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Turgenev
11-10-2008, 03:04 AM
Here's a town map I've been working on and off for the last week or so. This town was built over the ruins of a much older settlement. The outer and inner walls have either fallen to decay, or the stonework has been appropriated for other uses (ie buildings, bridges, property walls, etc). Perhaps the outer walls were never finished in stone and the original wooden walls have rotted away with time. I was also thinking that the little pond at the top of the map was originally man made and originally had some tactical significance hence the tower and walls (perhaps the river was wider in the town's past as well).

The various houses I drew by hand and scanned into the computer and manipulated with Photoshop. My initial inspiration to do this map came from pyrandon's excellent tutorial: A medieval town map tutorial in Photoshop (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1150). As I digest the info in this tutorial, I'm sure I will be tweaking my own map as I try out new things. ;)

Steel General
11-10-2008, 08:43 AM
Ahhh expanding out to try "new" ideas...always a good thing.

Torq
11-10-2008, 10:13 AM
I think it looks very cool Turgenev. New genre, but its still got your clear and informative style with great sense of proportion and artistic flair. Nice one.

Torq

torstan
11-10-2008, 12:02 PM
Very nice. I like the style a lot.

I understand the ruined fortifications in the middle of the town, but the further out ones are a little confusing. Was the town ever big enough to need the outlying wall to the SE? It seems a long way from the outer houses and I can't quite see the logic for it being so far away. Also, The hard outline on the fortification walls jars a little. I'd suggest halving the width of the outline to let them blend in a little more.

Otherwise, lovely. I particularly like the muted colour scheme - and the detail in all the buildings is great.

Turgenev
11-10-2008, 12:50 PM
Thanks for the comments & suggestions, guys. I'll be revisiting this map soon enough. For the record, this is my third attempt at a village/town map with my previous works being at my cartography site. I used to draw all of my village/town/city maps by hand and it is recently that I've switched to doing it in Photoshop.

Turgenev
11-10-2008, 12:59 PM
I understand the ruined fortifications in the middle of the town, but the further out ones are a little confusing. Was the town ever big enough to need the outlying wall to the SE? It seems a long way from the outer houses and I can't quite see the logic for it being so far away. Also, The hard outline on the fortification walls jars a little. I'd suggest halving the width of the outline to let them blend in a little more.

Thanks for the comments, torstan. My original idea, which I didn't explain very well, was this town was built over the ruins of a much older settlement. The outer and inner walls have either fallen to decay, or the stonework has been appropriated for other uses (ie buildings, bridges, property walls, etc). Much like cities and towns are often built on top of each other (i.e. Rome).

I was also thinking that the little pond at the top of the map was originally man made and originally had some tactical significance hence the tower and walls (perhaps the river was wider in the town's past as well).

I'm leaving most of the background info generic so this map can be dropped into someone's AD&D/D&D/Fantasy game as used without too much hassle. At least that's my goal with this and perhaps the next batch of town maps.

Turgenev
11-10-2008, 03:05 PM
I've replaced the original map with the revised one. I changed the thickness of the stroke on the castle walls as suggested by torstan. Good call. ;)

torstan
11-10-2008, 03:25 PM
Looking good.

I'm glad the comments were useful. The explanation as the remains of the fortifications of a much older settlement makes more sense now. I also wondered about the pond to the NE. It looked to me like a place where the fortifications had been breached by some large explosion and the river had flowed through into the crater, or just where the wall had been taken down by sappers and the river had flowed through into the depression on the far side.

Looks done to me. What else do you want to do to it?

Steel General
11-10-2008, 03:49 PM
Looks done to me. What else do you want to do to it?

I was going to ask the same question.

Turgenev
11-10-2008, 03:59 PM
I'm glad the comments were useful. The explanation as the remains of the fortifications of a much older settlement makes more sense now. I also wondered about the pond to the NE. It looked to me like a place where the fortifications had been breached by some large explosion and the river had flowed through into the crater, or just where the wall had been taken down by sappers and the river had flowed through into the depression on the far side.

I like that idea. I might have to use it if I ever get to writing up the town for my own AD&D game.

I was thinking of playing around with the background layer to add some elevation. Basically I was going to apply the Burn Tool to the grass background to give a sense of depth. I also want to reread pyrandon's tutorial to see if there were any other touches I can add. I will resave the PSD file so if any changes don't work out the way I'm hoping, the original will remain untouched.

This map is pretty close to being done and it might be time for me to start a new one. It is a nice change from drawing dungeons (but more time consuming). ;)

torstan
11-10-2008, 04:38 PM
I'd avoid using the burn tool directly on the grass layer as it will change your colours. I'd recommend using a mid-gray overlay layer and then adding light and dark to that (possibly using burn/dodge on that layer) to get your elevations.

