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Steel General
09-11-2009, 03:09 PM
Like for my last couple of challenge entries, I will caveat this by saying I hopefully will have time to finish. Things at work are very much in flux and of course they are telling us nothing.

Basic back story - Large group of refugees (100+) fleeing various types of oppression in their homeland travel around for weeks and 'stumble' upon what appears to be an idyllic place to call "home". Though the island has a volcano, from all appearances it appears to be dormant/inactive...


Obviously this is the 'before' image and though largely complete I still need to add some details. I may also re-do the trees/forests and tweak the "surf".

C&C welcome and encouraged.

### Latest WIP ###

Gandwarf
09-11-2009, 03:31 PM
Wow Steel General, you really improved your style over the last couple of months. Very nice!

jerriecan
09-11-2009, 03:39 PM
Looking good! :)

Ascension
09-11-2009, 05:18 PM
The light blue sea overwhelms my eyes and make the forest and volcano look very dark, maybe lighten those up just a tad. The volcano looks rockin :)

Coyotemax
09-11-2009, 05:18 PM
Dang that's nice.

Are those trees done with a texture, or are they (as I suspect) generated as they go?

I love the beaches too!

Steel General
09-11-2009, 07:05 PM
Thanks guys...

@Ascension - I'll probably darken the seas some, or at least add a darker portion to break up all that 'light-ness'

@Coyotemax - The trees are a bastardized (and somewhat poorly done) version of Ascension's trees from his Godslayer map (too many 'blobs' on the initial layer), that's why I may re-do them. So to answer your question there is a texture used (actually a couple).

Steel General
09-14-2009, 03:04 PM
OK, made quite bit of progress on this since my initial posting;


Darkened the ocean/sea on the 'before' image (good suggestion on that Ascension ;)
Re-vamped the forests (I think they look much better)
Added the 'refugee' ships and basic structures they built in their short time on the island
Added the 'after' map (it is purposely hazy because of the ash,etc.)
Added a simple frame (which I may change)
Added basic labeling; title, compass rose, scale bar, etc.

I may add some additional info/labeling - still making up my mind on how much to actually include on the map itself. Still debating on having a column of smoke coming up from the crater.

I hope to have a small write up to go along with this at some point, we'll see.

As always any C&C welcomed...

### latest WIP ###

Gidde
09-14-2009, 03:23 PM
Great volcano! The lava flows look very photorealistic. I think you're right: some smoke would really add a nice touch.

philipstephen
09-14-2009, 04:39 PM
i like it a lot! great textures...

i wonder though, whether the erruption would change the shape of the island any... like some lava flows might extend the shoreline? i am not sure if that is what would happen or not.

zenram
09-14-2009, 04:51 PM
Wow, nice map, but... I feel sorry for the inhabitants of the place...

Are you determining the lava flow with some data or is a free artistic interpretation?

Ascension
09-14-2009, 05:34 PM
Good stuff SG. I'd think about trying to make the border similar to the font...grungy but with a touch of elegance (not sure how you would do that) :)

Tear
09-14-2009, 05:48 PM
Nice one. Good textures there. Love the lava flows in the second map.

In the first map, you could try to lighten up the grass a bit so the beaches don't pop as much, maybe the water as well. Could help make the forest pop more too. Just an idea, of course.

Coyotemax
09-14-2009, 06:12 PM
Good stuff SG. I'd think about trying to make the border similar to the font...grungy but with a touch of elegance (not sure how you would do that) :)

I'd suggest elegant for the left, and then grunge it up with volcanic ash on the right :)

Immolate
09-14-2009, 06:58 PM
Beautiful stuff SG. I agree with the point that there should be some flow into the sea. Lava is like water, and take the path of least resistance to the sea. With a live flow active, there should be plenty of smoke, not to mention steam where the flow meets the water.

Steel General
09-15-2009, 08:12 AM
Thanks folks...

@PhilipSteven - I looked at a bunch of before/after images of volcanic eruptions. From what I saw much of the time there was little or no change to the general landscape. I guess it would depend on the severity of the event.

@Zenram - Nearly all artistic interpretation, though I did at least try to follow the contours of the land some.

