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- Max -
06-25-2014, 06:29 AM
Hey everyone,

So welcome to Max's Workshop! Since I can't open a WIP thread for each map I'm working on, I've decided to open this thread to throw in some samples of my current works, test styles, doodles and stuff. I'll try to regularly keep it updated, so take a seat and enjoy your stay ( you should find some chips and cookies right here) :)
All material in this thread is M.PLASSE - All rights reserved unless specified in a different way.

Let's start it today with some stuff I'm currently drawing for some running commissions:

A central part of a map:

65199

A couple Coat of Arms :

65200

Eilathen
06-25-2014, 07:20 AM
Very cool idea, Max! I will take that chair over there by the fireplace :D *munches some chips and cookies*

Bogie
06-25-2014, 08:31 AM
Great idea Max. That impact crater is excellent.

- Max -
06-26-2014, 05:38 AM
Thanks guys. Here's the Coat of Arms from yesterday now colored:

65236

And a sea monster drawn on a commissioned map:

65237

- Max -
06-26-2014, 01:39 PM
I was drawing a few mountains to practice and I figured I would share a bit of the process here:

The steps:
1. Moutains main outlines on some texture
2. Adding Ridges
3. Adding detail ridges
4. Painting light shadows
5. Going deeper in shadows
6. Painting highlights
7. More highlights
8. A very slight touch of grey/brown and green colors.

65245

Meshon
06-26-2014, 06:33 PM
Max this is excellent! Thank you for sharing your techniques. Another thread to subscribe to!

cheers,
Meshon

Ilanthar
06-27-2014, 06:06 AM
Excellent idea, I'm gonna loving this thread!

- Max -
06-27-2014, 08:37 AM
Thanks Meshon and Ilanthar! I figured this kind of thread could be useful, interesting, fun or whatever else :D

cereth
06-27-2014, 10:24 AM
Really awesome stuff, man!

- Max -
06-27-2014, 12:56 PM
Thank you Cereth :)

Here's a sketch of a top down style test

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And with some colors (very) quickly thrown in

65283

Sharpes
06-28-2014, 11:24 AM
Max, with the mountain process, how many layers does it end up being? (and what layer blends do you generally use? :) )

- Max -
06-28-2014, 12:41 PM
In this case, I have 10 layers (one for each process stage). If I had to use them on a map, I would probably end up with 6 (1 merged outlines layer - step 1,2 and 3, 1 shadow1 layer, 1 shadow2 layer, 1 highlight1 layer, 1 highlight2 layer, 1colors layer), this will allow flexibility to play with the depth of shadows and highlights if needed. As for layers blend, you can either use normal mode with a high range of contrasted colors or use multiply for shadows and screen for highlights.

- Max -
06-30-2014, 06:45 AM
Here's a WIP map building commission I'm currently working on:

65383

Meshon
06-30-2014, 12:24 PM
Respect! After doing the roofs on the Ledge and Dairy Inn (http://www.cartographersguild.com/building-structure-mapping/27481-ledge-dairy-inn.html) I have a new appreciation for those shingles. If you ever feel like it, I'd love to see the steps you go through making a map like this building, I really love the look. I think my current lite challenge entry is pretty much an attempt to emulate your style...

cheers,
Meshon

- Max -
07-01-2014, 09:04 AM
Thanks Meshon :) Here's a small map with a couple of buildings and a pdf with my process on it.

65420

65421

fabio p
07-01-2014, 09:31 AM
Max, this workshop is a dream that has come true; digging even a bit in your works in progress is a constant source of inspiration and a learning experience. Keep it steadily up!

- Max -
07-01-2014, 06:41 PM
Thanks Fabio, glad this is inspiring :)

- Max -
07-04-2014, 07:32 AM
A sketch of a current island map commission:

65458

- Max -
07-04-2014, 09:09 AM
And a 10 steps process on a small personnal map (with the final version in the finished map thread here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/27585-duchy-meliend-fantasy-map.html#post248251)) :

65459

Bogie
07-04-2014, 10:07 AM
Great tutorial Max. It's amazing you can do this so fast.

Kier
07-05-2014, 07:09 PM
Loving this thread. Great stuff, Max. Nice to see all the steps.

Llannagh
07-06-2014, 09:34 AM
Very good idea, Max! This thread has already proven to be useful! Thanks for the insights into your work.

Do you draw all your mountains individually or are you using cloning?

- Max -
07-06-2014, 05:40 PM
Thanks guys :) Mountains are drawn individually here.

