View Full Version : Test for my own style

11-03-2009, 09:13 AM

I'm quite a newbie to GIMP (usually I'm using CC3) and I'm fascinated with the more "realistic" looking maps which are quite hard to do in CC3.

I'm studying and training with RobA's Regional Map Tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1142) for quite some time and now I'm trying to find a style by my own.

As a first step I combined RobA's methods with some of my own and the fantastic textures I found in this thread: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=724

What do you think?

Steel General
11-03-2009, 10:17 AM
Other than the weird bump-patterning in the trees (which is a GIMP issue), I think it looks pretty good.

11-03-2009, 04:44 PM
I'd say it looks pretty cool. I'm with Steel about the trees and I'm wondering - what if you doubled up the clouds render (new layer, new clouds, set the blend to overlay), then merge them together, then go on with the tut - how that would look. Gimp's clouds has always been kind of grid-looking so I'm wondering what sort of things can be done to get rid of that, maybe a ripple.

11-04-2009, 09:09 AM
Ascension, I tried your advice for the forest but came to no satisfying result. Maybe I will experiment on this in my next map.
For this one I just used another forest texture und put a slight bump on it. I think it looks better now, whats your opinion?

I also enhanced the rivers a bit, put a slight blur on the sea and added towns and roads (don't mind the names :) since it's just a test map).

Steel General
11-04-2009, 11:33 AM
I like this forest version much better, you might consider trying a slight drop shadow on it as well.

11-04-2009, 12:18 PM
It's looking good, and a good update on the RobA style to make your own. However, I'm not digging on the sea texture, personally. Not a lot of good ideas on what you could do to fix it, but there's something about it that seems off to me.

11-05-2009, 09:02 AM
The drop shadow on the forest was very good advice, looks much better now, so I put also a slight drop shadow on the towns.

For the sea I will try a different texture next time. I changed hue and saturation a bit: It matches the overall colour scheme better now I think.

I added more labels, compass rose and a border. From my pont of view it's finished. Do you have any more suggestions?

11-05-2009, 09:27 AM
The change on the seas is definitely an improvement. I'm still not a huge fan of the texture, but the coloring choice made here mititgates that significantly overall, so it looks good.

11-05-2009, 05:13 PM
Looking good. But rather than feathering the forest edges, perhaps making them sharp but irregular might work better?

Have a look at the link in my sig on forest boundaries for one way to do this - it may help (or may not!)



11-06-2009, 05:51 AM
Thanks ravells, I will defininitely try your method for forest edges on my next practice map. For my mountains I don't think it would work because I'm using RobA's method here.

And I will use a different sea pattern in my next map, Karro.

11-06-2009, 09:40 AM
Thanks ravells, I will defininitely try your method for forest edges on my next practice map. For my mountains I don't think it would work because I'm using RobA's method here.

And I will use a different sea pattern in my next map, Karro.

Hey, that's just me. Nobody else has complained about it, and what really matters is that you think it looks good.

11-09-2009, 06:20 AM
So, this is my next try. I deliberately used different textures though I like these I used in my first try also a lot.
This has now sea, grass, dirt, hills, foothills and mountains.
I like how the grass texture looks after i put a slight bump on it - a lot of vegatation with not much effort.
And for the foothills and mountains I generated bump maps with RobA's methods, put a texture on them for colouring and bumped this texture also - I think the combination of these bump maps looks quite natural.

11-11-2009, 04:40 AM
Added forests and rivers now and also river valleys. I like this result very much, I think I have found what I was looking for.

11-11-2009, 10:41 AM
Hey, that looks really good! I approve. :)

11-11-2009, 01:14 PM
I defenitely love your own style.

Have some réputation

11-11-2009, 02:37 PM
In my opinion the forest texture looks a bit blurry compared to the mountains.
Otherwise good work!

11-11-2009, 04:05 PM
Looking good, yeah though the forest looks a little blurry and a little flat... try bump mapping it on itself?

