View Full Version : Practice castle

11-29-2009, 12:03 PM
I've never really done structures to any great extent - just some messin around in SketchUp. But that's why I need to expand and practice, right? I don't know the first thing about how they were really laid out, I'm just going with my gut and arranging things how I feel. This WIP will be more of a journey as I learn how to do structures so I will need a lot of feedback about layout, what works and what doesn't, scale, etc. Hope you all don't mind :)

11-29-2009, 01:16 PM
I look forward to following along :) thanks for letting us watch!

11-29-2009, 01:27 PM
Looks good. At the moment this sees to be more of a manor house than a castle, but a truly amazing manor house at that. I'd make sure there is some form of guard house at the front door and any other entrances. Also, I'd suggest some walls along the side of the moat. A moat is fine and well but all it takes is a few bits of wood and the enemy are inside.

I like the east wing with the trophy room and the library. Do you have specific thoughts about how well defended this should be?

11-29-2009, 10:17 PM
So here's where I am now. I spent the day using a 20-pixel hard square pencil making rooms; 10, 8 and 5 for the halls, and then tracing walls with a 1 or 2 pixel pencil. Separate everything into layers, increased the image size, and gave them some styles and shadows. The moat needs work but I haven't worked on it very much cuz my focus is architecture right now. Technical work like this takes a long time for me cuz I obsess over the details..."this wall is 1 pixel off so I have to redo everything" kind of obsession.

The stairs were fun, though. Make a circle, give it a gradient overlay with a style of angle, flatten it out, then copy and past it into the other stairwells. A little black pencil to define the steps further then mess with the blend mode. I can see myself doing all sorts of pixel tables and pixel wardrobes and pixel desks...I'm like that sometimes.

11-30-2009, 01:00 AM
Looks amazing so far

the only thing i've noticed that seems odd is the front gatehouse is missing the shadows on the southern half.

Everything else is looking amazing. I noticed in your pencil sketch that you seem to have plans for a basement level, will this have multiple upper story levels as well?

11-30-2009, 04:09 AM
I love that texture you've used for the stone floor tiles.

Steel General
11-30-2009, 07:19 AM
Cool stuff so far.

11-30-2009, 08:28 AM
aye looking pretty cool indeed. great textures. maybe a small comment: the stone-floor texture is seamless but due to its color seems very repetetive in the main hall and circular-road

11-30-2009, 09:19 AM
Looking good. There's some funny shadowing around the paved approach to the southern drawbridge. Otherwise very nice. And I know what you mean about pixel perfect features - it's a killer.

11-30-2009, 05:15 PM
That circle drive and shadow screw-up are on my list of things to do near the end...thanks guys. I'm thinking that I'll dump the whole grass and curtain wall so that I can work more on the castle/manor itself in greater detail. Live and learn, eh? I'll probably upload the patterns and layer styles at the end as well, just remind me if I forget.

11-30-2009, 06:19 PM
It's looking great so far. I have no idea what the internal layout of a castle like this would be but who cares? As long as it follows its own internal logic it doesn't have to be historically accurate.

I keep seeing these top down maps on here and it's really making me want to try my hand at one.

Damn you. Hehe.

11-30-2009, 06:48 PM
That's what I'm here for, heh heh ;) We got tons of land maps but we need to work on other areas or else we'll become cliche and useless. So if I, or others feel the need to learn and experiment along with me...then great :) Maybe one of us will put together a good tut to help folks out.

12-01-2009, 01:14 AM
I cut out the junk to focus on the building and that really helped. Mostly fiddled with colors and tweaking places that were not connected, missing, wrong, etc.

12-03-2009, 10:10 AM
great map. I like the stone floor, the carpets and the stairwells very much. My only suggestion is to scale down the wooden parts of the floor, cause to me it looks like the floor was made of large boards (but maybe thats only me).

12-03-2009, 05:23 PM
Yeah, I've been questioning that myself.

12-04-2009, 11:19 PM
Man there are a million little things to check, double-check, and triple-check. Make sure all the doors aligned properly, make sure they are the same size, make sure they are in the same position in the wall, make sure that the layers are arranged properly...blah. Details, details, details. And each of those little steps takes a long time to check and redo if necessary. If you think cities are tedious wait til you try this. Of course, I'm probably being way too anal and precise about it but, hey, my first one, right?

I've spent the past few evenings doing all of this tedium and finally got to start decorating tonight...added proper fringe for my rugs, did the landscaping, and squared away the throne-room. The next step will be to place windows so that light can fall on the floors (will make a brush of light coming through a window and then "stamp" that all over) and then I'll start putting in torches and candles (simple dots with glows) for light sources and then the furniture (simple square brushes with some roundness tweaks to make them into rectangles).

Kind of fun once you get to this stage but getting to this stage is the hard part. I've used just about every trick I know of to get here (it's all filters, patterns, colors, glows, etc. nothing from Dunjinni or other similar sites) and it looks pretty decent so that makes it all rewarding. The only thing not mine is the patterns (all defaults except for the blocks) and the only things hand-drawn are the walls and doors. It's all very much like Sigurd warns about being "dollhouse" so that worries me a bit...but I use "action figures" instead ;)

Anyway, here's where I am right now.

