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Llannagh
09-10-2013, 03:21 PM
My first local map from my world map project.

I started with an area in the center of the continent, so no coastline at all! The scale is still waaaaay too big if I go through with what I have in mind. This is supposed to be the size of maybe 2/3 France, but it would be about 860 miles wide by what I originally thought of. Well, need to adjust that.

I changed the mountains a bit from my previous tryouts.

Here's a first peek, not that much there, but the mountainrange was an a***hole piece of work! ;)

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In the end I'm planning to add a little coloring, but for now I'll lay it out in black and white.

Llannagh
09-11-2013, 05:01 PM
Progress!

I added a part of a low mountain range called The Fenning to the west. Tried out coloring and so far and for now I'm quite pleased with it, though the mountains stand out too much for my taste. There'll also be a lot to redo on the eastern mountain range.

Any suggestions/opinions?

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Viking
09-11-2013, 11:28 PM
Nice work so far! I can imagine how long it took to do those mountains! I personally find rendering mountains from directly above the most taxing.
Starting with mountains isn't always a bad idea though as they can be used to determine where rivers come from and if one side gets a lot of rain while the other does not. The mountains are understood as mountains though having black lines along the ridges for me at least is a little conflicting visually. I would experiment a little with different styles of mountain shapes which black lines can fight against. Like it might be hard to express a large dome like mountain as it would have no obvious place to put a black line. The black lines almost feel like they could be canyons or rivers. You do definitely have the right idea with making the tops of the mountains lighter than the bottom of them though!
It depends on the level of detail you want with rivers but remember water would build up in those mountains in the top right and form lakes and rivers flowing out. Unless that is the region receives very minimal rainfall. There are a number of tutorials on rivers and mountains around here.
Keep up the good work.

Lingon
09-12-2013, 02:57 AM
I like your forests a lot, it's a really cool style. Mountains look good too. There's an inconsistency though: the trees are seen from the side, and the mountains from above. Also, the trees are very sharp, while the mountains are fuzzy. To me, these elements don't really match each other. As Viking says, removing the black lines could improve it, but I'd also suggest giving the mountains more, sharper detail and try to lower the perspective to make them fit together with the forests.

Llannagh
09-14-2013, 07:01 AM
Thanks to both of you.

I get the confusion about the black lines on the mountainridges. I'm not sure yet of how to tackle that problem. If I remove them, as you suggested, it will look completely blurry (I'm not home right now so I can't show you). Maybe I should remove the grey shadow layers and just work with lines. That could take care of the trees not matching problem, too.

Thanks for the compliment on the forest! Figuring out that style took a few days. :)

RippedWorld
09-14-2013, 09:39 AM
This looks good for a newcomer! I'm not a mapper myself, so I doubt I could even do what you've done. I think it looks nice, I'd love to see it finished :) About the black lines, you could blur them to make them blend into the mountains more?

Llannagh
09-14-2013, 11:01 AM
Thanks RippedWorld!

I found that once you get your head around Photoshop, it's actually easier than one might think. Still takes a lot of work and endurance, but it's worth the effort! :)

About blurring the black lines: this would still be confusing, since ridges are usually the brightest, not darkest part of a mountain. Also, blurring would take away the little sharpness that is there. But thanks for your thoughts!

Lingon
09-15-2013, 10:28 AM
Maybe try making the black lines white instead then? If they are on their own layer, you can invert the colors of it, otherwise selecting them with the wand tool and filling the selection with white should work too.

… but they would still not be in the same perspective as the trees ;)

Llannagh
09-17-2013, 04:40 PM
Ah well, not much progress lately, due to work. I'm stuck trying to resolve the perspective problem.

If I make the black lines on the mountains white, they look like a flock amobae. We'll see.

Llannagh
09-28-2013, 07:30 AM
Long time no see.

After long thoughts and much fiddling around I decided to ditch the mountainstyle in favor of the forest to solve the perspective problem. Still a lot to improve on them, but here's a look at what I have been doing:

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On the whole map (zoomed out) it looks like this:

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I think the perspective on the mountains is still not quite right. Maybe there's also too much detail in them.

I'd be happy about any suggestions on how to change that side-view of the mountains to something more isometric.

Lingon
09-29-2013, 04:12 AM
Those mountains are better, but even with the perspective change, I'm not sure that they match the trees… At least if you plan to use the first style, I noticed that they look different in the last pics. But I think the first is so unique and cool that it would be a waste not to use them!

Trying to think of what sort of mountains would fit… The trees are very much silhouettes, single color shapes that overlap into interesting patterns. What if you'd draw the mountains in the same way? Not as just one big triangle maybe, but compose each mountain from sharp color blocks? I'll try to illustrate what I mean if you want, I'm not the best at explaining things :P

Llannagh
09-29-2013, 04:55 AM
Those mountains are better, but even with the perspective change, I'm not sure that they match the trees… At least if you plan to use the first style, I noticed that they look different in the last pics. But I think the first is so unique and cool that it would be a waste not to use them!

