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View Full Version : [WIP] Arál Draván - using the "Pasis" method



cereth
11-11-2009, 11:50 AM
My next big project is mapping out an RPG world a friend of mine has spent quite a number of years working on. I decided I wanted to try something different from what I normally do, so I've been playing with the extraordinary "Pasis tutorial" for a couple of weeks now.

This will hopefully be the first of many maps in a series of them. I'm pretty happy with the progress I've made so far.

Thanks to Pasis for sharing his secrets with the community. :)

Katto
11-11-2009, 03:53 PM
If you can manage Pasis' wonderful tutorial you can't be wrong. It rises and falls with the textures you use. I tried it also for a few weeks, but still have problems in rising the mountains so that they look good.
I really like your forest texture!

Gary N. Mengle
11-11-2009, 08:44 PM
This is shaping up to look pretty amazing. Now I have to work at getting Cereth more settlement/river/nation names.

cereth
11-13-2009, 01:56 PM
Made some progress this morning. :)

jfrazierjr
11-13-2009, 02:28 PM
Looking good so far. Question for you: how are you populating the trees around the mountain texture and folds? Are you painting with a texture brush or some other method(such as a layer mask)?

cereth
11-14-2009, 05:42 PM
How are you populating the trees around the mountain texture and folds? Are you painting with a texture brush or some other method(such as a layer mask)?

Just painting with a texture brush (pattern stamp tool). I made the pattern from an aerial photograph I googled.

Here's another updated image. I got a good deal done in the last 24 hours. :)

cereth
11-18-2009, 10:57 AM
More progress made.

Karro
11-18-2009, 11:48 AM
It's cool, and I like the name; what do the acute accent marks designate in the pronounciation of the names?

Gary N. Mengle
11-18-2009, 12:04 PM
It's cool, and I like the name; what do the acute accent marks designate in the pronounciation of the names?

The language is called Draványa, and it's moderately well-developed; acute accents denote syllable stress. Thus the name is pronounced ar-AHL dra-VAHN. Arál Draván itself is a very important and very old empire on the World of Ytherra (linked in my sig, but there's not much info there at this point.)

cereth
11-20-2009, 09:40 AM
I've added some more labels and made a couple of minor changes here and there. I did want some feedback on the "cultivated" land texture I added. I wanted it to be a little subtle, but still noticeable. I'm a little on the fence about how it looks though.

Steel General
11-20-2009, 10:57 AM
I like the cultivated land, I think you achieved 'subtle, but noticeable'.

I think your mountains could use some foot hills (unless they're hidden beneath the forests).

cereth
11-20-2009, 12:53 PM
Yeah, they are kind of covered by the forests. I'll try to make them more noticeable. Thanks. :)

Gandwarf
11-20-2009, 03:01 PM
Great map so far and the cultivated land is noticable. I wouldn't mind if it were made a bit more noticable though.

One question: why are there so many forests/woods? It looks like a lot of wood has been cut down or something.

Gary N. Mengle
11-20-2009, 04:02 PM
One question: why are there so many forests/woods? It looks like a lot of wood has been cut down or something.

This particular area has been civilized for ~4000 years. People gotta get wood from somewhere. :)

Gandwarf
11-20-2009, 04:23 PM
Yeah, that sounds logical.

cereth
11-21-2009, 11:34 AM
Made a few adjustments and added some more labels. Made the foothills around the mountains more noticeable and increased the opacity of the cultivated texture by 10%.

Karro
11-23-2009, 01:10 PM
That works. The foothills are much more noticeable, and I had first missed the cultivated lands on the previous version (saw them later), but now they seem clear but, to my eye, still subtle.

Tear
11-23-2009, 06:37 PM
I like it.
The only idea I can offer might be to loosen up all those hard-edged forest spots with some lighter forests, but it's just an idea and the map certainly works without it.

cereth
12-01-2009, 02:03 PM
I did some extensive work on trying to soften up the edges of the forests. I used a soft brush as opposed to the hard brush I had been using. (Boy was that time consuming!)

I think the slightly softer edges help the forests blend in a little better with the terrain. I also tried out some lighter forest textures but didn't really care for the outcome. I think this accomplishes what i was going for.

I also reduced the size of the font on the rivers.

