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View Full Version : Which Forest Style looks better to you?



Lathorien
05-10-2009, 05:45 PM
Hello all again, I am nearing the finish line on this continent, however I just can seem to decide which forest style I like better. The first is a layer of bump mapped green spots and the second is a forest texture. I like the scattered look of the bump map but I also like how the color of the Texture layer blends into all the mountain valleys, a blending I cant accomplish with the dots. I like both really so i thought i would post it up for some "communal opinion".
Thanks!

ravells
05-10-2009, 05:50 PM
Tough one but for me the first one wins by a tad, I like the texture more but it's very subjective.

Steel General
05-10-2009, 06:15 PM
I think I prefer the texture.

Gidde
05-10-2009, 06:28 PM
I like the one on the right better overall, but not because of the forest, if that makes sense. It's the rivers.

The left looks better by a bit for the forest itself, but the rivers look like they're sitting on top of it. On the right, the rivers look more inset, which I tend to like better. I also like the darker green.

However, if you beveled the rivers a little bit, I'd probably switch my opinion to the left, because the texture is indeed nice.

Lathorien
05-10-2009, 06:55 PM
I mixed the two;
Adding a second splattering of a second shade of green, motion blurred it straight up a little and re-bump mapped the layer. I then turned the texture layer to overlay and slid it under the bump mapped layer to add that green underglow look. What do you guys think... better?

Kristoni
05-10-2009, 07:11 PM
Yes, I like this third one better. Nice job on the rivers by the way. Though you did leave me wondering if the river coming down from the mountain with the castle icon on it (center-left) going to the smaller lake is supposed to have that discontinuity in it.

Gidde
05-10-2009, 07:25 PM
Yes, the third one gives a nice best-of-both effect. :)

Gandwarf
05-10-2009, 07:25 PM
I really like the forests and rivers in the third version, good job.
I think the mountains should pop out a bit more, though...

ravells
05-10-2009, 07:33 PM
Yup, I think you've nailed it in the third, although now that Gidde's mentioned it (I hadn't noticed it before), I think you've still got 'floating rivers' maybe erase a a tiny bit of the forests around the rivers? Don't know...

Lathorien
05-10-2009, 07:45 PM
Yup, I think you've nailed it in the third, although now that Gidde's mentioned it (I hadn't noticed it before), I think you've still got 'floating rivers' maybe erase a a tiny bit of the forests around the rivers? Don't know...

Will do, there are some straight edges from the mask I used I want to clean up and yea there are a few river artifacts where I forgot to continue the path all the way to the coast.

Gandalf... I cant seem to make the pop up any more, I used a grayscale heightmap eroded in Wilbur and then bump mapped it. Cant seem to get it to pop much more... and the snow caps flattened them out further.

overlordchuck
05-10-2009, 09:25 PM
I'll go ahead and chime in as well. I agree wholeheartedly that the third hits the nail on the head.

Gidde
05-10-2009, 10:32 PM
I cant seem to make the pop up any more, I used a grayscale heightmap eroded in Wilbur and then bump mapped it. Cant seem to get it to pop much more... and the snow caps flattened them out further.

Try duplicating your bump layer ... it really helped when I had that problem.

Lathorien
05-11-2009, 03:07 AM
Here is what I got and now you know the basic techniques used to get here, so if anyone has any idea how to get the mountains to look dramatically taller please do, but it is a point now that i can accepting the look i do have..

PS did i make the settlement text two big and could have dropped down a couple sizes and still be readable or am I being pick and not start over...

Gidde
05-11-2009, 08:24 AM
I actually think the size of the labels is good ... but the colors blend in a little, making them difficult to read. Maybe a little highlight behind them?

Lathorien
05-11-2009, 03:31 PM
I have a 1px black stroke around the text, white made the text visible, but really made it look like the text was floating. Was their a certain colour that's difficult to read? maybe I can just adjust the base text colour to something more clear.

Anyone know what i can do in GIMP to "bevel" the rivers down so they don't look like their floating?

Gidde
05-11-2009, 06:08 PM
To bevel the rivers, I think you can just apply a bump map of itself to the layer containing them.

The 1px black makes it possible to read them, it's just still hard. I think it needs more than a pixel. You could put a white glow behind the text, or a black shadow; either would separate the color of the label from the color of its surroundings by more than a pixel and make it (in my humble opinion) easier to read.

