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nolgroth
07-08-2008, 07:46 AM
Hi all,
I've been a lurker about these parts and I have to say that I really enjoy a lot of the maps I have seen. Many of the tutorials have been great too. As I love maps, it is no surprise that I have been experimenting with creating them. After a halted attempt at following RobA's "Artistic Region in GIMP" tutorial, I decided to start with something a little less grand. So I followed some instructions that I found here:
http://forums.rpghost.com/showthread.php?t=42788&page=1&pp=25

And came up with the attached map. I've already started adapting techniques from other sources into this map and I hope to have the other "pieces" of the map finished soon. I have the XCF file and a non-labeled players' map as well, should anybody be interested.

Any comments or suggestions would be welcome. Thank you.

-James

torstan
07-08-2008, 08:10 AM
Very nice! I'd suggest either going with a stronger grid than you have or removing it altogether. As it stands it's just a bit too faint to be useful. Also, I'd suggest that you don't have the walls casting a shadow onto the top of the doors - it makes it look like the doors are painted on to the floor rather than rising up from the floor. Note that most VTTs can lay down a grid so it is not really necessary to have a grid at all if this is meant for VTT play.

It might also be nice to have the water as a transparent fill, rather than the opaque fill you've got there. You'd need to extend the floor texture under the area the water covers (if you haven't already). Then see what it looks like if you switch the water layer mode to hard light or soft light. Try duplicating the water layer and having one as a hard or soft light layer, and the other as a normal layer with low opacity.

That's a very usable map, and a great first shot with Gimp. Is there anything you would like to do differently about this map?

jfrazierjr
07-08-2008, 08:18 AM
Hi all,
I've been a lurker about these parts and I have to say that I really enjoy a lot of the maps I have seen. Many of the tutorials have been great too. As I love maps, it is no surprise that I have been experimenting with creating them. After a halted attempt at following RobA's "Artistic Region in GIMP" tutorial, I decided to start with something a little less grand. So I followed some instructions that I found here:
http://forums.rpghost.com/showthread.php?t=42788&page=1&pp=25

And came up with the attached map. I've already started adapting techniques from other sources into this map and I hope to have the other "pieces" of the map finished soon. I have the XCF file and a non-labeled players' map as well, should anybody be interested.

Any comments or suggestions would be welcome. Thank you.

-James

Pretty good so far James. One thing you want to be careful with is the drop shadows. They make things look like they are floating above a surface in many cases. I would simply add a bevel to the background "gray" layer and this will make the "cut out" sections appear inset into the gray background. Also, everything looks raised except your doors. They look rather flat compared to the surrounding walls.

Others may have more tips(and probably better).

Joe

nolgroth
07-08-2008, 08:18 AM
The "grid" is actually a bevel added to the floor texture. After seeing it in action, I probably won't replicate that again. The true grid is a hidden layer in the XCF file at this point.

The water is a layer above the floor and I just couldn't find a satisfactory (to me) layer mode. I like the water as is, but I'll try the method you suggested.

The doors are the one thing I'd do differently. I was trying to find a method that works. Right now, the doors are made from filling a small pencil with texture and throwing a bevel on them. The only problem is that I wanted to make sure that they were straight, so I used a snap which places them under the walls. I am probably going to mess with that as well.

Thanks much for your input. After I play with the water a bit, I'll post another JPG file here for comparison.

-James

RobA
07-08-2008, 10:19 AM
Looks Nice, James.

I've got a question for you, please check your pm's.

-Rob A>

RPMiller
07-08-2008, 11:26 AM
Hm... There is only one person I know of with the nick of nolgroth and a real name of James... ;) Although I'm sure he would have used hexes instead of squares. ;)

Welcome to the Guild James! Thanks for sharing the map and I look forward to seeing how your maps progress.

nolgroth
07-08-2008, 12:46 PM
Hm... There is only one person I know of with the nick of nolgroth and a real name of James... ;) Although I'm sure he would have used hexes instead of squares. ;)Hey RP! :D

Yeah, would have used hexes if I had taken the time to find some sort of hex making tool. As it was, I was just following the tutorial and adapting. As you can see in the posted update, I have gotten rid of the "grid" altogether. Wasn't doing it for me. I like the Solid Noise Overlay that added a "mottled" look. Even had a side effect of making the water look even better.


