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Coyotemax
08-07-2009, 11:48 AM
This thread is all Gandwarf's fault. he's too impatient, even for me, lol.
Ok, while testing out Ascension's city/town tutorial, I've been keeping notes as I go this time.

One of my biggest problems has always been the background and history of my current project. Sometimes it'll be as simple as "what kind of things have happened to this map since it was printed", other times, as you're about to see, i put WAY too much thought into things :P But without having an idea of the history of the place, I tend to lose focus and move on to something else (i've got at dozens of started pieces for different techniques, abandoned because I really had no idea where to take them). In this case, i really wanted to do the town tutorial and see where it led - building up the river was a lot of fun, and it was a sense of wonder watching as it built up - especially considering there are no pics in the tutorial yet so i had no idea what things were going to look like until I followed the steps :) And I've been going out of my way to NOT look at other city maps while I work at this, i want to see how much of my own style develops without having any images to compare to..

But then we get to the point where we lay out the town, and figure out what to put in it. And that's where I got stumped. Never having laid out a town before.. how the heck do I do it. So the tutorial got put on hold while I did some research and made working notes, and finally I decided to use one of the small towns I used to live in for inspiration. The final version will be nothing at all like the real place, of course, but I am including elements. I also put a lot of thought into WHY there is a town at this location in the first place, and why it's laid out the way it is. I eventually decided to build up the town in stages (for the planning, not the map itself). What was in the area when the town first came into existence, what the locals were doing that caused it to happen, and then as it became more established and prosperous, what added in and what external influences came into effect. I built it up in 4 stages, and that will end up impacting the final vision of the town.

This might be overkill, but I actually wrote out a brief history of the town, plus what buildings would exist at each stage - and this led me to placing the primary industries first, and I'll fit everything else around them.

I'm going to post my working notes for the history, to show you why the town is turning out the way it is :) (i would ask if anyone's interested, but typically the answer has been yes to that kind of question so I'll go out on a limb for this one)

I just realized how long it is, so I'll do the history notes in the next post.



To tide you over, here's the town so far. (the buildings on the left are generic template buildings so i can duplicate them and move them into place instead of making new ones all the time - labelled according to layer to make it easier to figure out what i'm putting where) The notes up top were to help determine a few things (smelly industries go downwind etc). And Nirth.. well, my excuse is that's the local dialect coming into play (or i can't be bothered to fix the typo, take your pick lol)

Coyotemax
08-07-2009, 11:54 AM
And as promised, history/working notes...


First Generation:
Primary focus of the area, farming. Central location with grain storage and mills as primary business. Transportation incoming from local farms, mostly outgoing on the river some on the kingdom road. Slaughterhouse/butchery as secondary, also providing leather for armour. There was a thriving woodcutting business during the beginning stages of development, but that is starting to taper off now that farmland has been cleared, and woodcutters are now having to travel too far for new wood since it’s not that heavily forested here in the first place – and what is left is being viciously defended by bandits who use the trees for cover and living (The local constabulary has requested military forces to clear the bandits, but so far has not received any help). The land is reasonably fertile, and started off with the first few farmers living near each other pooling their resources to create a central collection point for their harvests on the kingdom road. The grain is collected at the stockpile on the west bank, and shipped downstream on barges.

Generation Two:
More farmers joined in, one ended up taking over the stockpile as fulltime responsibility, and became the first general store merchant. A few others became wealthy and began buying out neighbours and acting as landlords, with the largest landowner being considered a mayor/magistrate. Reasonably central close location so livestock pens and holding facilities were added for herds being moved to other locations, eventually developed their own slaughterhouse and meat processing facilities and became a destination rather than a waystation. A military outpost (10-15 men) has been established as a presence to remind the locals that they are still part of the kingdom. They help defend against bandit raids, but they are not strong enough to actively hunt them. The locals hope their reports will influence the nobles to send a larger force.


Generation Three:
Livestock was collected on both sides of the river with the south side being a holding pen for the ferry, north side being the primary. This has now been switched for defensive purposes as the west bank was more strategic, the slaughterhouse pens also being moved from the road so as not to be in the middle of the commercial district, temporary holding pens for cattle being moved to other destinations are still in the old western paddock.. Livestock is transported north along the road. The region is slowly being turned over to more pastures and less grains as the price of meat goes up in other areas of the kingdom.


