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seredemia
02-18-2014, 01:03 PM
I've been working on this map for about a week now and I'm reaching a stage where I just want to get it over and done with :( I was going to make this look like an old map because I've never ever done maps before and I didn't want to do anything too confusing. However, I got carried away when I started colouring the mountains, and now here I am, trying to make the map look as 3D as one can make it with Photoshop.

I still have like 489579449489 mountains and hills to colour -- and the trees! And add more rivers in... Speaking of rivers, I'm not exactly sure where they should be accurately placed in... Geography has never been my strong subject :( I'm also worried that some of the hills shouldn't be where they are?? Like is it okay if they're that close to the roads? Not sure. I may have to redraw the roads in the future.

Also debating whether to keep it in that ripped paper texture or just put a frame around it... What do you guys think?

(The other two are just earlier versions of the map. Seeing as the recent one looks close to finishing, I thought some people might want to see the earlier versions as well.)

Gamerprinter
02-18-2014, 01:29 PM
For getting your rivers right, here's a thread "How to get your rivers in the right place" (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/3822-how-get-your-rivers-right-place.html) from the Tutorials/How to Forum.

I'm personally not a fan of rips, folds, curled edges (though I have recently created a old style map with folds), as the map content is the illustration and information needed, not an illustration of a worn map. There's a place for doing that, but for the most part, a map should be providing information to the reader, not showing its wear.

If you're hand-painting all your mountains and trees individually, that's certainly an admirable chore - and you seem to be doing a good job (I like your first attached map, very nice!)

Many of us use map objects - pre-created mountains and forest symbols that are repeated over the course of the entire map, thus each mountain is not unique, but has many copies distributed across the entire map. This way we don't have to paint each mountain one at time. Perhaps I'll create 20 different, individually painted mountains, but with 5 copies of each mountain in use, there are 100 mountains to place (and a lot less work to do.)

Welcome to the Guild, Seredimia!

As a member of the river police, I'd cite you about your unrealistic rivers, but you mentioned your need for this knowledge, so I'm letting you off with a warning (wink!).

I'm also wondering about your roads (I think they are roads) or whatever the swirly brown lines are. Roads should certainly follow the terrain, bypass hills and such, but it seems like the brown lines on the west side of your land go all over the place, yet the terrain looks fairly flat. Your roads should probably be more straight, less curvy.

seredemia
02-18-2014, 01:56 PM
Thank you for the link on rivers! That should help tremendously! :)

I think I'm going to change the texture to something less folded and ripped, and then add a frame around it. That should make it look neater, hopefully. As for the mountains, hills, and trees, I used brushes for them and then painted over them with colour. I didn't think it would be so much work colouring each one individually, but it is. Perhaps in the future, I'll use pre-created objects as well...

And aaah, I didn't know that about roads! THANK YOU. I'll change the roads immediately!

Veldehar
02-18-2014, 03:11 PM
The map certainly has a unique and interesting character that pops. Kind of cool.

Lingon
02-18-2014, 03:33 PM
That's really awesome! Beautiful work! I'm not a fan of the metallic effect on the title and compass rose, it doesn't fit with the lovely painted style, but the rest – wonderful!

seredemia
02-18-2014, 03:57 PM
Thanks to the comments!! :D

And hmm, now that you mention it, the title and compass rose do stick out... I'll see if I can change that to something else then :)

Ilanthar
02-18-2014, 04:04 PM
Wow, that's really excellent. Very good use of colors (not surprising if your doing everything at hand, or at mouse? :D)

seredemia
02-18-2014, 04:19 PM
Thank you! I drew it using my Wacom tablet :) I can't imagine drawing all this with a mouse, oh gosh

Bogie
02-18-2014, 06:51 PM
Excellent work, great coloring.

arsheesh
02-18-2014, 09:11 PM
Looking really good so far seredemia. Rivers aside, I think there is a bit too much uniformity in the forests. I would scatter the trees a bit more randomly. As others have mentioned, great job with the colors.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

seredemia
02-18-2014, 09:57 PM
Thank you!! The trees have been bugging me for some time actually, so I'll definitely change those :)

Diamond
02-19-2014, 03:18 AM
That's really beautiful. Really, probably one of the best looking maps I've seen in some time. The colors are just great, the layout is interesting, and I really dig that cliff/bevel thing you've got going on the coastlines. I can't really add anything to the previous suggestions...

