View Full Version : Random regional town - profile

03-23-2009, 10:06 PM
NOTE: The final version of this project appears here. (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=5268)

NOTE: New WIP maps attached further in the thread.

Original Post:

Hello folks. ..

Off on a new adventure. Here is a quick attempt at a 16th century printed atlas styled city profile map. This file is really just a study for a possibly larger project. More than anything else it's also an excuse for me to get used to my new tablet :)

I did a vector mock-up of the buildings using vector polygons in Fireworks. That was then imported into P-shop for tracing with the tablet. The whole thing was, at one point, 5000 pixels wide. It got shrunken; at higher resolutions it looks more like an ink drawing and less like and engraving, which is the look I am shooting for.

I need to research "paper aging" techniques in Pshop, clearly :)

C & C welcome as always.

03-24-2009, 01:40 AM
Its very good. I like it.

I think the city wall distracts me a little from the city itself - I think I expect them to be stylized into a regular pattern.

The piece makes me wonder how truly flat your cities are and if notable buildings\city features might not be artificially enlarged just to point them out. (Stylized once more)

It looks good.

Here's a side view of Bologna (from a thread at Enworld). Its not really laid out flat - it sort of rises at about 12 degrees to show more city. I'm sure the vertical scale is proportionate to importance not actual height.

Your walls give the city a mysterious quality - I don't know what they're hiding.

And a link to a cool website of Italian Maps:

Its in Italian but the pictures are good.

There are a number of photoshop parchment tutorials around.


03-24-2009, 04:13 AM
I'm with Sigurd on this. It makes sense to have a slightly higher viewpoint than the wall so you can show off more of the city....more stuff to draw though!

Great work so far, you've really nailed the pen and ink feel.

Steel General
03-24-2009, 07:54 AM
Looks nice so far, but I have to agree with Sigurd and Ravs - the slightly higher perspective would serve much better.

03-30-2009, 08:14 PM
Thanks for the suggestions! I was not ignoring them - just figuring out how to implement them!

Attached find

1) A sketchup plan for a new city map, and

2) A sneak-peak at how things are going in translating the Sketchup to an engraving-style profile map.
--> Because I don't have a background in the PNG yet, you won;t see anything in the previewer - just click it anyway and the image will appear on its own page as normal.

Some thoughts:

- Sketchup is extremely cool but annoyingly frustrating in certain respects. But it is about the perfect tool for this sort of project. With sketchup I can pretty easily accomplish what's been suggested above - a realistic elevated perspective on the city. I tried mocking this up 'by hand' in Fireworks, but it's just a cinch in Sketchup. The entire sketchup process (from download to completing a map) took most of this weekend. Lots of fun once the hang of it is gotten.

- I am shooting for a wood-block printing style of image here. Weirdly, I have found that Fireworks + tablet works better than Photoshop. For this style, I don't want pressure sensitivity with the stylus, but rather, uniform line weight. This style is also extremely, extremely resolution dependent. The working resolution is 400% higher than what is attached. If the output resolution is too high, the image looks like a sloppy hand drawing. If it's too low, it looks like pixelated mush.

- The city itself is a moderate-sized coastal town/regional capital. It is also known for its officially recognized and segregated community of mages. The part of the map in the image is the central district with a palace and temple (Visible in Sketchup but not in the hand-drawn version.) The rest of the map includes a docks district and the mages' island.

At the moment this is becoming a duel between patience and tedium, but I am relatively happy with the result so far.

Things to do:
1) Finish drawing the darned thing
2) Label it (The major landmarks, that is)
3) Find a nice weathered parchment for the background.

03-30-2009, 11:49 PM
Uber nice. I hope you do more of these.

03-31-2009, 03:56 AM
It looks great so far. Repped!
The last couple of days I have been experimenting with Sketchup and I know you must have poured a lot of time in this work. I agree with you Sketchup is the perfect software to do this, but it's also very frustrating sometimes.