I look forward to seeing the results of your experimenting.

Turgenev
11-11-2008, 04:14 PM
Okay that was weird. I got the email notification that Steel General made a reply (with an interesting tip on doing shading on the grass) but when I came here, his post is not to be seen. Did you delete the post, SG? Or was there a glitch in the system? Like I said, weird.

Back to the map. I've decided to not add any elevation modifications to the town map because I think it has enough going on as it is. I did experiment with a few touches but none of them thrilled me. Even though I didn't use the tips this time, I do appreciate them because I'm likely to use them later. ;)

Gandwarf
11-11-2008, 04:51 PM
I agree with the others, it looks good. The layout of the city is cool as are all the different houses (being different shapes and sizes). I also quite like the little effect you added to the road to create the bridge in the town center.

Some suggestions/critique:
- I would probably place the buildings in the walled town center a bit closer together. Everybody likes the safety of a nearby wall. It's prime real estate!

- The larger forest to the right has a bevel or something? It's too noticable for my taste, it almost looks like it's made of plastic. The smaller forests don't seem to have the problem as much.

- Maybe add some rubble where parts of the outer walls stood?

Steel General
11-11-2008, 05:50 PM
Okay that was weird. I got the email notification that Steel General made a reply (with an interesting tip on doing shading on the grass) but when I came here, his post is not to be seen. Did you delete the post, SG? Or was there a glitch in the system? Like I said, weird.

Yeah I deleted it after realizing it was the same basic technique that is used in Pyrandon's city tutorial. Since you had already mentioned you were going to look at that I figured it wasn't worth repeating it here.

Turgenev
11-12-2008, 10:46 PM
I agree with the others, it looks good. The layout of the city is cool as are all the different houses (being different shapes and sizes). I also quite like the little effect you added to the road to create the bridge in the town center.

Some suggestions/critique:
- I would probably place the buildings in the walled town center a bit closer together. Everybody likes the safety of a nearby wall. It's prime real estate!

- The larger forest to the right has a bevel or something? It's too noticable for my taste, it almost looks like it's made of plastic. The smaller forests don't seem to have the problem as much.

- Maybe add some rubble where parts of the outer walls stood?

Thanks for the ideas, Gandwarf. I'm going to toy with the larger forest to see what I can come up with. I originally thought of adding rubble to all of the walls (to help represent their age compared to the rest of the town) but I forgot to do it. It completely slipped my mind. :lol: Thanks again for the ideas. They gave me something to think about. Now I just have to find the time to get back to that map.

Turgenev
11-14-2008, 08:55 PM
I've tweaked the larger forests by toning down the emboss and by adding an additional layer to the foliage to mix things up. Now I just need to find a name for the town for my campaign. ;)

Steel General
11-15-2008, 10:07 AM
Well since it's built over the top of an older city, maybe "New" (whatever the old city name was).

Turgenev
11-15-2008, 10:55 AM
I went through several different names before I settled with the name of Aldkeep (it is a linguistic corruption of Old Keep). I'm working on this map as a basis for an AD&D World of Greyhawk campaign and here's what I have so far.

Turgenev
11-15-2008, 11:53 PM
Okay, I can't stop tinkering. ;) I've added a few more houses to the map including a few sheds/outhouses/smaller shacks as well. I also have a World of Greyhawk and a generic version done.

torstan
11-16-2008, 12:02 PM
Looking good. Since you are tinkering anyway :) a few more comments. The river is a little fluorescent. Now that you've toned down the other elements it might be worth desaturating the river colours a little. I also noticed the river crossings are generally diagonal. Bridges over rivers tend to go straight across as it is easier and cheaper. It might be nice to make them look different from the roads too, as they certainly win't be dirt - they are likely to brick or stone arches.

I like the Greyhawking of it. Very nice.

ravells
11-16-2008, 03:45 PM
Looking really good, Turganev. I really like the colour set you've used (apart from the river which looks a little too bright, as Torstan said). My only small crits are the building distribution and and size are very uniform. the wiggly roads are really nice tho.

Turgenev
11-16-2008, 04:51 PM
Here's the latest attempt. I've replaced the bridges with the wooden plank/stone frame bridge pic that I created and I also added an extra bridge. I have also replaced the water but I'm not 100% satisfied with it. I'm going to think that one over for a bit and see what I can come up with. Any water tips would greatly be appreciated.

torstan
11-16-2008, 05:16 PM
That's a big improvement with the bridges. If you are feeling keen - looks like it so far! - it might be worth putting a feature in the town wall where it crosses the river too. It would be unlikely for the builders to have built that across as a diagonal. I know - I'm picking nits.

As for the water texture the first point is that it is too large - try reducing the scale by 50%.

