View Full Version : Obelisk - Help

08-14-2014, 07:37 PM
Hey all - Working on making a map of an Obelisk/Watchtower (in photoshop). I've tried to make an obelisk before and always struggled so I figured i'd see if anyone has any suggestions or ideas about how to make it look less like a pyramid and look better in general.

So I created a base layer that serves as a platform for the obelisk - and then another layer with a large bevel (chisel hard) for the body of the obelisk - and then finally another layer for the pyramid top. I tried experimenting with the screen/multiply settings on the bevel and the contour.

The textures i'm using here are basically placeholders until I get the building down.

So - any thoughts/suggestions are appreciated


08-14-2014, 08:08 PM
I think the best way to make it feel like a really tall structure is to have it cast a very long shadow.

08-14-2014, 09:37 PM
Thanks - added

I suppose whats disturbing to my eye is the sharp lines that form the X...I suppose you have to have them there to give it its shape, but wondering if there is a way to dull them a bit. Also trying to figure out a way to convey the sharper angle/slope of the building from the base to the pyramid (as compared to the angle/slope of the pyramid topper).


08-14-2014, 10:08 PM
I agree the edges are too sharp. I tried a blur just over the edge Using a soft brush . It takes the edge off no pun intended . It doesn't seem to adversely affect the shape.

A field of depth blur might also help the Illusion of height. I am not sure what you mean by the last part of your post ?
Also trying to figure out a way to convey the sharper angle/slope of the building from the base to the pyramid (as compared to the angle/slope of the pyramid topper).

08-15-2014, 01:36 PM
Good idea with the blur - but it unfortunately didn't work because the sharp lines are from the bevel effect on that shape.

But...it did give me the idea that instead of having one square with the pyramid like bevel, I separate it into 4 triangles and play around with gradient effects. I'm happier with this version - but still all ears if anyone has any suggestions

What I meant by the last post was that the incline of an obelisk is steeper from the base to just before the pyramid topper as compared to the incline of the pyramid topper. (not sure if that makes any more sense).


08-15-2014, 01:52 PM
Different inclines should catch different amounts of sun depending on the position of the sun in the sky. I'd make the very top catch more light than the steeper slop leading up to it. Sometimes it help to make edges catch slightly more light or cast slightly stronger shadows, common of actual edges. It's looking good!

08-15-2014, 02:48 PM
Because an obelisk is a square column with a pyramid at the cap, from a top down view, it only looks like a pyramid. Often when I create map objects with angles hidden due to being top down, I imply the shape with the shadow, rather than the object. I am working on an Egyptian based city design, so I too am creating obelisks for my map, I create a directed shadow (in the same direction as any drop shadows used in map) that depicts the obelisk form, unlike the top down view does.

Like this...


08-15-2014, 03:32 PM
Thanks for the tips guys - very helpful. I made a shadow with a LOT less blur so that it better depicts the form (though the overall map size limits the length of the shadow). I also expanded the pyramid topper in size so that it gives the illusions of a steeper incline. Also tinker with some settings to follow MadCowChef's suggestion that some spots should be lighter/darker depending on where sun hits it. Happier with this output.


08-16-2014, 10:42 AM
What about doing it something like this with a bit of a lean back on the top? This was done VERY quickly and I didn't hunt for decent fills but it shows you what I was thinking.

08-16-2014, 11:19 AM
oooh...that is pretty cool, but I have no experience doing the whole ISO-perspective thing (and it would probably take me forever to a whole map that way). Did you do that in CC3 perspectives?

08-16-2014, 12:31 PM
One thing I was going to point out regarding obelisks, is they were usually tapered (http://crossbearer-brian.tripod.com/6744ef40.jpg) towards the top. Thus the top down view would depict the wider base and the narrower top. This fact could also be shown in the shadow. Many obeliskscalso had hieroglyphs carved into them, which might be hard to show on a top-down map, but could add some authenticity.


08-16-2014, 01:22 PM
Yes - "Tapered" was the word I was looking for in the previous posts...which was also the hardest effect to try to achieve I think. I tried to illustrate that with the middle square (of the three on the map) being a little darker than the smallest one and also having the 4 bevel lines leading to the center.

08-16-2014, 05:41 PM
Here are two pictures of an obelisk (Washington Monument) from above. Might be useful reference for you. Or someone else.

This one was taken on a cloudy day: http://cdn.omg-facts.com/2014/3/21/e3e71d44819029e2f74373ad0867f0c9.jpg There's no definable cast shadow, it has less contrast between the lit and shaded sides but still with a crisp edge between them, and you can perceive more variation of hue and value in the individual blocks.

Compare with the sunny version: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8320/7918429962_0affbf1fe9.jpg What do you see?