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Steel General
01-05-2009, 03:23 PM
OK - If any of you are familiar with Glen Cook's Chronicles of the Black Company this is my take of the Barrow land for my home brew - the Vale of Tears.

The BBEG and his 10 'henchmen' (in my version they are all kinds of beings; drocolich, beholder, vampire, lich, doppelganger, etc.) are all interred in barrows in a small secluded valley. A company of soldiers, priests and mages are charged with guarding the valley.

The barrows are located an a small rise in the deepest part of the valley, they barrows are surrounded my magical obelisks and other defense mechanisms.

Still need to add some more of the various guardians, etc. but I figured I'd at least post this.

I plan on using the strip along the right of the map as a key/legend.

As always, comments, critiques, suggestions, etc. are welcomed.

Hoel
01-05-2009, 03:54 PM
-The barrows need a bit more shadows to rise up a bit.
-It needs some greens, trees, bushes, brush and moss
Other than that, good job.

Ascension
01-05-2009, 05:42 PM
As always, your textures look awesome and the grass looks great as well.

Nomadic
01-05-2009, 05:51 PM
Yea the barrow mounds don't seem to pop up enough. Otherwise, awesome map. I like the texture style and the overall feel very much.

Redrobes
01-05-2009, 06:08 PM
I can donate a barrow. Actually its not mine it was given to me by a fellow player who paints (http://www.sarahflower.com/). Its CC with usual BY-NC-SA if you want to use it under CC terms.

Karro
01-05-2009, 06:18 PM
My only observation: the shadows and highlights on the tops of the obelisks aren't consistent.

Steel General
01-05-2009, 08:36 PM
Thanks guys...

RR I'll give those a whirl and and see how it goes.

Re: Trees and shrubs - Still undecided on that, I had trees initially, but the looked funny so I scrapped 'em. Guess I can give it another go.

Re: Barrow shadows - You guys are right, the shadows could be deeper, didn't want to go overboard but I guess I 'under-did' it. Shouldn't be to bad to fix.

Re: Obelisk shadows - Hmmm...didn't even notice that when I was putting them on the map, guess I'll create my own rather than using a Dundjinni download. I used an image I had grabbed from there and rotated it.

Anyone know of a good site for glyphs, sigils, etc? I need some for the tops of the barrows and haven't found anything good as of yet.

Hoel
01-05-2009, 08:47 PM
Glyphs, make 'em like the long man of wilmington and that. Dug out of the grass. It'll look great!

Nomadic
01-05-2009, 09:41 PM
Anyone know of a good site for glyphs, sigils, etc? I need some for the tops of the barrows and haven't found anything good as of yet.


Use a good dingbats font (wingdings, webdings, etc).

Ascension
01-06-2009, 02:04 AM
I use Oblivion fonts and alchemist types of dingbats, plus an occasional sci fi dingbat like Klingon and such.

Midgardsormr
01-06-2009, 02:12 AM
Anyone know of a good site for glyphs, sigils, etc? I need some for the tops of the barrows and haven't found anything good as of yet.

Somebody just posted a terrific site a couple of days ago with complete alphabets from several ancient languages. I don't remember what it was off the top of my head, but check the recent posts in the Mapping Resources forum.

Steel General
01-06-2009, 07:48 AM
Thanks Midgard, I'll do that.

Karro
01-06-2009, 03:47 PM
Thanks guys...

RR I'll give those a whirl and and see how it goes.

Re: Trees and shrubs - Still undecided on that, I had trees initially, but the looked funny so I scrapped 'em. Guess I can give it another go.

Re: Barrow shadows - You guys are right, the shadows could be deeper, didn't want to go overboard but I guess I 'under-did' it. Shouldn't be to bad to fix.

Re: Obelisk shadows - Hmmm...didn't even notice that when I was putting them on the map, guess I'll create my own rather than using a Dundjinni download. I used an image I had grabbed from there and rotated it.

Anyone know of a good site for glyphs, sigils, etc? I need some for the tops of the barrows and haven't found anything good as of yet.


Oh, what I meant was, that was my only bit of constructive criticism. I forgot to mention that besides this little thing, the map looks pretty darn great!