12-05-2009, 03:21 AM
You are, of course, certifiably insane.

I'm all out of unique compliments today, so I'll leave it as just "omg wow".

Keep up the good work

12-05-2009, 03:45 AM
It's looking wonderful. It might be taking you some time but it's not wasted. :)

Steel General
12-05-2009, 11:52 AM
Great stuff here Ascension, though I'll disagree with you and say cities are still much harder. :)

12-06-2009, 04:47 AM
That's an awesome map, love the way you did the plants/trees. These must be very good tricks indeed to achieve that without any pre-fab objects but only patterns/fills/glows!

12-06-2009, 09:53 AM
Here's how to do the trees, pretty simple:

1. Using white as the color and a 9-pixel hard round pencil, increase the spacing to 100%, increase the scatter, make a click. What we're looking for here is something like a child's drawing of a cloud. If it doesn't either increase the scatter, the count, or add a few more clicks.

2. Fill a layer with black and move it below the white layer. Click on the white layer and merge down. Filter - brush strokes - spatter = use any setting that you like. This basically roughs up the edges. If it's too rough then hit Filter - noise - median = 2.

3. Select - color range = black with a fuzziness of 200. Hit the delete key and deselect. Add a pattern overlay, color overlay of green, inner glow of black or brown, inner shadow (set the light source to be opposite of the global light source), drop shadow (make the distance large to enhance a "floating" feel), and a textured bevel (I used the defaults "spikey bush" for pattern and "clouds" for texture).

4. New layer, do up clouds, and a bunch of difference clouds. Gradient map a yellow to green gradient, set blend to soft light, and reduce opacity until happy, then mask to fit the tree shape.

5. New layer fill with 400% noise, blur it by 2, set to soft light, lower opacity, and mask it off to fit the tree shape. You can also gradient map colors to this to add some random color spots, I use browns and ochres.

12-07-2009, 12:18 AM
Here's where I'm at right now. Put in some basic rooms (tables, beds, etc) for the staff. Put in a bunch of lights for torches and fireplaces. Toilets have me all messed up so I might have to take out a room here n there for the upper level toilets. Either I'm going to have a lot of empty rooms or else I need to come up with some ideas as to what to put in them or knock down some walls. Since this is the first floor, where mostly staff live and work, I don't want music rooms or studies all over the place...I'm thinking mainly parlour rooms, shrug.

Steel General
12-07-2009, 06:40 AM
This is getting better and better... not so sure the barracks would be split up into so many rooms, except for the officers. I think the rest would probably just be a couple of larger rooms. You'll probably want to add an armory somewhere near the barracks as well.

12-07-2009, 09:11 AM
Here's where I'm at right now. Put in some basic rooms (tables, beds, etc) for the staff. Put in a bunch of lights for torches and fireplaces. Toilets have me all messed up so I might have to take out a room here n there for the upper level toilets. Either I'm going to have a lot of empty rooms or else I need to come up with some ideas as to what to put in them or knock down some walls. Since this is the first floor, where mostly staff live and work, I don't want music rooms or studies all over the place...I'm thinking mainly parlour rooms, shrug.

Is the idea to have running water(or magic)? If not, then have all the garter robes against the outside wall and inset into the building with a 1-2 foot cavity between the room wall and the outer wall. This provides plenty of space for the upper chutes and allows for a single outlet per set of rooms.

12-07-2009, 10:21 AM
At first I have to say... wow! This map is brilliant. I love it. Ah and btw thx for the short tut on making trees.

Now I also have some ideas to fill the spare rooms:
Depedning on whether you this is supposed to be a medieval, modern or fantasy castle you might want to add a chapel for the stuff. The stuff might even be socially divided so there may be some rooms for lower servants (e.g. stableman, maidservants etc.) and some rooms, maybe in the other wing for higher servants (e.g. scribes, scholars etc.)
maybe you want to add some storing rooms next to the kitchen or even have several kitchens (as they often divided the kitchen into several rooms in the middle ages, so they had a bakery, a soup kitchen, a cookshop etc.).

Only suggestions of an unworthy, as always ;)

12-07-2009, 04:29 PM
Good ideas there, guys, thanks. I had forgotten about the chapel and storage is a great idea. The chutes idea has some promise but means I'll have to rework a bunch...nothing new there since I'm reworking everything little by little. Might have to work a standard barracks in instead of what I was planning (fat pampered guards) but maybe I can put the fat pampered captains on an upper level.

12-07-2009, 05:09 PM
It's looking really great, Ascension. I'm loving watch this one grow and I'm sure the end product will really be worth all the effort you are putting into it.

12-07-2009, 05:28 PM
a great map indeed and getting better and better... and thx for the tutorial on the trees/plants. I also really like the lights/night atmosphere. As for rooms, not sure what they'd need more: maybe a laundry, hospital and some guest rooms. Small request from a smoker: can the smoking lounge have a chair? ;)

12-07-2009, 06:32 PM
It needs a dungeon.... a dungeon of death!!!


