View Full Version : Voradin WIP

09-25-2009, 05:03 PM
Now that my Wilderlands of Lords map is done, I am beginning my next mapping project.

This is the Empire of Voradin. It is my most recent campaign setting and up till now has only existed as a series of quickly drawn maps made before and during games.

Here are the maps I scanned in: An overall map of the lands of Voradin, A detailed map of the area around Ganlan City, Ganlan City detail and Voradin City detail. Again these maps just contain the bare information the adventurers needed.

09-25-2009, 05:07 PM
Now that I have it digital I have begun by zooming out a bit from my full map drawing to show a bit more of the world and just detailing in the coastline and my ocean graphic treatment. The ocean is mostly hand painted on top of a water texture I made.

09-26-2009, 03:30 PM
reworked my ocean and coast. Had some fun with alpha channel and stroked selections, ended up with this:<close up>

09-26-2009, 03:37 PM
Nice coastline. I like that effect a lot. :)

Steel General
09-26-2009, 03:50 PM
Looking good so far...

09-26-2009, 10:39 PM
Ramah - Thank you! I like to vary the contours between smooth and jagged and textures in between.

Steel General - Thank you!

Now for my next update I have added mountains and snow...oh so much more to do, but its coming along.

09-26-2009, 10:54 PM
Huge tracts of...mountains. Sweet.

09-27-2009, 02:57 AM
woooo I like the Ice Caps, the transition from snow to stone is a little clearer and realistic than I usually see, how did you do the selection/mask and fill?

09-27-2009, 05:14 AM
Ascension - Yes this land is dominated by some enormous mountains where many things lurk. I modeled them in 3d and blended them and tweaked them in photoshop to blend them to the rest of the land.

Lathorien - Glad you like the snow effect. I painted them in several layers, building up the bright areas and the cool areas of shadow. Then used a small scatter brush of solid white to bring out highlights and more details. No masking or filling, just hand painting them with a stylus, very loosely.

Again I am trying to really do justice to the life of the campaign that gave this land birth in my imagination, as with my Wilderlands of Lords map I am using this as an opportunity to learn and improve. And I am really motivated and inspired by the fine works of cartographic art done by the folks here. You guys all rock!

09-27-2009, 07:22 AM
Huge tracts of...mountains. Sweet.
But all I want to do is ... sing! hehe...

This is looking great. I too love the ice caps, thanks for explaining how you got there :)

Steel General
09-27-2009, 11:49 AM
Those mountains are very nice, though I agree with Lathorien about the transition from snow to stone, it seems a little abrupt. *shrugs*

09-27-2009, 04:56 PM
Gidde - thank you! I can't recommend Wacom's or other stylus peripherals enough. They are really invaluable for how I approach these maps.

Steel General - Thanks for the feedback. I am hoping that when I get the rest of the details of this map in that the snow lines will "work" right with the feel of everything.

And now for a new update: Forests. This is the basic lay in of the forest texture using a layer set to 100% overlay. I am using the forest texture I created and posted in my "forest texture" thread over in Mapping Elements - though I am using it at only 25% original size. There is still a lot needing to be done with the forest edges, if you look close at the detail map you will see that some of the trees at the edges of the forest are cut very strangely. The paths cut in the forest are for roads and rivers and there are some clearing where towns, inns and farmlands will be placed.

09-27-2009, 09:21 PM
I love it! The forests look great! One comment is that I am not sure that there would be that much woodlands in the valley between the two ranges of mountains. When you have two ranges of mountains that close, they often serve to cut off rain to the area. However, that might not hold true if they are as close as the mountains you have there.

10-01-2009, 08:47 PM
Thanks landorl! Glad you like it.

I may have to do some sort of weather pattern display to show how the wet air from the great ocean to the west funnels down that valley. Perhaps I should zoom out more, but really I don't have any more of the world in my head than what I have put down so far.

