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Gamerprinter
11-02-2013, 03:42 AM
Just creating more content for my guide books. This is a temple located somewhere in the jungle. The tower things are supposed emulate Ankor Wat styled stone towers. The plants are transparent PNG files from CG textures website. This was created in Xara Designer Pro 9.

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Bogie
11-02-2013, 10:23 AM
Excellent, Very Nice, I like it! Could you post the stone towers as a separate object?

Jacktannery
11-02-2013, 10:35 AM
Excellent foliage and stonework Gameprinter. I'm not 100% convinced about the chick of light falling down the stairwell in the northern crypt, and your pool (?) is a bit surreal (but perhaps intentionally surreal?) but I really really like this map overall.

TimPaul
11-02-2013, 11:19 AM
It's nice. But for my personal tastes, it relies to heavily on a lot of effects, namely bevel and emboss. For me, personally I have trouble seeing past things like filters used like this.

In the top area, the outside edge borders of the structure are soft and blurry, I'm not sure why. Some of the scale of elements seem off. Like the grass seems like it's to large.

I do like how you've managed to take the same plant elements and rearrange them and re-size them so it's not looking like the same few plants placed around even though it is.

The biggest issue I have is the the direction the light is coming from. You've clearly shown it' direction by having a splash of light coming through the doorway.

Yet if you look at various other elements, it's all over. Namely the statues you've created. You made one, then rotated and flipped it around. For example, the far right one at the top. You have it casting shadows back away from it. Yet the back of the head of it, has a very strong light source. All of the statues are like that. It's just not possible considering the strong light source you've given.

These are all fixable by learning how light works.

Gamerprinter
11-02-2013, 04:13 PM
Sure thing, Bogie!

Thanks, everyone!

@TimPaul - I prefer to create hand-drawn maps vs. photo-realistic maps, but then I am writing 2 Map Tutorial Guides that using photo textures, so I need content to fill those guides that are also photo-realistic. Regarding how light works, I've used 3D applications for 10 years - I am very familiar with light dynamics. If I were truly being realistic, with no light source beyond the open doorway, you wouldn't be able to see the statues at all. If I determine the sun is to the southwest of this map, then all my shadows are going that way - it certainly isn't realistic to how the sun actuals exposes surface objects, especially inside a building, but it works for a quick map. I want my map to be as photorealistic as I can, as a quick map - something that will work in a game. That's my only concern, so I'm satisfied with what the light and shadows are doing in the map.

I not trying to create a photo image of ground terrain - I just want to emulate realistic effects, not duplicate reality. First and foremost, this is a map, not a photo. I personally hate when people put clouds in the sky over a regional map with clouds between the viewer and the ground. I don't ever want to create an aerial photo of the ground. I want a map, that has photo-realistic features and effects - but it's still just a map.

As far as the plants go, I have two different leaves of one palm and only one leaf of another - that's all I had to work with in creating these trees, so stretching, resizing, flipping is all I can do to differentiate the leaves I have to work with. Once the tree is put together, all I did was duplicate, flip and rescale. So there's only 2 trees in the map, based on 3 leaves. It looks good enough for working with limited resources.

The grass here is succulent tropical grass - which looks big compared to lawn grass (I've been to the jungle and seen this kind of grass), so I emulated that using standard grass photo.

When I create professional maps for commissions, I almost never use photo-realistic style, preferring hand-drawn work for that. However, I always use bevels (even if that filter doesn't work for you), it works fine for me, and no reason for me to stop using bevels. In fact most of my tutorials in my upcoming guides rely on bevels for much of the work. Different philosophy we have, I guess. Also, since I'm using Xara, there is no 'emboss' only 'bevel'. Nothing in this map was worked on in an image editor, everything is vector here.

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GP

Bogie
11-03-2013, 10:22 PM
Thanks for the Turret GP, it will definitely see some use!

It is tough finding that balance between making a map that is artistically ideal and making a battlemap to play on. Most of us grew up playing D&D on a map that was just dry erase markers outlining the walls on a big grid. ( or no map at all ). So perfection in lighting & shadows makes the map better looking, but it does not affect game play much at all.

Gamerprinter
11-04-2013, 11:15 AM
In the end, these photo realistic maps are designed for use as game maps, especially made for use in virtual terrain applications like Roll20, MapTool, Fantasy Grounds, etc. Many of the users of those applications seem to prefer photo-realistic styled encounter scale maps. Many prefer artistic maps for regionals (I do), but photo-realistic is preferred at encounter scale. So all my tutorials being produced for the first 2 Map Tutorials Guides feature photo-realistic styled tutorials and sample maps. Once those two books are done, my third book will be on hand-drawn maps and I'll be able to get back to my preferred style at that time (followed by a 4th book on using 3D Elements in Mapping).