View Full Version : June 2014 Entry: OCD Mountains

06-13-2014, 02:42 AM
I decided I wanted more mountains.

First, I wanted cleaner lines if I was going to add my own ink. I didn't like dealing with the JPEG artifacts, even if they were pretty minimal. I took the source image and sampled it up to 20,000 pixels tall. At that size, I went to grayscale and used levels to tighten up the blacks and blast out the light JPEG artifacts. Then I dropped the color space all the way down to pure black and white with a diffusion dither, still at the ultra high resolution.

Once I decided it looked good, I converted back to grayscale and started sampling down in stages, letting the dithered black pixels fuzz out into some gray tones again. I settled on a resolution that would allow me to have a few layers to play with in ProCreate--around 3,500 pixels tall. I took the image into the iPad and went to the "zen mountain happy place" in my head and started adding a little more vertical structure.

I should probably stop before I get carried away. Get to the coloring things in part.

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- Max -
06-13-2014, 07:40 AM
Looks great Xpian. Maybe adding some ink details on the former mountains will make the m more consistent with the new ones?

06-13-2014, 10:22 AM
Absolutely. I had already started a bit, but I'm planning to go over all of the existing mountains and add some similar detail marks so that they all look consistent. I definitely want to keep with the theme of the challenge.

06-14-2014, 08:50 AM
This is a really good concept; instead of just finishing the map, you're going above the task and actually adding to it. It's looking great.

06-14-2014, 11:53 AM
I like the look, very clean.

06-14-2014, 08:23 PM
I've started adding in some color, but I'm not done with the inking details yet. Still cleaning up the splotchy blue river color...have more excess left to erase. Next version will have some big and interesting additions!

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06-14-2014, 09:01 PM
I like your colors and the mountains you added to the right.

06-14-2014, 10:36 PM
That is pretty fantastic...

06-17-2014, 02:54 AM
There was a seismic event of some kind that resulted in an uplifting of crust, with a few new mountains appearing on the far left middle.

Inks: Previous "new" mountains are now more complete, with some rivers and waterfalls taking shape and carving canyons. Adding the detail work to make the "original" mountains look consistent with the new is progressing.

Shading: I picked a central group of mountains to start in with the highlights and shadows. I use a noise brush in ProCreate, painting black on a multiply layer for the shadows and painting white on an Add layer for the highlights. (I believe Photoshop calls it "Linear Dodge")

Zoom Detail Regions! : I picked a couple of spots to be the locations of important castles -- probably some stony dwarves and some mountain valley-dwelling elves -- and then created corner call-out squares for the detail views of those regions. There will be much more in the way of fine lines in these boxes when things are done. The slightly altered, slightly more naturalistic rivers in these zoom regions show how, while the perspective and proportions will be the same over all, there will be much more to see. The upper box in particular has some extended river flowage that can't be seen in the main view. The lower box has a mid-stream island that doesn't appear when zoomed out. It will be more clear when things are labeled as to just where the zoom regions are on the big map. You won't need to search around for them.

Color/Tone : still experimenting and thinking about how much color and detail I want to add into the flat regions.

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- Max -
06-17-2014, 03:54 AM
Excellent so far! Very consistent and the mountains shading sample is great :)

06-18-2014, 04:46 AM
Adding more inking details to the mountains and making them pop off the page with highlights and shadow. Changed the course of a river a little bit...these things happen.

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06-18-2014, 04:53 AM
Wow those mountains are getting amazing, really nice work here!

06-19-2014, 07:15 AM
Fantastic ink work. Realy impressive.

06-20-2014, 04:12 AM
Finally completed the ink work on the new and old mountains making up the western range. Some sort of river canyon evolved there, along with more evidence of volcanic activity in the distant past. More shadows and highlights are spreading. A few new clumps of trees are showing up amongst the peaks.

I feel like I need to put some important points of interest in that area--like a lonely wizard tower or the entrance to an under-dark realm--so that it somehow justifies the amount of work I put into the region. The truth is that the work itself, the practice, and the excuse that this challenge gives me to draw maps like this is rewarding all by itself.

Thanks to everyone for all the great, encouraging comments.

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- Max -
06-20-2014, 04:31 AM
Keep it up! You know you already get my vote, right? :D

06-20-2014, 08:19 AM
Wow your detail looks incredible!

06-24-2014, 01:53 AM
Fantastic Work!

06-26-2014, 05:05 AM
Sometimes it's fun to turn off the inks layer and see how the highlight and shadows make the forms work.
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Here is the latest version with the inks turned back on. Just starting to add in features like castles and such...
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06-26-2014, 09:46 PM
This map is amazing! I particularly like the lake in the southeastern caldera, with the island in it. I almost love the without-ink version as much as the original!

06-28-2014, 05:08 PM
This map looks beautiful. My only complaint is that I'm not quite sure I understand what those boxes are doing. They seem to be zooms, but of what? Maybe you could shift them off to the side a bit? I will wait patiently and perhaps all will become clear...


06-28-2014, 10:40 PM
I just haven't finished detailing the zoomed views yet... but I'm getting there. I made a title box at the bottom. Legend box, compass, and scale to come. I'm beginning to lay in text in photoshop (all of the graphics have been done in ProCreate)

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07-01-2014, 12:09 AM
I've been creating icons to mark the fortresses, towns, and cities of the various factions. I'm laying in text labels for the sites, water features, and terrain. Getting started on a little swampiness in the center.

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07-02-2014, 02:51 AM
This is either done, or very close to it...

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07-02-2014, 04:49 AM
Is it just me, or do the rivers near the Citadel of the Golden Leaf not appear on the larger map? Are they just covered by the icon, or not significant enough to be included?

07-02-2014, 11:04 AM
Indeed yes, jkat718. It's intended that there will be details in the zoomed areas that are not visible in the overall map. You can see that a little river does venture up in to that little mountain valley...but in the overall map is narrows and seems to stop. In reality that river would keep going and find sources on the slopes of those mountains, and that's what you see in the zoomed area. Also, there is the little grove of colorful trees in the zoomed map that's too small to show otherwise.

07-02-2014, 01:17 PM
Added some more details and a bit of a key/legend area. More names. I'd like to detail the zoomed dwarven settlement more, but didn't want to push the deadline. Let's assume that most of the action is happening under ground, in those mountainous formations.

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07-02-2014, 01:19 PM
This map is the kernel for Warcraft IV: Elves versus Dwarves. The grand alliance has ended at last.