Welcome to the Guild James! Thanks for sharing the map and I look forward to seeing how your maps progress.Honestly, this map turned out way better than I expected. The doors were a PitA and I am still not 100% into liking them. Better than the first attempt though. :)

For the moment, I am going to continue using this particular technique to finish up a series of "portions" to a larger dungeon. Been playing around at running a short diversion from the Gemini game. Felt really like going "old school" with dungeons and all that.

And then I am going to attack that Regional map project. :D

For this version, I remade the doors and moved the Doors layer up above the Drop Shadow. I turned down the Drop Shadow layer opacity to 70% from 80%. I messed with the water technique described by torstan and I am not sure if I like it better or not. Any lower opacity and it looks like a discolored blob. ;)

Next step is to post a key and write-up for this section.

torstan
07-08-2008, 12:56 PM
The doors are looking better. I'd reduce the saturation on them a bit as they really stick out at the moment. If you are feeling particularly enthusiastic then they would also benefit from their own drop shadow - probably best done as an all round outer glow rather than placed off to one side if they are to be manipulated independently in a VTT.

You said you were willing to post a xcf? If so, I would quite like to have a fiddle with the water if you were willing. I will obviously entirely understand if you would prefer me to keep my nose out :) If you do, note that you can't post xcfs directly - they need to be zipped and posted instead.

RPMiller
07-08-2008, 12:59 PM
Hey RP! :D

Haha! It is you. And the interwebs get that much smaller. ;)


Yeah, would have used hexes if I had taken the time to find some sort of hex making tool. As it was, I was just following the tutorial and adapting. As you can see in the posted update, I have gotten rid of the "grid" altogether. Wasn't doing it for me. I like the Solid Noise Overlay that added a "mottled" look. Even had a side effect of making the water look even better.

Honestly, this map turned out way better than I expected. The doors were a PitA and I am still not 100% into liking them. Better than the first attempt though. :)

For the moment, I am going to continue using this particular technique to finish up a series of "portions" to a larger dungeon. Been playing around at running a short diversion from the Gemini game. Felt really like going "old school" with dungeons and all that.

And then I am going to attack that Regional map project. :D

For this version, I remade the doors and moved the Doors layer up above the Drop Shadow. I turned down the Drop Shadow layer opacity to 70% from 80%. I messed with the water technique described by torstan and I am not sure if I like it better or not. Any lower opacity and it looks like a discolored blob. ;)

Next step is to post a key and write-up for this section.

Excellent all around. Glad to have another Herophile filling up the ranks, and I look forward to seeing more of your mapping. Now if I could just find the time to map... I guess I have about another 2 - 3 years until my time is freed up. :D

nolgroth
07-08-2008, 02:25 PM
The doors are looking better. I'd reduce the saturation on them a bit as they really stick out at the moment. If you are feeling particularly enthusiastic then they would also benefit from their own drop shadow - probably best done as an all round outer glow rather than placed off to one side if they are to be manipulated independently in a VTT.I'll give that a try.


You said you were willing to post a xcf?I did and here it is. Enjoy. :)

nolgroth
07-08-2008, 02:36 PM
Haha! It is you. And the interwebs get that much smaller. ;) Well being that I followed a link in your HERO Boards sig to this wonderful resource, it shouldn't be that much of a surprise. :)


Excellent all around. Glad to have another Herophile filling up the ranks, and I look forward to seeing more of your mapping. Now if I could just find the time to map... I guess I have about another 2 - 3 years until my time is freed up. :DWell I understand about time. My one day off is filled with gaming these days. I still run the crew in Gemini Ascendant and I started up a game to teach my children the glory that is HERO. I just decided that I wanted to actually make maps instead of just steal those here. ;)

And when I actually write the module up, can you guess which game system I plan on using? 8)

Turgenev
07-08-2008, 02:53 PM
Nice work, nolgroth. I can't wait to see what else you come up with. I like the water effect.

RPMiller
07-08-2008, 03:02 PM
Well being that I followed a link in your HERO Boards sig to this wonderful resource, it shouldn't be that much of a surprise. :)

I'm beginning to wonder just how many people I have brought over here... I have a number for referrals on my profile, but I think you have to say who referred you during registration or something.