Sorry for lack of updates. I have gotten really busy at work and my time at home with family is becoming pretty precious these last couple weeks. I am still working on the forest at present, cleaning up the edges. Should have an update soon.

10-03-2009, 05:40 AM
Ok you've had this coming. hehe. It was a late night tonight with my map. Actually I am going to run a game with this map tomorrow and I thought I would get it somewhat further along. Still have cities, inns, roads and other points of interest to add. Then I need to do all my labeling and final clean up.

10-03-2009, 06:48 AM
There are a lot of things I love about this map but I'd be lying if I said I loved it all.

Your tree texture is really nice, kinda cartoony, but around the edges it doesn't look great. I can see you have cleaned it up somewhat since the work in progress shot you last posted but it still looks a little untidy, especially where there are lots of little seperate trees like on the west side of the map. They kinda just look like blobs but it's hard to see at this resolution. It maybe exacerbated by the drop shadow.
I also don't particularly like how the colour of your land shows through your trees, although it looks more like you've painted over them, turning large swathes of forest a kind of sandy colour.

I do, however, really like your mountains and the coast and the rivers with their bevel which kinda maintain the cartoony vibe.

Sorry if this post sounds too negative, it really is only the trees that, for me, are letting this down a little.

10-03-2009, 01:25 PM
The tree green is a lil too vivid and neony for me, maybe try something darker and more muted with gray or brown. Not a whole lot darker just a lil. Not sure if the black stroke trees fit with the mountains all that well, style-wise, but they don't look all that bad either, just the color. My 2 cents, and this is still really nice, just minor nits.

10-03-2009, 02:04 PM
Ramah - thanks a ton for your critique. You point out a lot of features I still need to tweak and pull my focus back to elements that have issues. I don't want things looking cartoony nor do I want a geological survey map...my goal is to create an inviting and provocative fantasy map, something players will look at and feel juiced up for adventure. Don't worry about negativity, I can take it, it goes with trying harder and growing.

Ascension - I think I can solve this issue with some more color tweaks and overlays, easy 'nuff. I am wrestling with trying to keep colors rich and vibrant and it seems I have wandered too far into the cartoony look that Ramah mentions. It's not what I am after and I will smack it around more until I get there. I am gonna rely on you guys for feedback because it is such a subjective look I am after.

Thank you guys!

10-03-2009, 02:19 PM
It would be super sweet of you to share the tree making technique you used... they look brilliant!

I'd give you more rep, but i have to spread it around first.


10-04-2009, 03:22 AM
I shared the tree texture on the mapping elements thread...called "Forest Texture".
It is a seamless tiling texture that I applied to a pattern brush and just painted it in and turned the layer to overlay. There are some additional overlays I need to add to mine so that the color gets muted out a bit more. There is also a lot of clean up work that needs to be done alone the edges of the forest where partial trees get painted in. So its not perfect but it is workable.

10-04-2009, 04:30 PM
Another forest cleanup pass. Adjusted some colors in the forest and changed the river bevel a bit.

10-04-2009, 06:07 PM
Loving the shadowing on the forest. You can really sense the elevation changes under those trees. No more sandy patches so that's great.

Rivers look good but I liked them before anyway.

10-04-2009, 06:10 PM
The forests have improved A LOT!
Looking much better now and I already liked the trees very much.

Steel General
10-05-2009, 06:48 AM
I like the overall map, but the forest colors just don't work for me. When I think evergreen forests I picture deeper, darker greens - these seem to have a bit to much blue/aqua in them.

10-05-2009, 10:11 AM
The cleanup on the mountains was great but i do agree with Steel General in that there seems a bit too much blue in their colour. Also, on some of the mountains you have painted small strips of forests but they're too blurred and so they don't really look like trees, but the could just be me.

Great work.


10-05-2009, 03:11 PM
Ramah - Thank you! Still lots more clean up to do on the forest edges, but I am getting happy with the look.