One thing I've got to differ on though is the compass and title; I really like that look and the contrast with the rest is (to me) not jarring at all.

seredemia
02-19-2014, 07:20 AM
AAAAAAAAH Thank you for the compliments! *blushes*


One thing I've got to differ on though is the compass and title; I really like that look and the contrast with the rest is (to me) not jarring at all.

I've changed the font to make it look like it's part of the map, but kept the compass with the metal effect because I wanted it to look like there's an actual compass placed on top of the map?? Not sure if I achieved with that to be honest. I may have to put a drop shadow on the compass or something...

- Max -
02-19-2014, 07:34 AM
Some interesting stuff. Besides the compass and the title (I agree with Diamond on this) what bugs me is the use of a bevel to emphasis the coastlines, this digital effect really clashes with the painted look of the map.

seredemia
02-19-2014, 11:25 AM
what bugs me is the use of a bevel to emphasis the coastlines, this digital effect really clashes with the painted look of the map.

I took into account the use of bevel and started to paint the depth of the lands instead and I think that actually makes a large improvement so THANK YOUUU for the criticism :)

I'm thinking of adding some text at the bottom of the map that describes some back story on each of the countries. Main reason for this is because some people might be a bit confused as to why there's a country entirely covered in ice next to a country that seems perfectly sunny. There's a reason for all of it, but I dunno if that should be something I should add onto the map??

Also, I can't draw volcanoes to save my life. :(

SJS
02-19-2014, 12:03 PM
You may have already decided otherwise, but I liked the original "torn edge" look on the map... if your goal is to give it some 3D, I think that helped.

That volcano looks great!

Jalyha
02-19-2014, 12:48 PM
Okay, so I haven't said anything, cause your map is so very impressive, at first glance, and even after, that I want to say all good things. But it *irritates* me... small things... even though I like it a lot. And you're talented, and give the impression you really want to improve, and you won't improve if no one points stuff out, so even though I'm not supposed to (according to my therapist) tell people what I really think, I'm going to, anyway. I don't mean any offense.. I only say ANYTHNG when I think the map/artist/cartographer/whatever is worth the effort, so please take it as a compliment... I REALLY like your map.

And I am probably going to get boo-ed for this but...

Well, to be honest, this map is simply too good to have the mistakes it has. On a mediocre image, they'd be irrelevant, but on one this good, I find them intolerable. So I'm going to nitpick.

You obviously have a fantastic eye for color and tone, so I know you will see what I see when I point it out, no matter how badly I explain it (and I'm BAD at explaining what I mean).


First, the sea/ocean. I didn't like the tattered edge at all, but the "patches" you put in to fix it don't match, and look totally digital. The scratch/rip near the center (west) could be explained away with magic rifts or caribean sea aspects, but the ones in the corner can't.

Second: The MAP is fine. The map elements are all off centeer.... and all in slightly different directions. It makes it feel like ... I can't explain it, but I think that's why you're getting so much back and forth about the title and the compass... they're pulling in opposite directions.

If you haven't got them on the same layer (or merged to the map D: ) I should think you could fix it easily by angling the title toward the compass slightly.

(And the compass doesn't look like it's resting on the map. In addition to a shadow, I should think a glimpse of the *drawn* compass your *real* compass is resting on would help it. Why do you need the drawn compass? Because of the (rhumb? is that the term?) lines shooting out of it. They wouldn't just (unless magically) appear when you set a compass on the map. And although I like the magic appearing lines idea, I believe you said you goal was to make it look as 3D as possible, and magic lines won't achieve that.)


Most of this map is REALLY impressive... you do have a great eye for color... especially, like, where your mountains fade *into* the hills. And your ocean looks great. So I couldn't figure out why your lakes look, not only flat, but as if they are seen from a different point of view. It's something about the edges of the lake... it looks way too digital. You know how to blend the colors... You know how to paint depth... So just make the ground slope down into the water. :)

The next thing is (and you know this one) the Volcano. It looks really good... but it looks like you pulled it off a different map and placed it on this one.