Well I understand about time. My one day off is filled with gaming these days. I still run the crew in Gemini Ascendant and I started up a game to teach my children the glory that is HERO. I just decided that I wanted to actually make maps instead of just steal those here. ;)

Very cool. You will have a lot of fun with that if your kids are like mine. They enjoyed dreaming up a superhero and the powers and I did all the crunchy bits. We've played a few sessions and they enjoyed it every time. I throw in the moral dilemmas and such as well to hopefully teach them a few things about the "grown up world". Since your kids are home schooled I'm sure they get plenty of that already. ;)


And when I actually write the module up, can you guess which game system I plan on using? 8)

Um... GURPS? >:)


I kid, I kid. Hero of course. :D

nolgroth
07-08-2008, 03:26 PM
Nice work, nolgroth. I can't wait to see what else you come up with. I like the water effect.Thanks. I used the Render -> Lava tool and changed the Gradient to an all blue one. I tweaked the settings a bit until I got what I liked.

nolgroth
07-08-2008, 03:31 PM
Very cool. You will have a lot of fun with that if your kids are like mine. They enjoyed dreaming up a superhero and the powers and I did all the crunchy bits. We've played a few sessions and they enjoyed it every time. I throw in the moral dilemmas and such as well to hopefully teach them a few things about the "grown up world". Since your kids are home schooled I'm sure they get plenty of that already. ;)Well, we've played a total of three sessions before they went off to see grandma for a couple of weeks. In the last one, my daughter's character was eaten by an animated dragon skeleton. Like a true champ, she picked up the HERO book and started in on character #2.


Um... GURPS? >:) Well I have nothing against GURPS, but I have nothing for it either. I have to admit that there is a certain appeal to going D&D 4th, but HERO has always suffered from a lack of support. I suppose there is nothing stopping me from going either way for that matter, but HERO is my primary system.

RPMiller
07-08-2008, 03:43 PM
Like a true champ, she picked up the HERO book and started in on character #2.

Good for her! She's learned to just let character's go. There are players out there that still haven't learned that.


Well I have nothing against GURPS, but I have nothing for it either.

I actually played GURPS for several years. I ran a campaign that lasted a few of those years in fact, and the rest I was a player. It is a decent system, but I never did get the Generic part of its name. Hero System is far more generic and flexible in my opinion. But like all systems they have their strengths and weaknesses and you tend to go with what works for you.

So to bring the subject back to mapping... are you going to be using these maps in OpenRPG or MapTool, or are you printing them out?

jfrazierjr
07-08-2008, 03:46 PM
Hey RP! :D

Yeah, would have used hexes if I had taken the time to find some sort of hex making tool. As it was, I was just following the tutorial and adapting. As you can see in the posted update, I have gotten rid of the "grid" altogether. Wasn't doing it for me. I like the Solid Noise Overlay that added a "mottled" look. Even had a side effect of making the water look even better.

Honestly, this map turned out way better than I expected. The doors were a PitA and I am still not 100% into liking them. Better than the first attempt though. :)

For the moment, I am going to continue using this particular technique to finish up a series of "portions" to a larger dungeon. Been playing around at running a short diversion from the Gemini game. Felt really like going "old school" with dungeons and all that.

And then I am going to attack that Regional map project. :D

For this version, I remade the doors and moved the Doors layer up above the Drop Shadow. I turned down the Drop Shadow layer opacity to 70% from 80%. I messed with the water technique described by torstan and I am not sure if I like it better or not. Any lower opacity and it looks like a discolored blob. ;)

Next step is to post a key and write-up for this section.


Hope you don't mind, I opened this up and removed the drop shadow and added a bevel to both the outer stonework and the inner walls to get rid of the floating on top look that the drop shadows gives.

Joe

jfrazierjr
07-08-2008, 03:50 PM
Hope you don't mind, I opened this up and removed the drop shadow and added a bevel to both the outer stonework and the inner walls to get rid of the floating on top look that the drop shadows gives.

