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redleg7
09-01-2009, 08:03 AM
Hello All,
Looking to improve or acquire some new techniques.

Although I'm generally satisfied with how things turned out I'd like to work on improving the following:

1. I'd like for the "ground" to look a little more realistic. I usually apply the noise filter and do some shade rendering but it looks to uniform.

2. I want to make my buildings a little more weathered, they look to clean.

3. I also want to add some agricultural elements like cornfields and rice paddies.

4. I think a swamp might be in order as well.

5. I've come a long way in making my trees/forest. Any improvements would be welcome. I use a wet brush and then apply some noise, layer effects like drop down shadows, and some light rendering.

This particular map is based off the Operation Ivory Coast the raid on the Son Tay POW camp in N. Vietnam. The map was created using Photoshop CS4.

Coyotemax
09-01-2009, 08:24 AM
First off, let me say that your trees look absolutely perfect to me.

For the ground layer, have you considered doing actual ground textures? There are some very good ones out there that would help break up the smoothness. The colour is pretty uniform, I think that's what's standing out to me - right now everything looks like a well manicured lawn (who do you have maintainign that? do you have a card? the lawn outside my house could definitely use this treatment! lol). you could create another layer overtop, render clouds on that with 1 shade green, 1 shade brown then set that to overlay or something similar, that would add some randomness for you.

For the sawmp, you could create another layer, do the same thing only use a few blue tinted areas, and just paint over the areas you want to look swampy - and maybe adjust the trees a bit.

For fields and roofs and such, you might actually want to check out Ascension's city building tutorial, it has a few good pointers for that. In particular, for the fields..
It's a bit long for pasting, but you want steps 131/132. There's some good pointers in there overall for a map like this that you can warp to your own ends.

I'll look for the link. This might take awhile :)

[edit - or not!]
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=6536

NeonKnight
09-01-2009, 08:44 AM
biggest thing for me is....The buildings are all perfectly aligned NSEW. They should be a little more scattered.

redleg7
09-01-2009, 09:00 AM
Guys great feedback!

Manicured lawn, that's a great way to describe it.

Will add some randomness to the building layout. Think I'm going to get rid of the green buildings, or adjust the colors a bit.

Alfar
09-01-2009, 09:02 AM
Oh, while you're at it with the houses, I think it looks rather odd that some houses have the shady side north and some have it south. That's not normally how lighting works ;)

And some lighting on the trees (highlight the sunny side, darken the shadow side) might be good too.

Steel General
09-01-2009, 09:09 AM
It's a nice map...here are a couple of suggestions (do with them as you will).


Apply a pattern overlay to your buildings (as an additional option to CoyoteMax's suggestion)
Try putting a slight blur on the elevations of your hills, it will help to diminish the 'stepped' look the currently have (unless that's the look you want)

redleg7
09-01-2009, 09:48 AM
It's a nice map...here are a couple of suggestions (do with them as you will).


Try putting a slight blur on the elevations of your hills, it will help to diminish the 'stepped' look the currently have (unless that's the look you want)


I actually need the elevation lines. This is a training map, so my students need to see the elevation breaks.

I will try your first suggestion.

redleg7
09-01-2009, 09:51 AM
It's a nice map...here are a couple of suggestions (do with them as you will).


Apply a pattern overlay to your buildings (as an additional option to CoyoteMax's suggestion)
Try putting a slight blur on the elevations of your hills, it will help to diminish the 'stepped' look the currently have (unless that's the look you want)


Probably sounds stupid but I have no idea how to apply a pattern overlay.

Believe it or not a lot of what I learned has been by accident, and trial and error.

Steel General
09-01-2009, 09:58 AM
Not stupid at all - A pattern overlay is a layer style...

1) Double-click on the layer in the layer 'stack'
2) The 'Layer Style' window should appear
3) Click the Pattern Overlay style so that it is highlighted
4) Select the pattern you wish to use, make any changed to the blend modes (you'll need to experiment)
5) Click "OK"

That's all there is to it.

redleg7
09-01-2009, 11:03 AM
Thanks!

In the last hour I've learned a few simple techniques that have made my maps significantly better.

Coyotemax
09-01-2009, 11:33 AM
That'll happen when you start hanging out here :P

You think you've improved now, wait till you see what happens after a month!

redleg7
09-02-2009, 04:29 PM
Updated map.

Still could use some improvement, but much better than what I started with.

Tear
09-02-2009, 05:06 PM
Here are a few suggestions you can try to see if you like them:

Reduce the saturation of the water a bit, and maybe add some brightness.
The dark outer glow on the road gives the impression it is floating, I would get rid of that, personally.
The black on the fence/wall is a bit heavy on the contrast side. Maybe try a dark brown.

Just some food for thought.

Steel General
09-02-2009, 06:41 PM
Besides Tears suggestions, the only other thing I saw is that the shadowed part of the roof on the buildings is not consistent.

A minor thing, but something to keep in mind. :)

Tear
09-02-2009, 07:08 PM
Besides Tears suggestions, the only other thing I saw is that the shadowed part of the roof on the buildings is not consistent.

A minor thing, but something to keep in mind. :)

True.

You could also rotate the pattern overlay for the rotated roofs so they match the rotated buildings. It's an extra mile of work to go, but it would surely add some important subtle detail.

redleg7
09-02-2009, 08:14 PM
Here are a few suggestions you can try to see if you like them:

Reduce the saturation of the water a bit, and maybe add some brightness.
The dark outer glow on the road gives the impression it is floating, I would get rid of that, personally.
The black on the fence/wall is a bit heavy on the contrast side. Maybe try a dark brown.

Just some food for thought.

Thanks, I'll try those changes.

As far as the wall goes I really need revise my technique it's somewhat inelegant and very basic.