View Full Version : A regional experiment

11-15-2008, 03:03 AM
I doodled this up tonight as an attempt to combine my usual style with a regional map. Don't know if I'll finish it as it was just an experiment. I'll probably experiment with it some more before I call it done.

11-15-2008, 03:13 AM
Well that's worthy of REP, have some! (I didn't knock you over the top at 100 rep, but I got you close, somebody else has to push you over!) :D

Nice job, I can't wait until you're finished!


11-15-2008, 03:19 AM
Sweet, thanks man! Guess that means I'll have to finish it properly with scale and text.

11-15-2008, 08:53 AM
Welcome to the world of +3 (or more ?) repping capability.


Steel General
11-15-2008, 08:58 AM
That is absolutely stunning , you better "darn" well finish it! :D

I'll give you a "in good faith" bonking since I just repped you the other day.

11-15-2008, 02:36 PM
Your one of my favorite mappers here Ascension, i love your style and look. I really hope you update your tutorial or do a new one showcasing your evolving style. Just love the map! If i had rep it would go all your way (well some for Torq, "The 3 Robs", and others too!)

11-15-2008, 02:42 PM
If i had rep it would go all your way (well some for Torq, "The 3 Robs", and others too!)I should think that you have a +1 club of repping. Click on the recipients scales icon.

11-15-2008, 04:57 PM
I love the colours. Is there any specific palette you work from?

11-15-2008, 09:55 PM
Thank you very much Lath, I do appreciate it.

Larb, I always start with the same colors as mentioned in the continent tutorial, you might notice that I repeat them in the other tuts. I even start with the same colors on other things because the color code numbers are burned into my brain from using them so much. These colors constitute a "starting point" and then I twiddle the knobs and push the buttons (figuratively) until something better (in my opinion) comes out the other end. Texturing is done much the same way. I like to think of what I do as world-building...I feel like a sculptor molding the land to what I want using erasers and airbrushes and when I want something new and unpredictable I mess with the filters and see what happens. And in the end it has to pass my "How much ass does this kick?" criteria.

Recently there has been a thread on making zillions of houses for a city map and I thought to carry that over into a regional map. So I used a 100-pixel airbrush and in the brush dynamics (Photoshop) I gave it a texture (Photoshop default texture known as "towel") and out pops something kinda city like...little squares randomly placed. Then I load it up with styles and call it good. The styles change but I start with a pre-defined set of styles I have saved...they are also in the Mapping Elements subforum here at The Guild.

On to the update: lots of tweaks...roads, bridges, city walls and turrets, "areas of interest" upgrades, ocean color tweaks and waves, and of course the whole key menu and started labeling. This one should be done tomorrow or the next few days, depending on how the naming of things goes. Some of the bridges might not be able to be seen, as they're hidden in the city's shadows but I always feel obligated to give the people what they need so I put em in anyways, even if no-one notices.

PS - the font is Becker Fraktur.

Steel General
11-16-2008, 09:29 AM
You know I love your stuff, and I'm always "complaining" about how it seems dark to me. I think this time the font color actually needs to be toned down.

To me it seems to clash against the darker, more subtle color scheme of the rest of the map. Maybe even just turn the opacity down a bit so it isn't so 'stark'. *shrugs*

11-16-2008, 10:25 AM
If you're referring to the white text, have no fear...it's just a placeholder for now. Once I come up with names I'll also change the style.

Steel General
11-16-2008, 04:18 PM
If you're referring to the white text, have no fear...it's just a placeholder for now. Once I come up with names I'll also change the style.

Yup, exactly what I meant...look forward to what you have in store.

11-16-2008, 05:23 PM
Well, I joined the repping bandwagon. I think it's a great map!
I especially like the vegetation, although the water is beautiful too.

One question, why do the villages and towns have a bit of a checkered look to them?

11-16-2008, 06:31 PM
Beautifully done, Ascension, this is stunning. I really like the idea behind the cities / towns, but (for me) they are not quite there - the shapes are lovely, it's the texture and drop shadow which don't quite look right.

11-16-2008, 09:26 PM
The checkerboard is a pattern overlay with a low opacity...I was aiming to accentuate the "blockiness" by adding that. Not sure if I'll be keeping it. The drop shadow...well...I'd rather not put in a cast shadow on something so small but if I must then I must.

Today's update: spent the whole darn day naming things and messin around with a faux 3-d effect, then messin around with styles but ended up using the same things as on the corresponding settlement with a few lightening touches so as it can be legible and not blend in so much. The font for the settlements is Cardinal with a text warp of shell upper, +50 bend and vert distortion of -20.

The 3-d effect was quite easy: copy the text layer, move it under, color overlay of medium gray, move it up 1 pixel; copy this layer 9 times (for the cities but only 5 more for the towns and only 3 more for the villages) and move each layer up 1 pixel as you go; merge the layers; 1-pixel black stroke and a noise gradient overlay. I'm sure there are some other ways to do it better in a vector program but I try to stay all within Photoshop.

Still lots to do like naming the sites, mountains, valleys, rivers, bays, etc.; think about that cast shadow for the cities; title, frame and scale; cast shadows for the text; and other doo-dads as I think of em.

11-17-2008, 06:50 AM
I love the lettering! Very original!

I'm going to have a play with your city idea later, I really love the effect, but want to tweak it slightly differently.

Steel General
11-17-2008, 08:32 AM
I have to admit while that's a novel idea for the text and it looks great - it doesn't do much for me *shrugs*. I think I'd like it more if the entire map had that 3D look to it.

The forest/vegetation is fantastic - any special trick to it? I also like the idea of showing the area that a city covers rather than just having a dot/square/etc.