12-07-2009, 07:14 PM
This is getting better and better... not so sure the barracks would be split up into so many rooms, except for the officers. I think the rest would probably just be a couple of larger rooms. You'll probably want to add an armory somewhere near the barracks as well.

Yeah, I'd be saying you need to convert a number of those small rooms into significantly larger rooms for barracks. There should be a separate barracks for pages/squires for the proper men-at-arms.

Also maintaining chainmail/armour requires some significant workspace and most of the soldiers would do it themselves or have the pages/squires do it.
(Chews up another room).

You'd have a Weaponry and an Armoury I'd also suspect and potentially a practice hall (chewing up more space).

The only people likely to get private rooms would be the Captain of the Guard and maybe the Sergeant at Arms.

12-12-2009, 12:13 AM
OK first floor is done, pending any further landscaping (which I'll probably tinker with before getting up the gumption to tackle the other floors). Whoops, forgot some doors on the right side outer wall.

12-12-2009, 01:02 AM
It is looking really amazing. The lighting is just incredible and the texturing is sweet. Pro quality stuff!

If I had one complaint (and I don't, really) it'd be that it's too regular. I'm sure you'll probably take care of some of that when you finalize it but I'd just suggest maybe putting a chair or two askew and flipping up the corner of a rug or something. Give it some life, IMHO.

12-14-2009, 09:17 AM
WOW! I am very humbled by your castle. I'm just starting out as a Cartographer, and I hope to do even half this good someday.

Most REP worthy.

12-14-2009, 09:30 AM
Very nice.. I do have to agree with Mearrin, there needs to be a bit more chaos IMO. In the barracks, there are a group of 8(2 by 4 rooms) that are perfectly aligned and some how, that just feels wrong to me. Also, while I like the carpets as a whole, I would love to see more variation in them, both in color and weaved design.

I LOVE the gardens you got going on.... those are simply superb!

12-14-2009, 05:05 PM
I completely agree with you all about the rigid orderly look. But since turning things and adding in a bit of chaos will require me to do all of that manually and take a really long time I have chosen to forego it. At least for now since this is just practice. I still have 2 upper layers and 2 basement layers to go and my steam is running pretty low as you can imagine. Doing all of that would certainly give it that "lived-in" look I'm just not too excited about actually doing it :)

12-14-2009, 05:17 PM
Well if you do it or not this thing looks great.

The only thing I wonder about is where exactly are your big lights on the walls coming from? At first I thought where the walls extended out slightly denoted windows but that is obviously not the case. So what is providing the lights? Are there sconces hidden by an overhang or something?

12-14-2009, 05:19 PM
Oh you're right, I put in the torch light but forgot the torches. Dang.

12-14-2009, 05:31 PM
Heh. Well I'd hardly even noticed that the torches were missing. I saw the little lights on the walls and they looked ok.
But now that you have said that I've suddenly realised where the bigger lights are coming from and the small outcrops into the rooms...

They are fireplaces.


12-15-2009, 08:18 AM
Absolutely amazing, i am in Awe of your talent , i have been trying to do a dungeon and i am to humbled by this.

repped mate on a awesome job

12-23-2009, 12:38 PM
Stunning - absolutely stunning!

12-24-2009, 08:11 PM
My mouth has just dropped open with total awe! I'm still trying to work out how to do realistic lighting effects in photoshop, it looks like that you have already mastered what I am seeking to accomplish.

12-24-2009, 09:40 PM
What I've noticed about the lighting is getting the color just right combined with the blend mode. What I did was to make a brush for the fireplace lights, the angled things. Stamp a bunch of those down in any color. Set the fill to zero then fiddle with the color overlay layer style...I used a medium orange set to screen and then turned the opacity down. The torches were just a soft round brush. Then I blurred the whole thing to soften the edges. On a new layer I made the lighter colors that are closer to the light source for the fireplaces and torches, a light yellow-orange, and then set that to screen and turned the opacity down. So it's all just 2 layers, one orange and one yellow-orange. After I put in all of the lights I had to darken up the outside stuff cuz who runs torches and fireplaces at noon? Just didn't look right so I made it a night scene and that helps to set the mood.

12-28-2009, 11:20 AM

Great looking map. The only question I have is it a moat and baily type casle. If so, on your overhead view, I would show it as a steep include hill where the actual castle is.

Just an idea.

Great details by the way

12-28-2009, 11:36 AM
Very nice! I can't believe I haven't seen this till today!

The consistent colour used in the carpets ties the whole thing together well.

-Rob A>

12-28-2009, 05:58 PM
I wanted it to be a castle (not a motte-and-bailey but moated) but it sort of morphed into a palatial estate. I cropped out the moat and surrounding environs because it took up too much space and I wanted the focus to be on the structure...you can see it in the earlier posts. I need to get back to this and finish it and maybe when it's all done do an overhead of the whole thing with moat n stuff.

12-28-2009, 06:21 PM
Holey Moley, I've just seen this too after a long time of not having looked at the thread. It's simply beautiful and atmospheric. I can just imagine sitting in that banqueting hall and throwing a chicken bone over my shoulder!

Great work Ascension!!! I particularly love the atmosphere you've created.