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pasis
08-18-2009, 12:16 PM
Time to start a new project. Again I知 experimenting something new and trying to mix it with the old tricks. There is not too much here yet but I知 hoping to get it further later this evening. I started by trying to create a nice looking mountain and scaling the forest to give an idea of a high mountain range. I also played with lighting to give it a extra touch.

Jykke
08-18-2009, 12:56 PM
Just plain photoshop or did you throw in new software to the mix ? Looking pretty nice btw :)

pasis
08-18-2009, 01:06 PM
Just plain photoshop or did you throw in new software to the mix ? Looking pretty nice btw :)

Experimenting with geocontrol to get the height map in grayscale (.BMP) and then exported to Photoshop to add textures and details. I also boost the height feeling with the same technique I used in my tutorial.

Jykke
08-18-2009, 01:14 PM
I thought I saw some familiar terrain shapes! (fluvial flows). Are you using photoshop to render the heightfield & terrain texture ?

Steel General
08-18-2009, 02:08 PM
That is looking really nice so far.

I still have not quite got the hang of pulling height maps into PS. Maybe once you're done you can write a short 'tutlet' explaining how its done.

pasis
08-18-2009, 03:56 PM
The way I use the height map is that I add other layers on top of it where I then add the final textures. Addition to that you can copy paste the height map into the channels as well and then use it with rendering lighting effect.
I will probably write a short instructions later to explain it better.

This is the last version I have now. I changed the forest to needle leaf type and I might change the colors of the whole image a bit to make it look more Nordic.

Steel General
08-18-2009, 04:09 PM
Instead of changing the colors, why not just do a second 'Nordic' version?

Coyotemax
08-18-2009, 05:02 PM
wow, that is incredibly cool. Looks like there's some good spots in there for some dwarven rock avalanche traps :)

ravells
08-18-2009, 05:10 PM
Pasis! This is absolutely beautiful! I can see it being used with some PS photomanipulation / matte type stuff to put the settlements in. Castles etc. Are the textures you've used overlaidin photoshop? They match the heightfield beautifully.

Your rising mountain tutorial has already been 'the' tutorial of the Guild on making mountains. I think you may just exceed it with the one you write on this... but I'd be interested to know how much control you have over the landscaping (that I have found is always the hardest part of using heightmaps).

Best and thanks for the 'wow' factor,

Ravs

pasis
08-19-2009, 01:25 AM
Pasis! This is absolutely beautiful! I can see it being used with some PS photomanipulation / matte type stuff to put the settlements in. Castles etc. Are the textures you've used overlaidin photoshop? They match the heightfield beautifully.

Your rising mountain tutorial has already been 'the' tutorial of the Guild on making mountains. I think you may just exceed it with the one you write on this... but I'd be interested to know how much control you have over the landscaping (that I have found is always the hardest part of using heightmaps).

Best and thanks for the 'wow' factor,

Ravs

There are bright guys in the forum, I see!! Jykke spotted the features (fluvial flows) from Geocontrol and you spotted the the photomanipulations (matte) to fit the castles and some other parts as well.
The castles are overlaid in photoshop. I matched the overall lighting (so that they don't pop up too much) and added forest to go partially over them to blend them with the surroundings. Also added manually the shadows and few other tricks to fool the eye.

In theory you have all the control over the heightmap you get from Geocontrol, but you need to master the software which is not easy. In my case I have to settle with what I get from it.

AslanC
08-19-2009, 02:26 AM
That is a very very very cool looking image. I am most impressed :)

Ashenvale
08-19-2009, 03:13 AM
Holy crap, Pasis!

Jaw-dropping.

Hold on. I have to go back and look at it again.

I may be a while.

Ashenvale
08-19-2009, 03:33 AM
Crappola. Now I have to figure out how to give rep.

Thanks a lot. I was cruisin' along just blistfully in my ignorance.

I read through the thread. It's mostly gibberish to me. I make a living with a paintbrush and can find my way around Photoshop when need arises. But I haven't the faintest clue what all the rest of these programs do. Please bear that in mind while I try to offer something useful.

Other than

WOW.

