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Coyotemax
09-29-2009, 07:46 AM
Well, I decided not to give my hands a rest. I figure I may as well get this on the go while I still have the previous one fresh in my mind, I think I'll stand a better chance of getting the style right for a map from scratch.

Thanks to a comment from mearrin69, I decided to keep a similar theme going. I recall that the original version of Barovia did not have nearly so many rivers, and was pretty sparse for population, but this is going to be more of an interpretation than for accuracy :)

So this time I am actually taking the time to lay out the areas before I start. Yellow blobs are outlines of the mountainous areas, and blue would obviously be rivers :) I'm going to leave villages and such for last, see how much room there is vs what the style calls for. Plus the scale may be different than the original version of Barovia, but once again, hey why not.

Gandwarf
09-29-2009, 07:48 AM
You are one mean mapping machine ;)
So do you have some kind of artsy background?

Coyotemax
09-29-2009, 08:01 AM
Actually I do.

Before I went to a day-job working as a chef (which ended up sapping all my energy, and killed my artistic drive) and then working as a call center manager (which sucked out even more of my soul) I was actually making and selling celtic art (but not enough to pay all the bills, and there were some other considerations that are part of a much longer story for another day).

I have a selection of pieces in the gallery here under my profile. It doesn't show off the carvings and stained glass style paintings and windows I'd done (nothing like ascension's work, these were either painted on walls to look like stained glass windoes, or done with glass paints and such) but it gives an idea of what I used to do :) There's a few other pieces on deviantart (http://coyotemax.deviantart.com/), too, if you're interested, plus some higher quality versions of a fiew pieces from the galler here.

Laying out celtic knotwork patterns and illuminated carpet pages and such is actually just as much technical as it is artistic, which is I think what gave me a decent foundation for getting into mapping - I just needed the time and inclination :)

Steel General
09-29-2009, 08:11 AM
Well I think we're all glad that you found both... :)

mearrin69
09-29-2009, 11:53 AM
Yeah. I'm sooo ready to steal this for my home game when you get it done! :) Looking forward to watching your progress on this one.

In the newer Wizards Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, Barovia just has one river...the Tser. I think the regional map there is really zoomed in - the original might cover more real estate. Apart from I6 wasn't the whole thing set in a demi-plane or something? I was never introduced to Ravenloft during the old days (I was on gaming hiatus through 2E's lifetime.)
M

Coyotemax
09-29-2009, 03:39 PM
The Demiplane of Dread, as it was called.

I didn't worry about specifics when I moved my group into it from Greyhawk, but yes, there were some pretty extensive maps. The entire thing was approximately small continent sized (australia-ish). Comparing the latitude lines on the side, I *definitely* need to rework the border scale, the way it is, it's about 4x the size of transyvlania - that'll teach me to draw in the border before comparing sizes :)

I did finally (after almost an hour of searching) find a scan of the original map of the entire demiplane. There were plenty of artistic re-interpretations, but most of them were far too busy and cluttered for my tastes, and I'd rather work off the original map than something someone else has re-imagined. Though to be honest, this doesn't *quite* match up to my memory (I don't recall a sea off to the east) but it's the closest I could find. Good enough for what I'm doing, i suppose :)

http://utopiaweb.org/rpg/ravenloft/img/mapa2009small_seas.jpg

I've got several of the mountains done, and I'm taking a bit more time to get them looking just right - and so far it's worth it. I'll post an update soon, right now I have to go out and run errands for the day.

Well, i *tried* to get some sleep early last night. bloody maps :P

Steel General
09-29-2009, 04:27 PM
Hmmm...I may play around with that just to see what I can do with it.

Coyotemax
09-29-2009, 05:03 PM
Yeah, I think the mountain practice on the last map has paid off.

Gidde
09-29-2009, 05:06 PM
That looks fantastic!

Steel General
09-29-2009, 07:43 PM
Very nice Cmax!

Coyotemax
09-29-2009, 07:53 PM
I wish I could do a tutorial, everyone is always looking for ways to make nice hand drawn mountains quickly.. but there's nothing quick about it this, and it's nothing more than draw the shape of the mountain, then start shading it :)

I might do a set of brushes after I'm done this though. I figure if I do 20 or so, that should give enough variation to look good when slapped all over.

*ponders doing that for this map now*

töff
09-29-2009, 08:15 PM
a set of brushes ... 20 or soDunno about GIMP, but Photoshop lets you change brushes with the > and < keys. If you had 20 mountain brushes loaded, you could click, <, click, <, click, < ... then >>>>> to go back to the first ... click, <, click, <, click, < ... it'd be a very smooth & easy way to paint varied mountains.

