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zombieinferno
05-17-2009, 05:51 AM
I just joined a few days ago now when I came across a Guild video on YouTube. I am extremely pleased, albiet completely distracted now, with the amazing work that you all have on display.

I am very new to map making, having only once made the very briefiest attempt when I was an avid gamer many years ago. Now that the my soon to be step-son is trying very hard to bring me back into DMing, I decided to dust off some old notes to a project that I thought of probably 8 years ago.

I have a BFA in Fine Arts, but tend to focus more on illustrative or design in order to put food on the table. I tend to be more familiar with Illustrator CS3 so my first attempt was with that application but quickly decided it wasn't going to be the approach I needed. Ilustrator can be too... precise, and i really wanted to go for a more painterly approach, and eventually downright medieval in aesthetics.

I drew the landforms by hand in Illustrator after making a very basic rough sketch on scratch paper. The original was drawn some time ago but since my original vectors were lost long ago, I redrew the continent forms and made some changes that made more sense to the games planned. Once I decided to go into Photoshop, I simply exported the shape layer over and ran from there.

For now, I am still tweaking the coloration in some areas. What I have now is about 15 hours of work over the course of the past several days. Eventually I will do more focused maps of the main adventuring region and such, so I will definitely be looking at some of the more applicable tutorials I have found here. I don't see this map being fully detailed with anything more than regional names, continents, oceans, seas and a few major rivers.

Any advice, tips and criticisms are always appreciated. Even the bluntly honest ones, I made it through years of art school critics so you aren't going to ruffle any newbie feathers and cause me to dash off in a grumble.


Oh and I admittedly am not following strict geographic and climatological rules in this creation... my step-son really wanted an unusual fantasy setting so the large portion of the main continent was going to be wasteland/desert/plains. Trying to make a non-typical high fantasy setting has caused me more pause in the construction of this than anything else.

My overall aesthetic was to make this map seem hand-painted, since my goal was to have it nicely printed for the boy to have once I am done. :)

Gandwarf
05-17-2009, 06:28 AM
Welcome to the guild Zombieinferno and have some rep for posting your first maps.
I like what you have so far, especially the first one is looking pretty (and normally I tend to favor colors).

Are you also going to fill in details, like rivers, mountains and places of interest?

zombieinferno
05-17-2009, 07:38 AM
Welcome to the guild Zombieinferno and have some rep for posting your first maps.
I like what you have so far, especially the first one is looking pretty (and normally I tend to favor colors).

Thanks for the warm welcome!

The images i posted are more or less the progression on the one map i am working on right now, from the original landmass vector i constructed, to a few prominent steps towards what i have currently.


Are you also going to fill in details, like rivers, mountains and places of interest?

I am sort of at a cross-roads right now with some details. Its hard to see some of the more mountainous areas so I am trying a few techniques that will bring them out, but still maintain a painterly overall feel. All the variety of ways I have seen tutorials on so far don't really match what I need, although a few render > difference clouds techniques come close but seem to be based more on the randomness of the clouds given rather than being able to develop around specific placement of chains. All else fails i will have to take the long route and just brush them all in.

As far as rivers, i will be laying the paths for those in after the mountains are complete and will probably bring the Photoshop document into Illustrator in order to lay down the paths using the pencil and pen tools there since the nuisances of the rivers need more attention to detail and ability to use vector tools.

The point of interests and the like will also be laid out with Illustrator down the road since i prefer the layout flexibility there better than in Photoshop.

Ascension
05-17-2009, 08:11 AM
Welcome to the guild. You have some good stuff going on there. I like the first one for its clarity but I like where the color one is going. Don't give up on the mountains via clouds just yet -- I'll tell ya how I do mine. Clouds, diff clouds, diff clouds, render lighting effects. Grab the Lasso Tool and at the top set the feather to like 50 px. Lasso a nice looking chain and move it into place, the feather prevents it from chopping up with hard edges.

At any rate, it's in my tut so you can read that whenever. Hope we get to see more and have fun.

Steel General
05-17-2009, 09:59 AM
Welcome Aboard!

Korash
05-17-2009, 12:13 PM
Welcome aboard flaming undead one. Nice map, and have some rep for a map in the first post 8)

My only critique here is that parts of the larger continent seem to be floating over the water. Like you did a drop shadow on it or something. The smaller one to the south does not have that problem though.

Nice work though.

zombieinferno
05-17-2009, 03:57 PM
Welcome to the guild. You have some good stuff going on there. I like the first one for its clarity but I like where the color one is going. Don't give up on the mountains via clouds just yet -- I'll tell ya how I do mine. Clouds, diff clouds, diff clouds, render lighting effects. Grab the Lasso Tool and at the top set the feather to like 50 px. Lasso a nice looking chain and move it into place, the feather prevents it from chopping up with hard edges.

At any rate, it's in my tut so you can read that whenever. Hope we get to see more and have fun.


tyvm. i have already started looking at your very impressive tutorials. Admittedly I am a visual person so there are so parts where i got lost because I cannot see the layers palette and there was a wee bit of confusion on stacking placements and the proper layer to copy at times. Then again, it might have very well been i was reading them in the very early hours of the morning while being pretty much out of it since ive been feeling under the weather for the past few days. :P

You do certainly remind me i need to document my steps more though when working in PS.

As far as the clouds mountains are concerned, i think my frustration is that i havent been able to filter them in a way that gives me geologically different ages. I need an easy way to make really new mountains, craggy, high peaks, nice and jaggy without looking *blah*. I'll figure it out today i'm sure. if anything im stubborn. lol

ty for the welcome.

zombieinferno
05-17-2009, 04:05 PM
Welcome aboard flaming undead one. Nice map, and have some rep for a map in the first post 8)

My only critique here is that parts of the larger continent seem to be floating over the water. Like you did a drop shadow on it or something. The smaller one to the south does not have that problem though.

Nice work though.

ty for the welcome!

appreciate the thoughts on the floating - it was actually intentional! if you view the map at full size and look, i am using a fairly intense azure/aqua stroke, a slight bevel and then another light colored stroke that changes around the landforms (because its directly affected by the base gradients used to color them.) I chose this approach because of the aesthetics of the piece. I wanted it to appear that the landforms might have been jigsawed out of a second sheet of wood, painted and then mounted directly on top of the base wood sheet where the oceans were painted. It directly relates to why I chose to make very obvious textures of rougher paint apparent in parts of the coloration where thicker paint would be. Maybe i need to play with the bevel settings to make this more apparent and look less like a drop shadow.

ravells
05-17-2009, 05:50 PM
Welcome hotundead! Your professional background really shows in the maps. I love the gradient fills in the oceans - it's a beautiful touch I've never seen before on the guild although now I think about it, one tends to see it a lot on sattelite maps. Did you handpaint the shadows on the ice-floes in the north? They look really convincing. The last map has a really lovely 'glow' about it and the canvass texture on the landmasses works really well too. Can't wait to see more of this. Welcome again and thanks for posting your maps!