View Full Version : September Entry: Passage of Time - Woadsbury

09-04-2009, 04:53 PM
Well, maybe I'm disqualified because I actually (barely!) started this map before the announcement, as part of a collaborative project in my local writers group. But I'ma thread it as a WIP anyway.

1 & 2 - This is pretty much where I was when the challenge was announced: our chosen site in England on the River Ouse, and Buckingham palace set in for scale for the baron's castle on the hill.

3 - Added a terrain heightmap with a gradient ramp*. The idea is, the baron's castle sits on a hill overlooking the town. There is a sheer cliff dropping from the castle's prominence down to the river. There will be bridges upstream and downstream from the cliff.

4 - The first gradient ramp sucked so I redid it. Much happier with this approach. Added a little elevation scale to the side, also. Is 65ft a good height for a modest cliff face?

5 - The grayscale heightmap.
* I learned about the Gradient Ramp feature thanks to Cartographer's Guild! Been using Photoshop literally since 1990, and I keep discovering new features! I also learned about the Shape Burst here. Keep the tips coming, CG! Yu guyz rawk.

09-04-2009, 04:56 PM
As long as you aren't submitting finished maps that you did before the challenge, everything is OK. Thanks for participating. Now knock my socks off :D

09-04-2009, 06:54 PM
65 sounds good enough to me...too tall for scaling ladders and towers to be used, in a sense it provides some protection and the wall on top can be thinner or shorter there plus it gives a little flair. Flair is good.

09-04-2009, 07:35 PM
Flair is the idea, yes. I don't want a Peter Jackson cliff. I want something imposing but believable.

Steel General
09-04-2009, 09:22 PM
Good to see you jumping in on a challenge Toff!

09-05-2009, 09:16 PM
06- I've ditched & redone my Google Maps landgrab. It wasn't big enough, especially to the north where I need the town to spread some. Instead of just extending it with another Google Maps screenshot, I went and got Google Earth and stitched together four screenshots. It wasn't much better than just regular Google Maps, really. Just more fun.

07 - ... which means I had to redo the elevation map, again, which I don't mind because it's fun painting up thousands of cubic yards of earth with a photoshop brush. You guys ever move any earth? I mean, like with a shovel? It is seriously hard work. And I build all the Woadsbury elevations while sitting on my couch, under the A/C.

08 - Screenshot of the gradient ramp colors and the Curves Adjustment Layer. I drew ten straight lines in the Curves, to give the gradient that stair-step effect. I suppose I could have posterized my elevation grayscale, but then I'd have to keep posterizing it every time I edited the terrain, or I'd have to keep choosing different shades of gray to paint with, meh. This is way easier. Plus, any time I want, I can draw eight lines in the Curves Adjustment instead of ten ... or twelve ... whatever. This is totally the easy compartmentalized way to go.

09 - I have it in mind that I want to do six distinct "time snapshots" run along the bottom of a general area map. I'm not sure I'm happy with the layout, but this is what I currently have. I want to do not only the castle, but also the town, as they grow. Ugh, I hadn't intended to do a whole town map here yet, let alone six town maps. Ugh. My projects have a way of exploding in every direction, and I end up making huge concessions just because of time. We hates it, precious; we wants infinite time to work, yes!

10 - I'm including an "area cheat" in the top right corner: southern England, and a zoom-in of Woadsbury and the county seat, Northampton. I have room under the area cheat to put some notes, or maybe just the title. Who knows. I don't know.

09-06-2009, 12:50 AM
Terraforming and digging ditches is much more enjoyable when one does not have to leave the comforts of the couch :) This looks nice.

09-08-2009, 02:26 PM
Well, I want to do the evolving castle & town on different layers, lined up so I can see them. But Photoshop does not allow layer options for a SmartObject (like InDesign allows for a placed graphic) dammit ... so ... I think what I'll do is set up a layered Photoshop file, and then just use layer comps and save down flat JPGs. Workflow!

09-19-2009, 06:51 PM

http://forum.mysteryandmagic.com/discus/messages/8/1390.jpghttp://www.youtube.com/v/E8nBxOBykoU&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x234900&color2=0x4e9e00&border=1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8nBxOBykoU)

09-20-2009, 06:06 PM
So I did a fancy forest, and added a series of roads and trails ... and lost all my work :( UGH. Not sure how it happened. Somehow, I closed a SmartObject without saving the changes, I think, who knows. Might have been due to filling up my hard drive. Sheesh. Approx two hours down the toilet. What a feeling!

Anyway, I went back and redid the woods, and also added a stream from the forest. I need to do the roads elsewhere, anyway, because they will change over time, which is the aspect of the challenge, anyway! ... and btw, what's the deadline? Sep 30?