Joe

Heh.. of course if you REALLY want to go over the top, how about this one

RPMiller
07-08-2008, 04:18 PM
You would need to add a drop shadow or bevel to the doors as well to give them the height of the walls.

nolgroth
07-08-2008, 04:29 PM
Hope you don't mind, I opened this up and removed the drop shadow and added a bevel to both the outer stonework and the inner walls to get rid of the floating on top look that the drop shadows givesDon't mind at all. It is a neat affect and one that I may experiment with on the next cycle of maps I play with. I have to admit to actually liking the "floaty" feeling a bit.


Heh.. of course if you REALLY want to go over the top, how about this oneI think I like this one even better.

nolgroth
07-08-2008, 04:44 PM
So to bring the subject back to mapping... are you going to be using these maps in OpenRPG or MapTool, or are you printing them out?Personally, I am going to use them for MapTool in an upcoming game. I also plan on packaging them as a sort of MapTool, OpenRPG, whatever adventure module so that others can download. I just want to get to the point where I can build up (or use somebody else's) furniture and similar items. Maybe create a couple of tokens to go along with everything else.

RPMiller
07-08-2008, 04:53 PM
Have you downloaded the CSUAC yet? If not you probably will want to do that. You'll have a pretty vast library in no time at all.

You may need to register first, but here's the link:
http://gmsapprentice.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47:the-csuac&catid=35:cartography-csuac&Itemid=53

jfrazierjr
07-08-2008, 05:17 PM
You would need to add a drop shadow or bevel to the doors as well to give them the height of the walls.

Yea, I was being lazy and about to leave the office. How about a bump map instead(which is part of what bevel does anyway)? How does this look?

Joe

RPMiller
07-08-2008, 05:30 PM
I'm getting an inversion optical illusion from the beveling/map bumping. I think there is too much now and the map is a bit jarring. If it could be softened just a bit it might work. I'm not too keen on the doors though. It might be the doors themselves that I don't like though.

torstan
07-08-2008, 05:48 PM
I fiddled with the layer blending modes a little - adding a top layer of water as a lighten only layer and did a bit of messing with a layer mask to make the water shallower towards the edge. I'm not particularly chuffed with the result - but see what you think:

5028

I like the idea of using the lava filter for water. Good lateral thinking there :)

nolgroth
07-08-2008, 07:07 PM
I fiddled with the layer blending modes a little - adding a top layer of water as a lighten only layer and did a bit of messing with a layer mask to make the water shallower towards the edge. I'm not particularly chuffed with the result - but see what you think:

5028

I like the idea of using the lava filter for water. Good lateral thinking there :)Well I like the illusion of gradual depth it gives. Can you tutor me on that?

I was reaching for something when I tried the lava filter. Perhaps I shouldn't paint myself as so hopeless, but the truth is the truth. I was looking for anything to make it look better than the blue featureless blob I had there. Seemed to work well.

I want to take an aside and thank you all for your suggestions and examples. While I might choose to go my own way for this project, everything posted has given me fodder to use in future projects.

RPMiller
07-08-2008, 08:07 PM
If the doors had the same drop shadow as the walls I think they would blend in better and not feel like they are floating.

nolgroth
07-09-2008, 02:11 AM
If the doors had the same drop shadow as the walls I think they would blend in better and not feel like they are floating.The doors are turning out to be a major headache. There just doesn't seem to be any good way of dealing with them. I did throw a drop shadow on them, but they still seem a little off. I'm going to work a bit more on the solution and see what I can come up with.

torstan
07-09-2008, 03:55 AM
Yes, of course.

1. Hide all the water layers apart from 1 (you may need to turn the opacity up to 100% again to be able to see what you're doing properly)
2. Right click the water layer->Add layer mask.
3. Accept the default of Fill with White.
4. Now pick the airbrush tool and a large fuzzy brush. It's actually probably worth scaling the brush up in this case using the Scale slider. You really want the brush size to be large enough that it's as wide as the area you want to fade out, or thereabouts.
5. Now make sure you have the layer mask rather than the layer itself selected, and that the brush colour is set to black. Now gently paint along the shallow edge of the water. You'll see the colour fade and the transparency come up. If you go too far, just switch the colour of the brush from black to white and go back over it. It's also worth taking the smudge tool to the mask to smooth out any hard edges.
6. Once you are happy, you can duplicate the whole layer - colour and mask - and alter the layer modes of each layer in the stack until you get something you like.

nolgroth
07-09-2008, 08:21 AM
Thanks.