Everything else... all the coloring and shading... it looks..... colored pencils and soft paints. The lava looks like you colored it with markers. (Does that make any sense?)

Also... lava burns quite a ways out, but it also cools as it does, and blackens ... I should think darkening the lava further out would help.

And just like water, it's not going to *climb* or *jump over* a hill.... it's simply not flowing naturally.


Your roads... I don't see much problem with where they run, but they don't fit the map at all. "Fire's journey" does. The main roads do not.

Neither do the dots that represent the cities/towns.

Your rivers, regardless of where they choose to run, start too wide, and end too narrow.


I also don't understand the placement of your... idk what they are called... mini-compasses?... You have one half under an island, and given that their purpose is (i believe) navigation at sea, that doesn't seem very useful.

Finally, you've very carefully shaded each object, and it would look just perfect if these obviously 3D objects actually cast some sort of shadow... not black shadows, like less realistic maps, but the same way you did the shadows within the objects themselves would be great.


And I say all of this only 1) as one person's rather opinionated opinion and 2) because I think this really good map could be something GREAT.


Feel free to yell at me/ignore me/whatever.


xoxoxo

~Jalyha

seredemia
02-19-2014, 01:12 PM
@SJS
Thank you! I've change the ripped texture because I want to put some frame around the map some time in the future instead!

@Jalyha
Wow, thank you for all the criticism! No offense taken at all!


First, the sea/ocean. I didn't like the tattered edge at all, but the "patches" you put in to fix it don't match, and look totally digital. The scratch/rip near the center (west) could be explained away with magic rifts or caribean sea aspects, but the ones in the corner can't.
I haven't actually done anything with the sea yet. Those rips are part of the overall map texture, but I'll see if I can find a texture that doesn't involve any rips so as to not confuse people.


Your roads... I don't see much problem with where they run, but they don't fit the map at all. "Fire's journey" does. The main roads do not.

Neither do the dots that represent the cities/towns.
Do you mean the appearance of the roads don't seem to fit the map?? If so, that can be easily changed :)


I also don't understand the placement of your... idk what they are called... mini-compasses?... You have one half under an island, and given that their purpose is (i believe) navigation at sea, that doesn't seem very useful.
Actually, those are my sad attempts of imitating portolan maps >___< I may get rid of the other lines and keep the one by the compass instead. The whole map could do without the other ones.

Thank you for the rest of your criticisms! Much appreciated that you took the time to write all that! I'll try to take those on board and hopefully improve my map :)

Domino44
02-19-2014, 01:16 PM
I don't think anyone could yell at you Jalyha.

Like Jalyha said there are a few small things that could be done to improve this map. It is extremely cool though I (like everyone else) love the colors! The rustic kind of soft feel it has is really unique. The volcano is kinda bothering me a little, I think it needs to be toned down? Also I would like to point out that some of your labels are hard to read, mountains/ocean they seem a little small and to dark.

Lovely map, truly impressive. :)

Jalyha
02-19-2014, 01:29 PM
@Jalyha
Wow, thank you for all the criticism! No offense taken at all!

:D



I haven't actually done anything with the sea yet. Those rips are part of the overall map texture, but I'll see if I can find a texture that doesn't involve any rips so as to not confuse people.

This in the corners:

61566



Do you mean the appearance of the roads don't seem to fit the map?? If so, that can be easily changed :)


Yep. Like this:

61567



Actually, those are my sad attempts of imitating portolan maps >___< I may get rid of the other lines and keep the one by the compass instead. The whole map could do without the other ones.

Oh I think you did it very well. But I meant the *placement* of them. Here:

61568




Thank you for the rest of your criticisms! Much appreciated that you took the time to write all that! I'll try to take those on board and hopefully improve my map :)

Thank you for taking it in the spirit it was intended :) It really is amazing... especially for a first map/one week effort :P


Edit: @Domino - people yell at me all the time IRL :P :P :P <3

seredemia
02-19-2014, 01:43 PM
Ooooh, you added pictures! That's easier for me to understand now :) I'll go ahead and fix these things now! Thankfully, I haven't merged any layers at all (I have like over 100 layers at the moment....) so these shouldn't be too hard for me to fix.

