View Full Version : Pirate island

01-25-2014, 07:48 AM

Hidden Pirate island. I'm trying to build some sort of a city on the island that is made up of broken boats and re purposed parts of ships that have sunk around the ring surrounding the island. It is supposed to be a pirate hideout for when things get too hot. The island is big enough to supply living space for several 10.000 people.

The surrounding rock ring is uninhabitable land and nearly impossible to traverse on foot due to the spikey, sharp features of the ring. And the fact that it is a breeding zone for all sorts of human eating volcano monsters.
I'd like to make it look something like this. It's volcanic in nature, created by what used to be a highly active volcano thousands of years ago. The island in the middle is all that is left a piece of space debris that decided the volcano was as good a target as any.

So, as for my questions. How would I go about creating a city on an island like this? And how do I make the ring more... sharp. At the moment it looks nice and elevated but it doesn't say deadly spikey. And last one, for now, is there a good way to create rocks sticking out of the ocean? Like dangerous for wooden ships and such?

01-25-2014, 09:01 AM
Well... I'm not sure, digitally, but...

When I'm painting and I have to make sharp, jagged rocks... I have to break all the rules.

Y'know how everyone says about your lines being too straight, or something... people get used to smooth lines in everything... the only "sharp edges" I see on maps are usually mountains. And that's what these are. They're just... mini-mountains :P

So, I'd say, rough it up a bit. You have to look at what this coast line (even though it's rocks and not a regular coastline) looks like. Like...


So, there's a couple ways of doing this. You could render some mountains, or you could make mountains from what you already have. Something like:


Use *reverse* shading for more impact... darker shades on the crevasses in the *higher* peaks, for impact.

As for the coast, once you have your rocks dilineated, I'd duplicate your coastline, and on the duplicate (top) layer, I'd simply erase the rounded edge in a more straight-edged pattern.

A really crappy visual:


Also...water hitting sharp rocks like that is going to create a LOT of spray. Spray is much lighter than still water (like the foam around the base of a waterfall!)

If you added some spray that would help make it look choppy :)

01-25-2014, 10:28 AM
I was told once that they same thing aplies if you are using paint or a mouse to create an image. The same techniques apply. I had not choice but to listen. The person was and is my mother. she is an artist by training and profession. Taking this advice to heart, she is right. You can take the techniques from "The joy of painting" and apply it to using Photoshop and still have happy trees digitally. I agree with Jalyha and break the rules. On another note as a storyteller / GM the outer rocks may not be the home for your PC or NPC but it could be for creatures and monsters. A nice suprise for those exploring the area.


01-25-2014, 06:29 PM
I was messing around a little with embossing and a tutorial that I found. At least now the ring seems to be in the water, rather than float on top of it. The mountains also worked quite well but, IMO, it looks like the North west part of the ocean is higher than the middle part which is in turn higher than the south east part of the ocean, due to the shadows created in the mountains itself. I feel the mountains look more jagged/sharp now but I'm still not entirely satisfied for some reason. I used bump map to sharpen/elevate the ring.

01-25-2014, 10:03 PM
Hmmm... try moving your light source? All the shadows normally go the same way, on a map, but this is a ring, so..

If it's noon, on the island, the sun will be directly over the island and all the shadows go *away* from the center of the island.

Right now, you have 2 problems... one is that the shadows all slant to the southeast, which gives the impression of a line in that direction. On *this* map, it makes it look as if the land is slanting down.

Second... the emboss thing is doing the same as the shadows... it's all going one direction (mostly) which is adding to that effect...

I'd get rid of the embossing and do all the shading/etc by hand. If I wanted something fast and easy, I'd probably use a texture (slate maybe?) with a large, soft brush, to shade the darker areas of the bottom half of the ring, and the lighter areas of the top half, which might give just enough of the effect to make it feel right.