While I was waiting, I tried out a different technique. It gives the impression of a shelf leading to a deep drop off. With a little bit of creative layer ordering, I got rid of that background that was in the left corner of the pool too.

I've got to say that learning a program has never been this fun! When I played around with CC2 it was a collection of frustration and let downs. With GIMP, I'm actually learning as I go and (to me) things are starting to look better each time I play around in the program.

Just for fun, I'm going to play around with the method you described. See what I can come up with.

torstan
07-09-2008, 08:39 AM
Hey, now that looks great! I like the shelf a lot. I like the newer doors as well. The drop shadow pulls them up from the floor nicely. I think the map as-is looks pretty done actually.

I've got a few comments about the map design though - not things I think you should worry about changing now, but rather things to think about next time. The floor looks like rough dirt or stone, but the walls are cleanly dressed walls. That seems a little inconsistent. Secondly, as this is for VTT use I'd suggest doing the wall shadows differently. Many VTTs are now implementing light sources, so it looks a little strange having a directional drop shadow. Also, you then require every object placed within the map to have the same directional drop shadow. This is fine (if a little fiddly) if the objects never move - but say your players spi a table round. Then the drop shadow will be going the wrong way. It's best to use no drop shadow - or a universal outer glow - to make it versatile. However I am being a hypocrit as all my outdoor maps have NW lighting and directional shadows - because it just looks prettier. I'm happy to take the slight drop i usability for the prettiness factor.

The only other thing I'd suggest would be to grunge up the floor a bit. Get hold of some grunge brushes (a search on deviantArt for Grunge will turn up many), import them into your brushes folder in Gimp - should be in C:\Documents and Settings\<userName>\.gimp-2.4\brushes and refresh the brush palette in gimp. Now create a new layer, set the mode to burn and pick a very light pastel colour - pastel red is great for blood. Pick a grunge brush you like the look of and paint a few marks on the floor. Play about until you find something you like. It's a kobold lair after all - the floor should be a little manky.

nolgroth
07-09-2008, 08:54 AM
Thanks. I actually think I am going to keep the shelf. I might tinker with it a little to have similar shelves against the other walls. Then again, it has to settle down and just be my first "completed" map at some point I suppose. ;)

I've actually built two more maps using the same style. One I tried adding some mist to, but it didn't appear to be floating all that well. The other was a test to add other stuff like tables and sleeping bags into the mix. Both came out well enough, but I can see where that predictable style is going to get dull after a while.

Good points on the drop shadow. jfrazierjr also had some problems with it, but I felt the need to follow the tutorial and learn the "hows". Now you are adding to that with the "why" and "why nots." I am also going to look around with some ideas on how to do more "finished" floors. See what I can come up with.

In a sick sort of comparison, my learning style is pretty much a layered thing, with each new piece of advice and self-taught tinkering adding up to a whole. Without the interim layers in there, I am not a completed project. 8)

torstan
07-09-2008, 09:08 AM
Well I have to say that this one has come along nicely, so you're doing a good job.

You may a well post the other ones as WIPs. We'll all chip in with ideas on things like the mist.

jfrazierjr
07-09-2008, 09:52 AM
Good points on the drop shadow. jfrazierjr also had some problems with it, but I felt the need to follow the tutorial and learn the "hows". Now you are adding to that with the "why" and "why nots." I am also going to look around with some ideas on how to do more "finished" floors. See what I can come up with.


Another thing you can do is to create your dropshadow twice and invert the values so 8 and 8 would become -8 and -8 on the second pass. This will give you two new shadow layers all around your outerwalls. Now, back on your walls layer, select the outer wall spaces, invert, Selection->Save to Channel. Then right click on each of the drop shadow layers and apply layermask with the one you just created. That will also get rid of the floaty look, at the expense of making the shadows all "inside" your rooms. Personally, I think I like the chiseled look as my last example shows the most, but thats just me.

Joe

jfrazierjr
07-09-2008, 09:57 AM
However I am being a hypocrit as all my outdoor maps have NW lighting and directional shadows - because it just looks prettier. I'm happy to take the slight drop i usability for the prettiness factor.


