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LamilLerran
07-29-2009, 04:45 AM
I'm making a map for a D&D game I'm running. I more or less followed RobA's excellent tutorial and am just about done (except for some labeling), but I want to see if anyone has any comments or critiques.

I'm eager to hear any suggestions for improvement you may have, but in particular, I'm wondering if it's clear that the swamp/marsh in the northwest corner is a swamp/marsh and if there's any way to make the labels more legible.

NeonKnight
07-29-2009, 04:46 AM
Can't think of anything negative to say, or critique wise. Looks really cool!

Coyotemax
07-29-2009, 05:02 AM
I think the labels are just fine.

To be honest I think deciduous forest when I see that shade of green, maybe give it a bit of a bluish/brownish tinge?

(edit - omg, i see the swamp in the middle of the forest now, you may beat me with a stick of you like, heh)

Steel General
07-29-2009, 08:35 AM
Have to say that this is one of the best interpretations of RobA's tutorial that I've seen.

Now that being said I have to agree with Coyotemax, that color green makes me think more of trees than swamp, though it works for the jungle in the southeast.

Personally I would go with a more grayish-green to identify the swamps, but that's just my personal preference.

Keep up the nice work!

Karro
07-29-2009, 10:10 AM
I'm not sure the gray works, in this case, particularly well for the swamp. The transition between the bright green forest and the dull gray swamp is just really harsh.

Only other crit: I'm not sure the coastal brown dirt layer works well when interacting with the desert sands color (great color choice for desert sands, by the way). I might try to find a way of masking those out a little, or decreasing their opacity.

Otherwise, very nice map overall.

LamilLerran
07-29-2009, 02:43 PM
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I'm very glad that everyone seems to like it overall.

Karro, good suggestion on reducing the opacity of the dirt. I made multiple passes over the edges of the dirt mask with a 20% opacity brush, and I'm quite happy with how it blends with the sand.

I'm still not entirely certain what to do about the swamp. It does seem to have a problem with being unnoticeable against the neighboring jungle, but I don't want to up the brightness or saturation unless I have to -- I think dark and gray is a big part of the feel of being a swamp. I did try slightly yellowing and desaturating the neighboring jungle to reduce the contrast, and I do think the jungle itself looks a bit better that way. I'm not sure if it helped much with the swamp though, so any comments in that area would be especially appreciated.

(Oh, and please excuse the uncolored labels, those are in progress.)

Karro
07-29-2009, 02:49 PM
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I'm very glad that everyone seems to like it overall.

Karro, good suggestion on reducing the opacity of the dirt. I made multiple passes over the edges of the dirt mask with a 20% opacity brush, and I'm quite happy with how it blends with the sand.

I'm still not entirely certain what to do about the swamp. It does seem to have a problem with being unnoticeable against the neighboring jungle, but I don't want to up the brightness or saturation unless I have to -- I think dark and gray is a big part of the feel of being a swamp. I did try slightly yellowing and desaturating the neighboring jungle to reduce the contrast, and I do think the jungle itself looks a bit better that way. I'm not sure if it helped much with the swamp though, so any comments in that area would be especially appreciated.

(Oh, and please excuse the uncolored labels, those are in progress.)

Dirt & Sand looks much better, now. So does the Jungle/Swamp. One other thought: have a slight blend of colors along the border region between jungle and swamp. Good job.

Coyotemax
07-29-2009, 03:03 PM
Yes, the swamp definitely pops out a bit more now. /agree with the transition comment though:)

I finally figured out what it is i like about this map (and others in a similar style) - the fonts. I'm so used to seeing fantasy looking fonts, it's a nice change to see something a bit more plain!

Gandwarf
07-29-2009, 03:29 PM
Nice map. Is that a lava flow to the southeast?

LamilLerran
07-29-2009, 03:40 PM
One other thought: have a slight blend of colors along the border region between jungle and swamp.

Ooo, intriguing idea. I'll definitely give that a try.


Nice map. Is that a lava flow to the southeast?

That is lava flow. One of the mysteries of this part of the world is how such a large and permanent lava flow could exist. Kol'Korat is known as being isolated, magical, and evil, so there are some pretty obvious hypotheses, but no one in the outside world knows what specifically is happening there.

Actually, that reminds me, one of my earlier ideas that I'd put aside was to add a steam cloud where the lava enters the ocean. I should try that.

Steel General
07-29-2009, 03:51 PM
Be careful of using red labels over green (even if they have an outline/glow) - the whole color-blindness thing comes into play. :)

LamilLerran
07-30-2009, 03:08 AM
Blended the swamp/jungle colors, added steam to mouth of the lava flow, added the rest of the labels and roads, and recolored the labels.

I'm uncertain about the steam. To my eye, anyway, it's not bad enough to be clearly worse than the map without steam, but it's not good enough to be clearly better either.

I'm also not happy with the new label color. I've yet to find something that looks as good as the red. I think a key problem is that I want the whole map to use the same color label, and most of the other colors I tried clashed pretty horribly with something. I've uploaded two versions with my two favorite label color schemes, or if someone has other label color suggestions, I'd be interested in hearing them.

Gandwarf
07-30-2009, 04:31 AM
Hmm, I agree you should change the label color. Especially over the green areas it's very hard to read. Not sure about the steam either...
Did you check this thread? The map has a volcano and the steam turned out great eventually. Maybe it will give you some inspiration.
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=6138

Coyotemax
07-30-2009, 04:37 AM
Yes, the swamps look more like swamps now, for sure!

As to label colouring.. Hrm. I'll need to think on that.

Steel General
07-30-2009, 08:20 AM
For the labels...maybe try white text with a darker glow/stroke (have to experiment with the colors).

The steam isn't bad, but you might look for a realistic clouds tutorial and maybe base it off of that.

Karro
07-30-2009, 10:40 AM
Hmm. The updates are looking good.

As for label color, why not the old standby: black with a white outerglow?

LamilLerran
07-30-2009, 02:29 PM
Thanks for the continued help everyone.

I can't believe I didn't think of black and white for the labels. I'm quite happy with how that worked out. It sounds a bit plain, but it doesn't look all that plain, and it's decidedly more legible than the other colors and doesn't clash either.

I poked around at the steam a bit and didn't get anything I liked more. Gandwarf, I looked at the thread you mentioned, and while the smoke there does like beautiful, I'm looking for more of a light white steam than a dark tumultuous smoke. The only thread I could find on clouds was this one, which I didn't find too helpful: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4458

I think I may set the steam aside for a bit and hope that mulling over it in the back of my mind will lead to inspiration.

Karro
07-30-2009, 02:35 PM
FWIW, I liked the red labels (I'm not colorblind, and the contrast looked good to me), but black and white is pretty standard and classic, and since colorblindness is not that unusual a problem, probably a good choice.

LamilLerran
07-30-2009, 02:52 PM
FWIW, I liked the red labels (I'm not colorblind, and the contrast looked good to me), but black and white is pretty standard and classic, and since colorblindness is not that unusual a problem, probably a good choice.

Yeah, agreed. I'm probably going to use a red-label version with my group, but post black-label versions online, since I know everyone in my group rather well but am uncertain who would be looking at the map online.