And yes, haha, I nearly forgot about that serpent... You just reminded me that I need to colour him :D

THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN.

Diamond
02-19-2014, 02:27 PM
I actually liked how you had the title originally; now it's hard to read 'the empire of'. To me anyway. That could be because I'm old and blind though. :D

Also, by taking away those nifty bevels/cliffs around some of your coasts, I feel like you're going in the exact opposite direction of your thread title. Ultimately though, you have to go with what YOU like, and really, you're a fantastic artist, so I think whatever you come up with will look great.

seredemia
02-19-2014, 03:18 PM
I actually liked how you had the title originally; now it's hard to read 'the empire of'. To me anyway. That could be because I'm old and blind though. :D

Also, by taking away those nifty bevels/cliffs around some of your coasts, I feel like you're going in the exact opposite direction of your thread title. Ultimately though, you have to go with what YOU like, and really, you're a fantastic artist, so I think whatever you come up with will look great.
I'll probably put the title back to how it was since it's hard for me to read it as well... >____<

And I'll see if I can make it looks 3D by painting the land. If not, I might bring the bevel back :) And thank you!!! :D

SJS
02-19-2014, 03:34 PM
Thanks to Jalhya for pointing out that sea serpent.

:)

Gamerprinter
02-19-2014, 03:36 PM
Personally, I was fine with your original beveled title. I understand and can appreciate Max's point of view regarding sticking with one media choice and trying to stay consistent with that purist view, but I'm an artist and I use what media mixes, and techniques that work best for me. You'll find many of my mostly hand-drawn maps with extensive use of bevels. The reason I use bevels, is that I hate to paint, which is part of the reason I don't use Photoshop or GIMP to create my maps. Image editing is most like painting among graphic software. As a traditional artist I prefer to work with pen or pencil (which is why I use vector as my preferred graphics software). Since I also want color, embellishments that denote depth and shading, my personal style is a hybrid of hand-drawn and digital mixed media (which often includes bevels), I let the software do that for me - instead of actually digitally painting by hand.

Some of the 'purists' here have made similar comments regarding my maps. As stated while I can appreciate their point of view, doing it my way is my chosen style, the fact that it jars some people's purist perspectives, in all honesty, I don't really care. Obviously its not an issue with publishers, as I have no shortage of publishers asking me for commissions.

seredemia
02-19-2014, 04:01 PM
Just had a look at your maps and I must say that you use bevel really well. They're a nice change to what I've seen here so far! For me, I think what makes a map a map is not the aesthetics, but the layout and info? If that makes sense? As long as it does the job of showing what the world/place is like, then I reckon that's all that matters, regardless of what media is used.

Although I have to admit I myself have probably focused more on aesthetics on this map so far... Oops.

seredemia
02-19-2014, 09:48 PM
Okay, so I did more work on the map and this is what I have so far.

My main concerns now are the rivers. (Please tell me I placed them correctly this time...) And no matter how much I try, I can't seem to find a way to make them look *right* on the map. They seem to stick out faaaar too much for my liking. Hmm...

Also, the font for the countries and capital cities are annoying me a lot, but I have no ideas as to how to make them look nice as well as legible on the map... :( I considered doing the same font as the title for the countries, but it looked a bit too overkill for me... Anybody have any ideas?

I started doing the trees on the west side of the map as well. I don't know if they look okay or not... The trees were far too small for me to do any proper shading on, so I just added a 1px bevel to the brushes. Does it look odd?

Lastly, I changed the map icons. Had to bevel it again because it's really hard to see otherwise. I guess it's because of all the dark colours on the land that makes it hard to see anything else... (Oops.) :(

Gamerprinter
02-19-2014, 10:39 PM
Question: where the Isle of Ambrosia lay, the hills/islands just to the west of that, are those islands - meaning sea exists west of those and into the lake where Ambrosia sits? If those are islands, there should be no rivers flowing from the sea to the sea.

On the south central island you have a river that crosses the south end from sea to sea, this is not possible. To the west of that you have a lake with 3 outlets to the sea. A lake can have multiple in-flowing rivers into it, but only 1 river outlet to the sea. There seems to be several instances of that on this map.