It can also be worth having one layer for the colkour of the water and another for the highlights - the light on the surface. On your colour layer try a darkish blue in the middle of the river lightening to a mid blue at the edge. Then have a layer over the top with the river texture set to soft or hard light, and play with the opacity. You can get some good results by tweaking the curves on the texture layer so that the texture is much harder with clean edges on the light areas. Water tends to reflect very sharp highlights. Hopefully those will give you a fun hour or two's experimentation. Looking forward to seeing the results!

Steel General
11-16-2008, 05:24 PM
It might even be worth a try to make the river a solid color than go over it with small, low opacity airbrush of a lighter color then use the 'smudge' tool (or whatever the GIMP equivalent is) to show the direction the water is traveling.

This worked out pretty well with the aqueduct on my Seagaard map.

ravells
11-16-2008, 05:53 PM
I hope you don't mind, Turgenev, but I took your map and had a play with the river (using photoshop). I used a reasonably desaturated blue, gave it a small amount of noise which I reduced the opacity to, bevelled inwards (to make the river banks) and gave it a gradient fill (which emphasises the banks a little more and adds a nice variation of contrast to the river over its whole length) and satin overlay (gives it dark and light bands so it looks a little like a sky reflection). I think it looks OK this way.

Gandwarf
11-16-2008, 06:13 PM
Yep, the bridges are a great improvement.

The larger forests reverted back to their original state, though?

Ascension
11-16-2008, 10:43 PM
I always add in a sandy brown river bank as an outer glow or gradient stroke (set to shape burst in PS). Lastly, the bridges are a bit orange, maybe make em more tan-brown. Minor nits on my part, I know, so please disregard if ya feel like it ;) Lookin swell overall tho so keep on truckin.

Turgenev
11-16-2008, 11:53 PM
Thanks everyone for the wonderful tips! I've taken everything into account and here's my latest attempt...

Ascension
11-17-2008, 01:58 AM
Dayum, that's lookin goood (with a bunch more O's)! Nice job man. I tried to bonk thee but, alas, your THACO warded me off so I have to spread some love.

Turgenev
11-17-2008, 02:17 AM
Thanks for the compliment, Ascension. As you can see, I removed the part of the castle wall that was going over the river. I figured it would prevent any potential use of the river (especially now since the walls are mainly historical and not really up to standards for defensive purposes). I'll probably post the Greyhawk version in the Finished Maps section of the Gallery once I finish detailing the Legend for the various buildings.

I think I'm done with this map for the time being. I need a break from it and besides, I want to start writing it up for my AD&D campaign. I really do appreciate all the help from everyone and I have repped those that I could (a few of you I couldn't until I spread the love around a bit more - I have already repped you recently ;)).

ravells
11-17-2008, 07:46 AM
I always add in a sandy brown river bank as an outer glow or gradient stroke (set to shape burst in PS). Lastly, the bridges are a bit orange, maybe make em more tan-brown. Minor nits on my part, I know, so please disregard if ya feel like it ;) Lookin swell overall tho so keep on truckin.

What's a shape burst? Sounds interesting - never heard of it!

Ascension
11-17-2008, 06:09 PM
In PS you can have your stroke be a gradient. The default is Linear but there is Radial, Angle, Reflected, Diamond, and Shape Burst. Say I have a 10 pixel stroke with a black to white gradient...linear will put the white at the top and black at the bottom, radial will create something circular where the black is like a black hole with white at the edges forming a ring, angle works like clocks hands going around starting with black at midnight and going around getting lighter until white at 11:59, reflected will have white at top and bottom with black in the middle, diamond is like radial but instead of using a circular shape it uses a diamond shape, shape burst runs the gradient from black to white from outside in (similar to radial but in the opposite direction) but it keeps the shape of the object...this is sort of like increasing a selection size 1 pixel at a time...so that the stroke itself is white where it is closest to the object and black furthest out. This is very handy for making beaches (not as good as outer glow though) or black rings around a landmass on a parchment-style tan and black map. The stroke can also be applied outside or inside the object as well as centered on the edge. Lastly, you can also use a pattern as a stroke instead of a solid color or a gradient. The only downside is that the stroke does not fade out like an outer or inner glow. The following pic should explain it better.

Nickadimos
11-22-2008, 05:06 AM
I may be new... But I don't feel like the ruins are ruins... they are way too clean to be ruins I feel. they look more like incomplete wall segments...

To me they need some harder changes in their coloring to show major holes in the walls like; whole section, then 30 feet of nothing but the last few feet of height left, then the rest of the wall complete again.

