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joshij
02-20-2009, 05:07 PM
Hey all

I've been spearheading a lot of cartography projects lately, and it's occurred to me that I've never successfully made a full town/village.

So, unless inspiration regarding backstory/theme strikes, the following is a random village in the middle of nowhere for no reason but to give me practice mapping it: (I used RPG Citymap Generator to get the base map sans buildings)

10570

Still to do:

Elevation
Forests
Make the river look like its running from left to right (smudge doesn't do this for me... any suggestions?)

Anyway, lemme know what you think and what I could use the most practice with!

woekan
02-20-2009, 05:33 PM
Nice, RPG City map generator is a great tool.
Your design is nice too

Steel General
02-20-2009, 06:20 PM
Pretty cool, you might want to lower the opacity on the building drop shadows they seem to be floating a bit. Or heck, it might just be me - get some more opinions first. :)

torstan
02-20-2009, 06:46 PM
I don't mind those drop shadows at all actually. However I do think that people wouldn't build stone walls diagonally across rivers - or build defensive turrets in the middle of the river! The walls should go straight across and probably have a tower at either end.

Korash
02-20-2009, 11:18 PM
Make the river look like its running from left to right (smudge doesn't do this for me... any suggestions?)

With the Smudge you need to stroke the brush (use a fuzzy one) from left to right and follow the course of the river. Do this a few times and a sense of flow should develop. If you have a base river layer, make sure that it is selected before smudging. This will prevent the smudges leaving the river. Might also try a bit of blur after just to blend the colors a bit more.

ambessalion
02-26-2009, 12:38 AM
This is the capital city for a world i've created....basically i just took prt-sc-ed images of NYC and New Orleans along with the Mississippi river and some random coast and combined them then masked and smudged, etc away until i got this result...
http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh60/ambessalion/Frontier%20website/meshera.jpg

Hoel
02-26-2009, 07:04 AM
Neat. I think it will come out great in the end.

As for the river. You could start with a base color and just use som inner glow and the hand paint the texture on top... Or try finding some fitting texture.

Molch
03-03-2009, 04:46 PM
I second the use of the smudge tool. In the attached picture I actually used a bright blue as baseline for the river in a ... err... river-shaped layer. Then, in a layer above it, I highlighted the river with a darker blue (extensively). Finally pick a large brush (it's okay if it covers the total width of the river) and just smudge the upper layer. Especially in bends and curves the lower brighter layer will shine through making the river seem more shallow in the "lee" of the bend.
Also I should have gone more dark and more bright respectively for more contrast.

And pretty please ignore the rest of the (now abandoned) map. It's a mess.

Edit: Added missing attachment

ravells
03-03-2009, 05:54 PM
Hi Molch: I really like your idea of putting photoshop tips in your sig. I'm going to start doing it too!

jfrazierjr
03-03-2009, 06:34 PM
I second the use of the smudge tool. In the attached picture I actually used a bright blue as baseline for the river in a ... err... river-shaped layer. Then, in a layer above it, I highlighted the river with a darker blue (extensively). Finally pick a large brush (it's okay if it covers the total width of the river) and just smudge the upper layer. Especially in bends and curves the lower brighter layer will shine through making the river seem more shallow in the "lee" of the bend.
Also I should have gone more dark and more bright respectively for more contrast.

And pretty please ignore the rest of the (now abandoned) map. It's a mess.

Edit: Added missing attachment

Sorry for the threadjack, but Molch, the technique you used to make those cliffs on the river banks is SUPERB!

Hoel
03-03-2009, 06:51 PM
I'll second jfrazierjr there...
but i'd go over the river with a nice scatter brush, maybe a bit cloudy and make some highlights and ripples... On some places the highlights is a bit off and you can cover those areas with some ripples and foam
(chalk brush, 2-3px size, 100% size and angle jitter, scatter a bit, for/back color jitter with white and a light blue, apply with 30-50% opac and draw along the edges)

Molch
03-03-2009, 07:19 PM
Sorry for the threadjack, but Molch, the technique you used to make those cliffs on the river banks is SUPERB!

