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Ascension
01-04-2009, 12:36 PM
I haven't done a city in quite a while...since Snagglefjord, I think. So here we go and I even have a lil bit of story/description for it as well (coming later). So far it's just the terrain, obviously, and once I settle on a scale I'll start the tedium of putting buildings and roads down. This is to be a fortress/citadel type of city so there will be all of the usual accoutrements...walls, castle, huts, fields, etc. Still got some work to do on the rivers and overall blurriness of the terrain.

Steel General
01-04-2009, 12:51 PM
I loved your Snagglefjord map, looking forward to what you do for this one.

aiRo25
01-04-2009, 02:23 PM
Love your cliffs! Can't wait to see what's next.

Hoel
01-04-2009, 03:16 PM
Good job, it will be really nice when you've worked out the blurriness.
I want to see those fortifications
/Hoel -took a course in 18-19'th century fortifications

Ascension
01-05-2009, 12:49 AM
End of day 1; put in some roads, walls, bridges, towers, castle, cathedral, and inns, reworked the blurriness and the rivers. Gonna watch some tube and chill for the rest of the night. Looks like this one is going to be hard to keep under the file size limits so I might have to shrink it or cut the top off; will worry about that later. Probably do the merchant district next as it's usually more involved and colorful. Oh, and yeah, the shadows aren't right, these are placeholder shadows until the end...that's when I do em right.

Steel General
01-05-2009, 07:42 AM
Might want to look at the drop shadows on some of the buildings, they seem (at least to me) to be overly large - or maybe I'm misinterpreting where the light is coming from?

Also I think buildings in the slums will be difficult to see because of how dark the terrain in that area is, just something to consider.

Hoel
01-05-2009, 08:14 AM
Steel general is right about the shadows. Drop shadows doesn't work when they're that far away, it just seems like it's a roof floating above the ground.
The corners of the shadows should be attatched to the corners of the buildings.
Shadows on that scale are a pain, and it's often easier to hand paint them, there's some tuts about 3d shadows out there.

I think you've gone a bit overboard with the fortification with the walled in roads, but you maybe have a reason.
Otherwise you should have some courtyards and gatehouses around the entrances to each district.
I could give you a long post about the principles of medieval fortification if you like, I'm not an expert I do know something about it.
On the other hand, they could be rich enough to build it like this, but it doesn't seem very safe imo.

Ascension
01-05-2009, 09:44 AM
Did I not say that these are just placeholder shadows? In case I forgot, these are just placeholder shadows, they are not the final. Steel, you should know by now that I use the motion blur method. There are reasons for the walls, as I said in a previous post, this is a fortified city/citadel. And with that much rock around they don't have to import it, they just need to hack it out of the cliff and stack it somewhere. The town description will help things when I post that part. Seriously, guys...does anyone read? I will try to lighten up the terrain around the slums, hadn't thought about that, so thanks bro...I might flatten it a bit as well.

Steel General
01-05-2009, 10:11 AM
Did I not say that these are just placeholder shadows? In case I forgot, these are just placeholder shadows

Ooops! Skimmed right over that part. :D Hey, its Monday, it's early and only got about 4 hours of sleep. :P

Gandwarf
01-05-2009, 03:19 PM
I am very curious what the end result is going to look like. Some details are hard to spot right now, as your map is very large and dark.Great job on the cliffs. What are the little rounds on top, towers or something?

Ascension
01-05-2009, 05:44 PM
Yeah, due to the scale, they came out kinda small...not too happy about that...I'd have liked to do something where I could get more detail in. Anywho, they are watchtowers for spotting dragons, accessed via tunnels in the cliffside.

Ascension
01-07-2009, 02:30 AM
Here's an update...nearly finished the buildings (3 sections left), started the final shadows, added some texture, lightened it up, all kinds of stuff really...I forget it all. Left is: put in streets, bridge shadows, dang, now I'm drawing a blank but there's lots of stuff left to do. I had to lower the quality to upload but I think, in the end, it'll come out fine when I put the finish work on it. Might go back and remove some of the green from the rivers in favor of something more rocky.

Gandwarf
01-07-2009, 03:48 AM
Great update, must have taken a lot of work to get there. Now let's see some streets :)

Hoel
01-07-2009, 06:54 AM
Looks good! The shadows work very nice, did they cost a lot of work?
-The green inner glow of the river makes it emerald green in the narrow ends
-Some bridges points right into walls, should be easy enough to rotate

Steel General
01-07-2009, 08:23 AM
Coming along quite nicely my friend.

