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crazybear
08-02-2007, 08:13 PM
I have done many maps over the years using games or other programs. This is the first map I have attempted just using GIMP and all my own work. Please help me out. I think the water and dock look good, but how can I make the grass look better? What should I do to make it look more realistic? I realize I am missing trees and bushes and such, but how could I easily add them?

Duvik
08-02-2007, 10:55 PM
I'll be honest... the map ain't bad at all. You used colors that go well together and it is perfect size for an encounter which, is what I'll assume this map is for.

I could give you hundreds of ideas on how to improve it but... really, it seems to me you need just play around a bit more. You have a solid foundation and just need practice learning your preferred program. I could arrange many encounters just given the map you provided and, well, if you look around this place enough, you'll find many ideas that would help give a more realistic feel if that is what you are looking for.

It's hard to just up and tell someone what to do with a map when the map maker hasn't stated the purpose of the map.

Did you create it just for fun? Is it going to be used in a campaign? What purpose will the map serve? I could make passable maps all day long but... a true work of art would be somthing that has a purpose.

Tell us what you intend this map to be used for and we can help you tweak it as you need but... it's hard to comment on a project that might not have any purpose.

Answer these questions and I'd be happy to state my opinion on the map. As it stands, I'd darken the grass area.... put some sort of shadow under the dock, and maybe lighten up water around shoreline....

The dock itself could use work as it just doesn't flow into the scene but... I'm sure you can work that out... try Satin style effects and drop shadow to make it look more realistic.

The water looks great and one can tell what the grassy areas are but... well, if this is yer first map with Gimp... methinks yer well on way to a good future. I've seen some rough stuff come out of newbs and... yers' manages to stand above all the shiznik.

Keep practicing and feel free to PM or email me if ye could use any help.

crazybear
08-02-2007, 11:17 PM
Hello Duvik, thanks for your input so far.

The purpose of this map is for the first encounter in a one shot that I am planning to run. It is a pulp adventure and the fight might take place here while the players are loading supplies onto their motorboat.

I would like it to look better, the grass just doesn't look right to me. I have never used shadows or things like that before. Also, I'm not sure what you mean by satin style effects.

Let me know if you need any other information, I'll be happy to tell you because I would like the advice. Thank you again for your input.

pyrandon
08-03-2007, 01:33 AM
Duvik's advice is very good & he's right: this is a great first shot!

I'm not a GIMP user, so I can't be specific ina ctions, but I think the best and first improvement is dropping the neon, bright color scheme. (Especially in a pulpy adventure, which generally has a moody undertone.) Either recolor or play with the color saturation & hue (not sure how in GIMP, but in Photoshop it's under the Image>Adjustments pulldown menu).

I think you'll be really happy with even this one change. :)

Oh, and be sure to post updates as you work so we can see & help with your progress. :)

Take care!

crazybear
08-03-2007, 03:03 PM
Thanks for the tips guys so far guys. Okay, I made some changes to the grass. I added a texture made from a picture of grass, and used a much different pale green color. Let me know what you think.

Next, I could use some advice on how to transition the different areas. How would you transition from the grass to the water, or from the water to the dock, or from the grass to the road. Any help is apprecaited!

ravells
08-07-2007, 02:41 AM
Thanks for the tips guys so far guys. Okay, I made some changes to the grass. I added a texture made from a picture of grass, and used a much different pale green color. Let me know what you think.

Next, I could use some advice on how to transition the different areas. How would you transition from the grass to the water, or from the water to the dock, or from the grass to the road. Any help is apprecaited!

Looking good so far, crazybear. A commonly used method to transition between different areas is to add a faint, dark outer glow. That makes the land 'stand off' the water a little bit. I used one in the 'Seven Dials (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=541&d=1184954287)' entry for the coastline and for the roads. I also used an outer glow to make the text labels stand out. Hope this helps.

Another Alternative is to use a brush with variable pressure, which I again used on the coastline of the 7 dials. It's not very apparent but if you zoom into the map and look at the coastline outline carefully, you will see that at some points the outline almost disappears - you can see this at Gosport Harbour on the Seven Dials map.

One word of caution, beware repeating textures for organic fills because if one can see the tiling of the texture it really takes away from the effect. The grass fill on your map has this problem a little bit, but it's easily fixed. Just use a clone brush (not sure if Gimp has one) to mix up the texture a little bit and break up the repetitive edges.

