, I went back to my land sculpt, added in a new mountain range, airbrushed it in, re-WILBUR'd the rivers, re-colored the climates, and re-blended them. I also gave the deserts a smeary look with the smudge tool.

I keep saying that I think I'm done with the natural geography, but at this point, all I'm looking to do is fine-tune the colors. Any pointers would be appreciated.


Now I need to get the heraldic shields done.

09-07-2013, 01:20 AM
This has been coming along great! As far as colors go, your previous deserts looked more natural color wise. Maybe lighten this new desert up a bit, and have the bit between that and the fields be a little less yellow. And do some blending. Right now it's really stark transitions.

09-07-2013, 04:04 PM
I used a low-mid opacity grayscale layer over my color layers in previous versions to dilute the colors. I'll throw that back in, and yes, do some more blending.

On the decorating side of things, here's the heraldic shield I came up with; I'll be swapping the heraldry in and out.

09-09-2013, 03:03 PM
I did some climate color re-balancing, lightening the deserts and toning down the yellow of the central prairie. I also did some blending between the climates.

I also did a lot more heraldry, but I'll insert that later with the labels.


09-10-2013, 03:23 AM
Love the changes! That river through the desert is very well done with the fertile ground around it and the blending. Keep up the good work.

09-13-2013, 05:32 PM
Here's the latest version of the map. It's about 99% done. I still need to add a few more cities in the central plains, and a town or two on the odd islands away from the mainland, but I need more info from the client on the names and placement of these cities to finish.

Notes on this version:
+The city labels are pretty small; you need to be zoomed in all the way to read them.
+I opted to use 3D-style icons where possible, as if someone had some fancy-looking baubles and mini shields and fixed them on the map. Arsheesh has a pretty good tutorial on making this style of icon
+Every nation has its own heraldry, and I use this heraldry in lieu of a national label. The shields are a little obscuring, but the client will have an unmarked "natural geography" map as well.
+Skyfast is a country that consists of a single mountain-city and a bunch of airborne cities (like a civilized Avatar floating mountain). Its shield doesn't appear on the map, though the city icons (and the larger capitol icon) are based on the shield's heraldry.
+Vorlantis is an underwater realm of amphibians who control huge stretches of the ocean. I made a single town for them, and I will probably add one or two more, so they can have trading islands and a penal colony/prison island. I can't think of a better way to mark the territory of an underwater realm, so I just put in extra heraldic shields in the ocean.
+The frame is an improvisation off an Arsheesh tutorial.

Ok, so file upload is refusing to work properly, and I'm having to resort to photobucket, which won't display the image in its full definition.

http://i913.photobucket.com/albums/ac332/willerwin/RegnumAssembled_zps397aa54c.png (http://s913.photobucket.com/user/willerwin/media/RegnumAssembled_zps397aa54c.png.html)

Any suggestions/corrections before I finish this and send to the client?

10-04-2013, 04:17 PM
Love how this turned out. The only part I'd have done differently myself is maybe give the shields/banners/crests and the ocean a bit of graininess to them to match the rest of the map (the terrain and border). It's still VERY well done, but a little more texture on the crests and water would have tied it together that much more.

Great work though!

10-04-2013, 05:16 PM
Green is my favorite color. But I feel yours are too saturated.

I really like the map so far.

10-09-2013, 09:47 PM
Love how this turned out. The only part I'd have done differently myself is maybe give the shields/banners/crests and the ocean a bit of graininess to them to match the rest of the map (the terrain and border). It's still VERY well done, but a little more texture on the crests and water would have tied it together that much more.

Great work though!

Excellent points. I have larger, standalone shield files that I shrank down for this map. I saw the same issue you see now when I started the shields, so I added in a wood texture in a low-opacity overlay and a cloud overlay to the heraldry. Problem is, I made these standalone shields at a larger scale, and some of the texture is lost in the size reductions. I'm not sure if it's worth re-doing all 14 shields at this point, but it's a good learning point to remember to do some touching-up at the intended scale.

Texture for water is a tricky thing for me. I'm not a big fan of doing underwater topography for maps that focus on the land (as is the case in all the maps I've done so far). That said, I don't like a featureless blue, either. What I wound up using was the same difference cloud construct I used to sculpt the terrain, but inverting the mask (sea instead of land), and then using the smudge tool to give it a sense of ocean currents/flow. I'm not completely satisfied with the technique, but it's an adequate compromise for now.

I wonder if you'd have the same opinion seeing the map at its full, intended resolution. Since the final map size is slightly higher than the allowable limits here, you can see the final map on my deviant page. (http://ferocefv.deviantart.com/art/The-Regnum-Comission-400291226) Just make sure you zoom all the way in.

10-09-2013, 09:47 PM
Green is my favorite color. But I feel yours are too saturated.

I really like the map so far.

Hrm... I actually toned them down a bit, but I'll keep that in mind. Thanks!