View Full Version : Highmoon - First attempt at a town map

11-09-2008, 06:35 PM
Having been inspired both by the helpful comments from you all and by the superb quality of Gandwarf's maps, I thought I would try out one myself. Being no artist (more of an amateur dabbler), I thought I would try to remodel Highmoon. I started by printing the one from the Forgotten Realms Atlas and then added my artistic license to it. With the release of 4E, it also gave an opportunity to make the map slightly different from the original.

I am not sure about the choice of houses but I could not decide which ones I liked best. I have played about with shadows and blur to see what effects I would get, but I have only just started with CD3 and some of it is taking awhile to learn!

Thanks to Gandwarf for providing the motivation!

Out of interest, I assume that it is OK to base maps around FR stuff as they are for my own use? Should I put 'all copyrights acknowledged' on them or something?

11-09-2008, 06:51 PM
You should be fine. It of course never hurts to add the 'Based on Original Map etc....."

11-09-2008, 08:49 PM
In a very technical sense you should acknowledge the trade mark with the TM logo - but god help us the day that a fan based free map site gets its collar felt for creating original art based on role playing campaign settings.

11-11-2008, 02:33 PM
Good to see I inspired some people. I love city maps, so the more, the better!
This is also a great opportunity for me to study different styles and stea... eh borrow them for my own maps ;)

What I really like about your map is the forests and the farmland in the clearings. I also like the layout of the city walls. They look organic (they are not placed in straight lines). Seeing forested areas inside the (stone?) walls does look a bit funny to me. It's very expensive to build city walls... so why enclose forest? But hey, this is a fantasy map :)

Some things I would change:

- The texture of the walls. This texture looks really "rocky" and has lots of color differences and patches.
- Make the towers stand out more. The walls and towers look too much alike right now I think.
- Add different looking houses, as the roofs all share the same colors. Houses are often built using the same materials that can be found in the surrounding area, but a few houses should look different to make the city look more realistic.

Also, is it possible to upload a higher resolution version of your map?

Anyway, keep up the good work. I did about twenty maps with City Designer 3 and as you might have noticed I did improve my skills with each map (and I think there is still room for a lot of improvement, so I am never done :) ).

11-16-2008, 02:24 PM
Thanks for the comments, I have tried out some of the changes suggested by Gandwarf and posted the result.

I have left the trees in as Highmoon is in the centre of the Dalelands and I saw them as an extension of the forest. Some Elves may even live in them (!)

I have changed the walls for a lighter grey and removed a lot of the blurs, I watched the tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=3434) and used glows instead. I think it looks much better with the red important houses and I may even write a 'Volo' (TM) style guide when the city is done.

The video tutorial also showed me how to save as a rectangular jpeg (I was using screen shots :oops:).I think that the house style is probably wrong as it seems to be the detail that makes the map look blurry.
Anyone have a preferred house stlye they would like to suggest?

Steel General
11-16-2008, 04:27 PM
I wonder if some of the 'blurriness' of the buildings would go away if you changed the color of the roads to something a little 'duller' or 'dirtier' or perhaps tone down the texture that is used on them.

11-16-2008, 04:33 PM
Great to see some more work done on the map!

You have made some great improvements, like the different looking housing and the texture for the walls. I think the road texture in the other version of your map are better though! This one detracts too much I think, it looks really grainy.

As for the explanation for the forests: if there are elves you should definitely keep them :P

I still think you should be able to save the map on a larger resolution. Although I have to admit I cut and pasted all my maps together by making screenshots in CD3... not the best method.

11-18-2008, 07:39 PM
After much fiddling, I am fairly happy with this now. I have added blur to the road and a bit of edge fade to break the horrid texture up.
I think the towers are OK now I have changed the walls. I thought I would try the new borders from the November issue of the Cartographers Annual, it looks OK.

I have learnt a lot and the advice is certainly useful (keep it coming) and the different ideas make up for my lack of drawing skills!

I might call this one done, as my players need to go there tomorrow!