Ravs

RobA
08-07-2007, 04:27 PM
One word of caution, beware repeating textures for organic fills because if one can see the tiling of the texture it really takes away from the effect. The grass fill on your map has this problem a little bit, but it's easily fixed. Just use a clone brush (not sure if Gimp has one) to mix up the texture a little bit and break up the repetitive edges.

I agree - a nice start!

One way to get rid of the pattern artifacts (in the grass layer) is to apply a high pass filter effect (using the following steps)

1. duplicate the grass layer
2. gaussian blur the new layer
3. invert the blurred layer
4. desaturate the now inverted, blurred layer
4. switch layer mode to overlay
5. play with the opacity if required
6. merge down
7. adjust levels (if desired)

Try it to see how it works. Depending on the blur radius, the effect will vary.

-Rob A>

crazybear
08-07-2007, 06:46 PM
Hey guys! Thanks for the advice. When I get home tonight, or maybe tomorrow, I'll follow your advice and post the results. Thanks again!

crazybear
08-07-2007, 07:14 PM
As I said before, thank you both RobA and ravells, I followed both pieces of advice. I must say, I really like how the shadows make the map look. Take a look and let me know what you think.

After I did your trick RobA, I also used the lasso selection tool too select random areas of my texture, then copied and pasted them into other areas to break up the repeating pattern. Hopefully, you can't tell it was a repeating pattern now.

ravells
08-07-2007, 07:41 PM
Nice work! Could I suggest as a next step that you change the black in your picture to a dark grey...I believe it might help.

Ravs

Duvik
08-07-2007, 09:30 PM
Wow! what an improvement since last I looked over here. Looks like you're picking it up quickly and that's great. These guys are awesome for learning from and I'm certainly happy to have found this place.

crazybear
08-09-2007, 11:15 PM
Nice work! Could I suggest as a next step that you change the black in your picture to a dark grey...I believe it might help.

Ravs

Hey Ravells, thanks for the tip. You mean the black that I just added for shadows right? Change that black to dark grey?

pyrandon
08-09-2007, 11:26 PM
I'd also straighten the land-end of the dock out so it does not exactly follow the land contour: much more believable I'll bet.

Great improvements!!!! Keep it up!

ravells
08-10-2007, 05:24 AM
Hey Ravells, thanks for the tip. You mean the black that I just added for shadows right? Change that black to dark grey?

I was thinking of all of the black, the coast outline and the the lines on the dock. Your map has a natural feel to it, and because pure black rarely occurs in nature, it jars a bit (for me) in the picture. If you really wanted to go to town, rather than a dark grey, you could use a dark version of the colour mixed with a dark version of the adjacent colour - so for example a dark greeny / blue for the coastline. The best thing to do is to have a play to see what works for you.

Ravs

crazybear
08-10-2007, 09:52 AM
I'd also straighten the land-end of the dock out so it does not exactly follow the land contour: much more believable I'll bet.

Great improvements!!!! Keep it up!

Thanks Pyradon,

By the way, I made the dock pattern following the instructions you gave in your Thracioth map walk-through for making the trees pattern. It turned out really great I thought, and never realized I could make something like that. Thanks for the great walkthough!

crazybear
08-11-2007, 03:09 PM
I was thinking of all of the black, the coast outline and the the lines on the dock. Your map has a natural feel to it, and because pure black rarely occurs in nature, it jars a bit (for me) in the picture. If you really wanted to go to town, rather than a dark grey, you could use a dark version of the colour mixed with a dark version of the adjacent colour - so for example a dark greeny / blue for the coastline. The best thing to do is to have a play to see what works for you.

Ravs

Okay, I took your advice and here is the result. What do you think?

ravells
08-11-2007, 06:07 PM
It's much better, but I was thinking of all the black - even the grouting on the dock itself. You can afford to go quite dark (much darker than you have) but not quite black.

Quick example below (not as good as yours, but to illustrate). In the picture above I have used black for all outlines. In the picture below I have used a very dark blue green for the coastline, a very dark yellow for the edge of the dock and a very dark red for the dock grouting. You can see how the effect is much softer, whereas the black stands out a mile in the picture above and tends to dominate (which is great if that is what you're after).

Ravs