View Full Version : Kirach Valley

03-11-2009, 06:59 PM
Hello there.

I'm currently working on a map named "Kirach Valley" for a DnD campaign I'm working on. It is based in a world of my own creation and is the entrance for the player characters. The layout will be a crater/valley filled with vegetation with a lake in the middle.

It's also the first map I'm making so it's only natural I'm running into many problems. I'm working with the tutorial "Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map" bei RobA which is definetly great but some things are just not working for my map.

1. This is a test map of the techniques used in the tutorial:


I'm not quite sure how to do the forests they just don't blend in with the grass especially there where the grass is bright and the forest is.. still dark.
What can I do to change that? Also the texture of the forests still strikes me a little odd.

My actual Map is not going to be a Island but a crater/vally with steep mountains on the edge with one or more paths leading out. The problem is while I think the mountains in RobA's tutorial look quite good I don't think they are suited for this kind of map dominated by mountains. Is there a way to create these mountains using GIMP? And how can I give the whole map a hint of descending terrain?

Also the area behind the mountains is not yet explored or the maps of these areas have been lost by the grinding stone of time. How can I show this in map?

Any tips and help is welcomed even if it is just linking me to a tutorial where things are explained. And please presume I don't know much about GIMP because that is it.


PS: And sorry if my english is bad I'm checking everything twice but still it isn't my first language.

03-11-2009, 07:38 PM
So this will be the baseline for the final map.

You can see the lake, some grass, some dirt and well thats it so far.
The next steps would be adding the mountains and the forests but I'm still having problems with that.

03-11-2009, 11:21 PM
I can't really help much, because my only experiences with GIMP are opening it, clicking around for two minutes and then closing it...

But, anyways, it looks good for a first try, but you might want to think about painting the brown patches with less opacity to "meld" them more into the landscape.

Also, about the forests: A bevel and/or emboss filter might be helpful, but I dont know if GIMP features any of those (as said, my knowledge of GIMP is... gimped ;) ).

03-12-2009, 11:15 PM
Thanks for the tip with the opacity.

I tried to do the mountains with the "Simple Mountains in Gimp" tutorial by RobA and here is what I got:


I also added slightly more texture to the water and tried out something to create the effect of descending terrain but so far without success.

03-12-2009, 11:47 PM
Looks kind of like a meteor impact filled in by erosion. Pretty cool.

03-16-2009, 02:30 PM
I tried adding Wood using a different method than in the tutorial using HSV Noise on a White Map, a gradient Map with the Wood Colors and a Bump Map using some other HSV Noise.

Well here it is:


What do you think? Anything I can or should change? Not only on how the forests look but also on how they are spread over the map?

I am never satisfied with anything so any tips are appreciated.

03-16-2009, 03:23 PM
Already worked on it a little on the forests to let them more stick out and not letting them look that flat.


03-16-2009, 03:30 PM
They look a bit flat, you might want to add something like a bevel to the edges. I am interested in what you might add next...

03-16-2009, 04:52 PM
The shading/bump mapping you did to add some lumpiness to the forests looks great. Overall I'd say they're a bit bright, but on my monitor the whole thing looks a bit bright (that's why my stuff is usually darker than most). Progressing nicely, tho, so keep it up. :)

03-16-2009, 05:59 PM
Thats the kind of problem I got too. I can't really tell if something's too dark or too bright. I got 2 Monitors and every picture looks different on each one of them. Und when I print things out I often get really surprised...

03-16-2009, 06:58 PM
Yeah, that's a very common problem. If you have a good printer then keep adjusting the monitor (gamma if the colors are wrong, brightness if it's too dark/bright) until it looks just like the print...takes a while. If you have a poor printer, well...buy a good one? :) Don't ask me what defines a good printer because anything that prints like it looks on my monitor is a good printer to me, but I'm guessing things like max dpi and color gamut. GamerPrinter will be able to answer that one.

03-18-2009, 01:30 PM
I added some Bevel to the forests and I like the results.

But now I stand before a problem. I wanted to add some rivers to the map but I think it might be a bit too late. I just can't get them to look right but take a look yourself:


Well maybe I have to make them just normal 1-2 pixel lines or something like that. Or I have to live without rivers.

03-18-2009, 02:54 PM
Assuming you have everything as layers, this should be easier for you than it was for me ;)

Move the river below the trees layer

Add a slight dark stroke to the inside of the rivers.

Mask out portions of the trees to allow the river to through through. (I clone stamped pieces of forest texture over to demonstrate roughtly).

Add a blurred emboss overlay of the rivers and lake above all the layers, including the forest.

Add a faint dark outer stroke where the rivers cross through the forests.

[edit] Hmmm. I somehow added a blue overtone to everything. Not sure what happened there as I didn't keep the file.

-Rob A>

03-18-2009, 08:48 PM
Are you looking for a volcanic crater or an impact crater?

If volcanic, I would suggest cutting out the "corners" of the map - IE flattening the mountains there in order to get a steep ridge around the lake.

If I were feeling silly, I'd turn the rivers red and name this "bloodshot valley." Couldn't resist:)

03-19-2009, 10:04 PM
The forests look a lot better now. What Ascension has done with the rivers looks really good (but as he said it's rough, there's still trees in the rivers).

04-02-2009, 01:34 AM
Well after a nice vacation I took my time to look over the things and here is what I got.


I know that I still have to blur the transitions between the rivers and the lake a little bit but I'm quite unsure how I do that.

It's an impact crater.

Hrm Bloodshot Valley. I'll keep that in mind for the time when I stray of a bit of the campaign and want to just put a fun evening in between.

04-03-2009, 08:01 PM
On the latest image, I would replace the black bumping on the forests with a very dark green, to soften it up a little, without losing too much definition. Right now it's a little jarring to me.

I haven't played much with these techniques much, myself, yet, but perhaps try moving the river layer below the forest layer, and dropping a small shadow from the forest. (I primarily use Photoshop, but I do occasionally use GIMP, as well, so I can play with it some later tonight.)

As for the mountains, I'm not really sure what to make of them. At the moment, they look to lack a little bit of definition, but on closer inspection the definition is almost there. I think what catches my eye is the shape of them - it looks weird (at least to my eye) to see the rim completely unbroken and of apparently equal heights (even at the rivers, where some erosion would likely take place) and the continuation of them indefinitely outside the map.

You mentioned that outside the rim wasn't well explored. Perhaps a layer of black shadow with a blurred/smudged border (One of the palette knife or similar filters in PS comes to mind, but I wouldn't be able to give you a GIMP analog until later tonight). Adding in this shadow would (to me) indicate unknown areas, as well as alleviate (at least temporarily) the mountain problem.

I'll do some playing in GIMP and PS later tonight if I have some time and see what I come up with.


04-04-2009, 07:33 AM
I tried out the things you said and here is what I got:


I also added some texture to the rivers due to a suggestion of one of my players.

04-04-2009, 02:33 PM
Nice improvement, Malygon!

Those rivers certainly don't look painted on anymore!

-Rob A>