I agree. I don't need super realistic maps for a VTT. The whole point for me is to get something that indicates scale, area, and layout. For example, I would probably never add tables and such as move able objects in a map for Maptool. Now, if this was a consistent location and the players smashed the table and then come back weeks later, a new table would be there. I just don't feel it's worth that much(of limited) time to deal with adding the objects in Maptool when the likely hood that the players will have to interact with that same map again is pretty much nil....

Joe

Zachariah
07-10-2008, 12:14 PM
Hello guys,

I was wondering if you would have any guides for making maps like this one? Because its really great and doesnt seem to complicated. Anyway, the link in the first post doesnt seem to work. Thats why I'm asking here.

RobA
07-10-2008, 02:03 PM
There was a similar post here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=716) that describes how to do it in photoshop.

Don't know if anyone has a mirror of the gimp instructions...I could probably cobble together a tutorial just from looking at the image, and looking at the xcf file.

-Rob A>

RobA
07-10-2008, 05:07 PM
FYI the link is back up... boy, do I do things differently! :P

I ran through how I would do it, taking screengrabs to possible post a tutorial later... here is my result:
5118

-Rob A>

nolgroth
07-10-2008, 08:11 PM
There was a similar post here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=716) that describes how to do it in photoshop.

Don't know if anyone has a mirror of the gimp instructions...I could probably cobble together a tutorial just from looking at the image, and looking at the xcf file.

-Rob A>I suppose the OP in the other forums never got back to you? I'm not surprised since his last post was the last one in the forum.

Personally, I would like to see your take on the tutorial. [Edit: And I like what you did with the place. :) ]

RobA
07-11-2008, 03:44 PM
More playing with this "15 minute map" idea, refining a few techniques

5154

-Rob A>

jfrazierjr
07-11-2008, 03:50 PM
More playing with this "15 minute map" idea, refining a few techniques

5154

-Rob A>


Looks pretty nice. Did you create some paths and stoke with texture to create the walls or what?

Joe

RobA
07-11-2008, 04:27 PM
Having waaaayyy too much fun now...Playing with bevels rather than walls...

5156

Sorry for the threadjack... ask and I'll move these to another thread.

BTW - the background "rock" texture is the stock pattern "java" (coffee beans) desaturated.

-Rob A>

RobA
07-11-2008, 04:32 PM
Looks pretty nice. Did you create some paths and stoke with texture to create the walls or what?

Joe

I'm working on a quick tut. based on the linked one.

Basically, I render the background, and on a new layer the grid as an overlayed (50% grey base) bumpmap, then create a new layer filled solid with the "rock" texture (desaturated java in this case). With grid snap on I carve out the rooms using the mask. Select the mask, make it a path, and on a new layer stroke the path... apply a bumpmap of a blurred copy of the stroked path. In the case of the last with no walls, I just applied a blurred copy of the layer mask as an overlayed bumpmap to the whole thing.

-Rob A>

RPMiller
07-11-2008, 04:44 PM
Having waaaayyy too much fun now...Playing with bevels rather than walls...

5156

Sorry for the threadjack... ask and I'll move these to another thread.

BTW - the background "rock" texture is the stock pattern "java" (coffee beans) desaturated.

-Rob A>
A quick note on this one. It is starting to convex the floor. It is that same dark on top of light problem we have seen in other maps. I think having the "wall" in there stops the effect from occurring.

nolgroth
07-11-2008, 07:48 PM
I, for one, don't mind the threadjack. Nice to see somebody expanding on the ideas in that original tutorial. In fact, I can't wait to see what your tutorial is going to come out like.

helium3
07-15-2008, 12:16 PM
My two cents are as follows. If you think about the drop shadows they don't really make any physical sense, and that's why they're sort of jarring.

The map is essentially representing a top down view of something that's cut into a solid object. If that's the case, how can the edges be projecting a shadow that's behind and offset from them? Your eye's immediately notice this discrepancy and tell that something isn't "right."

nolgroth
07-16-2008, 12:29 AM
If that's the case, how can the edges be projecting a shadow that's behind and offset from them? Your eye's immediately notice this discrepancy and tell that something isn't "right."My eyes tell me that the "map" is a separate entity from the rest of the image. I admit it is purely a matter of taste, but I actually like the jarring affect. It places the background in the background and makes the map itself stand out.

That being said, I really want to try different techniques. Your observation is a valuable one, even if I sorta disagree with it. :)