Steel General
01-06-2009, 04:55 PM
@Karro - You were absolutely correct though. I have changed them but didn't get a chance to post an update. Hopefully tomorrow.

Steel General
01-07-2009, 11:51 AM
OK, here's a bit of an update.

- Deepened the sahdows of the barrows
- Redid the Obelisks and added smaller columnar menhirs
- Added some bushes/shrubs around the edgees of the vale
- Added labels, a key and a compass rose

Hoel
01-07-2009, 12:45 PM
Still not enough shadow! We need more shadow! :)
No, seriously, it looks good, but it doesn't get the whole barrow thing going. I think you need to shade it more on the top, making them almost spherical at first and then work your way down.
I might swipe this map for my campaign btw. It will work nicely in an adventure I'm planning.

Karro
01-07-2009, 12:50 PM
Still not enough shadow! We need more shadow! :)
No, seriously, it looks good, but it doesn't get the whole barrow thing going. I think you need to shade it more on the top, making them almost spherical at first and then work your way down.
I might swipe this map for my campaign btw. It will work nicely in an adventure I'm planning.

"I've got a disease, and the only cure is MORE SHADOW!" [/Christopher Walken]

Actually, I have to agree... more shadows--and more highlights too--will make them look more rounded and mound-like.

Redrobes
01-07-2009, 12:54 PM
I think Hoel is right here. What your trying to do is give the impression of the barrow by changing the colors of the circles but really for all the barrows I have seen they are the same stuff on top as surrounding areas and its just that they are on a mound. So what you need is some shadowing to give lighting to make it look 3D. Unless I am mistaken by what your trying to represent but the sort of thing I had in mind is like this hill fort.

Steel General
01-07-2009, 01:59 PM
@RedRobes - You are right, that is the look I'm going for. I guess I'm being a little 'gun-shy' on the shadow because I'm worried about going overboard. I also changed the color of the highlight on the barrows, maybe I went to dark with it. I'll play around with it some more and see what I end up with.

@Hoel - Feel free to use it, I can even post up a version without the labeling if you'd like.

@Karro - Love me some Christopher Walken :)

jfrazierjr
01-07-2009, 02:18 PM
I agree with the others...The mounds need to be more "moundish". I downloaded this and took 30 seconds to mod the larger mound. This was done with a mouse and very little care, so you could probably make this look better. Normal trick: New Layer 50% grey, set layer to overlay, Burn the shadow side, dodge the light side, apply blur to taste.

Steel General
01-07-2009, 02:40 PM
Played around with the shadows and highlights a bit, I think it's better now.

@JFJr - Thanks for the quick example.

jfrazierjr
01-07-2009, 02:45 PM
Played around with the shadows and highlights a bit, I think it's better now.

@JFJr - Thanks for the quick example.


Your welcome.

The only problem I have with this version is they look more like raised platforms instead of mounds of dirt. This is of course assuming that I am thinking of your intent more... (say, shaped like an eggshell cut directly in half, or close to this), then you need the shadows and highlights up "higher" toward the center to round it out.

jfrazierjr
01-07-2009, 02:48 PM
Also, I wonder how it might look to the have the dark obelisks have small mounds beneath them also...

Redrobes
01-07-2009, 02:56 PM
Much better. I think most barrows were in fact fairly flat. There was a wall of stones around the edge and piles of stones making up passages throughout depending on size then the whole lot covered with earth. So if it was small then it would be mound like but if large then fairly flattish I would think.

This is near to me. Its called Nine Barrows or Nine burrows. Though there are way more than 9 up there. They are fairly humpy and many have collapsed in the middle.
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=51.263271,-2.66088&spn=0.012366,0.026178&t=h&z=16

Heres another. Its a stinker to find on the map but I know it well enough to find it. You can go here and ask the farm for the key and go inside as it was restored. I have the photos somewhere but I cant find them now.
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=51.313368,-2.381697&spn=0.000772,0.001636&t=h&z=20

Heres another famous one next to Avebury and Silbury Hill just north, scroll up to see that too.
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=avebury&sll=51.453579,-1.839867&sspn=1.576302,3.35083&ie=UTF8&ll=51.408603,-1.850853&spn=0.001541,0.003272&t=h&z=19

So not all just humps but various shapes and sometimes a bit flatter on top. I am no expert in ancient archeology tho. All these are just toursity places close to home.

jfrazierjr
01-07-2009, 03:09 PM
Much better. I think most barrows were in fact fairly flat. There was a wall of stones around the edge and piles of stones making up passages throughout depending on size then the whole lot covered with earth. So if it was small then it would be mound like but if large then fairly flattish I would think.