@Ascension/Coyotemax - The existing border is just a brush I downloaded, I'll probably completely redo it. If I can find a good example of "grungy elegance" I'll use it. :)

@Tear - There are actually 2 shades of grass (dark green and a more yellow near the beach). I wanted the sand to 'pop' - like you see in those Caribbean island vacation commercials.

@Immolate - I didn't want to over do the lava flows, and the 'after' image is several days after the initial eruption. Still a good idea and deserves some consideration.

Steel General
09-15-2009, 03:19 PM
OK, no major changes today. Added some more lava flows and smoke coming from the crater to the 'after' map, and re-did the border.

The border is not quite what I really wanted, but after spending several hours looking for and trying out various brushes I just couldn't find anything I liked. What I have is simple and the colors seem to mesh well with the map (at least to my eye).

### Latest WIP ###

Immolate
09-15-2009, 08:19 PM
I like the smoke and the border looks good. I don't know that you gain anything with the slight tint-change at the transition. I think frames should tie a piece together--should react neutrally to all components of the work they encompass. That's my opinion however. I am not now, nor ever have been, a student of art. I may have earned my yellow belt in 'Shop-foo though.

Steel General
09-15-2009, 10:40 PM
Not sure where the 'tint change' came from, it's nothing I intentionally put there. I'll have to look at it tomorrow to see if I can figure out what's causing it.

Ascension
09-15-2009, 10:50 PM
Probably due to the blend modes and if the border is underneath of the gray tint layer on the right.

Steel General
09-16-2009, 09:56 AM
The border is the top most layer, I fiddled around turning things on and off and could not get rid of it.

I'm not going to worry about it, it doesn't really hurt anything.

I think I'm going to call this done. :)

Juggernaut1981
09-16-2009, 10:08 PM
Actually it's probably something as simple as visual association.
Your eye sees clear blue left and a dead vertical line for smoke blue right. Your brain probably interprets that the thin border should do the same. If the border had its own colour weight (instead of being a grey-ish-blue-ish) then it would probably not suffer as much from the effect.


Or the 2-second version: Optical Illusion

Immolate
09-17-2009, 06:04 PM
That occurred to me too, but then I put my hand over the water and the frame remained two-tinted, so I suspect it's a sneaky opacity or layer style issue.

ravells
09-17-2009, 07:28 PM
I was curious too so I took a screengrab of the frame only. Definitely a tint change. If anything the lighter sea ought to have made the border on the right look darker.

Steel General
09-17-2009, 08:28 PM
I can't figure it out, I went through every possible layer that I thought might have caused it and turned off all the effects - then added them back one-by-one.

Can't find what's causing it.

Ascension
09-17-2009, 08:36 PM
Check this on the Layer Styles panel. If the area circled in red is checked then it will take any opacity change (ie anything less than 100%) or any blend mode change (ie anything other than normal) and sort of merge the entire layer style and apply it to the layer itself. This will make the layer sort of semi-transparent or semi-blended.

Steel General
09-17-2009, 08:38 PM
OK, I'll check that tomorrow - thx!

ravells
09-18-2009, 07:24 AM
Presumably the frame is on it's own layer right at the top?

Here's an idea for a possible workaround, although it won't tell us why the tint is happening, and it assumes that your frame is on the top layer. Make a selection of the inside of your frame and invert it and then delete all information in all the layers under the frame of the inverted selection so you only have transparent pixels under the frame.


That might sort it.

Steel General
09-18-2009, 08:47 AM
OK, after checking through everyone's various ideas and becoming quite frustrated. I took one more shot at trying to clear up the 'tint change'.

I basically went through each layer/layer set 1 by 1 turning on and off every style. Finally I found the culprit, it turned out to be the pattern/texture I was using for the frame. I must've overlooked that before *rolls eyes at himself*.

So I switched to a different texture and the issue seems to have sorted it out, or I'm just so sick of it I don't see it anymore. :D

Thanks for all of the udeas/suggestions.

So here we go, final version.

###Latest WIP###

Gidde
09-18-2009, 10:31 AM
I missed a couple of stages there while I was wrestling with my PC upgrade, but I love the new border and the smoke is perfect.

What a great (and hard to judge) challenge this is turning out to be!