From an artist's standpoint, I have some suggestions. The blue pool snags and holds the eye (which is your primary goal, so kudoos!!). But it seems out of character with the rest of the image's color scheme. Specifically, it's the only cool color, and its richly saturated with blue. It seems like the color lake one would expect to find in a temporate climate under brilliant blue skies. It feels somewhat out of place in this brooding mountain setting.

I don't have meaningful advice to correct this. I want the pool to remain the center of interest, but I don't want it to look cut out and pasted on. Perhaps try desaturating it a smidge, or shadowing it so that it feels more deeply folded into the surrounding mountain-scape.

My eye goes immediately to the lake, which I take as a victory. (If your real aim was to draw the viewer's attention to the forested valley below, we have to talk. Kidding. I know it's not. You're too gifted.) My eye then goes to, and lingers on, the mountains illuminated by the sunlight at the top of the image. To my mind, that's a problem.

My advice, for what it's worth, would be to avoid putting your highest value area (the section flooded with the most light) away from your center of interest. In painting, the rule is reserve your highest area of contrast, and your area of most saturated color, for your center of interest. (Please forgive my pedantic voice. I know you know this. I'm speaking to anyone who might not.) You have engaging contrast and color intensity (saturation) in the mountainous area around the pool. I just think you may have given the top secion of mountains too much empahsis by pushing the values there very high.

I'd prefer this image, from an artistic standpoint, if the highest value and richest contrast were in close proximity to (what I asssume is) your center of interest -- the lake.

Sorry. Too many words to say something simple. Three glasses of wine and 3:30 in the morning my time.

I'm still overawed by the gripping power of your vision. Blood and thunder, man.

Blood and thunder.

Ashenvale
08-19-2009, 03:42 AM
Okay, figured out this "adding rep" thing. I wrote something like, "the mountainscape in Forgotten Lands makes me want to crawl in a corner and cry."

I'm off to my corner now.

torstan
08-19-2009, 07:41 AM
Excellent work Pasis. You've really set the bar high with this one!

Great work.

pasis
08-19-2009, 08:38 AM
Ashenvale, you are right about the importance of the lake in the mountains. I will surely tweak it later and my intention is...well you will see later. The sunlight in the north mountains will be handled manually later and I already have a way to do it. I'm glad to hear that you see it in the way I intended it to be seen. I'm not an artist and I'm not always sure if I'm doing things right and it's good to hear I'm on right track.

Although majority of the mountains and hills are due to the grayscale height map, I can make great enhancement with the methods introduced in my tutorial. Here is a small sample I'm working on now where rivers run through a valley. The left one is with the height map and textures put on top of it and in the right one I have added hills and cliffs etc manually in just one minute (or maybe it took two minutes).

pasis
08-19-2009, 08:56 AM
I wont be able to work on this today, so I though I could send what I have now. I played with light sources in Photoshop to highlight certain things to learn for the future versions. Hope you like it.

Gandwarf
08-19-2009, 02:47 PM
I certainly like it. You need some waterfalls and rapids now :)

pasis
08-19-2009, 03:17 PM
Waterfall...hmmm...Never really done them before as they are so difficult to make. But I'll give it a try right away.

waldronate
08-19-2009, 03:26 PM
Nicely done. The base textures give it that warm feeling of old limestone.

Two minor niggles: there are a fair number of overly straight parallel stream channels (nothing you can do about that; they are a common artifact of CG fluvial models) and the streams that descend to the river on the right wiggle rather more than I would expect. Water follows the path of steepest descent and the meanders in the stream are a bit out of place. It's what I would expect for a footpath (people don't always follow the path of steepest descent willingly) or a large river on an almost flat plain (where the river has to dissipate flow energy by going side-to-side and making meanders).

pasis
08-19-2009, 03:59 PM
Nicely done. The base textures give it that warm feeling of old limestone.

Two minor niggles: there are a fair number of overly straight parallel stream channels (nothing you can do about that; they are a common artifact of CG fluvial models) and the streams that descend to the river on the right wiggle rather more than I would expect. Water follows the path of steepest descent and the meanders in the stream are a bit out of place. It's what I would expect for a footpath (people don't always follow the path of steepest descent willingly) or a large river on an almost flat plain (where the river has to dissipate flow energy by going side-to-side and making meanders).