Lezales
07-07-2014, 10:42 PM
And is everything drawn using a tablet or most of it on paper than scanned ? If it's on tablet would you mind sharing your settings on your brush ?

- Max -
07-08-2014, 03:44 AM
Everything's drawn using a tablet. As for the brushes settings, I don't use the same depending on what I want to do or the brush I use but basically I use some standard setting (pressure control, sometimes opacity control) with a basic hard round brush for almost all my outlining work.

Lyandra
07-08-2014, 03:08 PM
Thank you for starting this thread and sharing some of your workflow with us Max! I really like the look of the rock formations in the first post. The finished Coats of Arms and the sea monster look gorgeous too. :) I find the tips you've posted here very useful. Thank you again!

WhatTheBlazes
07-08-2014, 04:22 PM
Man, great stuff. Thanks for posting!

JonPin
07-08-2014, 04:51 PM
If you don't mind me asking, what kind of tablet do you use Max? I used to have a wacom intuos 3 but sold it. Now I'm getting back into digital drawing and am thinking about buying a new wacom tablet.

- Max -
07-12-2014, 10:35 PM
Thank you guys.
@JonPin : I use an Intuos4.

- Max -
07-13-2014, 11:18 AM
Today, some samples of a map on which I am currently working :

65702 65703

ravells
07-13-2014, 12:28 PM
Max, this is just glorious. Thank you so much for sharing your techniques! I want to live in your workshop!!!

p.s. do you think this should be in the tutorials section as there is tutorial gold here?

best

Ravi

Chashio
07-13-2014, 12:42 PM
Absolutely marvelous, Max! And a very large Thank You for sharing all of this!

- Max -
07-13-2014, 04:40 PM
Thank you guys !

p.s. do you think this should be in the tutorials section as there is tutorial gold here?
Actually I don' t really know, this is more some workflow/process sharing than some real tutorials (tat would need more detailed explanations).

Eilathen
07-14-2014, 06:42 AM
Wow, those newest samples are absolutely stunning. A very nice new style. Looking forward to the whole map.
Have a Like.

- Max -
07-14-2014, 08:03 PM
Thanks Eilathen. Actually it might take time before you'll see the whole map since it's involved in a commissioned project :P

Larb
07-14-2014, 08:58 PM
This thread is great and very enlightening.

Max: I am curious about what sort of settings you generally use for the brush tool and such so I'd love to hear some of the details if you don't mind!

WhatTheBlazes
07-15-2014, 05:15 AM
Thank you guys.
@JonPin : I use an Intuos4.

Yesssss. Tell us your secretssss.
(I bought one of those the other week...)

- Max -
07-15-2014, 01:58 PM
Thanks Guys :)


Max: I am curious about what sort of settings you generally use for the brush tool and such so I'd love to hear some of the details if you don't mind!
On any map in particular?

Today, some fun with a little B&W map drawn only with mouse, playing with the fade option of the opacity and sizes jitter in the brushes settings.

65761

Meriba
07-31-2014, 03:33 AM
Thanks for encouraging the noobs like me with only mouse maps. Talent is what we need, not tools.

I'm gonna try it right now. ;)


Edited: Tweaking with Illustrator and of course only mouse...
66174 and final!! 66179

- Max -
08-05-2014, 11:36 AM
No problem Meriba, glad it helped :)

- Max -
09-08-2014, 02:04 PM
A few samples of some WIP maps I'm currently working on.

Some mountains :

67198 67199

A city map in progress :

67200

Llannagh
09-09-2014, 03:23 AM
As usual, very nice work.

I'm curious as how your brush settigns are. Hoe do you achieve that quill-like look? Meaning the interrupted strokes and irregular thickness. My guess is that your brush tip is something like a rectangle and is set to rotate, which would achieve the variation in thickness, but I'm not sure how you got the interruption in the lines... unless you just lift the tip of your stylus. ;)

Also, so you have problems keeping yourself from putting too much detail into your mountains? Because I frequently get lost in drawing too many details but find it hard to stay away from it. In my opinion your mountains contain just the right amount of detail, without having too much.

- Max -
09-09-2014, 05:18 AM
Thank you Llannagh. Actually I just used the basic PS round brush (here with some noise brush setting and the usual size pressure setting). The irregular thickness and interrupted strokes were just made by controlling pressure and lifting the tip of the stylus indeed :)
About mountains details, I'm always thinking "print size". I draw a couple of mountains, then check how it looks at the final print size to be sure that they're still "legible" and convincing. Obviously, you have to adjust the level of mountains depending how big the print will be.