That may be, but the ones here look too perfect. To me, it looks like a round selection was made and a bevel tool was run on the selection. They would have to be very good builders to make perfectly round mounds at the same height all the way around... They should look like they were hand built out of the dirt and each should look slightly different from the others as the light would not play the same unless the surface underneath it was exactly the same on all of them. I am no expect on barrows, but my understanding was that they were just big mounds of dirt used to cover dead people and I don't think most people would spend the time to make them flat on top to any great degree of effort.

Redrobes
01-07-2009, 03:18 PM
Yes they are a bit too perfect. Barrows had chambers in them and contained lots of stiffs. The little token thing posted above is for the top view and interior. Each of the chambers had several people in them I believe.

That one which is a stinker. Heres the online guide book with an intrior map no less - how nice of them :)

http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/BathNES/environmentandplanning/Archaeology/StoneyLittletonGuideBook.htm

For the life of me I cant find my pics of this place when I went there. Its probably when my HDD died and I lost some stuff.

Steel General
01-07-2009, 03:24 PM
Hmmmm...you guys both bring up some great points, and examples. I think I want to lean a bit more toward having them somewhat flat on the top and not a complete dome, so I think they still need a little bit more work.

@JFJr - I like the idea of the obelisks also being on small mounds, but I don't want it to look to busy so maybe only the ones around the outside of the smaller barrows. I'll give it a go and see how I like it.

Hoel
01-07-2009, 03:39 PM
Some mounds and barrows have flat tops. Mostly from brave adventurers digging it up to get the loots.
Here's (http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1157/1479244901_44388cfc42.jpg) a picture of Uppsala Högar (Uppsala Mounds)
Here's (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_BFcDj2_woKk/SBXq58QOS2I/AAAAAAAAAOU/oLd3holZKIo/s1600-h/IMG_2087.JPG) a bronze age stone mound from Ekornavallen close to my home
Here's (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/Anundsh%C3%B6g%2C_V%C3%A4ster%C3%A5s1004.jpg) Anundshög with a flattened top due to grave rob.. eh.. adventurers.
Here's (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1f/Gr%C3%B6ne_h%C3%B6g.jpg) Grönehög with more recent (1928) excavations

Well, you get the picture. All those are a couple of thousand years old and erosion has done alot to flatten them. Newer mounds should be rounded according to the experts.

I don't like the mounds under the obelisks. They don't blend well with the heightmap. If you want them to blend better, try putting some stone slab under them, or some sort of plinth or something. Maybe a ring of smaller stones?

jfrazierjr
01-07-2009, 03:40 PM
Hmmmm...you guys both bring up some great points, and examples. I think I want to lean a bit more toward having them somewhat flat on the top and not a complete dome, so I think they still need a little bit more work.

@JFJr - I like the idea of the obelisks also being on small mounds, but I don't want it to look to busy so maybe only the ones around the outside of the smaller barrows. I'll give it a go and see how I like it.

If you want them a bit flatter, you still follow the same process with the dodge/burn, just don't dodge/burn all the way into the center and Gassian blur less so you have a slightly harder transition line. If that leaves the bottom one a bit too hard, you can always go around the outside perimeter with the blur tool to manually soften that line OR Circle select somewhere between your base height and where you mound is flat and then invert the selection before you Blur the layer(this would be a second stronger blur) and that would keep the "top" a bit harder line than the one at the "bottom" of the mound.

jfrazierjr
01-07-2009, 03:48 PM
Some mounds and barrows have flat tops. Mostly from brave adventurers digging it up to get the loots.
Here's (http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1157/1479244901_44388cfc42.jpg) a picture of Uppsala Högar (Uppsala Mounds)
Here's (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_BFcDj2_woKk/SBXq58QOS2I/AAAAAAAAAOU/oLd3holZKIo/s1600-h/IMG_2087.JPG) a bronze age stone mound from Ekornavallen close to my home
Here's (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/Anundsh%C3%B6g%2C_V%C3%A4ster%C3%A5s1004.jpg) Anundshög with a flattened top due to grave rob.. eh.. adventurers.
Here's (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1f/Gr%C3%B6ne_h%C3%B6g.jpg) Grönehög with more recent (1928) excavations

Well, you get the picture. All those are a couple of thousand years old and erosion has done alot to flatten them. Newer mounds should be rounded according to the experts.