I think about the only thing there is left to do is to finish labeling the rivers. :)

Gary N. Mengle
12-02-2009, 10:52 AM
I think about the only thing there is left to do is to finish labeling the rivers. :)

That would be a hint for moi.

Do we have a way to denote marsh/swamp or heath on this map?

cereth
12-05-2009, 10:50 AM
Ok, river labels have all been added in this version. I also made the city/river labels a little easier to read by adding a subtle outline around them in addition to the glow. The swamp/heath textures have also been added. I ended up using the forest texture actually for the swamp...just made it transparent and layered it on. I think it looks good and isn't even recognizable. I just "browned up" the regions south of the mountains that are supposed to be heath.

Just got another to-do list from Gary this morning, so the next update should have quite a few more additions. :)

cereth
12-06-2009, 11:05 AM
Boundaries for the individual Prefectures of Arál Draván have been added and the capitals of these have been capitalized. This seemed like the best solution as to how to represent these capitals as opposed to messing with the symbols. Also, used smaller dots for the prefecture boundaries to differentiate them from the international borders.

Also made a number of smaller modifications too numerous to name. :)

Ascension
12-06-2009, 11:21 AM
I like it all very much except for the forests...they seem too dark against the land. The lil tree shapes are cool and everything else is cool just the dark color of them.

cereth
12-06-2009, 11:55 AM
I knocked the opacity of the forest layer down to 80%...does this help or just wash out the texture? Thanks for the comment, as always. :)

Ascension
12-06-2009, 12:18 PM
Looks much better but maybe try a little more (my opinion). Is the green a color overlay or is it in the pattern itself? If it's just a color overlay I'd try a color halfway between the land and the trees and leave the original settings. If it's in the pattern itself then add a color overlay but set the blend of the color overlay to "color" and then turn down the opacity of the color overlay if it's too weird-looking. But, like I said, looks much better.

rdanhenry
12-06-2009, 05:18 PM
I think both versions look good, but give a different feel to the map. The dark forests look dangerous and mysterious. The lighter forests are more appropriate if the lands are sufficiently settled and tamed that the forests are simply a resource, rather than a wilderness.

Midgardsormr
12-06-2009, 05:58 PM
That is gorgeous! I think the lighter trees are better, since it deemphasizes the individual trees, which are completely out of scale for the rest of the map. The way they are now, I can't see anything I could pick out as being a single tree.

You might try adding just the tiniest bit of blur to the mountain bump. The spots with high contrast look a little bit low-res, and I think it's due to the sharp transition from dark to light. The snow-caps are particularly troubling to me, since they're the brightest part of the image, and therefore the place where the eye goes first.

Also, on your title, tone down the stroke on the smaller text. It's overwhelming the letterforms. If you stroke your text, you should make it proportional to the size of the font. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that the stroke on the large text is too strong.

Steel General
12-07-2009, 07:20 AM
This has turned out quite nicely.

About the only thing I can suggest (that hasn't already been covered), would be to reduce the opacity of the rhumb lines a bit. They seem a bit 'stark' (at least to me).

cereth
12-08-2009, 02:28 AM
Hopefully this will be the final version, pending Gary's approval. :)


You might try adding just the tiniest bit of blur to the mountain bump. The spots with high contrast look a little bit low-res, and I think it's due to the sharp transition from dark to light. The snow-caps are particularly troubling to me, since they're the brightest part of the image, and therefore the place where the eye goes first.

I softened all of the mountain bump layers by 1 pixel. Thanks for the tip...I hadn't even noticed that.


Also, on your title, tone down the stroke on the smaller text. It's overwhelming the letterforms. If you stroke your text, you should make it proportional to the size of the font. In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that the stroke on the large text is too strong.

Reduced the stroke and added a subtle glow.


If it's in the pattern itself then add a color overlay but set the blend of the color overlay to "color" and then turn down the opacity of the color overlay if it's too weird-looking.

I tried the color overlay and played around with it for awhile, but to be honest I didn't like the results. I felt it emphasized the individual trees even more than before...like what Midgardsormr pointed out. In the end I decided to leave it be.


About the only thing I can suggest (that hasn't already been covered), would be to reduce the opacity of the rhumb lines a bit. They seem a bit 'stark' (at least to me).

Reduced the opacity of the rhumb lines by 10%. They are on the same layer as the compass, so I didn't want to lighten them any more than that because I want the compass and the lines to match.