11-12-2009, 07:51 AM
Many thanks for the rep, people!

I agree about the forests - somewhere in the process I blurred it too much I think. I already had a bump map on it, so I copied it and the result looks better, but still not as sharp as the mountains. Can't do much about it now other than redoing the forest.

I added cities, roads and a border which match the overall colour scheme quite well. Hmmm...some of the town "buttons" are a bit big if I look it now.

I'm not in the mood to add more labels - the map is already quite crowded as it is.

11-12-2009, 12:47 PM
looks good... not sure you could do much about the forests without redoing them at this point... but that's be simply something to save for the next map of this style

Also that's a pretty sweet labeling... and yeah it's busy enough...

I think I'd find some place for a cartouche (in the water's always good) with a scale and region title... and call it done!

11-13-2009, 03:12 AM
Cartouches, labels, compass roses, scale bars...this is all a bit tedious in GIMP when you are used to Campaign Cartographer.
I will add a cartouche later when I'm in the mood.

The next step for me now is trying to recreate the map style especially on a larger scale map and taking notes for myself how I did it.
To exactly recreate the look of the last map won't be possible because I did a lot of tweaking with blur, opacity, hue/saturation and so on. Also the scale will be a problem.

Does anyone know if it's possible in GIMP to change the scale of a texture when applying it? Or do I have to rescale a texture manually into a new one and put this one also into the patterns folder?

I created a quick sketch for my next practice/test map with the size 2400 X 1600, which is the map size I'm planning for.
I will show you the results of each kind of map element in this thread. If this is too boring for you please tell me.

This is the rough sketch of the map:
dark blue: sea (obviously :P)
light blue: rivers/lakes
medium green: grass
light green: hills
dark green: forests
yellow: steppe
dark cyan: swamp/marshland
dark orange: dirt/barren
orange: foothills
light gray: mountains
dark gray: roads
black: cities/towns/villages/keeps
red: borders

11-13-2009, 07:19 AM
So, first part is done but it was quite an effort to recreate the sea. This may be because I used 3 textures, cloud noise and a bump map :D.

It looks a bit blurry and busy now but I think is impression will change when the land is added.

11-16-2009, 05:28 AM
I found out, that my favorite grass texture is not seamless, so I had to smear the borders a bit. I hope this won't be too evident in the final result.

11-16-2009, 06:05 AM
Yeah, i normally have problems with seamless textures but yours look fine. When you've added everything else that you are going to add, particulary if you place stuff over the places where you think the texture looks a little off, than it should hardly be noticeable.

Good work.


11-16-2009, 06:47 AM
OK, I'm hijacking my own thread now. ;)

I added steppe, swamp and dirt. Steppe and swamp are new, I didn't have them on the Practice Peninsula. And the dirt I did differently, it looks more rocky now.

The next step would be (apart from the forest) the most difficult part for me on the map: Mountains. I always do them befor the hills and foothills which I then place below.

11-16-2009, 10:06 AM
I'm already here again.

Finished the mountains and most of them look good. The process for the mountain creation has a random part so one or two look a bit strange. But Overall it's OK I think.

Next will be hills and Foothills.

Steel General
11-16-2009, 01:13 PM
This is beginning to shape up quite nicely.

11-18-2009, 08:12 AM
Thanks for the encouragement, General!

The hills and foothills are done now, so the mountains don't pop so suddenly out of the plain anymore.

I still don't like this one mountain in the northers slope...but yould could explain it like this in a campaign: Some old powerful wizard threw down a demon the mountainside...:P

Next are forests - *gulp*.
I hope I get them sharper this time.

11-18-2009, 08:18 AM
I'm liking what i see, just one thing though, some of the mountain seems a bit too straight, maybe you should break them up a little. But that's all up to you.



11-18-2009, 10:45 AM
Looking good.

11-19-2009, 07:58 AM
I agree about the mountains, they are too straight and edgy. This is because I'm using RobA's great mountain tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4335), which is very good for single mountains, but when you do a whole mountain range it will look to angular because of the gradient fill which is used in the process.
So I modified the process a bit, put a displacement map on the gradient fill and used also difference clouds. Now it looks more natural I think.

