PDA

View Full Version : Aug/Sep Lite Entry - Well of the Golden Maiden



Greason Wolfe
08-22-2009, 09:27 PM
Just a place holder for now, back-story and map soon to come.

GW

Gandwarf
08-23-2009, 05:09 AM
Promising name :)

Greason Wolfe
08-24-2009, 09:00 PM
More properly titled, it would be "The Well of Purity and the Gold Maiden" but I wasn't sure if that would all fit, so I shortened it a little. :lol:

And today, I finally managed to get to work on things. Took a while before I found what I was looking for, terrain wise, but once I found it, I spent a couple of hours working on the erosion and what not in Wilbur then sent it over to Terragen for a base render. The river(s) is(are) cut a little deep at the moment and there are a few that need to go "dry," but that's okay. I've kind of got it set in my head that I want to hand-draw this map anyhow, so the render shown below is, more or less, a model to work off of as I put what little artistic talent I have to the test. Still working on the back story/set-up for this one, but I've got most of the rough draft done just to add a little flavor.

GW

Gandwarf
08-25-2009, 01:38 AM
Looks nice so far, other than the points you already touched yourself.

Steel General
08-25-2009, 06:22 AM
Looking good so far GW.

Is this going to be an arctic location, or is that just the base colors of the render coming out of Terragen?

Jykke
08-25-2009, 08:03 AM
I assumed that it is the base colors for renders in terragen. The picture really makes me want to do a wintery scene in 3D, but maybe some another time :)

Greason Wolfe
08-25-2009, 09:49 AM
@ SG and Jykke

That's just some base coloring. Rather than trying to crank this out in Terragen, I'm gonna draw it by hand, but needed a good model to work from. Just enough contrast to see shapes and what not, but not so much as to be distracting when I put pencil to paper. All in all, I think the region will be a fairly temperate one with a bit of snow at the highest points depending on which season I settle for. I've been doing so much "digital" work as of late that my drawing skills are starting to slack a bit, and we can't have that! :lol:

GW

Greason Wolfe
08-26-2009, 09:56 PM
Sort of an update. Went ahead and dropped in some color, but stripped off any sense of texture for the purposes of identifying elevation ranges. It looks very terraced at this point, but that's mostly because I spent a bit of time editing and resizing a few things without bothering to smooth them out for render. Got rid of the nasty river digs for the time being as well, seeing as how I didn't particularly like the placement of some of them. There are still a couple two or three things that need to go away (namely the centralized mountain to the south) and a few things that need to become more pronounced (namely the 3/4 ring of mountains to the north) but I'll handle those when I set pencil to paper. Speaking of which, I need to set up a larger render for while I'm at work tonight and then, or so I hope, a printing session tomorrow so that I can get started with that whole pencil thing.

GW

P.S. There is a reason for the red coloring along some of the shore lines. Some of it will be going away, but much of it has to do with the back story that is still in progress.

### Latest WIP ###

Greason Wolfe
08-28-2009, 02:58 PM
So I've had a minor change of heart, mostly because my hands just aren't steady enough to draw like I used to, but also because as I continued to work on this map things started to look not only interesting, but possessed of great potential. To that end, I'll be sticking with Terragen for the renders, and a lot of Wilbur/PSP for the editing.

I've managed to lay out the first rivers (even finding a better way to cut them into the landscape), and re-applied the coloring. I still need to tweak that end of things (namely the sand looking color to the mountains) and there are a couple of tributaries that I'll likely cut. For the most part, however, I wanted to lay in the main river and its tributaries. The next phase, besides tweaking the coloring, will be to lay in the "less important" rivers and streams. One area that is concerning me, however, is the lake that the central river dumps into. As it stands now, there is no visible discharge from that lake. It's a matter I'll have to think about and find a way to solve.

Other than that, I really like where this is going, and I'm having loads of fun working on it. I might even go so far as to say that it has, at least on a short-term basis, supplanted my Hearthstone project, but is giving me ideas about how to better (and more efficiently) proceed with that particular map.

So here's the latest render with the main river(s) in place.

GW

### Latest WIP ###

Gandwarf
08-28-2009, 03:22 PM
Looks good... can't wait to see how you are going to connect with the GOLD theme.

ravells
08-28-2009, 03:45 PM
really nice erosion lines on those mountains!

Greason Wolfe
08-28-2009, 06:29 PM
really nice erosion lines on those mountains!

