View Full Version : Sandpoint Garrison WIP

01-14-2010, 03:15 PM
Another building from Sandpoint in progress. This time the garrison.

I'm posting this up now, as I'd like some opinions on a technique, but first a bit of background.

I see this building as being one that was first built as a wooden structure, with earthworks to defend it. As time has passed, and the town has grown, it has been fortified to it's current size, and structure.

It hasn't gotten all the way to crenellated battlements, yet.

So, I want to show the origional earthworks outside the walls...

Basically I just want a ring of raised earth, that now is covered in grass, that surrounds the walls, except the entrances etc.

I suspect this will be done somehow with a layer mask...But what would you do?


01-16-2010, 03:52 PM
So, I gave up on making tiles with shadows when I couldn't get the corners to work ;)

I figure I make the tiles shadowless, and then do some selecting tricks and stroking the selection later.....

Still taking a while with all the nooks and crannies...So I made some cobbles as well. I'll weather them in later.


01-24-2010, 06:15 PM
First attempt on the "mound" around the fort. I've basically done the opposite of what I'd do with shadows. i.e. a layer with some graded white over the top of the grass, semi-transparent....

What do you think? how would you make this better?


01-24-2010, 06:29 PM
Hi there, looking good. Is the mound a separate structure from the walls, or is it a mound running up to the walls. Is the highest point on the grass at the wall, or separated from it by a dip?

01-24-2010, 06:34 PM
I'm not sure why, but it doesn't look like a mound to me although the logic you mentioned is right.

I footled about in Photoshop (not sure if that's what you use), and got this.

What I did was make a border selection around the castle for the mound and saved the selection.
created a new layer, rendered some clouds and a lot of difference clouds for a marbled effect.
Used the pinch filter on the clouds
loaded selection and deleted the bits outside the mound, lowered the opacity and used a blend mode (I think it was overlay).
New layer, sampled the green of the grass, loaded selection and filled it.
Used a bevel and emboss layerstyle on that layer and played with the settings.

I'm sure you could get it to look much better with more work (this took about 10 mins), but basically the way I approached the problem was to try to get two effects:

The bevel on the mound,
The suggestion of erosion down the slope of the mound.



01-24-2010, 06:45 PM
Hi there, looking good. Is the mound a separate structure from the walls, or is it a mound running up to the walls. Is the highest point on the grass at the wall, or separated from it by a dip?

The highest point should be a few feet from the wall, roughly the middle of the "light" bit. Or in profile...


Basically, there will eventually be a structure in the middle of here, now with a training ground around it, and the wall. The mound is what was built before there the people could afford to build a wall. When they built the wall, they did it inside the mound, leaving a gap, to make the walls higher, and the whole structure more defensible.....

I'm not sure why, but it doesn't look like a mound to me although the logic you mentioned is right.

That's why I'm posting ;) To me it looks right in Thumbnails, but not up close.

01-24-2010, 07:10 PM
I've edited my first post. Sounds like all you need to do is create your own bevel curve with a steep drop on one side.

01-25-2010, 03:41 AM
Thanks Ravs, I'll have a play and see if I can translate all that to GIMP. That's a good effect though, pretty much what I'm looking for.

01-25-2010, 05:13 AM
The dirtiest Roman Fortification trick in my book was to build a berm up that was set about 50 feet out from the actual wall. A 10 foot gap in the center of that berm was covered with moss over a branch lattes with the bottom filled with spikes.

Basically it was a spiked pit trap that ringed the battle field outside of the fortified camp. When the enemy would attempt to storm the walls, they would run up a berm, and most would fall into the pit and die on the spikes, the remainder was then picked off with arrows and javelins.

01-25-2010, 05:43 AM
LMAO, that sounds like a damn cool idea. Although not for this. This building sits inside a small town, so although it's well built, and defendable, it doesn't need to be too extreme.

01-25-2010, 06:56 AM
Here's my version of it as a step by step:


The steps are:

1. Create a selection that encompasses the region that you want the earthworks in. Here I got all your outer wall outline and expanded by about 100px to get the outer edge. For the inner edge I did the same and expanded the selection by about 10px.
2. On a new layer fill the region outside the eathworks with 50% grey. Fill the inside region with black (this will ensure you have a steeper edge inside the earthworks than outside. In gimp I'd do this by creating a new selection that runs down the middle of your earthworks (so outline of walls +55px in this case) and fill inside with black, outside with grey. Then take your earthworks selection and use the gradient tool set to shaped spherical, and the gradient type to foreground to transparent with a foreground colour of white. Apply the gradient to your selection (click and drag) and you should get something like 2 for this layer.
3. Create a new layer and fill it with 50% grey. Go to Filters->Map->Bump Map. In the Bump map drop down, select the layer that looks like 2 (the black white and grey image). Fiddle with depth and angle of light until you get something you like. Apply the filter. Now this layer probably has jagged artefacts on it, so it's probably worth applying a 5-10px Gaussian blur on it to smooth those out.
4. Change the blend mode of this layer to overlay or soft light and make sure it's over your grass layer. Fiddle with the opacity until you're happy with it. You can also duplicate the layer and set the blend mode to darken only to bump up the shadows. Make sure the layer that I have as 2 in the walk through is turned off - you won't need that again.