Gandwarf - Thank you! I did some research when I recolored my trees this time to be sure they were closer to the type of forest I was imagining.

Steel General - There are a lot of colors in forests out there. I researched thru pictures till I found a sample that I thought served my forests well. I wasn't able to copy the shade 100% due to the overlay nature of how I applied the forest so that the elevations of the mountains would show thru, but I think I got close to my reference.

LonewandererD - Still more cleanup to do but for the blue in the forest I picked a reference from real life. I found this picture that had the type of trees I wanted and had an atmospheric quality that I felt suited my world well. So yeah there are a bunch of possible colors of forest, even the same forest at different seasons is colored vastly different.

My reference for color:

10-05-2009, 03:16 PM
That photo at full size looks kinda old and faded. Depending on film stock and developing procedures etc. that still may not be a true representation of how that forest really looked. :P

Still, I don't mind the colour anyway. I know you don't like it when I say this, but I still see it as kinda cartoony and part of that is down to the colour.

10-05-2009, 03:22 PM
Ramah - thats quite all right =) I am still trying to find my way to the look I want. This may be a WIP for a looong while hehe.

10-25-2009, 03:54 AM
finally a new update. lots and lots of little tweaks to things. Cities and roads added. About all that is left is labelling and borders...whew. I have already put in about 3 times the amount of time in this that I did with my Wilderlands of Lords map.

10-25-2009, 04:32 AM
I really like the mountains and the forest texture. I don't mean to nitpick, but I noticed that the climate changes seem to indicate that this region lies in the northern hemisphere, which would seem to indicate that your western river should drain to the south, not north. Just saying... :) It looks awesome though, I hope I develop that kind of skill. I'm barely working on my first digital map, so feel free to ignore me completely lol.

Steel General
10-25-2009, 07:30 AM
Very nice, love all the farm fields, villages, towns, etc.

It appears you made a slight change to the tree color (which I like), if you didn;t then my eyes are even worse than I'm always saying they are. :)

10-25-2009, 07:35 AM
Looks great Tom. Really starting to like this map. Hope you will finish it!

10-25-2009, 10:29 PM
Jaelyn - Glad you like it. I wasn't really trying to be completely realistic with this map. it is a fantasy world after all. However I am pretty a river will flow downhill whichever hemisphere it is in.

Steel General - Thanks! Yup I changed the forest color again..as well as added thousands more trees along the edges. I played a while with the farms especially to get a look I liked.

Gandwarf - Thanks so much! I am coming really close to finished now.

Eventually I will be adding more special locations to this map, as my friends find them =).

Please give this a look and let me know if you all see anything thats not working well. I am not 100% happy with my labelling yet. Not ready to post this in finished maps yet.

10-25-2009, 11:57 PM
I'm not keen on the gradient on the title but this smokes. The lil cities and fields are sweet. It also looks like the mountains cast a shadow on the forests which is a cool look. Well done.

10-26-2009, 01:05 AM
Ascension - Thanks for the feedback. I took another pass at the title text gradient and had more fun with it. Update is in my previous post.

10-27-2009, 04:14 AM
Keep messing with my labeling but not getting anything I like better...More satisfied with things. Tweaked some of the forest edges again and the farms a tad...found a nasty seam in one of my textures that I spanked into submission.

Might be about done here:

10-27-2009, 05:03 AM
Beautiful map.

The font you used for the mountain/forest/etc. labels is the only thing I would change, but that's just a matter of personal taste I guess.

10-27-2009, 12:12 PM
Tear - Thanks! I am going to spend some time today browsing fonts. I am looking for something simple and semi-bold but archaic and fantasy looking. I am using a bunch of different fonts right now, so there is more out there to try out.

10-27-2009, 12:22 PM
I guess I missed ever looking at this one. Really a nice map. I love the mountains and forests. Someday you'll have to share your techniques for getting such a painterly look. Nice one.