Actually I think I can correct the GC artifacts because in photoshop it's just grey scale image and I can even out the paraller streams. I'll give it a try at least. Yeah the rivers...I always tend to have too wiggly river path and I'll take a look at them too.

Attached is the waterfall I just added. I will tweak it, but I think I will keep it :)

AslanC
08-19-2009, 04:03 PM
Not a bad waterfall. Something looks off though... can you mist it up?

Steel General
08-19-2009, 04:14 PM
I agree, unless it is falling into a deep pool with no rocks, the mist should be heavier.

But overall a really nice attempt.

Greason Wolfe
08-19-2009, 10:44 PM
Actually I think I can correct the GC artifacts because in photoshop it's just grey scale image and I can even out the paraller streams. I'll give it a try at least. Yeah the rivers...I always tend to have too wiggly river path and I'll take a look at them too.

Attached is the waterfall I just added. I will tweak it, but I think I will keep it :)

Hrm . . . I seem to remember seeing a really great tutorial on doing waterfalls in Photoshop. I'll have to see if I can find it again and forward it to you, if you are interested in seeing it. It was originally written for use as a post rendering edit for Terragen, but it might apply to what you're trying to accomplish.

GW

Edit : Found a copy on my system. The images appear to be broken (invalid jpg files) but the text is still in good shape. You'll have to weed out the parts that apply to your efforts, and I'm almost sure there is another tutorial somewhere that I'll have to find. Add the one I do have as a zip file just in cas you're interested.

Jykke
08-20-2009, 02:54 AM
Have you tried how the mountains fit to a larger overland map ? I usually stumble a bit when it comes to doing that. :S

pasis
08-20-2009, 05:38 AM
Thanks GW for the waterfall intructions. I took a look at it and saw few good tips.

Jykke, yes I have considered making a larger map. I decided to try this smaller piece first and learn from it. With the bigger map comes lot more work and this smaller is a time consumer already.

Jykke
08-20-2009, 05:57 AM
Ok, maybe we will see a larger version in the near future then =) I'd expect to see couple of more mountains on the same map and some lower land between them (like your previous maps for example). Keep up the good work!

Btw, the issues with artifacts in the terrain might be resolved by adding deep thin flows in geocontrol as the final filter (you might have to play around with the settings..). I also recommend increasing the terrain resolution in geocontrol, to 4096. It will affect the terrain generation time quite much, but the results are also wayyyy better. And you can always decrease the resolution afterwards in photoshop if it's too big for the document you are working on.

pasis
08-20-2009, 06:53 AM
The full map I have contains also one smaller mountain and the already visible mountains continue a bit futher. The full resolution I have is 2048x2048 (I didn't run the 4096 as it took ages and I had enough details for this project with 2048).
When I'm finished I hope I have learned enough to start a new and bigger project. I have concerns about the geo control, because I'm a newbie in it and there is so much I don't understand. I'm not sure if I'm getting old or something, but self learning GC feels so hard (or it just is so darn complex).

Jykke
08-20-2009, 07:04 AM
GeoControl can surely produce beautiful details, but It should support multiple cores and have the possibility to use 64bit memory space. And I must admit that it isn't easy to produce the end result you have in mind at the first place. I probably have spent over a week (in hours) with the program.. :D and even then just scratched the surface.

Greason Wolfe
08-20-2009, 09:44 AM
Thanks GW for the waterfall intructions. I took a look at it and saw few good tips.

Jykke, yes I have considered making a larger map. I decided to try this smaller piece first and learn from it. With the bigger map comes lot more work and this smaller is a time consumer already.

I'm almost certain that I have another tutorial along the same lines that I used once, well before I joined the guild. Personally, I thought it was a bit better, so if I find it, I'll pass it along. Glad to hear that first one was helpful.

BTW, I'm really loving this work your doing, a definite thumbs up from me.

GW

pasis
08-20-2009, 03:51 PM
Removed some of the height map artifacts by using healing brush tool. Improved the waterfall a bit and added a second one. Also created new terrain texture and applied it to lower lands. Added some hills and more forest (also made forest to go partially over the rivers). And then a lot of bits and pieces here and there that I don稚 recall anymore.