Take a BIG bite out of a piece of toast, then stand it up with the bite you took at the top, then look strait down at that and you will see what I mean.. Cannonball? lol

peace

Terry

Turgenev
11-22-2008, 06:35 AM
I may be new... But I don't feel like the ruins are ruins... they are way too clean to be ruins I feel. they look more like incomplete wall segments...

To me they need some harder changes in their coloring to show major holes in the walls like; whole section, then 30 feet of nothing but the last few feet of height left, then the rest of the wall complete again.

Take a BIG bite out of a piece of toast, then stand it up with the bite you took at the top, then look strait down at that and you will see what I mean.. Cannonball? lol


Thanks for the comment, Terry. I know exactly what you're saying. I had considered adding rubble/additional shading to the walls but I decided against it several reasons. First off, I don't consider these walls be in complete ruins. Maybe the word 'ruins' wasn't the right one (I do sometimes find it hard to find the right words to express my ideas). In my mind, the walls are still in use but not in the best condition (they are showing their age).

I basically saw the fortification walls as being a relic of the town's past (perhaps a hundred years old or so). The town once suffered raids/attacks from the enemy, but the area has been peaceful for some time now so the old protective walls have deteriorated with the passage of time and neglect. I do envision the interior walls probably being used more often than the outer walls though (mainly because the centre of the town is the administrative heart of the town). Perhaps the thieves' guild is using the outer towers for nefarious purposes since they are so close to the shanty huts.

I also decided against the idea of including rubble because I figured the local townspeople would have snatched any loose, usable rock for their own purposes. I picture some of the older stonework would be incorporated into the various buildings/bridges/road markers/etc.

For the generic map, I'm leaving the status of the walls and their ultimate use up to the Game Master/Dungeon Master to decide. My original idea was to produce a series of generic maps that a DM could plug into his game and use without too much alteration. As for the Greyhawk version, I'm working on the background details behind the history of the town of Ardkeep and those that call it home.

ravells
11-22-2008, 07:17 AM
Very cool, thanks for the explanation. Looks like a very handy tool for the armoury!


In PS you can have your stroke be a gradient. The default is Linear but there is Radial, Angle, Reflected, Diamond, and Shape Burst. Say I have a 10 pixel stroke with a black to white gradient...linear will put the white at the top and black at the bottom, radial will create something circular where the black is like a black hole with white at the edges forming a ring, angle works like clocks hands going around starting with black at midnight and going around getting lighter until white at 11:59, reflected will have white at top and bottom with black in the middle, diamond is like radial but instead of using a circular shape it uses a diamond shape, shape burst runs the gradient from black to white from outside in (similar to radial but in the opposite direction) but it keeps the shape of the object...this is sort of like increasing a selection size 1 pixel at a time...so that the stroke itself is white where it is closest to the object and black furthest out. This is very handy for making beaches (not as good as outer glow though) or black rings around a landmass on a parchment-style tan and black map. The stroke can also be applied outside or inside the object as well as centered on the edge. Lastly, you can also use a pattern as a stroke instead of a solid color or a gradient. The only downside is that the stroke does not fade out like an outer or inner glow. The following pic should explain it better.

Nickadimos
11-22-2008, 06:28 PM
Oh ok.. Then it looks awesome then LOL

Terry

yaztromo
05-15-2011, 08:33 AM
Hi Turgenev :-)

I absolutely love your Fantasy RPG Town Map and the whole article, however could you please post some details on how you actually created the buildings, what size was the initial image in Photoshop and could you please post a small piece as a .psd so we can all learn how you did it...

Take care,
Matt

Steel General
05-15-2011, 09:33 AM
Holy thread-rez Batman!

anstett
05-17-2011, 08:33 PM
Thank you for Rez'ing this thread, Very nice work on this town usable for just about any type of campaign.

BOB

Turgenev
05-18-2011, 01:55 PM
Hi Turgenev :-)

I absolutely love your Fantasy RPG Town Map and the whole article, however could you please post some details on how you actually created the buildings, what size was the initial image in Photoshop and could you please post a small piece as a .psd so we can all learn how you did it...
Glad you liked the map, Matt. Sorry for the lateness of the reply but I'm not around these parts as often as I used to be. I've cut back my involvement with 90% of message boards that I used to visit so I would use that time more efficiently on my work. That map was from some time ago but I drew the houses by hand, scanned them in the computer, and then did a lot of copy & paste to get them where I wanted them. I added a colour overlay and a slight bevel/emboss to rise the houses off the page. As for posting a piece of the psd file, I'm sorry to say I can't. It is on my old and very dead computer.

yaztromo
05-20-2011, 05:08 PM
Does anyone/or would anyone like to share their knowledge on how to create just a few small houses/cottages similar to Turgenev maps? I would be forever grateful for my gaming group? A .psd even if very small would be really useful to take apart the layers and see how its done :-(