Rivers in your map would most likely begin at the feet of any of your mountain ranges, on the leeward side of the prevailing winds (it tends to be dry on the opposite side). Rivers then flow down the easiest path flowing downhill most always eventually reaching the sea. Rivers can merge with rivers, except to divert around terrain forming islands, rivers generally don't part or fork away to form 2 or more rivers. A river delta is the exception, but in this case the approaching land to the sea is so flat that the river slows down and the sediments it carries begins to settle on the riverbed sometimes forcing the river to divert into a separate channel, but this is only near the mouth of larger river systems.

Think of a river as a tree. At its base is the rivers mouth with the ground as the sea. The trunk is a major river, branches are smaller rivers joining the larger river. Smaller branches are creeks joining larger rivers - tree limbs. That is the general structure of any river system. There are exceptions, but these are rare and specific.

Scoopz
02-19-2014, 11:34 PM
The river police...
61601
... Strike again.

Aside from the whole river stuff, which I agree with wholeheartedly, I just wanted to say this is a hella beautiful map, it's got so much vibrant color, it really makes want to study it and learn about those lands.

Gamerprinter
02-20-2014, 12:57 AM
Oh, it totally is a beautiful map. I'd rather be honest and helpful. Seredemia specifically asked if her rivers are rights, so I graciously answered. ;)

I can give more specific suggestions, once I understand what certain terrain features actually are and be clear in possible solutions.

arsheesh
02-20-2014, 03:58 AM
Lovely work! The trees are much improved. The colors are excellent, as are the map symbols. One thing I noticed is that many of the terrain features (in particular, the hills and mountains) have appear somewhat hazy and ethereal. This may be intentional, and if so, well and good. However other features, such as the trees, appear much more concrete and distinct, which creates a bit of inconsistency in the overall style. My suggestion would be to either reduce the opacity of the stroke and shadow on the trees so that they too appear hazy against the landscape, or alternatively add more definition to the other terrain features (e.g. more contrast between shadow and light and more solid lines). Overall though, this is a lovely piece.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Ilanthar
02-20-2014, 06:35 AM
I like your trees, but they looks better on the right (near ambrose tears) than the left (nightveil woods) imho. Did you do something different?

For me, your cities (very well done!) labels are legible. I have more trouble to read the labels on a few mountains and seas actually (like "waters of malice" and "hills of the uninvinted"). Maybe you could try a slight glow under the labels?

And yes, you have to color that sea dragon or Jalyha will be the one of the rare to spot it :) (plus, I'm sure it will be great when colored).


By Seredemia
I haven't merged any layers at all

That's what you have to do in order to be able to change/fix things! I keep layers separated to the end and merged just for print. Sadly, my software tend to force me to merge some or the file may come to big for it.

That's already an amazing map, anyhow.

seredemia
02-20-2014, 06:57 AM
Thank you Gamerprinter for your help on the rivers so far!! I really suck at them... I think based on your instructions, I have a vague idea of where they should be now. I hope...


Aside from the whole river stuff, which I agree with wholeheartedly, I just wanted to say this is a hella beautiful map, it's got so much vibrant color, it really makes want to study it and learn about those lands.
Thank you!! :) I plan on putting some small bg info under the map and then put a frame around everything for people who want some insight into the continent.


My suggestion would be to either reduce the opacity of the stroke and shadow on the trees so that they too appear hazy against the landscape, or alternatively add more definition to the other terrain features (e.g. more contrast between shadow and light and more solid lines). Overall though, this is a lovely piece.
Thank you! And okie doke, that should be a good idea. I'll just make the mountains more defined then!


I like your trees, but they looks better on the right (near ambrose tears) than the left (nightveil woods) imho. Did you do something different?
I haven't actually done anything to the trees towards the east yet... I started the west side by adding some bevel to it since the trees were too small for me to shade in myself. I'll reduce the opacity of the bevel so it doesn't look as obvious as it does now then :)


And yes, you have to color that sea dragon or Jalyha will be the one of the rare to spot it :) (plus, I'm sure it will be great when colored).
Hehe, I'm colouring him today :) I STILL NEED A NAME FOR HIM THOUGH.

Jalyha
02-20-2014, 10:12 AM
He has a name already, you silly thing, just ask him :)

seredemia
02-20-2014, 10:22 AM
I'm actually tempted to name him after you since you were the first one to spot him.......