Edit: Just occurred to me that you were concerned about labels floating. IMO, labels are supposed to float (pretty much the only thing that should), so that's not a problem :)

Gandwarf
05-11-2009, 06:21 PM
Edit: Just occurred to me that you were concerned about labels floating. IMO, labels are supposed to float (pretty much the only thing that should), so that's not a problem :)

Well, most labels tend to float. But in some maps the labels are almost part of the geography. Maybe that's what Lathorien wants to achieve?

Some recent examples:

http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=5501
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=5490

Gidde
05-11-2009, 06:34 PM
Ah, good point. Well I suppose we'll have to wait for Lath to get back on and let us know :)

Lathorien
05-11-2009, 06:54 PM
Actually your both right! The Regional labels I want to blend in a bit (Mountain ranges, Seas, Nations, and maybe Forests) but the settlement lables need to be smaller text to fit them all in so they need to be clear. I used the wrong word earlier by "floating" as I like the clean "float" of vector (inkscape/illustrator) labeling, i just haven't learned those programs yet, so sticking with Gimp for now. The white Outline made the text look like they where "stamped on", too separated from the rest of the map with white since i have tried to keep the colours rich in the map. I think i will try some of the techniques you mentioned like thickening the outline... maybe a Grey outline hmm... :) thanks for the help guys!

Lathorien
05-11-2009, 06:56 PM
to clarify: the white looked like a "hole" in the map like there was something missing (that's what I meant by stamped on or floating, the text appears to "erase" the map below around it) but i think that's just me (and the lack of flat white on the map)

Gidde
05-11-2009, 07:04 PM
Ahhh .... I see. Try doing it on a separate layer between the text and the terrain underneath, then changing the opacity on that layer to 10-20 percent. That should pop the text without giving you that hole-in-the-map problem.

Lathorien
05-11-2009, 07:49 PM
Ahhh .... I see. Try doing it on a separate layer between the text and the terrain underneath, then changing the opacity on that layer to 10-20 percent. That should pop the text without giving you that hole-in-the-map problem.

Golden! I cant believe I didnt think of something like that, Thanks. Here is another update, text is the same but do the rivers look more "in the dirt" now? their defiantly darker now which i like.

Thought I would show the rest of the continent so it dosent look like North America. Its about the size of England maybe a bit bigger.

ravells
05-11-2009, 08:03 PM
This is turning into a really atmospheric map....well done.

Gidde
05-11-2009, 09:39 PM
I hadn't really paid attention to it before, but I really like the texture you have in the water!

guyanonymous
05-11-2009, 10:45 PM
I was just about to say - great map - but I love the water!

Steel General
05-12-2009, 07:46 AM
Coming along nicely... one thing you can try with your rivers (if you haven't already) is put a small (1-2 pixel) bevel on them with a brown/tan color it may help the rivers to 'stop floating'.

loogie
05-12-2009, 09:11 PM
Forget if wilbur does this but look for a Z scale, a lot of 3d geographical software uses it, basically upping the scale increases the size in height, without increasing the X or Y

Lathorien
05-12-2009, 09:52 PM
Thanks Loogie, I am going to work on the next continents here soon and when I Wilbur the heightmap I will look at doing that, it will make it easier at later steps.

Thanks for the compliments guys!
Dare I as what you mean by "atmospheric" Rav?
I am tempted to put a cloud layer if thats what you mean.

When It comes to labeling I would have to redo all the labeling I have as I have found out i have already mearged the layers so i can edit the black stroke. I will use the techniques on the next land mass. I think I cant label anymore without cluttering the map. I want to label some woodlands and Nation boundries, but I cant seem to add readable labeling without covering too much of the map, even when just overlaying the text. So this is the "final" but as I said i want to do a cloud layer i think now, and finish it up with cartography details (rose, grid maybe, edges).

Lathorien
05-12-2009, 10:15 PM
I think I figured out how to show the individual regions for my campaign setting, here are a set of picture for each region as they are detailed in writing. what do you think. The black edges were supposed to be "deleted" but jpgs cant do transparency but you see what i am going for.

Gidde
05-13-2009, 08:39 PM
Honestly, I think these look better than they would have if they'd been all the way deleted. I love the look of greyscaled out-of-scope areas.