We can thank Wilbur and a lot of patience for those. Had to swing back and forth between the Precipitation and Incise Flow functions three times each before those fell into place. And, of course, I had to experiment with the Incise Flow settings to get the look I wanted. Oddly enough, it worked better without working in any Basin Fills until the very end, just before I ran the Erosion Cycle to find the rivers.

Speaking of which, I suppose I should get back to work on those. Needed a bit of a break to grab some chow and watch Iron Man for the hundredth time. :lol:

GW

Greason Wolfe
08-28-2009, 11:30 PM
In needing a break from plotting rivers (such a tedious task) I got to fiddling around in Terragen and hit upon something I should have thought of a long time ago. I do believe (and I may be totally wrong) that I've just taught Terragen how to draw for me. I'm not talking about the pretty, colored, photo-realistic pictures. Nope, I'm talking about something that looks (or at least almost looks) as if it was drawn by hand.

I'm not 100% certain it will work out right, and I'm waiting on a large scale render to see what happens, but, if it does, I'm gonna have to do a jig! :lol: Once the render is done, I'll slap it against a pretty background and post it here for the rest of you to judge. My biggest concern is whether or not it will still offer a perception of depth/elevation, and I'll have to work out just how I might better depict snowy peaks, but overall, I'm very very hopeful.

GW

Jykke
08-29-2009, 01:28 AM
sounds cool. Can't wait to see it!

Greason Wolfe
08-29-2009, 01:54 AM
So close, and yet so far. Much of it works, but some areas just aren't working in that the slopes appear to be pointing in the wrong direction (like the central area leading down to the bottom). I might be able to tweak the process, but it will have to wait for another time. Gotta crawl in bed for now and try to get some sleep before work.

GW

P.S. Here it is for thoughts, suggestions or the sake of curiosity.

Jykke
08-29-2009, 02:01 AM
I think it might be just a camera angle issue ?

Steel General
08-29-2009, 07:48 AM
Looks pretty good to me, its gotta be useful for something I would think. :)

Ascension
08-29-2009, 12:03 PM
I would be very interested to see how you got that effect. I haven't really drawn anything on paper for 10 years so having the pc do that would be sweet.

ravells
08-29-2009, 01:00 PM
It looks like you've thresholded the mountain shadows - nice effect! It may be that the field of view of the camera may be the reason why the angle appears to change from overhead to the near mountains to iso on the further ones....if you make the FOV as low as possbile say 1% ish then that might give you a more consistent mountain angle (if that's what you're after)....looking really cool!

Jykke
08-29-2009, 02:39 PM
It actually somewhat reminds me of a test project I had: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4913
and
http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=11731&d=1238022662

Greason Wolfe
08-29-2009, 06:19 PM
Okay, so I'll try to answer everything in some sort of convoluted order :twisted:

Achieving the Effect
Basically, all I did was set all the surface colors in Terragen to white, cleared the sky of all clouds, left the Terrain Casts Shadows box checked and let it go into render mode. To better define the shore line, I added a distribution mask for the shore line only and set the color to black. The short of it is, the dark areas are nothing more than the shadows created by ridges and valleys between elevation points. If I had rendered both the previous image and a colorized version of it from the same camera angle, the dark areas of the black and white version would correspond to the shading in the colorized version. Waldonrate would probably be better equipped to say whether or not the same effect could be achieved in Wilbur, but I would imagine it might be possible. It can certainly be done in FTPro to an extent by setting land and sea colors to white then playing with the Intensity settings for shading.

Camera Angle Issue
It is possible that the camera angle is an issue. It was set at an angle of about 4 degrees from top dead center which would, in fact, make areas further away from the target point appear more isometric. I didn't have time to run another render last night, but may try again today at an angle somewhere around 45 degrees off of top dead center and see what happens. Another possibility is that the area in question just doesn't have enough roughness (or variation) to create more significant shadowing.

Useful for Something
It is, however, unquestionably useful for something. I'll experiment a bit more, particularly where the mountains are concerned. Perhaps make a flat terrain, then build isolated mountains, erode them and then render from a distance that will allow me to cut them out and use them as tubes/brushes/tiles for my older version of PSP. One of the things I've always thought Terragen might be extremely useful for is creating textures, particularly since I can render them at fairly large sized and avoid tiling issues over in PSP or GIMP. Rather than having several rows/columns of "grass" or "forest" tiles, I can render them as one large tile and then mask it out as a single layer.

In the meantime, it's back to work on the map, and I'll continue this little experiment as a side project of sorts as I have time. Thanks for the feedback though, it was/is definitely helpful.