Ilanthar
09-10-2014, 08:34 AM
I love those mountains, there are full of details! The city is very promising too, the view makes me think of Prague.

- Max -
09-12-2014, 02:08 PM
Thanks Ilanthar (hehe well spotted ;) ).

Today, a part of some commission sketching:

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Some commission WIP outlining work:

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And more sample of a finished commission (coming in the future in the finished thread) :

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Bogie
09-12-2014, 02:22 PM
Nice maps Max!

- Max -
09-13-2014, 10:03 AM
Thank you Bogie

Diamond
09-13-2014, 12:36 PM
Man, I really love that relief style you've been perfecting. I need to learn how to do that...

Eilathen
09-14-2014, 08:30 AM
That last sample looks amazing! Looking forward to the finished map.

- Max -
09-15-2014, 02:25 PM
Thanks guys ! The rpg for which the last sample map was done shoul be released in a couple of weeks, as so the whole finished map ;)

- Max -
09-23-2014, 04:35 AM
Outlining work sample on a commission (I previously posted a sketch above ) :

67581

A couple of mountains and forests on another commission :

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And a 7 steps process on how drawing a colored parchment. Not specifically a mapping element but it can be used as a title/key/informations frame. I've drawn this one for the Deeps of Khor (http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/28323-deeps-khor.html)

67583

snodsy
09-23-2014, 07:05 AM
Can I just sit and watch over your shoulder? I'll pay! These step by step processes are really inspiring and helpful, thanks so much for sharing your talents. Seeing a master at work is really helpful, I want to skip work today and do a map.

- Max -
09-25-2014, 10:46 AM
Sure Snosdy, take a seat, there's some chips and cookies right there ;) Thanks by the way ! Here's some current experimenting with some isometric hand-drawn modular dungeon (no colors, just outlined elemetns at the moment) :

67702

Falconius
09-27-2014, 12:35 PM
Reminds me deeply of Hirst Arts blocks, only in drawn form. It's pretty neat.

- Max -
10-01-2014, 11:08 AM
Thanks Falconius. here's some small samples of the tweaked and colored version of the iso dungeon.

68066 68067 68068 68069

jkat718
10-05-2014, 03:04 AM
Wow, Max. The iso dungeon is looking fantastic! Will we see the final color version?

- Max -
10-08-2014, 09:53 AM
The final color version will probably be available to purchase soon, along with other isometric dungeons maps ;)

- Max -
10-10-2014, 01:19 PM
And here's another isometric dungeon map with this kind of modular material :

68277

- Max -
10-13-2014, 08:28 AM
Some coloring work:

68334 68335


And iso linework for some building maps :

68336 68337

Ilanthar
10-14-2014, 05:13 AM
You put so many details in those buildings! The bridge is just awesome.

Godzirra
10-14-2014, 12:02 PM
Max, You are amazing. I would like to discuss a commission with you. The contact form on your website was not working for me.

xpian
10-14-2014, 12:29 PM
This is great stuff. I find it personally very inspiring, in that it makes me envious of your skill and your eye for detail and composition.

Llannagh
10-18-2014, 03:04 AM
Did you have professional training, btw.? Went to a school of arts or something? Or did you teach yourself?

- Max -
10-18-2014, 11:10 AM
Thanks much guys, glad you like it !
Lhannag, actually I came to cartography and drawing pretty late so I didn't have the chance to study art in school and I taught myself (well I'm still doing it anyway :) )

Llannagh
10-18-2014, 06:01 PM
You definitely are talented! :)

Same thing here, I'm just now learning to draw, being in my mid-thirties, but I guess things happen when they happen! C'est la vie, right? ;)
Anyway, I need to sit down and bring up the patience and tenacity to learn how to draw things like the bridge you did there, that's just fantastic. I'm kind of glad you taught/are teaching yourself, that gives me hope and you another level of respect.

Thanks again for giving insight into your working process, this has definitley been of help to me.

- Max -
10-22-2014, 05:59 PM
Well I guess it's never too late to start ;) Anyway I'm glad that my works help :)

ok so here's a WIP map with some advanced sketching work on an isometric island :

68516

- Max -
12-29-2014, 10:36 AM
It's been a long time since I've updated this so this have to be fixed :)

Here are some samples of a couple of maps on which I've worked lately/still working. they should be published/done early 2015.