Would love to be able to download the model when you have finished it by the way.

And random link of the day, two other great city maps done in Sketchup:

Those models really should be looked at in Sketchup as the images don't do them justice.

Steel General
03-31-2009, 06:45 AM
That is really neat...looking forward to seeing it continue.

04-02-2009, 09:39 PM
Thanks for the encouragement, folks!

I've more or less finished blocking out the structures in the city. Now comes the fun of texturizing everything one stroke at a time. It does go quickly and seeing things come into being is pretty cool.

If I were to start from scratch, I'd tone down the architectural contrasts between the leftmost ward of the city (on it's own island) and everything else. It looks like a wormhole snatched a piece of Coruscant and stuck it next to a town in Germany somewhere.

But there is no way in heck I am redoing this one from scratch:)

C & C welcome, as always.

04-02-2009, 11:38 PM
I know its more ambitious but it looks Really Good.


04-05-2009, 09:23 PM
Architecture is essentially -done-

Now I need to switch gears and figure out how to get
a) decent ground texture in the city and
b) Decent landscape to put everything in!

I would definitely redesign parts of the city if I were to start over again, but at this point I'm more interested in other aspects of the project.

C & C welcome.

04-06-2009, 05:07 AM
Great job so far. Sketchup can be a real timesink, so I can understand you don't want to mess with the buildings too much anymore :)

Are you going to add textures to the buildings by the way or keep it more schematic, like in the old maps?

04-06-2009, 06:04 PM
I really like the medieval look and feel (with a fantasy twist) you've got to the city buildings. I think you've cracked the hard part, overlaying in the textures should be easier and fun too. What software will you be using for ground textures etc?

04-06-2009, 09:57 PM
I really like the medieval look and feel (with a fantasy twist) you've got to the city buildings. I think you've cracked the hard part, overlaying in the textures should be easier and fun too. What software will you be using for ground textures etc?

Thanks for the complements:)

I think I misused the word "texture" - I meant in the generic sense of putting some artwork in the landscape - I did NOT mean a pre-fabbed, repeating bitmap of some variety.

I would like to produce the entire final map by drawing it with mouse or pen. (except for the labels and some parchment-y effects.) There is just a tiny bit of cut'n'paste in what I have now - I think four or five of the tower tops are cloned because I got sick of outlining the same thing 20 times :) Other than that each and every stroke is unique.

04-18-2009, 12:53 PM
Starting to fill in the landscape.

04-18-2009, 01:10 PM
This looks phenomenal! I'd suggest lowering the height of the waves a little, but that's just personal preference. I'm looking to forward to seeing the finished result. Great work.

04-18-2009, 01:18 PM
Yeah, it looks awesome. I feel a featured map coming :D
Agree with Torstan about the waves, though.

04-18-2009, 01:30 PM
Says I gotta type at least 10 characters but I just had 1 word really...sweetness.

Steel General
04-18-2009, 01:47 PM
Very Cool!

04-18-2009, 05:50 PM
Thanks for the encouragement, folks - On a project like this one, it's extrmely helpful.

I am on vacation this week so maybe I can make enough headway to put this one into the "finished" pile.

04-19-2009, 10:44 PM
But it might be worth it. ..

Major landscaping done.

I think I got a little carried away with the mountains, but I'm getting to the stage where labeling is the next step.

04-20-2009, 04:01 AM
Very beautiful work Kingbreaker. I don't think you overdid the mountains.
Still not sure about the water though...

Steel General
04-20-2009, 06:31 AM
I agree with Gandwarf, the mountains are fine and the rest is very well done. Bravo!

04-20-2009, 06:00 PM
Today is the last day of my break that I can devote totally to play, so I am going to call this one done - unless anyone notices any rivers flowing uphill or worse crimes. Final draft posted in "Finished Maps" section.

Again, thanks for the feedback and help!

The final version of this project appears here. (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=5268)