GW

Ascension
08-29-2009, 08:05 PM
I'll have to dig out my old Terragen and give this a whirl, thanks man.

Greason Wolfe
08-29-2009, 08:37 PM
Ah, well, if you're gonna give it a whirl, I suppose I should be a bit more precise about the technique, yes? With that in mind, I'll try my best to write up a quick tutorial and post it in the tutorials section, but it is likely to take me a day or two as I'm already tied up for the night, applying this technique again from a variety of angles to see what the differences are. Speaking of which, here is the first "new" render from an angle of 30 degrees, the target location being dead center of the terrain file (indicated by the red dot).

Edit : Okay, here is the second version. Target position is still the same and the camera is still at the same X and Y point, but the Z point has been raised to achieve a 45 degree angle. Of the two, I am leaning towards the 30 degree view as it seems to show the elevations a bit better. However, the 45 degree view seems to show more of the land, so I'm gonna try one more render at the mid-way point between the two and hope that it actually turns out as a happy medium.

GW

Ascension
08-29-2009, 11:24 PM
Ooo, now overlay that on some parchment and it'll be way cool.

Greason Wolfe
08-30-2009, 12:04 AM
Ooo, now overlay that on some parchment and it'll be way cool.

That has become my ultimate goal now. Once I've settled on the camera angle, I'll start re-working things to get the main focus of the map where I want it, which will call for some terrain shifting. And then it'll be a matter of laying in the extra features. I've got a pretty good idea how I'm gonna go about that. Basically I'll follow the same process I did with the shore and river definitions. Nice black outline for the forests with some mid-tone grey interiors to "add depth." Some grasslands, maybe a swamp or two and then some buildings (although I won't actually build those into the terrain file, I'll just mask them in the same way I'm gonna mask everything else in.). I'm even thinking of a way I might be able to really show off the sandy beaches since this is a relatively small area After that, a little post editing to place it on some parchment, place the parchment on a table and then add in the labels, the "gold" connection and a few other embellishments.

GW

P.S. And to think, I haven't pulled out much hair with this one, it's actually coming along well, IMHO.

Greason Wolfe
08-30-2009, 04:55 PM
Alright, here's the third render between the two posted above. Taken at an angle of 37.5 degrees, I'm thinking that this is probably the route I'll go. It shows most of the land mass, but still offers enough of an isometric type of view as to see the elevations. I'll have to see if I can sharpen up the high points of the elevations and, as I mentioned, I'll likely be doing some land shifting so that I can center the key points of the map.

GW

### Latest WIP ###

Coyotemax
08-30-2009, 04:58 PM
That is freaking gorgeous. I love the way it's coming along!!

Greason Wolfe
08-30-2009, 05:33 PM
That is freaking gorgeous. I love the way it's coming along!!

Oh, I'm having a ball with this one. It has, by and far, been the least frustrating map I've worked on in a long time. The technique is almost falling into place without any forcing on my part. Just a few minor tweaks here and there for the most part. Of course, I haven't started placing any other major features yet, so there's still plenty of opportunity for a snag to rear it's ugly head. Just gonna keep my fingers crossed and keep chugging along.

GW

Greason Wolfe
08-31-2009, 07:52 PM
Ugh! There are just to many shades of grey to get a good transparency out of this when trying to set it on parchment. And, unfortunately, I can't find a way to get Terragen to settle down in that department without going to an extreme lighting angle that pretty much ruins the effect I'm shooting for. To that end, I'm open to suggestions, though I'm thinking that there is going to be some major adjustment layer editing to get things working properly.

In any event, I did get the land form moved a bit to better centralize the important parts of the map. This created changes in the shoreline and forced me to run back through the Precipitation and Incise Flow cycles. I'm not sure that they turned out quite as good as they did with the first version. Fortunately, I still have that available if I have to go back to it.

The other big change was to change the camera angle, pushing it back up to 60 degrees. While it cuts back some on the apparent elevations, it shows so much more land mass and, in the long run, will allow other features to show up better in the final version of the map.

GW

### Latest WIP ###

Ascension
08-31-2009, 11:05 PM
I'd go ahead and make your parchment layer and then set this on top then change the blend mode to multiply. In theory, multiply only works with darker colors so the lighter ones will show the parchment with no problems.

Coyotemax
09-01-2009, 09:15 AM
Works perfectly with multiply. I slapped it over one of my parchments just to see what would happen..

Steel General
09-01-2009, 09:18 AM
That's pretty durn cool lookin'!