11-18-2008, 01:24 AM
SG -- the forest is just one of the scattered dry brushes (PS default but I don't remember which one...it's sort of spikey looking) with a tiny bevel and some color.

Today's update: redid the entire lettering (converting to CelticHand and removing the text warp but using a perspective distortion), named the sites, decided to not overload the image with naming lots of other stuff, put the mountains back in, and put in the finishing grafix. This one looks just about done but I'll go over it tomorrow. If anyone spots anything let me know.

Steel General
11-18-2008, 06:39 AM
SG -- the forest is just one of the scattered dry brushes (PS default but I don't remember which one...it's sort of spikey looking) with a tiny bevel and some color.

OK thanks - I'm almost disappointed (just kidding), here I thought it was going to be some really neat process, and it's just a default brush...what a let down. :D

I do like the lettering better now.

11-18-2008, 10:12 AM
Hey, I'll just add in that this is a very cool looking map. I approve whole-heartedly!

11-18-2008, 04:17 PM
Looking utterly beautiful, Ascension. I think the font change for the text works much better but the drop shadow with the text might be overkill. I can't begin to tell you how much I like this map. It really falls together as a whole wonderfully.

11-18-2008, 05:11 PM
Thanks, guys! About the cast shadow...well I as going to put the text on top of platforms, sort of like a statue, and then I had thought about sinking the text into a crevasse...sort of like the text was erupting up through cracks. I thought that was overkill so I just put in a cast shadow to accentuate the 3dishness. I could probably tone it down in some areas, like on the lighter places. I'd like to take the henges and towers and do them in a similar quasi-ISO style similar to the cartoony text but I'm wondering if that will cause them to dominate the image. And I'm wondering if I will have to do the cities the same way. Maybe I'll play around with that tonight.

11-19-2008, 12:44 AM
Well I went ahead and did the redid the sites in the cartoony, semi-ISO style and I really like em. I took the images from an old Sketch Up file I was doing...a sort of Wizard's college. I got the central Tower of Mastery and Tower of Earth in but never got around to the other 3 elements since all of the round shapes were really hogging the memory usage. It appears that I need to do my towns in a similar fashion but I'm not sure I want to go and make a bunch of different towns in Sketch Up...I don't even want to do one village of huts much less 27 of them along with 9 towns and 2 cities. I could do one of each and just copy them but that still requires me to do 3 types. Oy. If I were gettin paid to do this for a video game or something then I would do it but since this is for fun I don't find that project all that much fun ;) I also added the old pic of the towers.

11-20-2008, 01:29 PM
So now I see how your mapping technique really shines. Very very cool.

11-20-2008, 02:06 PM
Very nice indeed. I like the iso-ish icons. My one comment is that the drop shadows around the towns and cities make them look a little like they are floating off the map. Otherwise - really stunning. Good work.

11-20-2008, 04:52 PM
Yeah, I'm still workin on the cities...trying to make them similar to the other icons for the towers, henges, etc. Had an idea yesterday to try out, it didn't work, the Plan B didn't work either. So now I have to come up with a Plan C which will probably involve pencil and paper drawings. Once I have something that I like and that is easy to do I will fix the shadow.

11-20-2008, 06:35 PM
There are some very new and very nice conventions going on for this map. Well played, sir, well played indeed.

11-21-2008, 11:23 PM
Ok, I finally got the cities done. They are in a similar style but not similar scale (they don't look as big as, say, the henges). I couldn't really do them on the same scale as they'd be quite large and dominate everything. Another method was to do an icon style with only a few buildings or maybe even one, like in CC3 or in video game mini-maps, but I wanted to try something more informational rather than representational. Lemme know if I should scrap the idea altogether or if this looks good. I think it looks pretty good but I wanna know if I'm the only one. Also, I have one last thing to do...gotta get my rivers to flow into the ocean. Currently, they stop at the beach since it is an outer glow of the landmass. I might just scale down the henges, towers, and ankhs to match the city scale, but I think they look kinda cute the way they are.

Steel General
11-22-2008, 08:40 AM
I like the cities a lot - and for me that helps pull the text into line with everything else. Wunderbar!!

11-24-2008, 08:58 AM
Also, I have one last thing to do...gotta get my rivers to flow into the ocean. Currently, they stop at the beach since it is an outer glow of the landmass. I might just scale down the henges, towers, and ankhs to match the city scale, but I think they look kinda cute the way they are.

I wouldn't have noticed the river issue if you hadn't mentioned it, but now that I know, I see that it can be kind of bothersome looking.

I would say yes, scale down the henges, towers, and ankhs. But maybe not too much: say 2/3 the current size is my vote. They also look out-of-proportion with the Cave icons.

Also, I like the new version of the cities (though I also liked the old version, just different representational styles).

11-24-2008, 02:38 PM
I like it alot. The colors and style really make this map stand out as a truely original map style. One thing that would bug me is the two different types of shadows from the key boxes to the fonts on the map. Otherwise quite impressive!

11-24-2008, 02:49 PM
I dont know why, it could just be the moniter here in class, but the mountains look a little flat. Normally your mountains kick ass though, and the rest of the map is pure gold!

11-24-2008, 04:59 PM
Thanks guys. I honestly have forgotten about the caves, gotta go and give em some love. I'll check the mountains too, I think I put some extra layers in there before I turned em back on so they lost their majesty. The shadows...yeah, I know. I tried to skew the city name shadows to make them fit where the imaginary light source is (top right) but it didn't look good and motion blur just looked like a blob so I settled on the straight down look knowing that I have 3 light sources going on (one for the key and frame, one for the city names, and one for the terrain). While playing with SketchUp I saw an option called 3d text so I'm going to see if it really does that and can make my shadows...problem solved if so.