I also added forest and I like the result. It looks much better than in the Practice Peninsula map.

Steel General
11-19-2009, 10:35 AM
I would try breaking up the edges of the forest a bit more, so they aren't quite so 'smooth'.

11-19-2009, 05:40 PM
I'd also darken the forest color up a bit but otherwise I'd say so far so good.

11-20-2009, 06:53 AM
I had used ravells' method for not so smooth forest edges but ruined it afterwards by using too much blur on the layer mask.
I redid the forests and found also a nice method for putting some vegetation at the forest edges, so the edge is not so hard. I also increased the opacity of the forests. They are darker now.

I added rivers and with them also a hight map for coast and river valleys and also a bit for the whole map. I was inspired for this by this great tutorial by jezelf (http://www.jezelf.co.uk/tutorials_map05.htm).

Next will be towns. I like my town buttons from the Practice Peninsula map but I think I'll try the towns from Pasis' tutorial.

11-20-2009, 07:06 AM
looking real nice now


11-24-2009, 05:54 AM
The cities took a lot of work, they needed a lot of trial and error and tweaking around. But I like the result now. There are walled cities, keeps and villages without walls.
I added also farmland and roads.

Steel General
11-24-2009, 05:56 AM
Very nice!

11-24-2009, 03:43 PM
I can dig it.

11-24-2009, 10:17 PM
That is damn nice. Some of the best looking forests I've seen yet.

The only thing that bugged me was the farmland texture is so faint I didn't even realize it was there until I'd looked at the map for a while.

11-25-2009, 09:39 AM
Thanks for the praise :) ! The forests were really hard to develop, so this counts double!

I increased the opacity of the farmland, it's more visible now.

I added borders using the method from the GIMP conversion of Ascensions Atlas Style tutorial and modiefied it a bit.
I also added labels which took quite a long time to tweak.

Next will be the finishing touches: Border, map title, compass and scale bar.

Steel General
11-25-2009, 09:58 AM
For me, the reddish-orange text labels are quite hard to read, but otherwise looks good.

11-27-2009, 08:06 AM
So, finally map border including title, scale bar and compass added. I'm very pleased with the result now.

And I increased the opacity of the land lables, they are better readable now.

Steel General
11-27-2009, 08:42 AM
Still not a big fan of the red-colored labels for the countries, but that's just a bit of a pet peeve for me.

Nice work overall.

11-27-2009, 02:43 PM
Looks pretty good, I can at least read the orange letters. I'm with SG on that color, though. Maybe if you had a black stroke around them or used a color other than orange for the outer glow they might look better. Terrain-wise I'd say it looks done and I like your towns...I do mine sorta like that so I'm biased.

11-30-2009, 06:56 AM
The reason want to keep the orange colour and the orange glow around these labels is: I want them to match the borders and the glow around them.
I put a black stroke around the labels and gave them a slight drop shadow. They are much more prominent now that I planned them to be, but you are correct, they have at least to be readable.

I hereby declare this map finished. Thank you very much for all your help! In my opinion this is the nicest looking map I ever created, I never dreamt of coming so far. I will create for it a thread in the finished maps section

11-30-2009, 11:15 AM
Overall, looks good. For the colorblind (I am not) the orange-on-green is not a very good choice (b/c of the conflation of red and green, red being a major component of orange). Even for me they were difficult to read.

Confounding it, orange-on-orange is just a bad idea for legibility alltogether, so orange on orange-glow-on-green is a double-whammy for legibility. Even with the drop-shadows I (not color-blind) have a bit of trouble reading the label for "Caremmon".

I'd say it's clear from context that those labels now colored orange are representative of the regions within the orange-glowing borders, so maintaining the consistency of orange-and-orange is non-essential for preserving the informational aspect of the map.

Other than that issue, this map is a rousing success, I would say.