Tear
08-20-2009, 05:13 PM
This is a brilliant piece of work already, and I can't wait to see where you take it.
It looks like a satellite photo made through a fantasy lens if that makes any sense. Or maybe something you would see in a scrying crystal ball.

The only thoughts I can offer:
Both the two little towers and the waterfalls caught my eye as being off perspective when compared to the top-downish mountains and rivers. The forests kind of get away with it, but also clash somewhat near mountaintops.

Just food for thought.

Anyway, keep up the astounding work, Pasis.

ravells
08-20-2009, 05:17 PM
This is looking magical! Make it more magical!

Redrobes
08-20-2009, 06:28 PM
Yeah its looking well cool. Clearing up those parallel lines helped a lot.

Edit -- Theres some funny business going on here with some black contour looking lines in the image. What do you think it is ?

Imahilus
08-20-2009, 08:16 PM
Sorry for posting as the new person that I still am =P

Absolutely.. no denying it, LOVE this map.
And I thought RobA's tutorial brought amazing results, thought I loved that... ten times better o.o'
I hope it will be possible for people to use this map in private settings when its done? =)
Though with praise comes the critique eh :P

The grey area's do look a bit awkward, they look featureless compared to the rest of the map.

As for the black lines, I think thats heavy shadow due to 'resolution' issues.
To explain: gradients are no more than having two absolute colours, and making colours for X 'lines' to get from one to the next. The higher the resolution of the gradient, the more lines.
Heightmaps / bumpmaps by nature use colours to determine the height difference, in some cases the colour shift from a gradient can be seen as the same height or a higher difference than usual.. resulting in heavier than expected shadows (particular settings can worsen or lessen this effect).
Thats the technical aspect of it, since I'm not a graphics person, I'm leaving it up to the people who know their graphics programs to word wether this effect ever happens (and if so, how often it occurs).
You might be able to solve it by manually blurring or blending those area's slightly by hand, if this is in fact what is happening.
Sorry if the problem isn't anything like what I just explained.

waldronate
08-20-2009, 10:01 PM
Much cleaner without the straight lines. While I may lack the artistic sensibilities to do real work, I can usually spot difficulties. A born critic, dedicated to throwing rocks at those doing good things.

The perspective on the waterfalls seems a bit off. My brain keeps telling me that the waterfalls are being seen from about 20 degrees above the horizon while the rest of the map is seen from 80+ degrees above the horizon. The net result is that the waterfalls appear to be falling straight down and sideways at the same time.

Ascension
08-20-2009, 10:02 PM
You explained it correctly Imahilus. I get those frequently when playing with gradients for shading and then running lighting effects or bevels on it...creates that step look.

Davros01
08-20-2009, 10:20 PM
Wow, Great looking map!!!

pasis
08-21-2009, 01:52 AM
Thanks again for all the comments and critique, I need it to maker this better.

Tear, the waterfall and the towers are intentionally isometric. I知 trying to make this kinda between satellite and isometric. My intention is that you are high in the air just at the bottom of the image. So the stuff in the bottom should be satellite, because you are looking top down, but further up you get more isometric. I have already experimented this with forest and it痴 working (in this version I have not fixed the forest though) I知 not sure if I can pull this off completely as I have not tied this beforewish me luck (and sudden boost to artistic skill).

Imahilus, the grey is an area I have not worked on yet. The grey color is from the height map I have in there.

Redropes, Imahilus and Ascension, the black lines are actually artifacts in my mountain textures . I was not able to get rid of them when making the original texture, but I will clean them up later with healing brush tool.

Greason Wolfe
08-21-2009, 04:47 AM
The waterfalls look much better now and the map, as a whole, is looking wonderful. It's enough to make an old Wolfe like me shed a tear or two wanting to run wild and enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

GW

RobA
08-21-2009, 10:47 AM
I think it is really nice! A drop-dead, gorgeous work!

...but... is it supposed to be a map, or a picture? (I know it is not finished, so this could be premature, so please don't take it wrong...)

I had a real hard time even noticing the double tower structure.