69903 69904 69905 69906 69907

- Max -
01-29-2015, 09:48 AM
And here's the quick 10 steps process for a map I've done lately. WIP thread here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=29439) and finished map here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=29506&p=261252#post261252).

70457

Nightshade400
02-01-2015, 12:21 AM
Just looking through this thread and wanted to say thanks for sharing Max. Your work is really inspiring.

- Max -
02-08-2015, 07:11 AM
My pleasure Nightshade !

miltiadesXO
08-29-2015, 12:13 PM
I 2nd what Nightshade400 said, your work is inspiring. Just starting to get into map-making.

Kelleri
09-25-2015, 02:07 PM
First off, this workshop is a gold-mine for someone looking for inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing!

Second, I was wondering, just how big are your map files? What about document dimensions and resolution? I do understand that these probably vary a lot on each map, but is there some average numbers you can give me? I'm mostly thinking about the bigger world maps here.

- Max -
09-28-2015, 11:35 AM
Thank you guys, I should update this more often but you know, work, life and stuff.... :D


First off, this workshop is a gold-mine for someone looking for inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing!

Second, I was wondering, just how big are your map files? What about document dimensions and resolution? I do understand that these probably vary a lot on each map, but is there some average numbers you can give me? I'm mostly thinking about the bigger world maps here.

Some of my biggest maps are for instance 24x59", 25x36", 33x46", 40x55". They're either in 150 or 300dpi.

TK.
09-30-2015, 11:45 AM
Thank you guys, I should update this more often but you know, work, life and stuff.... :D



Some of my biggest maps are for instance 24x59", 25x36", 33x46", 40x55". They're either in 150 or 300dpi.

Wow...I must be doing something ankward, then. I have been making my stuff with a resolution of 300dpi as well, using the "normal" 2000x2000px canvas, but when I zoom in it's a lot more blurry and less detailed than yours.

Any tricks there? I use a round brush as well for most stuff...


BTW Amazing stuff as always!

Meshon
09-30-2015, 12:57 PM
Wow...I must be doing something ankward, then. I have been making my stuff with a resolution of 300dpi as well, using the "normal" 2000x2000px canvas, but when I zoom in it's a lot more blurry and less detailed than yours.

Any tricks there? I use a round brush as well for most stuff...


BTW Amazing stuff as always!
The dpi is useful but likely where you're running into trouble is the canvas size. At 300dpi your map is going to be smaller than 7" x 7" whereas one of Max's 25x36 maps at just 150dpi would have a canvas size of 3750 pixels by 5400 pixels. Try making your canvas size larger to start with.

Hope that's useful!
Cheers,
Meshon

Sent from my SGH-I747M using Tapatalk

- Max -
09-30-2015, 01:40 PM
What Meshon said. Consider that with 300dpi, the print size will roughly be 30% of the 100% screen size of your file ( 7200x10800px for a standard 24x36").

TK.
10-01-2015, 07:49 AM
What Meshon said. Consider that with 300dpi, the print size will roughly be 30% of the 100% screen size of your file ( 7200x10800px for a standard 24x36").

Duh! Makes total sense! Thanks!

TK.
10-05-2015, 11:42 AM
Max

To me, the most amazing feature of your art, is the coloring and all the combinations you manage to produce between the elements. So, if you ever feel like, could you make a step-by-step of the coloring/brush process, with colors and brushes used?

Thanks in advance and keep them coming!

- Max -
10-05-2015, 12:40 PM
Thanks TK. Not sure I'll have time soon, I'm pretty busy lately but I'll try to do my best.

- Max -
01-15-2016, 11:18 AM
Haven't update this thread for ages. Ok so here's some details on my process about mountains colors. This is related to my map of the 6 realms (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=32739&p=287751#post287751) and you can also find the WIP of this map here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=32696) where I previously posted this mini-tutorial.