Ascension
01-07-2009, 07:18 PM
So far the hardest part has been the topography, which for me is usually the easiest part. The buildings are fairly easy since I have a whole bunch of premade shapes and layer styles. The townhouse-style buildings were pretty easy as well; using a square pencil I just drew some lines then used a 1-pixel eraser to make some cuts so that the bevel would produce a roof instead of a tube.

The shadows are pretty easy too: copy the layer, move it 1 pixel up and left, then repeat as often as necessary, flatten and lower the opacity. I mainly use 4 different shadow styles: short = 1 floor buildings (huts and shacks), medium = 2 floor buildings (barns and merchants), tall = 3 floor buildings (castles and churches), and exotic for things like towers and spires that need a custom shape shadow. The short is just moved 2 pixels, the medium is moved 4 pixels, tall is moved 8, my watchtowers are moved 12, and the tower is sort of like a sideview of what the tower looks like, then rotated.

Theoretically, I could make each house have a different length of shadow but that would not really accomplish much as that kind of detail will be lost. And while a 3d program will produce a more accurately shaped shadow, that sort of detail is lost as well except on very tall things or odd shapes. So for me, a square house gets a square shadow irregardless of roof type...I'm not that anal about my realism :) If I had to estimate my time so far...10-12 hours on Sunday (roughly), 5-6 hours Monday, 5-6 hours Tuesday...so 20-24 so far. If I could have gotten my terrain right the first time, I could cut that time in half.

Redrobes
01-08-2009, 07:13 AM
Lookin' good. Very convincing.

Ascension
01-09-2009, 01:09 AM
Ok, this is nearing completion and I thought I'd post it up in case someone can catch something I may have missed before I finish off the support graphics. 5 hours yesterday and 5 hours today, bringing the total to 30-40 hours. And as I sit here and proofread the map, I see that I forgot to fix the overlapping shadows so I'll fix that tomorrow.

Hoel
01-09-2009, 07:16 AM
The river texture is good! It's quite sparsley populated thou. I know not every town has to be packed wall to wall, but some parts seem very open. There could be some small outhouses and and workshops next to the bigger houses. Other that that it's great, I love the dark feel and the texturing is top notch!

Gandwarf
01-09-2009, 08:03 AM
Great piece of work Ascension. I love the layout and your golden borders! The city also has a very unique feel to it, because of the different buildings and cliffs.

I agree with Hoel that the city seems a bit sparsely populated, but then again, I am used to stuffing my cities full of buildings. That's why I like the part to the east better, where the buildings are sharing walls and lots of space is used.

The map is a bit too dark for my taste. But that is really taste. The dark feel does add something to the map.

All in all some very good work and something you can be proud of (I know I would).

Steel General
01-09-2009, 08:50 AM
Love those borders, and I second Hoel on the river texture.

The openness of the city doesn't bother me so much, it's a nice change.

Looking forward to the final version.

jfrazierjr
01-09-2009, 10:32 AM
First, I want to say that this is a great piece of art! I love the details., the palisades, the tree groves, the flowers/berries in the garden... just great..

A couple of minor negatives.


Just how darn big are those gates into the mountain! They may well be huge, but first impression is that they are not scalled well...
Unless you have something else going on such as a spring inside the channel, the river sources you show on the map could not support the volume of water. At the widest point, they look to be as wides as a football (American) field is long or so.

Yea.. these are some minor nits, but in the end, you have produces a masterpiece.

Ascension
01-10-2009, 02:25 AM
Hrm, yeah I probably should change up the buildings to add in some variation in each city sector but I was thinking that this city was planned by the military and as such things would be very organized into sections for this n that (market section, military section etc.). That might become clearer when I put up the story/description.

Good point about the river size, it was my intention to have these streams come out of caves in the cliff face but I didn't do a good job on that and now that I know what the scale is, they are just plain too fat...after all of the hours (like 10 or so) on doing these damn things, I don't look forward to re-doing them, ugh.

The watch towers (which are also the sides of the city gates) are all done with an 11-pixel pencil, 4 feet per pixel = 44 feet and the main curtain wall is a 9-pixel pencil (36 foot thick wall is quite fat I know but I like the look and there's a reason...planned by military). The shadows for the towers are 16 pixels long and the walls are 12 and while that's not realistic it makes them look more imposing and taller than the shadows on say the shacks which are 4 pixels. So in the end, I'm trying to apply some logic but then, my logic may be faulty and I try to hit a balance between absolute realism and a more representational effect for aesthetic purposes. If on the other hand, you're referring to the gated off cave-mouths...those are strictly representational and would be 44 feet wide...I just wanted to convey that there was a gate across the cave mouth and anything smaller didn't cut it for me.