You can then go on to add erosion effect to your overlay layer, but that should give you the basic structure of your berm. Remember that your walls are going to cast shadows too - so you'll need to alter your overlay layer to show that as you go forward.

01-31-2010, 10:13 AM
Ok, it's taken a while, and a *lot* of attempts, but I have something, I'm almost happy with now.....

I've followed Torstan's instructions above, but actually done two bump maps, and merged them, each slightly differently spaced and set. Gives a more natural feel I think. I've also opened up the entrances.


Or with shadows:

Next steps are to try and get the cobbles-> dirt merging, and possibly some cart tracks ;)

01-31-2010, 06:08 PM
Looking good. One note - when you're doing the shadows for the walls you have them as an all round glow. However the berm is lit from the NW. To be consistent the walls whould be throwing the shadows to the SE. You might want to moe the shadows SE a little. I'd also lighten the wall shadow a bit - it's much heavier than the other shadows.

Coming along nicely.

01-31-2010, 06:43 PM
I thought you'd pick up on the shadows Torstan!

I will probably redo the shadow layer for the walls, I did it before the berm, and although I like the effect it gives of a deep pit right around, it does need some work.

One question, as I did the berm mostly by rote, following your instructions...If I'd wanted this to be lit from say the East, how would I achieve that? Is it to do withe the way the spherical gradient is applied?

01-31-2010, 07:11 PM
Nope, the difference comes when you apply the bevel filter. In there you'll find a lighting angle control where you can set the direction of the light source.

If you like the deeper pit effect, then keep that bit and erase the rest of the shadow. Then re-do the overall shadow on another layer. Have a play with different blend modes as well for your shadow layer - low opacity and multiply, or full opacity soft light/overlay layers (in gimp soft light and overlay are the same thing - not so in other apps).

02-07-2010, 11:37 AM
Latest WIP. I've got the main building in now, to stop it looking quite so empty, there will be a well, and a couple of other building to follow.

I've also hand extended the mound out by the front gates, to give the effect of a channel, funnleing people in the right way. Not quite happy with it yet, but it's coming along.

This map making doesn't half take some time!


02-07-2010, 01:42 PM
Looking good so far - that central buiding certainly helps to fill out the map and I actually rather like the entrance mound.

For the central building it currently looks like it's a cylindrical roof that's top lit - if you want a peaked roof you probably want to darken the right hand side (all of it) and lighten the left hand side. To do this, just create an overlay layer and use the rectangular selection tool to fill the left hand side with white and the right hand side with black. Mask it off so it only affect the roof. That will be consistent with your other shadows too.

02-07-2010, 02:54 PM
I really do need to start thinking about the light a little more! I did the roof by using a bi-linear gradient, but what you say is quite right, it will look better that way. I'm doing the building in a seperate file and just copying in the PNG version anyway, so I don't get a million layers.

As for the entrance, I like the look, but I'm not happy with the direction of the lines. I've been going over the "mound" layer with the airbrush and black and white, building up the colours until I get the effect I want, and I think I'll use the bump map as a guide and continue around to give it a more "organic" feel...

Thanks for the comments Torstan, it's very much apreciated.

02-07-2010, 04:01 PM

Ah-ha! I used a dark and a light grey, instead of black and white, it was too much b/w, but the effect works like a charm. A bit of a gaussian blur over the centre, and I even have a ridge line for free. I am well impressed.

Made this building layer a little opaque as it was far too bright before too, dropping to 80% has grounded it a bit.

Also the cobbles now look a bit more natural I think. A texture and some black overlays and it's coming along. Just a few more building and some tweeking to go.

02-13-2010, 10:50 AM
Ok. Latest WIP. I'm pretty happy with this, except I think there should probably be something else in the courtyard, and probably something else around outside the walls. This is in the centre of a small village though, so I don't want too many trees etc etc...

Any recommendations?


02-13-2010, 11:38 AM
Perhaps some stairs up to the wall so that soldiers can get up there to defend it? Possibly a gatehouse or heavy door to protect those open entrances? A well (though that might be what you have in the SE corner)?

Looking good.

02-13-2010, 12:07 PM
Ah yes! All good ideas. I'd completely forgotten about the doors. Not much of a fortification if you can walk right in eh?

The round structure is designed to be a well, yes, with a wooden roof, hence the shape around that bit.