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Tomalak
06-11-2014, 06:42 AM
Lostatsea's 'The Corruption' looks so lonely there in the thumbnails section alone! Here's something to keep it company.
So, the title is something I tagged on there because I have no idea where I am going with this one, but the base map itself really caught my imaginations, so let's see where this takes us, shall we?

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Most of the colors are just placeholder layers while I figure out how I want the hills & grasslands to look.

Tomalak
06-11-2014, 07:32 AM
I've been working with some of the features, experimenting with styles. Here are some mountains and a grassland pattern I'm playing with. I'm not tagging either, as they are just experiments.
I'll take a look at them in the morning with fresh eyes before making the call on them.
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- Max -
06-11-2014, 09:06 AM
Lostatsea's 'The Corruption' looks so lonely there in the thumbnails section alone! Here's something to keep it company.

Great! Hopefully we'll get more soon :)

Tomalak
06-11-2014, 10:11 PM
I like the mountains, but not the grass. So I redid the grass a different way. I'm happier with this version, but it might be too bright. I think I'll revisit the grasslands after figuring out what to do with the hills.
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Meshon
06-12-2014, 02:35 PM
Great work so far! I like the mountains a lot, and I think it might look really good if the hills got a similar treatment. I like the grass texture north west of the mountains more than the rest. Maybe the texture is too strong, it sort of looks like the area to the east is a vast but slightly indistinct conifer forest. Keep it coming!

cheers,
Meshon

Tomalak
06-12-2014, 10:50 PM
I am working on the hills, but they unfortunately take much more detailed attention than the mountains. I'll try to get them finished today.
I wanted to try to vary the assorted areas, so they don't all look the same, but I cannot for my life recall exactly how I blurred the western section exactly that way. I'm hoping some combination of blurring, burning, and tinting will give me the 'varied but cohesive' look I am after.

Thanks very much for your input - it helps alot to have another point of view!

Tomalak
06-13-2014, 07:22 AM
Here's the latest version, now with illuminated hills and consistent grass effect.
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- Max -
06-13-2014, 08:28 AM
The grass looks VERY bright. You might want to desaturate it! :D:::

Katto
06-13-2014, 12:12 PM
Good job so far!
Have a closer look at the mountains, the background is peeking through.

Tomalak
06-14-2014, 07:43 AM
Good job so far!
Have a closer look at the mountains, the background is peeking through.

I am trying to figure out a way to turn that into slope vegetation. If I can't, I'll have to remove it.

Tomalak
06-18-2014, 12:12 AM
I've never understood why people keep telling me to desaturate my maps - isn't that rather cross-purposes to the idea of putting color in the map?
That said I tried it, and I think I can get behind it, in this case at the very least. I suppose I shall have to play around with the levels when I have more time.
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xpian
06-18-2014, 12:28 AM
I really like how "wavy" the grassy areas appear to be. Cool, complex texture you have going on there.

Tomalak
06-18-2014, 12:49 AM
I really like how "wavy" the grassy areas appear to be. Cool, complex texture you have going on there.

Thanks! I get the impression that many mapmakers mistake grasslands for being simply flat, and I wanted to do something to make the grass noticeable, without it taking too much attention from everything else. I attempted to make the grass in this map reflect the variations on size, type, and weed components by having both random and predictable variations across the open areas. I hope it came across!

Tomalak
06-18-2014, 12:59 AM
I took a few minutes to address the 'showing through' problem the mountains were having.
I would love to hear any more input on the terrain, as I'm about to start putting in the details.
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xpian
06-18-2014, 01:16 AM
Oops. Attachment seems invalid?

Tomalak
06-18-2014, 02:48 AM
Crud. I am on my mobile, I'll fix it tomorrow

Tomalak
06-18-2014, 05:10 PM
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Tomalak
06-20-2014, 02:46 AM
Here i've put some towns & cities on the map, and started roads.
I'm not sure about the Icons I'm using, the locations I've selected, or what to call them - so I'm testing it out a step at a time so I can look at it after a bit.
What do you think, is the population too dense? And I have no idea what to do for the Icons. Circles doesn't work too well, but hand-drawn isn't an option, much as I'd like it to be.