Generation Four:
Now having become a full town, and beginning to prosper, it caught the attention of the nobles at court who sent a knight to ensure the lands were kept secure. He has built a manor house and has been given royal funds and stonemasons to replace the wooden palisades with stone walls to repel bandit raids which are on the rise. The frequency of the raids is starting to annoy the knight, who has begun training a force to actively hunt the bandits down. The bulk of military armaments are shipped in from elsewhere, though local craftsmen are producing good quality bows and arrows for export as well as local use. The local forge is more for repair than creation, with most tools imported.

Being rather devout, the knight offered incentives for his church to create a site, and used his personal fortune to expand the church to contain a small monastery.. This is now bringing more notoriety to the town as one of the monks turns out to have considerable artistic talent and is creating illuminated manuscripts of unusually high quality. This has begun pilgrimages to this area, and locals are beginning to take advantage of the pilgrimage trade. These manuscripts have caught the attention of the royal court as well, and another serious bandit incursion will likely see the pious king sending a regiment of troops to secure the area for once and for all.

1st generation:
Wheat Farms
Livestock farms
Sawmills
Stockpile (on road)
Ferry
1 wharf/dock each side

2nd generation:
livestock pens
small manor houses
general store
Hunters


3rd generation
slaughterhouse
meat processing
tanner
Mills
bakery
storage buildings
inn
Constabulary
Town hall/courthouse
Another general store
Bridge
More docks
palisade (with gates on road)

4th generation (present)
large manor/keep
stone walls start replacing palisades
monastery
chandler
more inns
specialized stores

Gandwarf
08-07-2009, 12:54 PM
LESS TALK, MORE MAPS!!!!1

Haha, just kidding of course. It's a very good idea to write out what a city is about. It will make the city look a lot more realistic in the end. I like the fact you are describing generations and how the city evolved.

The map itself is starting to shape up nicely. The layout is great. That is a mill near the bridge, right?

NeonKnight
08-07-2009, 12:58 PM
Anyway those individual buildings can be outlined in BLACK or something to define where one building ends, and the other begins?

Otherwise, very good start.

Coyotemax
08-07-2009, 01:05 PM
Good idea on the outlining, I've been staring at them wondering what they were missing :)

And yes, that's a mill out on the water. I got the idea from a picture I saw, it actually had 3 mills built along the length of a stone bridge. I merged them into one, and gave it a double waterwheel, then offset it so it wouldn't be in the way of the livestock being run across :)

Ascension
08-07-2009, 01:40 PM
I'm very glad to know that the tut can stand on it's own with no pics...yet. Whether it's my writing or your skill or both this looks near perfect so far. The only two thing that I have to point out is:

1 to keep the light source consistent...it looks like the crafted houses have a light source in the bottom right while the beveled house has top left.
2 the river bank has the odd beveling artifact at the edge of the image, use an airbrush tipped eraser (at like 2-5% flow) to reduce that a little.

Great work man.

Gandwarf
08-07-2009, 01:54 PM
This thread is in the regional mapping forum by the way. I am going to move it to the city mapping forum.

Coyotemax
08-07-2009, 03:50 PM
d'oh, sorry about the thread placement, habits, I guess :)

Ascension: glad you approve so far :) I know there's a few shadow issues yet, I realized partway through that I was messing that up :) thanks for reminding that it still needs to be adjusted.

I usually have a bit along the edges that I'm not too worried about, a gutter of sorts. In the final version, i will have either cropped that out, covered with a border, or fixed. Thanks for the reminder though, i'd hate to forget to take care of it :)

Yay, progress!

Coyotemax
08-07-2009, 10:34 PM
Fixed the shadows, was having troubles with the riverbanks at the edges though, I've rarely been able to keep layer effects from messing up at the edges. So, Border it is (though I'll likely make it a lot less whelming for the final version, i'm thinking half the thickness).
After fixing everything I just kind of got tired of working with buildings and wanted to do something completely different for a bit. :)
Dunno if I'll keep that compass -might keep the shape but not the effect..

Morkhdull
08-08-2009, 04:57 AM
I like the way you treat the river infrastructure...
It gives me inspiration.
Repped :)

Gandwarf
08-08-2009, 05:47 AM
That's a very interesting border you got there. It's huge though and it's kinda grabbing the attention (away from the map?).

Coyotemax
08-08-2009, 06:14 AM
Yep.

The border has been redone while I waste time avoiding working on the building placement. I think I rather like it now. The best part is that it's not totally random - it does tell the story of the town, in it's own way. I still need to re-order some of the pics, they didn't flow quite the way I intended.