Coyotemax
09-29-2009, 08:37 PM
THAT'S how you change brushes quickly!!! omg I never knew that.

http://home.cogeco.ca/~se7en/wall.gif

When I was doing the previous maps with wag's brushes, I was slapping down a few of the first mountain shape in the general area, then picking the next shape and tossing a few randomly here and there, then the next shape, etc.

All these years and I'm still discovering new keyboard controls. thanks, you just made my life SO much easier!!!

Dangit, I so wanted to rep you for that pointer, I'll have to come back to this after i've spread some more around.

töff
09-29-2009, 09:04 PM
I saw a guy do it on a video somewhere. He didn't even say what he was doing. I couldn't see his hands; I just heard keys clicking and saw the brush outlines cycle. I was like OMG ... I don't even remember what the video was about. HAH!

Gidde
09-29-2009, 10:25 PM
With GIMP, you can make a brush that cycles with each stamp. So with 20 brush frames, a nice wide spacing and big size/position jitters, you can make a widely varied range with one penstroke/mousestroke. It'd take a lot of setup though.

torstan
09-29-2009, 10:44 PM
Thanks Toff. That's a killer tip.

Steel General
09-30-2009, 07:35 AM
Dunno about GIMP, but Photoshop lets you change brushes with the > and < keys. If you had 20 mountain brushes loaded, you could click, <, click, <, click, < ... then >>>>> to go back to the first ... click, <, click, <, click, < ... it'd be a very smooth & easy way to paint varied mountains.

I had no idea you could do that either, one of the ump-teen commands Photoshop has...Thanks!

Coyotemax
09-30-2009, 07:42 AM
I've been finding all sorts of tips like this all of a sudden. Maybe I should take the time to read through the CS3 bible Thoroughly instead of skipping around and skimming bits here and there ;)

for example:

Press Shift+[
(Shift+left bracket) to make the brush softer; press Shift+] (Shift+right bracket) to make the brush
harder. Both shortcuts work in 25-percent increments. For example, you have to press Shift+] four
times to go from 0 percent Hardness to 100 percent.


Preset shortcuts:

You can cycle between presets even when no palette is visible. Press the

comma (,) to toggle to the previous brush shape in the list. Press the period (.) to select
the next brush shape. You also can press Shift+, (comma) to select the first brush shape
in the list (1 pixel wide) and Shift+. (period) to select the last brush.

Steel General
09-30-2009, 07:44 AM
A guy I used to work with had created a 'cheat sheet' with a list of the known commands - boy was it packed. I'll have to check around and see if any of my co-workers still has a copy. If so I'll post it up here.

Coyotemax
09-30-2009, 08:15 AM
I found a way to get photoshop to export a list of keyboard commands, actually.

Edit > keyboard Shortcuts and then coose the Summarize option when you ahve the section you want (tools, menus, etc) and it exports to html. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm about to, I'll post a link to it.

[edit] Clicky! (http://home.cogeco.ca/~coyote/PhotoshopDefaults.htm)

Perhaps I should post this in the resources section.

[further edit] I think i'm going to need to break down and make brushes for the rest of this. i killed my mouse, it no longer does single clicks on the left button, when you press it it keeps pressing until you press it again. I suspect the same thing will happen to the new mouse too :(

<chant> tablet tablet tablet tablet </chant>

Coyotemax
10-01-2009, 08:21 AM
Ok, back to barovia.

In the interests of not wearing out the hardware with all the clicking, i broke down and created a set of 30 brushes out of the mountains I'd already drawn on this map (it felt more honest than using the traced ones from the Transylvania map). I have them broken down into small, medium and large, then further subdivided into round or craggy :)

Anyhow, I think this worked out okay, I'm in the process of going through and filling the individual spaces, which further adds to difficulty in spotting repeated mountains :)

Once the mountains are done, the rest should be relatively easy. When i'm done the map, I'll post the brushes, I plan on adding several trees to it as well, plus I'll be reusing the cities/towns from the Transylvania map.

I also resized downwards now that the mountains are placed, not by much, just bringing it from 4k-ish to 3k-ish on each side. But then I rememberd I'd be doing trees, so to keep everything in scale with each other, I'll do the resizing once the map is finished. (though this version was saved before I reverted)

Alfar
10-01-2009, 08:26 AM
Beautiful mountains. I think I see some bleeding through, though - mountain bottoms sticking into mountain tops that should have covered them.

Someone mentioned using the clone stamp tool instead of making brushes to keep the white inside the mountains, maybe that's for you too?

Coyotemax
10-01-2009, 08:35 AM
I've been going through and cleaning up the bleeding through bits as I go, but if I could only remember things like the clone stamp :P

I should go practice with it for awhile.

[edit]
After playin around and reading up on the subleties of the tool, I have no idea how the clone stamp tool would help me on this, or speed up the process in any way..