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xpian
06-20-2014, 05:19 AM
I think that the dark, solid circles run the risk of getting lost amongst the dark, solid trees--I was having a little trouble picking them out. Something felt a little strange about so many towns around the southern lake. Could it support so many? Perhaps...it just made me go, "huh..." Will there be a compelling reason why no adventuresome souls have colonized the north west lake? Monstrous infestations?

Tomalak
06-23-2014, 06:31 AM
Cultural conventions, actually. I see three major cultures in the area. One subsists of fishing and light agriculture around the southern lake, and has the best masonry skill. Another does some fishing, some agriculture, and is heavy on trade, and is up and down the major river. The third is the one in that hill region which lives mostly on herding and forestry, with the best mining and metalworking in the area. The only culture near that lake doesn't have much knowledge of fishing. So that area is sort of open frontier, and (as far as the mapmaker knows) largely devoid of settlement. I might put some nomads, like steppe-people or plains indians there, but they wouldn't have the same representation on the map - especially as the map was likely made by a riverman.

NedS298
06-24-2014, 03:15 AM
I've never understood why people keep telling me to desaturate my maps - isn't that rather cross-purposes to the idea of putting color in the map?
No, it isn't. Colour doesn't just mean the brightest, most saturated tone, it means anything in the whole range from black to white all the way to the most vibrant blues, reds and greens. Colour, in this way, can be used to suggest things; if I wanted to make an evil-looking map with an implied cold temperature then I wouldn't use highly saturated blues for ice and snow, I would use colours bordering on grey or white to give a more accurate representation; I also wouldn't use overly saturated colours, as they have the effect of warming the image (or map). If you don't understand, look up Feng Zhu on youtube. He's got some great stuff to say about colours.
As for the map, it's looking pretty good, and the lighting in particular is done well, though the trees are much too dark and I think that those brown hills look a bit odd. I'd say just make them green, unless you prefer them being brown; after all, it's your choice.

Tomalak
06-24-2014, 06:35 AM
I also wouldn't use overly saturated colours, as they have the effect of warming the image (or map).
Ah-ha! That's why. Now that you point that out, yeah I can see that. Thank you for mentioning it.

look up Feng Zhu on youtube. He's got some great stuff to say about colours.
I will, thank you.

the trees are much too dark and I think that those brown hills look a bit odd. I'd say just make them green, unless you prefer them being brown; after all, it's your choice.
The hills are odd. I haven't been able to figure out what to do with them, though. I'll try some various greens and see what I can get. As for the trees, I want them to stand out from the other colors, and their rather dense borders do seem to darken them. I'll play with them after the hills.

Thank you for your feedback. it's always easier for me to see the next step through someone else's eyes.

jkat718
06-26-2014, 11:00 PM
I love the texturing of the grass, but the texture itself seems a bit off-scale in relation to the other textures. It almost makes me think of little plastic toy mountains in grass, especially because of the darkness of the hills and mountains in comparison with the grass.

Also, while I like the thought you've put into the settlement placement (both in volume and in depth), I do think it needs a little work. Firstly, I think that there are too many settlements, or at least too many of the same (apparent) size. You would normally have either all of the settlements use the same icon, or have one capital, one or two other major cities, and then a few other, smaller towns, with each tier using a different symbol. It may just be the way that you are testing the icons, but it looks like you just have them more or less alternating. Of the icons, I would choose the circled dot for cities and a ring for villages, and maybe a star or something else for capitals. That, or circled dot > dot > ring. I would also consider incorporating color in the icons.