09-24-2009, 01:08 PM
Once more I beg humbly on my knees on my knees for the challenge not to be closed before I submit my final on Sunday evening (Pacific time)! I thought we had through the end of September, for the September challenge. Ugh, time -- esp. the lack of it -- is a horrible HORRIBLE thing.

Boss is absent today so I'm putting in some time on the WIP ... according to notes from my writers group discussion last Tues eve, I've got the first iteration of the village set in the nook of the river. There's a low stone wall, some houses, and some paths. That's all they had. This is after the Romans withdrew, and the Dark Ages have begun: c.500 A.D.

09-24-2009, 06:07 PM
if you need support from other entrants to extend the closing date, count me in. I'd love to see this complete.

09-24-2009, 07:46 PM
Thnx Coyo.

The project just took one of those nice unexpected great leaps forward as I realized that I do NOT have to have six evenly-shaped & -sized thumbnail windows. Each thumbnail will be a slightly larger zoom-out, and/or a pan (like concentrating first on the village, then on the hilltop fortifications) ... so I can try to serve up the time slices in some more artful manner than just a row of cloned cubbyholes.

But, ugh, the worktime. I might have an hour or two tomorrow, then I have Sunday, and that's it.

Steel General
09-25-2009, 06:45 AM
*begins cheesy, terrible latino accent*

You can doo eet!

*ends cheesy, terrible latino accent*

09-25-2009, 11:02 AM
LOST WORK in Photoshop
So I did a fancy forest, and added a series of roads and trails ... and lost all my work :( UGH. Not sure how it happened. Somehow, I closed a SmartObject without saving the changes, I think, who knows ...

It happened again, and I think I know why. I was working in a Smart Object, and I hit SAVE, and it said (something like) "Can't update SmartObject."
If you don't use Photoshop, you probably don't care ... but, backstory, a (non-linked) SmartObject is essentially a file within a file. It's not a separate document on your hard-drive; it's embedded in your main .PSD. You can open it in another tab/window in Photoshop, edit it, save it ... but instead of saving as a file on your hard drive, it saves as an internal segment of its parent .PSD.
Well, what I thought "Can't update SmartObject" meant was, it could not update the display of the SmartObject in the parent .PSD, which (of course) was open in another tab. But I thought I was OK, because I don't care about the display, really ... it'll refresh the view eventually, when I zoom or whatever ... and, in general (I told myself), in Photoshop and 99% of all software, you can't close an edited-but-unsaved document without the system telling you, "Yo, save changes before closing?" So I thought that when I hit SAVE, it had saved the SmartObject. When I hit CLOSE, it said nothing; it just closed the tab.

Well, I was wrong. When I closed the Smart Object, I saw in the parent .PSD that all my changes since my last save were gone. That was a few days ago, and the work was gone.

Yesterday it happened again: "Can't update SmartObject." Well, instead of closing the SmartObject tab, I looked in the tab for the parent .PSD, and sure enough, it only reflected changes since the last successful save. In this particular case, I avoided utter panic and fury and despair, and I was able to find a gigantic .PSB object in the Photoshop temp folder, which had been modified when I hit SAVE. Okay, so, it DID save my changes! Hah! but it did NOT write the updated SmartObject data into the parent .PSD.

I copied that .PSB file *out* of the temp folder, because when Photoshop closes, it clears the temp folder, which had my technically-saved-but-kinda-not work in it! Thus I was able to preserve my work.

I think I am going to experiment with a new workflow for a while, of relying more on linked SmartObjects than embedded ones. This is how I have operated in my day job (prepress graphics) for 20 years or so. Photoshop SmartObjects are somewhat new, and I am not really versed in their quirks (I think they came out in CS2, and only by CS4 did Adobe repair the alphamask lock for them) ... but if I have everything saved as files on my hard drive, I can more easily ensure that I don't lose hours upon hours of work.

So, I hope this info is of some use to someone here. Grain of salt, as always. Cheers!

09-25-2009, 03:54 PM
Nice save. I'll keep that in mind should that requester pop up for me (luckily it hasn't but I haven't worked that much with smart objects yet).

So once you have the psb on it's own, it opens like a regular psd if you open it with photoshop?

09-25-2009, 03:59 PM
Yeh, .PSB is Photoshop Large Document Format.

Photoshop opens it like any other file. I resaved to .PSD format just because that's what I'm used to.

09-25-2009, 04:11 PM
So here I've pretty much moved beyond all my Google Earth satelllite imagery and replaced everything with Photoshop-originated terrain: elevations, woods, trails, etc.

This is the 500 A.D. era. I started here because as each era progresses I will delete forest (for cropland and timber) and add buildings, roads ... various extensions of the Woadsbury Castle ... etc.

09-27-2009, 03:22 PM
Off to a slow start today ... including (but not limited to) a nice overflowing toilet ... ah the joys of losing worktime to the mundane!