Morkhdull: thanks! I had a lot of fun designing the waterfront.. Glad to hear it's inspiring :)

The more i look at it, the more I tweak the river.. sigh. i should really stop now and work on the buildings.. Though i am planning on maybe adding some rocks and terrain in the river in spots, i love the way the foamy ripples are coming along. Can't add too many though, the whole point to the town was that it was a safe and convenient barge landing :)

Gandwarf
08-08-2009, 06:16 AM
I find it funny how you are dreading the placement of buildings. There's no escaping it. This is a city map of course. ;)
Border is much better now.

Coyotemax
08-08-2009, 06:24 AM
Not so much dreading as I find it incredibly tedious. But yeah, nothing to it but to git er done.

Gandwarf
08-08-2009, 06:29 AM
City mapping is indeed very tedious work. But it can be very relaxing as well. I have to be in the mood for it, though.

Steel General
08-08-2009, 08:36 AM
...I find it incredibly tedious.

I'll second that, and painful as well (for me at least), I had shoulder problems for weeks after my last big city map.

Ascension
08-08-2009, 01:22 PM
In the tut final (not yet ready) I replace the tedium with brushes and paths and things go much faster...see the post I have on brushes here, post #3:

http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=2639

Instead of cropping out selections and rotating them, the brushes make things quite easy.

Coyotemax
08-08-2009, 04:29 PM
I kept thinking there's got to be an easier way :)
Though I have to admit I like the variation of the different sizes and placements of buildings everywhere.

Well, the wife is off this weekend, so I may not make as much progress as i was hoping on the map :)

Scorpius
08-08-2009, 07:21 PM
There's something about the way the beach meets the grass that makes the beach seem very steep, almost cliff like. It makes the bridge and docks pop when you follow them from the land, and almost seem like they're not touching the water.

Coyotemax
08-08-2009, 09:44 PM
Thanks for pointing that out, I'll have to play around with things a bit. I like the bridge itself being higher (barges need to go under) but now that you mention it, the docks should be right at water level.

Coyotemax
08-09-2009, 01:30 AM
I haven't reworked the apparent dock height yet, but my wife was looking over my shoulder and took issue with some of the textures that were in use.

So, here goes me deviating from the tutorial again :)
And the buildings are coming along.. Now that I remember that this version of photoshop can pick and duplicate multiple layers at a time, I think this'll go a lot more quickly (I was copying each building then moving and pasting one at a time..)

So the food district is done, legal buildings are done, monastery needs a garden, and the meat/leather products are completed. I've also set aside space for the high market and low market. Yay for progress :)

(i see i forgot to trim one of the docks back down.. dangit.)

Gandwarf
08-09-2009, 05:25 AM
Finally, some progress ;)
Houses *should* be placed by hand by the way. Automating it removes all the fun!

Coyotemax
08-09-2009, 06:33 AM
I'm starting to agree, as tedious as this is :)

I tried the placing houses along paths with brushes, and I managed to make it work really well at a varite of sizes (and widths vs heights) but I run into the same problem no matter what I do - getting the roof tiles/thatch/etc to angle with the buildings. Near as I can tell there isn't a way. i tried making a brush out of the finished product, but then they got half transparent, and ruined the effect entirely. I imagine with a large enough map and a different style (straight colour with bevelling) the roofs would work just fine, and it would simply be a matter of pathing everything properly. However for this map I really want the roof details :)

Le Sigh, more stuff to do away from the computer today.

Ascension
08-09-2009, 07:53 AM
In order to remove the transparency issue here's what I do:

1 Building turned into brush, path stroked, etc.
2 Magic wand tool, click on the outside area (stuff outside of the houses)
3 Select - Inverse
4 Fill with medium gray
5 Deselect

This puts the gray directly underneath the transparent areas and can be styled.

Scorpius
08-09-2009, 09:19 AM
I think that helped a great deal.

Coyotemax
08-10-2009, 07:32 PM
Excellent, I'll have to try that out on the next map :)
Though really, what I'd like to be able to do is layer mountain brushes over each other :(

Anyhow, enough of that.

I *think* this is ready for labelling :)

AslanC
08-10-2009, 07:41 PM
It's nice! I like! :)

Ascension
08-10-2009, 07:51 PM
Yeah, looks great.

Coyotemax
08-11-2009, 02:49 AM
Ok, I keep feeling like I'm missing something big, but it's almost ready to call done.

[edit]
Re-uploaded with more readable font...

Gandwarf
08-11-2009, 03:26 AM
That's some big jumps you made there! I was kinda worried you wouldn't finish. It looks great! The cartouche is awesome as are the fields, the layout of the town, the hedged farms, etc.