Tomalak
06-28-2014, 05:55 AM
Thank you for your feedback. Allow me to address each of your points in turn. First, I don't intend my maps to seem photographic - some mapmakers have remarkable skill in such things, mine are largely representative. That said, I wanted my grasslands to feel like grass, not simply be monotone green empty places.

Larger settlements are less common than smaller (which is why they seem to be alternating) but most of the tiny settlements are not pictured on the map. The circles are indeed tiny villages or hamlets, and are placed where they are mostly to reinforce the settlement pattern and show that the area is not abandoned. There aren't any really heavy farming cultures in this area, so I couldn't just place farmland. The circled dots are (correct again) actual cities, as opposed to towns (black dot). There are no capitals on the map, because there are no nation-states. Only cultures and settlements. I am most certainly going to change the way I mark settlements, but I am probably going to keep to the simple black markings, because colors would quickly get lost against the background.

Thank you for your input!

Tomalak
06-28-2014, 06:36 AM
I have two ideas bouncing around in my head for alternatives to black-dot settlements. Neither is in it's finished form, but here's the first idea, in which small 'house' icons appear in clumps of varying size. Two to four in a single line or clump indicate a village, multiple lines indicate a town, and tiny icons in multiple long lines show a city. I like this idea because it invokes relative size visually, but I dislike it because it misrepresents the amount of space the settlement uses.
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Tomalak
06-28-2014, 07:34 AM
Here's the other idea, in which town icons are done away with entirely and replaced with names. I like this idea because I can avoid using icons that don't have the same art style as the background map, but dislike it because icons are so heavily relied on by typical mapmakers that doing away with them may seem odd to the viewer. While they are currently not in place, further labels for mountains, rivers, etc will be place on the map later.
Whichever type of town label I choose, specific details (font, icon, etc) are malleable, and I will select the most appropriate after I choose a style.
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Tomalak
06-28-2014, 07:49 AM
And here's a test image for the altered hills. Now, to bed - that I might see the effects in the morning with fresh eyes.
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Meshon
06-28-2014, 06:02 PM
This is a good looking map, nice work! I agree that the colours could use some more work, the bright grasslands are kind of at odds with the dark hills and forests. Of course, that just makes those places look all the more forbidding! I'm eager to see what you come up with after applying fresh eyes!

cheers,
Meshon

Tomalak
06-28-2014, 07:19 PM
Meshon, could you explain what about the forests or hills looks 'forbidding'? I don't see it.

Meshon
06-28-2014, 07:50 PM
Meshon, could you explain what about the forests or hills looks 'forbidding'? I don't see it.
Forbidding in the sense that there are dangerous things living there. The bright grass is like Happy Gnome Land and the darker regions are places your average person wouldn't want to go because they're scary. Places with names like Dire Forest, Bleak Hills, or Tulgey Woods. Does that make sense?

It's not a negative thing.

cheers,
Meshon

Tomalak
06-28-2014, 09:45 PM
What confuses me is why they seem dark. They are green, that is why they are dark. How can I make them seem less 'forbidding?' Some of the people rely on those places, and I want to differentiate the dangerous areas from the safe. Playing with lighting didn't help, washed-out forests & hills look terrible.

Tomalak
06-29-2014, 07:03 AM
Here I have reverted the grass to an earlier state, in hopes of reducing the contrast with the rest of the map - I don't want to give the impressions of haunted fantastic forests, I want to give the impression of cultures defined by terrain. Low-fantasy, as it were.

I would really appreciate some feedback on icon styles, I'm not really sold on either method I've conceived, I just really don't like plain symbols for this map.
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lostatsea
06-29-2014, 12:06 PM
I had (am still having) problems with my icons. Hmm post what you have tried so someone can can point the right direction. I agree plain icons don't seem right on a map of this type.

Tomalak
06-30-2014, 03:34 AM
These are the two ideas I'd had, although the image itself has adjusted some since posting this.
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As noted previously, details like specific item or font are flexible, I am simply trying to decide which style better suits the map in general.