IF SO, I'LL CHANGE HE TO A SHE.

Jalyha
02-20-2014, 10:37 AM
How do you know he wasn't a she already?

Anyway, I asked my dragon, and she said his name was IAHMVAAAO, which in dragon means "silly-fishtail" but then she laughed, and so I think she was kidding. :P

seredemia
02-20-2014, 10:45 AM
I'm afraid I might lack the skill to understand dragons as well as you do. So far, I've labelled him as Mr. Serpent on my Photoshop layer and I think that name doesn't really justify him right now. Regardless of whether IAHMVAAAO is his actual name or not, I reckon it's better than Mr. Serpent...

Speaking of which, HE'S ALIVEEEEEEEEEEE.

Jalyha
02-20-2014, 10:52 AM
I think he looks lovely :) (IAHMVAAAO) (hush you)

I think "Mr. Serpent" might make him easier to find until you've decided his name though :P

seredemia
02-20-2014, 02:17 PM
I failed to mention this before but this isn't actually the whole map yet. There's still two countries I haven't included into the map because... well, I couldn't at this view. One country is located underwater (under Aquis Vol and Noxval), and another is located in the sky, floating about Noxval. It probably goes without saying that these countries are magical >___< I was debating whether I should draw separate maps for them and add them onto this map somehow or post them as separate maps. However, considering that this is meant to be a map of the empire of Aversten, then I guess I should add those two countries here as well.

So I made rough sketches of the two countries and did a vague layout of how I wanted the whole thing to look like. I'm going to draw some sort of frame around it so that brown border around it right now isn't what the frame is going to look like. Now that I look at it as well, I'm probably going to move the part with all the crests and text at the very top instead? Would that look better?

I'm still unsure about the design of the underwater country. Basically, the species that reside in it are called the Aquis and the simplest way I can put them as is that they're like elves that have gradually evolved to breathe underwater. I won't bore you guys with the history of it now ;) But in my head, I wanted a country where the capital city was the central focus. Plus GLASS TUNNELS. ENCHANTED GLASS TUNNELS. Still unsure about how I'm going to demonstrate that in the map, but I'll improvise and see...

And the floating island is just that, really. There are some lakes there that have been magically cast by mages, but that's it.

But I really don't know if all this will look good together. I have a vague idea of how I want it to look and I reckon it'll look great if I pull it off but as this is my first map ever, you can probably guess that I'm not very confident... If it doesn't go the way I want it to, I'll probably post the map I've been working on by its own, and post the other two countries as separate maps.

What do you guys think? Bad idea? Good idea??

OH and btw, how in the world do some of you post maps that are like HUUUUGE without the forum quality stopping you?? I always have to resize my maps, even after switching it to jpg? :(

madcowchef
02-20-2014, 02:29 PM
Your layout looks like it would work just fine. Other good options are a classic triptych with two smaller side panels, as these both seem to present mostly vertically, or you could even show each in its relative position with a panel above and below with room for information to either side. As far as your confidence goes have you seen what you made? Its pretty darn impressive.

seredemia
02-20-2014, 02:41 PM
Other good options are a classic triptych with two smaller side panels, as these both seem to present mostly vertically, or you could even show each in its relative position with a panel above and below with room for information to either side.
OOOH, I actually like the idea of a triptych! I'll see how that looks!

As far as your confidence goes have you seen what you made? Its pretty darn impressive.
AAW, thank you!!!! I've never done anything like this so I just don't know how things are meant to look without me making too much nooby mistakes D:

Ilanthar
02-21-2014, 06:08 AM
By Seredemia
OH and btw, how in the world do some of you post maps that are like HUUUUGE without the forum quality stopping you?? I always have to resize my maps, even after switching it to jpg?

The vast majority of my maps are too "heavy" for the forum. But I discovered that a slightly reduction (sometimes at 98 or 99%) is sometimes enough to put them under the limit. I don't know why, but I guess there's a mathematical explanation somewhere.

Btw, M. Serpent is very pleasant now :)

seredemia
02-22-2014, 07:40 PM
So, I finished the map! (http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/26307-empire-aversten.html#post238718) Would be glad if people checked it out and told me what they thought :)