[edit] ok, i found the post describing the process, but it looks like it'll be at least as much work as just cleaning this image with the bits of overlap.

Tiana
10-02-2009, 01:54 AM
I've been finding all sorts of tips like this all of a sudden. Maybe I should take the time to read through the CS3 bible Thoroughly instead of skipping around and skimming bits here and there ;)

for example:

Press Shift+[
(Shift+left bracket) to make the brush softer; press Shift+] (Shift+right bracket) to make the brush
harder. Both shortcuts work in 25-percent increments. For example, you have to press Shift+] four
times to go from 0 percent Hardness to 100 percent.


Preset shortcuts:

You can cycle between presets even when no palette is visible. Press the

comma (,) to toggle to the previous brush shape in the list. Press the period (.) to select
the next brush shape. You also can press Shift+, (comma) to select the first brush shape
in the list (1 pixel wide) and Shift+. (period) to select the last brush.


And just the left and right square brackets increase or decrease the brush size
Hitting the numbers on the top change opacity
control - or + zooms in and out
alt + [ or ] = change layer
control + [ or ] will move the current layer up or down.
alt + backspace = fill in all selections.

Hold down control when you've selected something to move what's in the selection.
Hold down control and alt and hit an arrow key to duplicate a layer.
Control-alt drag also duplicates.
Alt-drag also duplicates.

/list of useful shortcuts.

I had a PDF of all the possible Photoshop keyboard shortcuts somewhere, organized much better than the Photoshop export version, that included all the hidden shortcuts... I wonder where I put it.



Your mountains are gorgeous, by the way. I love the hand drawn look. I always love hand drawn mountains. :)

Coyotemax
10-02-2009, 02:30 AM
If you love these, wait till I scan in the harcopy I'm doing next :)

Steel General
10-02-2009, 07:55 AM
I had a PDF of all the possible Photoshop keyboard shortcuts somewhere, organized much better than the Photoshop export version, that included all the hidden shortcuts... I wonder where I put it.


Tiana, try this link: http://morris-photographics.com/photoshop/shortcuts/

Coyotemax
10-03-2009, 08:40 AM
Ok, rivers are done and i'm starting on the forests! It's getting to the point where I can't wait to start on the hardcopy version.. my hands are getting itchy!

Gidde
10-03-2009, 09:34 AM
Coming along nicely!

Those trees look REALLY tiny though. Were they that tiny in the transylvania map?

Coyotemax
10-03-2009, 10:12 AM
They were, actually.

Some of my mountains are a larger scale (i was going for very large craggy mountains with a few of the shapes) so it might be making the trees look a bit smaller. I've got most of the forests laid out for general areas right now with the one tree style (lots of scatter and size jitter - then erasing the ones that overlap rivers or other trees) and about ti fill in wit the second tree style. it's already looking better than the example WIP.

[edit] Just checked for comparison, and yeah, the mountains on the transylvania map are both closer together, and a bit smaller. I'll keep that in mind for the next map.

Ascension
10-03-2009, 02:13 PM
All I can say is that the trees are too dark when compared to the mountains...drop the opacity a bit. But I'm sure you probably already see that.

Coyotemax
10-03-2009, 03:44 PM
Yep. I was using solid black instead of my dark grey. I have the trees separated into multiple layers, so fixing that will be a snap.
I also experimented a bit with turning a few things into smart layers so I could experiment with some blurring effects - I have to say i like it.

And when I was playing with the country borders, I ended up popping into Illustrator to make them so I could edit the paths with the brushstrokes already applied - and use some of artistic ones to break up the solid lines as well as have the watercolour effect. Turned all those into a smart obect, ran a blur filter on that, and woah :)

I may end up using the same effect on the trees too, haven't decided yet.

Taking a break from the trees, the wife wants to go see a movie, wether I want to or not.

Ascension
10-03-2009, 05:20 PM
Oh no, chick-flick time. Well, you'll earn some good hubby points at least.

Coyotemax
10-04-2009, 01:20 AM
She surprised me. We ended up going to see Zombieland. Fun flick, I'd watch it again.

Gandwarf
10-04-2009, 07:17 AM
I am rather interested in that movie myself...
But I like serious zombiemovies more than the comedies. How much comedy is this one?

Coyotemax
10-04-2009, 10:53 AM
a fair amount of comedy - but to be honest, I have the same outlook you describe - and it was a very finely balanced mix, all told.

Go watch it, you'll not regret it.


Sorry Barovia is taking so long, life keeps getting in the way and I keep taking breaks from the tedium :)

Coyotemax
10-05-2009, 03:46 AM
progress! forests have been placed. now for colour work and towns.