11-18-2008, 08:56 PM
Nice map! My advice is to desaturate the colours...they are quite loud, especially the roofs of the houses. The fields are also very bright .... do have a look online at colour tutorials, whether it's fantasy or reality, having a consistent colour pallete really helps. A quick fix would be just to layer a colour on top of the entire map and lower the transparency. Noise is also a great way to add texture. I've had a play and it's by no means perfect but this is sort of what I mean

11-18-2008, 09:04 PM
I knew there was something tapping me on the shoulder about this but didn't know what it was until Ravs pointed it out...excellent color mod by the way. Overall the composition looks great and the execution is good as well but that one lil bit about color really makes it hum. I grant thee a Nice Job!

11-20-2008, 04:20 AM
The river could perhaps use a contour line to make it stand out a little more among the forest.

11-22-2008, 06:31 PM
As always, you comments have helped me develop my maps (and skills).
It was also my thought that the map was too bright but I had no idea on how to darken it, as I almost exclusively use CC3 it was difficult to filter etc.
Ravells comments set me off to find out what desaturate meant in mapping terms ;) with the final conclusion that maybe I need to invest in photoshop.

I sort of got round the problem by adding a grey layer which I then made transparent and blurred. I then finished the whole lot of with a touch of Spatial Matrix Processing to darken the map. I have also added a black blur to the river to make it stand out a bit more.

I think this is a far as Highmoon will go for now, I keep fidlding and its time to move on, as indeed have my players!

11-23-2008, 03:20 PM
Good job, goatdealer. I like how it turned out and I repped you for it.
I still wish you would post a higher resolution version. The map is blurry because it's so small.

Investing time in software like Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro is never a bad idea. I saw some great maps which were started in CC3 and then finished in Photoshop.

11-23-2008, 05:39 PM
Glad to be of help! If you don't want to get photoshop, use the GIMP instead, it's a free download and has most of the functionality of photoshop. More than enough for post production on CC3 maps.

11-23-2008, 06:05 PM
Thanks to you all for your help and comments. I shall download gimp forthwith (though you do realize it will only lead to me needing more help).

Gandwarf: Many thanks for your rep and and assistance, in regard to the resolution issue, the simple truth of the matter is I don't know how!
I did these images by using the save as rectangular area jpeg option, I also tried screen dumping it but that was worse, is there a better way?

I am happy to send you the original fcw file if you want to see what I am doing wrong!.

11-23-2008, 07:26 PM
Thanks to you all for your help and comments. I shall download gimp forthwith (though you do realize it will only lead to me needing more help).

We've helped a few people get familiar with Gimp, so no worries.

Just post and ask questions if you get stuck.

-Rob A>

11-24-2008, 07:22 AM
Just stumbeld across this threat :)

So I tought I'd contribute a second color mod for your map :)

As RobA allready said, dont be afraid of GIMP or asking questions about it :)

Edit: added a second mod :)

11-24-2008, 09:51 AM
Bah... can I play? Old cloth map version. Added Clothify, then increased brightness, desaturated a bit.

12-28-2008, 12:18 PM
All the color tones aside, this is a great first city map! (In my humble, admittedly amateur eye). It's nice enough to just sit back and look at for a while.

12-29-2008, 12:34 PM
We've helped a few people get familiar with Gimp, so no worries.

Just post and ask questions if you get stuck.

-Rob A>

yeah, only helped a "few" people.....

yeeesh, talk about understatement RobA 8)

09-08-2010, 05:34 PM
I'm REALLY late on this thread, but is Rhauntide's Tower on there? :D

09-08-2010, 06:25 PM
Looks great the final toning down is a nice touch. I think Volo might be headed in your general direction (as soon as he get's back to Toril from The Kingdom of Shendenflar...) being inspired by other maps is what it is all about Riverhewn the capital of Shendenflar is rather reminiscent of Waterdeep with a fair amount of Greyhawk sprinkled in... TMs all around BTW