And not having looked at the earlier versions I didn't even realize the lake was a lake... I thought it was a building with a well in front:

16112

Some of this may be cause you are posting in a reduced size, so detail has been lost. Also, after labeling, this may be a moot point, but to preach for a moment...(quoting from the "Principles of Cartographic Design")

"User first, user last. What does the user want from this map? What can the user get from this map?"

"Important things must look important, and the most important thing should look the most important."

"How much information can be gained from this map, at a glance?"

(OK, done preaching ;) )

Again, don't take this the wrong way. I just don't have your vision of what the end product will be.

-Rob A>

pasis
08-23-2009, 09:23 AM
I'm not taking your critique wrong RobA, don't worry, especially when I understand your point. I知 a roleplayer by heart and I always design maps for certain playing purpose (in good and bad).
I have been away for the weekend, but now back again and I can start to add more details to the map and I知 sure it will make it more a map than a picture.

pasis
08-24-2009, 09:28 AM
I'm working on to finish up the known side (northern side) of the world. Here is a smal sample, but I'll upload a bigger update later when I get things more finished.

Steel General
08-24-2009, 02:39 PM
The town seems a bit bright (compared to the rest of the image), is the sun shining directly on it?

pasis
08-24-2009, 03:17 PM
The town seems a bit bright (compared to the rest of the image), is the sun shining directly on it?

Actually it is a mistake. I had played with contrast and exposure and forgot the adjustment layer on. This will be fixed in the next release :)

pasis
08-26-2009, 08:41 AM
Decided to work on the forgotten land side finalizing land shapes, textures and details. It's not finished yet, but enough for now before I get more done on the northern "known world" side.
Played also with the labeling to create something different that would fit to this map and I came up with 3d; ish look. I strengthened it by manually adding shadow that follows up the landscape by using 斗iquify tool in Photoshop.
I hope this lightens up a bit what is coming up.

Coyotemax
08-26-2009, 10:03 AM
That is bloody amazing.

I love the way this is coming along, Very impressed!
I can't really offer any suggestions or criticisms, I'm spending way too much effort in enjoying the view :)

Diamond
08-26-2009, 12:08 PM
That is about ten kinds of bad-ass.

*bows down to Pasis*

:D

Gandwarf
08-26-2009, 03:52 PM
It does indeed look stunning, especially the waterfalls. This is some impressing terrain and I like the labeling. Like RobA I have some difficulty adjusting to the view, though. It's mostly because of the waterfalls I think. They suggest a perspective look, but the mountains behind it are almost top-down.

Ascension
08-26-2009, 04:12 PM
I'll second what Diamond said...all kinds of killer. I like the perspective labels because I've done them myself...just my kind of thing so I dig it. My fave part is the icons and runes...I'm gonna have to have a go at that myself. This is definitely a place that I'd like to walk around in and since that stirs the imagination I shall bonk thee with my +13 butter knife of reptitude.

pasis
08-27-2009, 02:23 PM
I'll second what Diamond said...all kinds of killer. I like the perspective labels because I've done them myself...just my kind of thing so I dig it. My fave part is the icons and runes...I'm gonna have to have a go at that myself. This is definitely a place that I'd like to walk around in and since that stirs the imagination I shall bonk thee with my +13 butter knife of reptitude.

Be careful with such a great weapon Ascension. With great power comes great responsibility
So thank you all for the C&C, I知 finally closing the goal here. Now it痴 more like fine tuning and correcting mistakes (and creating compass of which I have no idea yet). I expect to finish this up latest on weekend depending on how much time I can spare.

pasis
08-28-2009, 03:00 PM
This one is done now and the latest final version can be found from the finished maps section.
Thanks you all for the kind words, but especially thank you for the good criticism given (and thank you Gandwarf for the waterfall idea, it turned out great).

ravells
08-28-2009, 03:15 PM
Pasis, it's unbelievable how you keep raising the bar on the maps you draw. The level of detail is astonishing as is the way you've stitched the drawing into the 3d map.

Gandwarf
08-28-2009, 03:23 PM
Great stuff indeed. Love what you did with the labeling. Everything feels so 3D :D
One nitpick: the lakes to the north seem to be almost floating. Or is it just my eyes?

I am getting used to the perspective by the way! It's just that I am not used to this perspective being used in maps.