Thanks very much for all the tips! :)

landorl
12-08-2009, 10:45 AM
This has come together perfectly! I like everything about it, and was pleased to watch the progression. Looking forward to more work from you!

Karro
12-08-2009, 12:15 PM
Seconded. Looks great. My only question is why the regional names, like Anghaza and Kaladayn are not stroked - some of them are just the tiniest bit tougher to read than the stroked names.

cereth
12-08-2009, 12:36 PM
What I was trying to accomplish was to make subtle differences between the larger labels (regional names, nations, and mountains) to represent they they signified different things. Regional names (Entíga for example) I made transparent to differentiate them from national names. Hopefully I didn't sacrifice too much readability in doing this. :)

I may play with outlining (original typed 'stroking', but that sounded bad) them to see if I like how it looks. :)

Karro
12-08-2009, 01:00 PM
What I was trying to accomplish was to make subtle differences between the larger labels (regional names, nations, and mountains) to represent they they signified different things. Regional names (Entíga for example) I made transparent to differentiate them from national names. Hopefully I didn't sacrifice too much readability in doing this. :)

I may play with outlining (original typed 'stroking', but that sounded bad) them to see if I like how it looks. :)

Stylistically, it's your call. It took me a bit, at first, to realize that the difference was an intentional way of signifying nations and regions as being different from, say, the names of natural features. It was just an observation that in cases where you did have the outline it was clearer to read than in cases where you did not.

cereth
12-08-2009, 01:13 PM
I stroked the regional text with a slight outline...and I think I like the results. I'll let 'the client' make the final call. :)

Gary N. Mengle
12-08-2009, 07:12 PM
I sent along a (hopefully) final list(s) of in-setting corrections and additions to be made. I think the whole map looks freaking fantastic, and am completely delighted with it.

cereth
12-09-2009, 11:58 AM
Newest additions and modifications.

Karro
12-09-2009, 04:24 PM
Gary, another pronounciation question. What sounds do such letter combinations as "dh", "gh", "ch", and "nh" represent? Are these all to be understood as digraphs, or as separate sounds?

Gary N. Mengle
12-09-2009, 05:52 PM
Gary, another pronounciation question. What sounds do such letter combinations as "dh", "gh", "ch", and "nh" represent? Are these all to be understood as digraphs, or as separate sounds?

Short Answer
The nh pairing is actually two separate sounds, but the others you mention are all digraphs.

Long Answer
I have adopted a different method of transliteration for each language family on Ytherra. Most of the names on this map are from a language called Draványa, which is the most prominent member of the Laghá family. I felt like this would result in each group of languages having a distinct visual 'feel'.

In the system used for Laghá languages, I use digraphs to represent certain phonetic elements. Laghá tongues tend to group phonemes into voiced/voiceless pairs. So, for example:

Voiced --> Voiceless
dh ----------> th
zh ----------> sh
d ----------> t
z ----------> s
gh ----------> ch

And so on. Most of these sounds are found in English. The dh for example, is the sound found in English their (as opposed to think.)

But a few aren't; the ch is the sound in German Bach, for example, and the gh is found in some dialects of French (written as r, oddly enough - in Parisian Paris.) If you can make the ch sound but voice it instead, that's the right sound.

The script used to write Draványa is syllabic, rather like Japanese Katakana, so Draványa words tend to come in forms which alternate between consonants and vowels. There are exceptions to this as well.

I have a pronounciation guide written up which I will get around to posting at some point, once I beat in into the proper shape.

Karro
12-09-2009, 06:22 PM
Cool. That's pretty much what I was expecting. Many of those are fairly common digraphs I've seen around in various places, but it was the nh that I was a little uncertain on.

I'd been studying bits and pieces of Irish Gaelic (had a recent trip to Ireland) and had trouble there wrapping my brain around the "mh" digraph (differing sources suggested it be pronounced as a "v", a "b", or a "w").

The others are all the same, as far as I can tell, as what the same digraphs appear to be in Irish (except I don't think Irish has "zh", but I was familiar with that one as French "j" already).

industrygothica
12-09-2009, 11:10 PM
The map looks fantastic. I'm sure your "client" will be pleased.

One thing I learned from one of Ravells's tutorials is that if you put a parchment or similar texture over the entire image and set the layer to multiply with a lowered opacity, it really helps to pull all the colors together.

Just a thought.


-IG