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synapticslack
12-14-2009, 12:37 AM
This is a map I’ve been working on for a DnD 3.5e campaign. The tone of the campaign is somewhat lighthearted so I am trying to go for more of an bold epic feel than for full-on realism. They map may eventually be expanded to a full world map with all of the continents.

The map is made in GIMP but the text labels I made as MS Word “word art” and pasted in instead of messing with GIMP’s text tools which I find frustrating.

Just wondering what people think and if anyone has ideas for improvements. Thanks!

Locution
12-14-2009, 01:25 AM
I really like your style, the forests especially. At first glance though something does seem a bit off. I am a bit of an amateur, however, so I will leave the real critique to the experts. Have a little rep from me. Its a great start!

Ascension
12-14-2009, 01:34 AM
I dig it a lot. There's a river violation in the southwest (rivers don't split except in deltas) but otherwise I think you've done a really nice job.

Locution
12-14-2009, 02:03 AM
I think it may just the the shading along the coast that is playing with my eye. It seems to make your landmass float above the water.

Steel General
12-14-2009, 05:52 AM
Other than the river violation Ascension noted (an easy thing to fix), I think this looks good. I'm not usually a fan of bright, 'neon'-y colors but it works well here I think.

jfrazierjr
12-14-2009, 09:07 AM
I love this map over all. You have done a great job at making the various mountain colors blend into the surrounding land quite well... my only issue is with the hard sharp lines on the mountain outlines. My personal preference here (depending on if you are using mountain brushes or they are all hand drawn with line work on its own layer) would be using the smudge tool (around 50% perhaps up to 75% with a med/large (compared to the line) fuzzy brush) to pull down the line color to a nice fade out. Then perhaps a slight blur on the lines also (again, assuming the line work is on it's own layer.) Just the smudge itself will help quite a bit in making a good map better IMO.

jfrazierjr
12-14-2009, 09:11 AM
btw, did you realize you have the shadows inconsistent on the mountain slopes? Some are on the left (left and top left of map) and some are right (mid right and lower right). Though I had to have you rework such great blending of the mountains, this little inconsistency bugs me...

wormspeaker
12-14-2009, 10:29 AM
I like the map. As has already been mentioned the mountain shadows are inconsistent, and there are a couple of river violations. Though to be honest I didn't notice them either until they were mentioned. What I really like are the colors here, they positively shout fantasy. There's no way that this is a pedestrian map of some boring land but instead a gateway to some pretty fantastic stuff. So, in short the colors really make the map for me, though normally like Steel I don't normally like saturated colors in a map this is a really good use of them.

synapticslack
12-14-2009, 10:57 AM
Thanks for all the comments!


I think it may just the the shading along the coast that is playing with my eye. It seems to make your landmass float above the water.

You're right, I didn't even realize it. The dark coastlines make it even worse. Would a light color along the coast make it less floaty? Or should I do away with the shading completely?


I my only issue is with the hard sharp lines on the mountain outlines.

The dark mountain and coastlines have been bugging me as well. The contrast is just too great i think. Blurring the whole line layer is good idea.

It's awesome how supportive this forum is to new members/mapmakers. Thanks again.

jfrazierjr
12-14-2009, 12:32 PM
Thanks for all the comments!



You're right, I didn't even realize it. The dark coastlines make it even worse. Would a light color along the coast make it less floaty? Or should I do away with the shading completely?



The dark mountain and coastlines have been bugging me as well. The contrast is just too great i think. Blurring the whole line layer is good idea.

It's awesome how supportive this forum is to new members/mapmakers. Thanks again.

personally, I don't have an issue with the coastline.. I rather like coast lines to have that dark outline feel, but perhaps the shadow on the water could go away.. would have to see both to compare.

As for blurring the entire layer, I would suggest against that If they are both on the same layer. Since the lines for the coast are 2-3 times thicker than that of the mountain outlines, it probably won't end up looked good no matter how much you play with the value of the blur. I would still suggest using the smudge tool on the mountain outlines (and perhaps a few of the conifer tree outlines to get a nice smooth transition in addition to any blur you may do on the layer or by hand, but thats just me...

jfrazierjr
12-14-2009, 12:34 PM
Another thing you might try is to remove the mountain outlines totally as that might work given the colors you have. If it's just a bit too sparse, another option is to reduce the opacity of the outline layer after you do some bluring to tone it down more.. check out my Baldimar WIP map to see how it might look.

a2area
12-14-2009, 06:18 PM
The colors are different.. I really like how crisp and bright they are.. somehow they work here.. Maybe some (more) subtle variation in the sea color would make it more harmonious with the land. Nice!

Rythal
12-14-2009, 09:53 PM
have some rep for a very unique map!

Diamond
12-15-2009, 02:51 AM
Dude, that is gorgeous. The colors are fantastic and they're what really drives this map. I also really dig your hand-drawn style, the little crystal mountain thingy and the forests especially.

Like the other folks, the only thing I've got problems with is the severity of the black outlines. Perhaps lower the opacity of the coastlines and mountains, but to different levels, to give some contrast?

landorl
12-15-2009, 09:31 AM
First of all, I like the fact that you used such a unique style. It isn't another copy of all of the maps out there.

A couple of minor issues to my eye. Some of the city names are so faded that they are a little hard to read. Also, I would like to see the forest for the "Unending forest" a different color than the land below it. I like how you did the woodlands just above the word Eidor.

xequar
12-15-2009, 03:56 PM
I like this! I'm actually working on something... I won't say similar, but at least in a similar direction.

Question-did you hand-draw in things like your mountains and forests? Also, are you using a tablet, or did you just mouse at it?

asdel
12-15-2009, 10:14 PM
Very nice. I love the non-photo-realist effect.

I am having trouble with Isantar, however. Yellow and brown are dry, green is verdant and lush terrian, yes, why is Isantar purple?

synapticslack
12-16-2009, 01:42 PM
Thanks to all who gave rep!

I've been working at toning down the bold outlines on the mountains, by smudging them a little - it seems to compliment the hand painted look well
19561
The problem with the coastlines i finally realized was more that they were all very flat and this was exaggerated by the thick outline. I am working on giving the coastlines more features and depth. I also took away the dark sea border.



19562

...I am having trouble with Isantar, however. Yellow and brown are dry, green is verdant and lush terrian, yes, why is Isantar purple?

I'm glad the colors are going over well, it was kind of a gamble to keep them so saturated. But there was thought behind it. The whole idea with the wild colors was to imbue each region with a distinct personality, rather than to be 100% representative of the terrain. That way a player looking at the map could get an idea both emotionally and geographically of what each area was like, and then that would be reflected in the dominant cultures in whichever region. So..
Nurdion is a temperate foresty area -kind of typical fantasy european style
Galtha is rocky and violent, ruled by warlords and worshipers of storm gods
Iscenia is mostly peaceful and calm with many travellers, (monks in the mts.)
Isantar covered by dark jungles it is mysterious and dangerous and plagued by the shadow - thus the purple
and of course there are the harsh deserts and lush sylvan forests as well.


Question-did you hand-draw in things like your mountains and forests? Also, are you using a tablet, or did you just mouse at it?

Yes, the mountains and forest are hand drawn, using a wacom tablet. The map started as a pencil drawing and was then scanned and painted over with the tablet.

Fixing the mountain shadow problem could be tricky since the mountains were all hand painted. Mirroring them didn't work too well as they then ran the wrong direction.

I may try to change the coastlines so they are simply a darker version of the land they border instead of a solid black.