View Full Version : Greyhawk: Rift Crag

08-11-2007, 01:12 PM

Here is my first ĒrealĒ posting to this forum with a screenshot of what Iím working on right now. after a summer with way too much work I now have some time for serious mapmaking again :)

After surfing around this forum Iím in awe of all the great work and ingenious ideas you guys come up with. To try and keep up with that tradition Iím going to try and keep you posted with screenshots, thoughts and explanations on what Iím working on.

Right now Iím mapping an area of Greyhawk called ďRift CragĒ which is deep gorge or valley or simply an enormous hole into the ground. On the screenshot you can see part of Eric Anondsons beautiful map of the area, which I use as a guideline along with lots of text based material. The fact that Iím trying to visualize someone elseís creation creates problems as well as shortcuts.

Right now I am in the terrain construction phase. I have chosen most of the textures and the general layout of the area is mostly done. Now is the time to bring the finer tools and sculpt details where they have to be. I have all my Greyhawk terrain in one Bryce-file (currently itís 800mb in size). This so I have the option to make 3D views of the whole Flanaess or close-ups of any part later on.

To make the actual rift Iíve cheated from this rule and made that in a separate Bryce-file rendered it and put the rendered image in. It was a bit hard to cut a hole through my sea-level that is an infinite layer. Iíll try and see if I can solve that later on for future rifts and deep valleys.

What I find the hardest is to be an ďeffectiveĒ mapmaker. To be able to make not only map that looks acceptable or even good, but not letting that take forever. I want to make the whole Flanaess in 3 years or so which means I have to finish make a fairly large area every month. Iím about to start a campaign using Fantasy Grounds 2 which means I will need adventure maps. So now Iím deciding an working process that let me make descent maps at a good rate.

When I look around on the forum I can see many of you who are way more talented than me when it comes to drawing and the artistic and many of you are very talented using various applications. I think Iím lacking in both these areas but make up for it a bit by being stubborn and visionary. I have an idea and a vision and then I try, try and try again until I somehow figured out how to make the maps I envisioned a long time ago.


08-12-2007, 08:29 PM
A day later.

When you first look at todayís screenshot you Iím sure you thinking what have she done all day, so little progress. Well in my stubborn opinion Iíve made an important breakthrough. Iíve solved a problem Iíve tried to solve for a very long time.

I want to create 3 or more types of terrain that gradually overlap and interchange over distance and altitude. For example a grassy flatland with some hills and patches of forest gradually become forested hills (circled in red on riftscreen2.jpg). Previously I resorted to overlapping plates of terrain to solve it, but it left ďscarsĒ that had to be blended or smeared over in a later stage.

Today I cracked it! The solution was as is often the case very simple. The materials I use for this terrain have 3 components. The top one circled are the low altitude texture and the one beneath is the high altitude texture. Component C is an altitude ďdisturbanceĒ that makes the interaction between the altitudes a bit fuzzy and not absolute.

Note that the textures varies from northwest to south east from grass to hills for comp. A and hills to forest and back to hills for comp. B. Rendered it gives a smooth and realistic passing between the terrain types.


08-12-2007, 10:39 PM
While I have not played with Bryce much at all, so I am unqualified to say much about the way your work is going ot how it could be better, I can say I like the work so far--and I salute your long-range goals. Wow--3 years? That is very impressive indeed!

08-12-2007, 11:28 PM
This really is a very beautiful map thus far. I, like Pyrandon, am very unfamiliar with the program you are using and can offer little advice. I will note that the transition between the rocky area and your new grassy-forested area is a bit harsh, which stands out against the beautiful landscape transitions everywhere else. I was immediately grabbed by your rock formation -- it's my favorite part and I wish I could find a way to use that style. So far I'm quite impressed.

08-13-2007, 11:40 AM
Beautiful map Anna! And that's a really nifty solution to stop the 'plating effect' in Bryce. Although I use Bryce a lot for compositing 3d models, I tried it for mapping but wasn't really happy with the result. I wrote a short tutorial about bryce mapping here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=490) but your work is way ahead of that. I also found a way of turning terrain generated in profantasy's fractal terrians into Bryce, which may be of use to you if you want to 'draw' your terrains in FT so that you can get a Bryce terrain map that is more accurate to your needs.



08-13-2007, 12:41 PM
That is a very nice tutorial and I have a thing or two to learn from it. What I wanted to accomplish made me very good at certain things but there are so many things in Bryce I know nothing about.

Your idea to use ProFantasyís Fractal Terrains in Bryce sounds very interesting and it is high on my agenda. I would love to see a guide on how to do it. Maybe we can cooperate and I can add to it with my knowledge of fine tuning and texturizing the terrain inside Bryce.

I logged in to PFís site and found out that I have a license of all their products apart from FT, Cosmographer and Dioramas. Must buy a copy of FT pronto!


08-14-2007, 06:42 AM
Sure, no worries, I posted a very brief tutorial on using FT and Bryce here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=397) .

I am going to be away from computers pretty much from tomorrow until Sunday but we can take this up next week maybe?


08-15-2007, 07:43 AM
Hi Anna,

Just a couple of thoughts to leave you with:

1. If you want smooth transitions of say, woods on mountains, consider using a lighting gel for the woods rather than a texture - it will slow down the render but it can look more natural, although you will have to play with the light colour to get the colour you want (since the resulting colour you see will be a combination of the colour of the light and the colour of material it is shining on) - worth a bash.

2. Check out context free (http://www.contextfreeart.org/index.html) you can find some great looking fractal textures to use as image textures in Bryce (complicated cities, woods etc), and you can write your own if you have the sort of brain that can think in code (I haven't but I'm going to try). Also check out the galleries and see if any of the stuff posted there appeals.

Here is an example of woods on mountains using a gel (just basic noise as the gel and using a green light) and a futuristic cityscape (using a premade context free image) also using a gel with a red light. They are very rough but I haven't the time right now to do detailed work, but you get the idea.

Best of luck! I would love to see what you can make out of these tools.


08-18-2007, 02:45 PM
Wow :)

Iím soo glad I found this site!

I have fiddled around with lighting gels a bit when they first appeared in some earlier version of Bryce, and as you said it takes some tweaking to get it right. Back then I wasnít ready for things that advanced, and then I forgot about that function so Iím glad you pointing it out for me.

Context free seems very interesting. I have downloaded it and will start experimenting to see what I can make of it.

Besides Iím trying to assemble examples of my work since I started making maps over 20 years ago to study my development over the years. It was a journey down memory lane that Iím planning to share with you here on the forum.

Thanks for all the help and inspiration.


08-20-2007, 11:20 AM
My pleasure!

11-17-2007, 03:36 AM

Itís been a while since I updated this thread but now is the time to show the published version of my map of the Rift Crag area of Greyhawk.


02-28-2008, 09:57 AM
Very nice map. Any plans of expanding beyond the flananess region once you've finished it?