View Full Version : Elevation Practice

03-17-2014, 12:42 AM

So I'm determined to learn how to show elevation better on my over-head maps.

The rough-out (above) has been color-coordinated to show the three elevations that I want to try. The white area will be a ledge and higher than the base level (uncovered in the tunnels). The blue area (a subterranean pool) will be one level down from the 'base' tunnels. Then there's the grey area (a deeper pit) that will be two 'levels' down from the base tunnel level.

My initial attempt will be to establish the light-level of the base tunnels (which is already present in the above pic) and then add a white layer (soft-light) for the ledge to make it look like it's a higher elevation. The pool will be given a darker layer (soft-light) to give it depth and then the pit will be given another darker layer. Hopefully it won't be too dark to tell the details.

Wish me luck!

03-17-2014, 01:11 AM

Ok, so I changed some things around.

I am using a two-toned map with grey for the rocky walls and a tan layer for the tunnels themselves (trying to create a more readable difference between the wall and tunnels for the purpose of this exercise in Elevations.

I've cleaned up the three zones that I plan on trying to show elevations and = well...it's late so I'm posting this before I crash.

More to come.


03-17-2014, 10:40 AM
With a few hours of sleep I was able to get back into this project.

First to tackle: The "Ledge".

The ledge was going to be an elevation that was higher than the base elevation of the tunnels. After I did the work on the wall shadows and shading, I decided to try and add an even higher level using some stairs and another layer of white to make it look closer.

Next was "The Pit". This was a complete pain and I kept having to come back to it because the sidewalls and 'drop off' points never looked right. So with some doodling I was sort of happy with the side walls and it 'kinda' looked like it was farther away. But then I decided to add stairs to give the impression that the 'pit' was actually two levels and that there was an even darker (further) portion. That made me rethink the sidewalls entirely and I had to add what I'm calling 'contour' lines (first in black and then with some white high lights) to give the impression that the distance down the side of the wall is farther away than the regular tunnels.

I think it really turned out well.
Lastly was the pool. This was basically a repeat of the techniques I used on the 'Water-Side Cave (http://www.cartographersguild.com/dungeon-subterranean-mapping/26497-water-side-cave.html)' post earlier. Not too bad.

So here's a good point in the map. I hate to call a map 'Done' because you can always go back and tweek and tweek and tweek but I'm not sure what else to add to this.

That's where ya'll come in.

I'd love your feedback / comments / suggestions on this. Elevations are a pain and I'd welcome any tips.

-Green Pilgrim.

Without a Grid

And With. The grids I use are simple. Render your grid in white. Copy the layer and turn it black. Put the black on top of the white and then gausian blur the white to 5.0. It will create a 'white shadow' under the black lines to draw them out more (IMO).

And then I apply the base 'tunnel' mask to pull the grid away from anything but the tunnels.

03-17-2014, 10:53 AM
Larger copies of my maps located on flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/8175123@N06/sets/72157635127988893/) and can be used for your enjoyment.

03-17-2014, 01:49 PM
Looking good. You might want to add a bit more detail to the pit to make the two levels work better - since you can see the depth of the walls, the slightly higher level should cut into those walls a little.

03-17-2014, 01:53 PM
Hrm. I...think I see what you're saying. Kinda. Thanks for the reply! :)

03-17-2014, 02:34 PM
Yeah it's hard to describe :D

And you're welcome! :)

03-19-2014, 11:23 AM
Definitely a nice I provement, its always hard to get it worked out clearly.

03-19-2014, 12:58 PM
Thanks Madcow.

Now I just need to find more things to 'experiment' with. Elevation is something that I will probably continue to add into my cave maps but now I need to try and expand to other things as well.

Without adding features from Dunjinni - can anyone think of a design feature or thematic element to play with?