Trying to think of what sort of mountains would fit… The trees are very much silhouettes, single color shapes that overlap into interesting patterns. What if you'd draw the mountains in the same way? Not as just one big triangle maybe, but compose each mountain from sharp color blocks? I'll try to illustrate what I mean if you want, I'm not the best at explaining things :P

Thanks a lot for your input Lingon!

The style for the trees is the same, I just scaled them down to match the map scale. And the color is a little different. I might just split this map into 2 or 4 pieces, since it still covers such a huge area.
I'll give your idea for the mountains a try, I think I know what you mean!

I'll try and give you some rep, you're being very helpful!

Llannagh
09-29-2013, 07:25 AM
... or at least sort of.

So I got fed up by poring over the mountain problem for what by now seems ages and just drew a map. Without giving too much thought to anything, all I wanted was something to look at that resembled a rough direction of what I'm going for.

Of course, somewhere it took a different turn. Now it's a mix between a drawing of a landscape and a map (without any towns and roads etc.) with messed up perspectives. But it's something to look at and to work off.

Lingon, I tried your suggestion but wasn't able to come up with anything that I liked. So I'd like to take you up on your offer to demonstrate your suggestion! :) I think it would already be a big improvement to contrast light and shadow more.

So, here it is, the fruit of 2.5 hrs of doodling:

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Blast away, though I'm quite aware of all it's flaws. That being said, finishing this one at least gave me some satisfaction and rough ideas.
Oh, and don't call the river police yet! ;)

Lingon
09-29-2013, 02:51 PM
Here are some quick pencil sketches I made. Quite fun, they turned out pretty different from my usual mountains. I hope they can provide some inspiration :) Something along the lines of the fourth from the left might look good on your map, I think, and I will definitely be using the second sometime, maybe for something sci-fi-ish.
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Nice to see the layout of the full map! I suppose you will work more on the individual elements, but I must say that grass looks good. It's one of PS's default brushes, right? Been thinking of using it myself sometime. A yellow background instead of white could be something to try?

Chashio
09-29-2013, 06:57 PM
"Mix between a drawing of a landscape and a map." Panoramic / Bird's-Eye-View / Overland maps are very cool. I personally love them because they combine two of my favorite activities. And, this from experience, the more you doodle, the better you get. I have sketchbooks filled with the sorts of pictures in this thread.

You mentioned wondering how to make your mountains look more isometric. Simply... A lot of your mountains have flat bottoms. If you think of a mountain sitting on one block of an iso grid, with the outside bottom corners of the mountain beginning and ending at the horizontal corners of the grid diamond, you want to pull the bottom center of your mountain down to the middle point of the diamond, and imagine that the far side which you can't see does the same. If that makes sense? Here's a quick example...

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Llannagh
09-30-2013, 09:17 AM
Thankyou guys! You have helped me a great deal here. Much appreciated.

@Chashio, in a way I knew how I had to change those mountains to get the perspective right, but I couldn't for the life of me keep those gridlines in my head! Now I can, thanks to you. Seems like someone had to show me.
I also really like the panoramic/iso style in maps. What I don't like about my general layout is that it all seems to bend to the centre of it. That's what I meant by messed up perspectives.

@Lingon, very nice mountain sketches! Those have also given me some inspiration. Glad you had fun doing them!
The grass brush is indeed the PS preset. That's the one that gave me the idea for my forest style.

Okay, I doodled around again and came up with a few things.

Firstly, I went astray a bit (of course) and created a topdown view brush for forests inspired by my original one. Then I watched Torstan's tutorial video on topdown mountains and gave those another try. The outcome is this little demo of a style that I'm very probably going to use for the worldmap. Here it is:

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Secondly I went back to the original style I want to develop and fiddled around with your suggestions. I changes the forestbrush slightly by adding wet edges. That gives it a more natural look and fits better with naturalistic mountains.
On top is the first try, more leaning towards Lingon's suggested method, beneath is what I made of it. Not completely satisfied with that, but it's a good direction.

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And this is something I tried out mixing everything together and peeking over at the technique Wynn's using:

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(Wynn's WIP and video can be found here: http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/11296-wip-ara-world-map.html )

I will use a mix of all three shown techniques for my local maps.

Right thanks again! I'm going to make a cup of tea now and then get back to drawing the map! :)

Llannagh
10-01-2013, 03:30 PM
Okay, I think I'm finally getting there (although I might have said so before...).

I found a nice background texture to which I added a greenish yellow. I might change the color still, but so far I like it.

Here's what I have come up with, including two variations of my forest style. I personally like the darker better, but the lighter one might fit the style a bit more.

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This is the north-eastern part of the map. I left out the rest of it because it's empty.

And one last time a big Thanks to Chashio and Lingon! You boosted my skills by a very large amount! Maybe you can see how I made use of both of your suggestions in the above! :)

Llannagh
10-01-2013, 06:17 PM
And more Variaitons of trees:

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Still don't match the mountain style though. But, blimey, this is fun!