I don't like the mounds under the obelisks. They don't blend well with the heightmap. If you want them to blend better, try putting some stone slab under them, or some sort of plinth or something. Maybe a ring of smaller stones?

Exactly. The point is that they are all still "mostly" slope(instead of a bit of slope and then mostly flat), so you would get a variation in shadows and highlights based on the source of the light.

So, Given a 10 foot round mound, even if you have a 3 foot flat section on the top (say it's 6 foot tall, then on the shadow side, you would not have the same shadows at 6 inches from the top as you would have at 3 foot from the top and you would have even deeper shadows at the bottom. My end point is that you can fake depth in some applications by using effects such as bevel and sometimes this works. But other times it does not and it ends up looking fake and forced and that's what I see here(sorry SG, not to rag on your great work!)

Steel General
01-07-2009, 03:59 PM
OK, I think part of the problem was I was using an emboss rather than a bevel, when I switched it and played a bit with the settings I came up with something much, much closer to what I had envisioned in my cess-pool of a brain. The center one is still a bit flat overall but that's OK.

I'm happy with the way it looks now.

I also added small mounds beneath the square obelisks but not the round menhirs.

Appreciate the discussion, suggestions, critiques, etc. guys. :D

jfrazierjr
01-07-2009, 04:03 PM
Yea... that one looks MUCH better. I still wouldn't mind seeing it done manually (yea, I know..its extra work) so you can get a bit more randomness out of each one, but this is a vast improvement.

Hoel
01-07-2009, 04:23 PM
Looks good, now they really pop out.
Do you have all mounds in different layers? If you do you can go in and play with the bevel contour to get them a bit more irregular.
You could also try going over them with a soft eraser to get some more irregularities.

Steel General
01-07-2009, 05:59 PM
@JFJr - I'll definitely have to give the more 'manual' version a try one of these days. So many different techniques to try, so little time. :D

@Hoel - Nope, the mounds are all on one layer, the .PSD is huge as it is and separate layers for each mound would only make it worse so I'm trying to keep as few layers as I can. I can still try and do something with a low-opacity eraser on each one and see what happens.

I'll try and post one without the labels tomorrow.

Ascension
01-07-2009, 06:33 PM
With all of that said...the only thing that I noticed was that the trees/shrubs didn't have a shadow and thus blend in to the grass. Lookin good tho.

Steel General
01-07-2009, 07:52 PM
Thanks... Coulda swore I had a shadow on those, hmmmm maybe I only did the inner shadow. Welp, something else to work on tomorrow. :)

Steel General
01-08-2009, 09:54 AM
OK, I think I've taken this about as far as I want to, deepened up the shadow on the shrubs and in some other spots but other than that no significant changes. I've also posted a version without the labels.

I'll see if I can find all of my notes, etc. from my home-brew and create some background for this as well and post it once I move it over to the Finished Maps forum.

As always thanks to all for their comments, critiques, suggesstions, etc.

jfrazierjr
01-08-2009, 10:29 AM
OK, I think I've taken this about as far as I want to, deepened up the shadow on the shrubs and in some other spots but other than that no significant changes. I've also posted a version without the labels.

I'll see if I can find all of my notes, etc. from my home-brew and create some background for this as well and post it once I move it over to the Finished Maps forum.

As always thanks to all for their comments, critiques, suggesstions, etc.

Very nice! Only one thing still really catches my eye and is totally weird are the two obelisks "standing" on the mountain near the Colossi. They just look painted on instead of being built. Not sure if it's a lighting issue from the original model or what, but they don't look like they belong.

Steel General
01-08-2009, 11:14 AM
JFJr - Those are not obelisks, they are small guard posts. I used the same textures/layer effects I used on the Gate and the Guard HQ, guess it didn't work out as well as I thought.