I'm probably going to keep it to less than 2 dozen towns or so. From a gaming perspective, since the area is supposed to have a fairly low population I figure they could represent towns of no more than 50 people or so, however, I figure there's gotta be SOME population to support a vampire :)

Plus the scale on the side is looking a tad more accurate :)

Coyotemax
10-05-2009, 07:32 AM
Update: everything looks finished but the embellishments. I'll name the bordering countries, drop in the artwork and call it done.

And with the towns representing between 50 to 100 people each, that puts the region at a population of between 900 to 1800 people. Enough to support a castle and vampire, and few enough (and widely dispersed enough) to keep them from banding together to raise arms :P

Steel General
10-05-2009, 07:38 AM
Looking good, my only 'nit-pick' is that the font is so small I can barely read it.

Coyotemax
10-05-2009, 08:11 AM
Yeah, that's a result of me forgetting that i've been shrinking the pic for the WIP posts :)

thanks for reminding me, I'll adjust that.

Gidde
10-05-2009, 09:15 AM
Ah, maybe that's why I thought the trees were so much tinier as well. Looking good, CM :)

Jeff_Wilson63
10-05-2009, 02:39 PM
And with the towns representing between 50 to 100 people each
It's a personal failing, but this causes me to wince. A settlement with 50 to 100 people isn't a town. It doesn't have enough people to support a grocer, a market, or even a tavern. It could be a settlement, a village, an estate, . . . , but it isn't a town.

Sorry for the nitpick.

voidgere
10-05-2009, 03:24 PM
Coyote, I have this supplement and when I saw you were looking for the original maps to work from I tore apart my house. I simply cannot find the box that contains it. If I do finally stumble across it (as now its a personal vendetta), I will scan it in and post it for you.

*EDIT*
...and the map looks superb. You could not have picked a better map to spark a little nostalgia. Memories.....

Coyotemax
10-05-2009, 04:09 PM
Jeff: If you are at all familiar with the setting in question, you will understand why I chose that population level. So call them settlements, collection of houses, whatever you like. For purposes of the WIP thread I am referring to them as towns. It's semantics as far as i'm concerned.
[edit] upon reflection i realize this may come across as harsher than I intended it to read. I appreciate the nitpick, and if I was going to place a legend in the map explaining the markers, i would certainly take that into account. but as the markers are rather obvious, there will be no legend (there isn't a legend on other maps of this style) and in terms of working notes, I'm not going to overly concern myself with wording. that's all.

voidgere: thank you for your efforts :) I'm okay right now, I believe i have a version that's either the original, or close enough so as not to matter. I won't turn down a scanned copy, but really, don't go out of you way :)

Coyotemax
10-05-2009, 09:02 PM
Ok, pending any glaring errors, I'm almost ready to call this one finished.

I'm going to nap on it first though :)

If anone notices something that's not already covered, feel free to point it out.

There is no compass on this one. Looking through other Blaeu maps, many if not most appear to have no compass (i'm supposing the general consensus for these is that north is always up, plus the lattitude markers would support that).

I did a bit of reasearch into town names for Ravenloft, and I've included all the ones referenced in the campaign setting as well as any books written in the setting. Anything outside Barovia proper was named after a location from Transylvania :)

I also left off the road marked on the original map, this style doesn't tend to portray roads at this scale.

Ascension
10-05-2009, 09:08 PM
I love the underpainting of the colors. The only thing I might tweak is that the city names are kinda hard to read because the letters are scrunched together...maybe set the tracking out a lil bit, 25-50 or so. Also use a small stroke (3-5) of a color similar to the parchment so that the various lines don't bleed into the text. Looks pretty cool, though, otherwise and very authentic.

voidgere
10-06-2009, 01:46 AM
The reason you will not find a compass on maps of the Demi Plane of Dread is that there are no cardinal directions. You could travel for weeks going "west" and find that you end up in some "northern" town. The Dark Powers that govern the plane decide where your travels take you. It was a powerful gaming device for DM's so that the horror story could flow where he needed it. Especially if you went to sleep in a tavern and woke up in a cave in some far off wilderness or in an entirely different realm altogether!!

Coyotemax
10-06-2009, 03:26 AM
Oh, I'm quite familiar with the setting. yes, quite - started running my players through it the day it hit the shelves :) My compass comments were in reference to the style of the map itself, other antique maps done by any of the Blaeu's (there were three of them! Father and 2 sons who followed in his footsteps). There are a few of those that have compasses, but rarely.

Ascension: noted. It was a bit of a hassle getting everything properly readable, as I resized everything after getting it properly placed. I was trying to avoid needing to use the outer stroke, i'm actually going to go through and erase/modify the layers themselves. On the paper map, i don't get background coloured ink :)

Incidentally, that's something I determined i will need to adjust with my final process for the paper map.. in order to get it lookng right, legible, and not overly clutterd, 'm going to need to approach it opposite to my usual methods. Place the names first, then the rivers, etc.