79172


1. First, on a new layer, I paint the mountains basic color (with a desatured brown color not too far from the overall tone of the background) with a round fuzzy low opacity brush ( dynamic opacity set to pressure) to blend the color with the background.
2. I reduce the opacity of this layer to 40%. This isn't a necessarily stage, rather a choice I've made on this map. It helps blending more, having some transparency with the background colors (especially since there's some greenish, brownish and yellowish terrains on the map) so the mountains will keep some consistency all over the map while having some slightly different shade regarding the terrains where they're located.
3. On a new layer set to multiply, I use the same color with the same brush to add shadows. Assuming the light is coming from the left/up left, the shadows are applied on the right sides of the reliefs, with more pressure close to the main summits and the ridges then lighter pressure the more you move to the right, or on some secondary ridges that catch the light. No need to be overdetailed here. What you see on the picture is 100% screen size but the print size is likely 30% of that.
4.On a new layer set to screen, I use the same color with the same brush to add highlights. A quick wor with a light pressure on the pen, adding a general light on the left faces of the mountains. I didn't want overpowered mountains here, with higher contrast but this could be easily done with a stronger pressure for more lights.
5. On a new layer set to screen, I use the same color and the same brush to add more light, roughly focusing on main summits and top of the main ridges. Here again, regarding scale and print size, no need to go too fancy.
6. This is an optionnal stage I didn't choose to go with on this map but it's something I use sometimes : adding some extra colors on the mountains. I create a new layer set to color blending mode just below the shadows/highlights layers and with the same brush I paint some color starting at the top of the mountains and going lower on pressure near the bottom to blend the color with the mountain base. Here, some gray to give some natural rocky feel to the mountain but you can add whatever color you want depending on what you aim.

You can use other kind of technic/setting, for instance the overlay blending mode (with a dark desaturated color layer for the shadows and a very light desaturated color layer for highlights) also works well but it's up to everyone, depending on what you aim on the specific map you're making. The one I used here has the advantage that you work with only one color so its' easier and faster to do.

saria
01-15-2016, 04:38 PM
Max, just read through this entire post since you brought it to my attention! This is fabulous stuff, really appreciate you sharing with all of us. So much to learn!!

ChickPea
01-18-2016, 06:55 AM
Yup, what Saria said^^ :)

Thanks for this, Max. I'll certainly be giving it a try.

Barek333
01-18-2016, 09:27 AM
This thread is a never ending source of inspiration. :)

- Max -
01-18-2016, 12:16 PM
My pleasure, glad you find it inspiring :)

Wired
01-19-2016, 03:39 PM
Max, if you have done linework for a jungle before, could you share with me (us) how you did that? I'm trying to come up with a jungle design that's different from the linework for an ordinary deciduous forest and am kind of stumped at the moment. :?:

The Runic
01-22-2016, 04:50 AM
Hey Max, thanks for the absolutely gorgeous tutorial! Adore your mountain style^^
You were my inspiration to start making maps :D

Recently bought myself an Intuos4m in great condition, hardly used hobby decive, could you give me some advice how to get started?

- Max -
01-22-2016, 06:41 AM
Max, if you have done linework for a jungle before, could you share with me (us) how you did that? I'm trying to come up with a jungle design that's different from the linework for an ordinary deciduous forest and am kind of stumped at the moment. :?:

Think simple, a map is a representation, not a realistic description, even if you go with an illustrated style. Here's how I do : I draw the forests like I would do for an ordianry decidous one and just add some palms leaves inside the forest and on some edges and that's it. Then color helps to differentiate it more from the deciduous forests. On a very zoomed in local map, you'd have to go in more details though.

79405


Hey Max, thanks for the absolutely gorgeous tutorial! Adore your mountain style^^
You were my inspiration to start making maps :D

Recently bought myself an Intuos4m in great condition, hardly used hobby decive, could you give me some advice how to get started?

Thanks The Runic :) Hmm I don't really know what kind of advice you're looking for :/ I guess the first thing is to handle the tablet itself and the move of the pen. For this I would suggest to get rid of your mouse for a while and use only your pen as you would do with a mouse to your daily use of all computer features, to get used to it. Then, for drawing, open some file and draw lines, curves, jagged lines, dots etc... playing with brushes, pressure control, opacity control, here again to get used to your new tool. Then when you feel more comfortable with it, try to draw a couple od things that would be useful on a map, a mountains, a nice meandering river, a tree etc. Well, you probably got it, practising is the key. Try simple things first and once you're satisified, try more complex stuff.

Wired
01-22-2016, 07:03 AM
Thank you! That's an elegant yet simple way of creating jungle line art. :)

Warlin
01-22-2016, 04:42 PM
Thanks for the tip on the jungle. Usefull and really simple to achive. This workshop is amazing :D.

- Max -
01-23-2016, 01:29 PM
Thanks Wired and Warlin :)

darcycardinal
02-21-2016, 07:11 AM
Some very good work Max,

I enjoyed your maps and the way you managed to work in all the fine details into them. Coloring and terrain features has been a challenge for my maps, but it seems you have it pat down!

Darcy Cardinal