My only nitpick: some of the red labeling is difficult to read. Maybe add a more pronounced glow or stroke?

Coyotemax
08-11-2009, 04:07 AM
I left them with no glow/stroke when possible, and used subtle ones that blended in (more or less) as needed.

Which ones in particular? I'll deal with them right now :P

AslanC
08-11-2009, 04:08 AM
All of them mate, it is hard to read unfortunately :(

Coyotemax
08-11-2009, 04:15 AM
ok... I'll see what I can do.

Coyotemax
08-11-2009, 04:49 AM
Ok, I reuploaded the last version. Changed the font to be more black, and put a light beige stroke.

I was hoping it would work with something more subtle, but ohwell.

Gandwarf
08-11-2009, 05:06 AM
Much, much better.
It's very hard to make red for labels work.

Coyotemax
08-11-2009, 05:30 AM
Ok, this is rather a neat effect as well.

Steel General
08-11-2009, 06:55 AM
I like both versions and the border is very neat.

Coyotemax
08-11-2009, 07:23 AM
Well, the final version includes both - I used the monochrome as an overlay to mute the colours a bit and take down the contrasts. I like everything in the same palette :)

Ok, I'm calling it done!

ravells
08-11-2009, 07:24 AM
Absolutely beautiful, Coyotemax! An incredible amount of detail and it makes me want to wander around it. Lovely texture work too.

Bobzilla
08-11-2009, 07:59 AM
Ok, I keep feeling like I'm missing something big, but it's almost ready to call done.

[edit]
Re-uploaded with more readable font...

Right thats it...I'm not even going to bother putting my half arsed attempt up here now :p

Coyotemax
08-11-2009, 08:01 AM
Thanks! The more I look at it, the more I want to flesh out the personalities who live there, and come up with things for our intrepid adventures to run into and deal with :)

Coyotemax
08-11-2009, 08:02 AM
Right thats it...I'm not even going to bother putting my half arsed attempt up here now :p

Bah, are you kidding?? If I'd taken that approach (and i almost did to start) you'll never get the helpful feedback that will help you improve :)

Do it! you know you want to!!

Gandwarf
08-11-2009, 08:06 AM
Right thats it...I'm not even going to bother putting my half arsed attempt up here now :p

Yeah, you should post it up, really... it's the only way you can get feedback.

Bobzilla
08-11-2009, 08:31 AM
The scale issue is still causing me problems and my PC ends up running to slow if I increase the size of the map to get it right in one image.

My solution so far has been to go back to the drawing board and live with the slow speed until I get the ground done and then hopefully split it up in to smaller chunks to work on.

I'll get a WIP put up later once my laptop can get net access.

Ascension
08-11-2009, 08:31 AM
Just use my tut and make changes where you see fit like CM did. Anyone can do it. :)

Coyotemax
08-11-2009, 08:37 AM
Which reminds me, I finally looked at your map and saw what things were supposed to look like - woah :)

Definitely some differences, but i can't say I'm not happy with my final result. One of the big differences being the bridge footings.. yours are for much more height than mine, I was envisioning squat ones to stay level with the road, kind of like this (http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/services/KnoxTrail/images/stonebridge.jpg). I just tossed in a few spaces between to make it easier for the barges to fit, kind of a hybrid standard stone/wood bridge. :)

Bobzilla
08-11-2009, 08:51 AM
Just use my tut and make changes where you see fit like CM did. Anyone can do it. :)

Completely agree. My problems lying in the sheer size of city I'm trying to create. Everything runs that slowly that by the time I've got to about point 34 on the tutorial its taking a few minutes to make each change so I've no idea what it would be like once I started placing the houses etc.

Once I get the starting point right I'll be laughing as the rough drafts I threw together to make sure I understood the tutorial before diving in head first looked good. The difference was they were about a tenth of the size of the one I'm trying to work on now.

Coyotemax
08-11-2009, 09:08 AM
Start small, then go big. I always found that trying something too ambitious will kill a project. that's why I ended up doing a smal/medium sized town for now.

Bobzilla
08-11-2009, 09:16 AM
Mine is the capital of an island nation that I'm building as part of a coop world build. I've been writing about this place for 3-4 months now and need to get my head around how it looks before I go any further with it.

Even if it turns out rubbish it still gets me further along the road and I can always fix it/redo it at a later date.

The only other place I've designed so far had about 8 huts and a huge forest so this is making a welcome change. :)

As for your map. I'm actually liking the feel of it more than Ascensions. His buildings look better I feel but I'm loving the details you've put on the road around the bridge etc.