Lingon
10-02-2013, 02:52 AM
You are going to be the forest master when this is done :D All of them are great, but the darker one in the latest post is brilliant.
Mountain-wise, I think the bottom one in the third picture in your 09-30-2013 post has the most potential. The style you are using in the latest experiments is cool too, but a bit smooth I think. Try letting your hand shake a little when drawing, or fiddle around with the brush settings in PS and see if you can get a more randomized line :)

Llannagh
10-08-2013, 06:04 PM
Okay.

I actually started a file that could end up being the final map with the final style.
I took all of your input to heart and came up with the following:

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This is a zooemd in section of the (otherwise empty) map. It's the north-east corner, as seen before. The pic contains about a quarter of the whole map.

Mountains:
I "unsmoothed" them as suggested by Lingon. Feels more natural that way. I also heigthened the contrast between light and shadow, so the black outline on the ridge doesn't/shouldn't be so confusing anymore and the somewhat comicbook-stylish look of them is reduced.

Forest:
It's a three-layered technique now, that, in my opinion, serves the perspective and drawing style of the mountains.

I also settled on the background texture to make it look more gritty and used, as well as a general color.

I feel quite satisfied with this and will continue this style. Let'S see what challenges rivers, lakes,hills and settlements will have for me! ;)

As always I'm glad for any kind of input, critique or encouragement!

galdre
10-08-2013, 06:31 PM
These mountains look quite good, and I really like the forest. :)

Chashio
10-09-2013, 01:28 AM
I like that forest very much, the left side, leading-into-forest edge best. The layering technique is similar to something I did on one of my very first commission maps, but mine didn't have colors and I used more trees in each brush. You've given me an idea :) The shadows on the separate trees are a bit heavy/black... you might try using a greenish blue instead and see what happens.

I also like your choice of background. The mountains, to me, look fantastic in the thumbnail picture (they pull together there) -- but full size... they seem rather disjointed - from the rest of the map style and the stroke styles within the mountains themselves. I do like the additional contrast, that works very well. Perhaps the use of a more grungy brush to paint in the mountains might pull it together at full size. Anyway, nice job so far and keep it coming. Looks like you're on a good track.

Llannagh
10-11-2013, 06:27 AM
I like that forest very much, the left side, leading-into-forest edge best. The layering technique is similar to something I did on one of my very first commission maps, but mine didn't have colors and I used more trees in each brush. You've given me an idea :) The shadows on the separate trees are a bit heavy/black... you might try using a greenish blue instead and see what happens.

I also like your choice of background. The mountains, to me, look fantastic in the thumbnail picture (they pull together there) -- but full size... they seem rather disjointed - from the rest of the map style and the stroke styles within the mountains themselves. I do like the additional contrast, that works very well. Perhaps the use of a more grungy brush to paint in the mountains might pull it together at full size. Anyway, nice job so far and keep it coming. Looks like you're on a good track.

Thanks Chashio. As always, your input is much appreciated! If you're interested in how exactly I did the forest, I'm happy to explain.

I changed the shadow side of the mountains. I like it better now, even though I'm not sure it's what you meant. The way I understood you the smooth brushes I used for the shadows do not match the other stroke styles. I agree. So I just darkened the shadow side with a big, soft brush and otherwise used the same technique as on the light side. Saved a lot of work, too! ;)

Here it is:

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I didn't do anything about the tree shadows, yet. But I'll try your suggestion. I want to get my mountains straight, first! :)

Llannagh
10-11-2013, 05:31 PM
Did some more work tonight.

Added a few mountains and a forest-y area. Also did some tests on hills...

I changed the shadowcolor of the forest and I like the subtlety of it.

Whole map:
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And the new area zoomed in:
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Llannagh
10-13-2013, 04:59 PM
Okay okay okay. I know. I said I'd stick with the above style. But.

I agree that the forest and mountains do not really fit. I couldn't ignore it any longer when I did those hills. So I just wanted to draw something else and thought I'd start a bigger, top-down-view map of a different region. As it happened, I came up with the following while trying to draw top-down mountains:

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The mountains are still too big and the sharpness varies a lot (plus a few other screw-ups), but I think OVERALL that's the one to go for. I think it fits really nicely (really nice?) with the forest, especially after I put the shadows in (which are missing in this pic, I'm just too tired to make another one). Also, I can do hills that way which would transition well to the general landscape.
Let's see what'll happen when I find a way to do rivers and lakes. Maybe I'll change the style again...

On a side note: today I decided to do most of the drawing in 100% zoom. That's because just today I realized that that would be the full scale view for everybody. True story.

I hope this thread is as amusing for you all as it is for me! ;)

Later, space cowboys.

Gallien
10-20-2013, 09:00 AM
Oh, the last variant of the mountains has much potential. I like it much more than the previous mountains and I think it will correspond with the background and the forests much better. It seems this is going to be a great map!