I'm doing the first of the fortifications, which is a wooden keep, a stone wall, and a wooden palisade. I haven'ty put the earthworks in yet.

09-27-2009, 03:58 PM

09-27-2009, 04:14 PM
The quarry site west of the village, providing stone for the foundations of the first keep and its stone wall, and also necessitating the building of Woadsbury's first bridge at a compromise site between the village and the quarry (the quarrymen wanted it closer to the quarry, of course; the villagers demanded it be closer to the village).

09-27-2009, 04:30 PM
You might notice I'm making extensive use of layer masks. I find, in short, that they offer a non-destructive way simply to paint and erase terrain features. With cunning use of layer effects, you don't even need a layer fill itself. In fact, most of my layers are just white pixels; everything is applied via effects and alphamask densities.

I also find that it's quite easy to DISTRESS a layer mask with various filters and procedures to achieve results that you can't get by using similar procedures and filters on the painted layer itself.

09-27-2009, 04:53 PM
Expanding the village -- prosperity under the barony!

09-27-2009, 05:27 PM
This will be it for 750 A.D.

09-27-2009, 06:34 PM
I jsut happened to notice the earthworks mask ... thought it made an interesting pattern, thought I'd share. 2nd screenshot, the appearance of the layer with the rest of the art, and the bevel settings.

09-27-2009, 07:51 PM
By the time the Normans land, the Woadsbury family is living pretty well up on the hill, and "downtown Woadsbury" is suffering the medieval equivalent of urban blight.

09-27-2009, 08:15 PM
This is looking bloody amazing.

It's so hard not to rep things just yet, I keep trying to hold off for the end of the contest :)

09-27-2009, 09:45 PM
Thanks -- it's coming along.

Here's the Norman-style castle, with real stone walls and towers. Also, a zoom-out of the wider area.

I need to quit dinking with the different eras and move onto thumbnailing them into the main piece.

09-27-2009, 11:16 PM
I've flattened & cropped each of the 5 eras. The last, 1350, will be the overall background. The other 4 will be insets.

09-27-2009, 11:22 PM
Here are the 4 previous eras thumbnailed @ equal scale over the latest era (1350).

Obviously I need to bling them around somehow ... as my dad used to say, it's five pounds of $%!# in a three-pound bag.

Then I have all kindsa labels to put on.

And then I must call it done for challenge purposes.

09-27-2009, 11:23 PM
Ooops forgot the attachment ...

09-27-2009, 11:49 PM
Man, is it hard to fit pieces together sometimes or what! This will do, though, I think.

Onto the labelling ... and squeezing my two England thumbs back in somewhere, too.

09-28-2009, 01:22 AM
Alright, I gotta be at work in like 7 hours. So ... this is my final for the challenge.

Thank you for the opportunity! Whew! & Good night!

### Latest WIP ###

09-28-2009, 02:00 AM
oooh that's pretty.

Steel General
09-28-2009, 07:27 AM
Very nice, glad you were able to finish it in time :)

09-28-2009, 07:53 AM
I've enjoyed watching this one develop, though I haven't had the time to say much. Rep for you sir and thank you for helping to make the challenge a success.

09-28-2009, 09:29 AM
This is really gorgeous. I love the insets.

09-28-2009, 11:24 AM
Thnx all!

This map is not "finished" in the sense that there will be additions and revisions -- it's for a collab writing project that's very much still in the development stages. I'll keep posting here as things move along.

But anyway, this version is "complete and finished" for purposes of the challenge.

09-28-2009, 01:56 PM
This map contains one of the strongest abstract patterns I’ve seen, elevating it from simple cartography to art.

By changing the shapes, sizes, interior colors, and border solidity of the rectangular forms, you’ve made the boxes echo each other without ever becoming repetitive. This echo creates a visual cadence that sweeps my eyes around the picture plane, delighting at the variety. Each boxed map feels like a new treasure chest I get to explore. The strong linear element of the river in the main map ties up the composition. I ride along the river and its tributary, which carries me back to the vignettes repeatedly. The timeline the vignettes present flows naturally, right to left, then top to bottom, but simultaneously unexpectedly in their rhythm, punctuated by the title, the heraldic device, and the nifty country map and pull-out. This thoughtful, logical, and yet quirky flow engages me more in the maps' content – the changes to the village over time – than I would have been if you’d just lined the era boxes up in a row or stacked 'em up in a column. Composition serves content.

And I need not comment on the exceptional skill used to execute the image’s myriad details. But I can’t help but compliment the visual wonder the image as a whole inspires through its unexpected placement of elements. If this weren’t a map, if it were just colors and shapes and values stripped of narrative content, I’d still be enthralled.

09-28-2009, 02:04 PM
That's .... extremely flattering, man. Thank you!

If this weren't posted in my thread, I'd wonder whose work you were talking about :p
All I see is the flaws :\