Thank you, but I can't really take credit here. It's basically Pyrandon's (shame on me for the probable misspelling) technique from his tutorial with some minor variations (for example using more different heights and more spotty strokes).


I'll second jfrazierjr there...
but i'd go over the river with a nice scatter brush, maybe a bit cloudy and make some highlights and ripples... On some places the highlights is a bit off and you can cover those areas with some ripples and foam
(chalk brush, 2-3px size, 100% size and angle jitter, scatter a bit, for/back color jitter with white and a light blue, apply with 30-50% opac and draw along the edges)

I was trying to get something to that effect, so thanks for that gift on a silver platter. Also using a chalk brush is just ingenious and plays very well on my compulsive need for minute details :)

Hoel
03-04-2009, 06:55 AM
The chalkbrush is also good for trees and foliage on a smallish scale (tends to look a bit to cloudy if too big >20px) and you can make great ice and snow with it too...
The chalkbrush is my go-to brush when I just need something quick or I don't have any custom brush

ambessalion
03-22-2009, 02:12 PM
Neat. I think it will come out great in the end.

As for the river. You could start with a base color and just use som inner glow and the hand paint the texture on top... Or try finding some fitting texture.

i didnt draw the river...that's an actual screenshot of the Mississippi River i prnt-scrn-ed from Google Earth....

Nytmare
03-30-2009, 02:23 PM
Make the river look like its running from left to right (smudge doesn't do this for me... any suggestions?)

I don't think you'd actually be able to get any idea of direction at this distance. The speed the water would need to be moving at for you to be able to discern movement at this scale would have to be pretty intense. Maybe you could add some disturbance on the downstream side of stuff sitting in the water?

Beyond that, having that much contrast and cloudiness in the water makes it look more like non-stop white water rapids. I would expect to see a more even tone, with the color growing darker where the deepest water lies. Have you tried wandering around google maps looking for reference material?

Next: 20+ rambling questions with Nytmare!

I tend to see town building as a kind of storytelling. The following questions and critiques aren't necessarily me saying that I think you've done something wrong. They're more me wondering what the story is that explains why things are the way they are.

What do you see the purpose of that wall as? It blocks off the river, but has wide ungated openings at 3 points around the city. To the north, it has two huge towers looming over a tiny footpath right next to a gap the size of a football field. It would appear to be primarily guarding the stretch of river around the bridge and stopping people from being able to use the river as a means of travel? Is it meant as some kind of blockade?

I have to agree with Torstan. The city walls and the bridge would cross the river as directly as possible. Building over water is much harder than building on solid ground, and they'd avoid it as much as they possibly could.

Do the people in that town use the river? There are lots of small buildings along the waterline inside the walls, but the main access to the water appears to be that one road to the east of the city on the north shore. I'd expect the river to be much more central to the layout of the city, and have it choked with buildings and docks and markets. There's also that little inlet to the northwest. It seems bizarre that something like that exists and there aren't people taking advantage of it. It almost feels like the river is more in the way of the people who live there than it is the reason why they're there.

There are a lot of really big structures outside that wall, much bigger than any of the dwellings inside. The roads inside the walls are nice and wide and made of gravel, but there are very few, practically unused roads outside the walls leading to the largest buildings. What does a layout like that mean to you?

I'd expect almost the opposite to be true. I'd think that the older city was more chaotic and had lots of small buildings built on top of each other around some central landmark with narrow twisting roads springing up between them. Then, as the city grew, and as it drew more people to it for goods and services, the larger buildings would start springing up on the outskirts, wider roads would be needed to accomodate all the extra people, better roads would be needed to handle all of the carts.

Ascension
03-30-2009, 05:14 PM
Great points Nyt and I agree with every one of them since I approach city building the same way...storytelling combined with practicality. As Sigurd says, "The buildings look convenient to the mapper and not the citizens", which is the single best bit of advice for city building I've ever come across.