Greason Wolfe
09-01-2009, 10:35 AM
:lol::lol:

Funny thing is, I realized that (the multiply blending mode) last night at work, and promptly slapped myself in the forehead for being so dense. Think it was a case of being awake way too long, and being too focused on other things. Go figure.

But thanks for the recommendation, both Ascension and CM. Now it's off to plot some rivers, plant some trees and grass, maybe do a little flooding. It's so much fun being God. :twisted:

GW

Greason Wolfe
09-05-2009, 01:44 AM
So it's been a whacky few days for me at work, eating up lots of my free time, but finally managed to get back to work on this. Spent a bit of time this evening experimenting with textures. Think I about have the forests down. Will have to "enlarge" the trees a little bit, then outline things to make them stand out a bit better, but I'm feeling pretty good about things. Grass, I think, is gonna be a bit tougher, but I've got a couple ideas.

One other thing I think I'm gonna have to do is set up some shading masks to better define the higher slopes. Still having a minor problem in those areas where slopes should be hidden by ridge lines. If I add a little manual shading, that should solve the problem.

So here's a test render of the forest texture laid over some simple white parchment.

GW

### Latest WIP ###

Coyotemax
09-07-2009, 05:55 PM
i like the progress.

Greason Wolfe
09-14-2009, 09:58 AM
Blah, this is turning into such a bear of a project, not, however, because of the map. Too many problems at work are dragging me away from being able to work on it, but, if I'm lucky, I should be able to finish it up later today and, if I'm lucky again, get the finalized version posted this evening before the cut-off time (fingers crossed).

Finally got my forests looking "right" and managed (again, thanks to wilbur) to drop in the main structures so that they actually looked like structures. Running a test render now just to make sure everything looks the way it is supposed to, then I'll start the detailed render. I did change the perspective a bit and zoomed in on the primary area of the map. I'll have to add in the final touches before posting (namely the GOLD theme) though it isn't going to be as intricate as I had first hoped. A bummer, yes, but at least it looks as though I'll actually finish this map!!!! :lol:

GW

Coyotemax
09-14-2009, 11:11 AM
YAY!

I was getting worried about you, hadn't heard from you in some time..

Greason Wolfe
09-14-2009, 12:34 PM
Yeah, I was getting worried about me too. :twisted:

Unfortunately, as "Second in Command," I get the unenviable task of being the "mean" boss, and over these last couple of weeks, I've had to be exceptionally mean. While it isn't a task I particularly enjoy, I am (thanks to several years in the military) exceptionally good at it. The true downside is, however, that letting someone go means somebody else (namely me) has to cover those hours. It's gonna be a good paycheck this time round, but I'd rather it be from a raise than several extra hours of work.

So anyways, I've got a render running, probably another hour or so to go since it is a fairly large render. Once it's done, I'll post it, then go back and see if I can settle out the embellishments for a finalized product. Gotta go digging for a bit though as I lost several "frames" that I used to use with PSP. If I'm lucky, I'll find them again and be able to slap everything together before the deadline.

GW

Greason Wolfe
09-14-2009, 02:30 PM
Alas, it seems there is some terracing that I'm not going to have time to get rid of. That being the case, I'm not sure what else I am going to try to accomplish with this map. Probably a bit of labeling and some "gold" embellishments. More than likely, however, I won't be able to finish them before the deadline. In general terms, however, the map is done. I would have liked better results with both the forested areas and that pesky terracing. Perhaps I'll continue to work with this map even after the challenge is over with just to see if I can correct those issues.

Oddly enough, as I've worked on this, I've tried some colorized versions of the map that had the mountains appearing very "goldish" in color. Perhaps I should have called this "Mountains of Gold" and pursued that route instead of pursuing the "hand-drawn" look. Go figure. :lol:

GW

### Latest WIP ###

Steel General
09-14-2009, 02:33 PM
We can always change the title of the the thread if you'd like, just let us know.

Greason Wolfe
09-14-2009, 02:38 PM
Nah, that's alright. What I really need to do is take vacation from work when I go to work on these maps so that I can spend a few solid days working on them instead of having to split my time up in little 1 hour intervals. That's what's really killing me with these. Seeing as how I'm always on call for work if there's a problem, my luck always works out that just when I start to get on a roll, work calls and I have to suspend whatever I was working on. That, of course, leads to me having to remember what, exactly, I was doing when I got called away. I may still try to bang out the colorized version just for the sake of argument, but, at least for now, I really (and I mean REALLY) need to go get some rest.

GW