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ravells
01-31-2010, 02:12 PM
This is my WIP for an unpaid commission by Shifty on this thread. (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?9077-Fantasy-Map-Request-Southlands#post99800)

I'm learning a lot of this as I go along, so it won't be quick and I'll be asking for lots of advice!

So here are the first 3 images.

Shifty's original sketch
The model
The sketch wrapped on the model.

The next step will be to try and figure out what colours / textures to use that will fit this sort of map and to work out what I do for forests etc.

I'm thinking that oversized models of cities etc. would work quite well for this sort of map...so it almost looks like a table-top model rather than real terrain.

jaspertjie
01-31-2010, 02:16 PM
Very nice although on the third image the mountain ridge looks a bit... suddenly overwhelming

Ascension
01-31-2010, 02:20 PM
I agree on the cities, that would look cool.

ravells
01-31-2010, 03:03 PM
Cheers Guys. Jasper, once I've finished the texturing I might go back and play with the model (ohh that sounds like fun, shame it's not that sort of a model) and bring those mountains down a bit...I agree, they are a bit huge, but if I'm going for a table-top look that might be a good thing??? Not sure...

Ascension
01-31-2010, 03:11 PM
Exaggeration would be a good thing for this...like the old board game Life with the little plastic houses and hills.

Gamerprinter
01-31-2010, 03:29 PM
I've often found when working with 3D terrain, what looks good in a isometric view is hardly noticeable in a top down - you almost always have to over exagerate in order make the hills and mountains appear as such in a top down. This of course all depends on brightness of the light source, shadow values and textures used. Thus I find creating 3D terrain less useful for cartography than creating structures, statues, trees and other 3D objects.

GP

ravells
01-31-2010, 03:48 PM
Yeah I found that too, although that's mitigated to some extent by using RobA's forced perspective technique. I'll keep trucking...maybe the best way is to have it displayed at an angle.

ravells
01-31-2010, 03:49 PM
Exaggeration would be a good thing for this...like the old board game Life with the little plastic houses and hills.

I LOVED that game as a kid, particularly because the board had those 3d bits to it. Even the poor house looked cool.

ravells
01-31-2010, 07:34 PM
Here's the next render, trying to get a decent texture for the mountain Range.

Ascension
01-31-2010, 07:36 PM
Ooo, I like that. That looks sweet.

Coyotemax
01-31-2010, 08:24 PM
This is incredibly cool.
I've noticed there seems to be a small trend starting towards maps like this - there's a few other maps that remind me of this that have been not in the recent past.
Makes me consider getting my paws on some 3d software to mess with.

Can hardly wait to see how this progresses!

ravells
02-01-2010, 04:18 PM
Thanks guys....added the forest texture, using Ascension's coastline tutorial to get some nice dispersed shapes and used as a mask. Used as a mask, I'll be able to get the forest following rivers, generally hugging contours etc (not yet done). I was a bit silly, should have saved it as a smart object but forgot...never mind....onwards.

The next step is to use a gradient fill to hypsometrically tint the landmass should make the rolling hills etc stand out more.

ravells
02-01-2010, 05:00 PM
I've got rid of the bumpmapping on the forest, I think it's clearer without and you can see the hill shading better...

ravells
02-01-2010, 07:51 PM
Added the hypsometric colour (bit fast and dirty as I need to get to bed)...set it to colour burn and lowered the opacity. I think it helps the eye spot the hills. Need to desaturate it a bit though.

ravells
02-01-2010, 08:32 PM
Tried a close up (Mr De Mille), and I think it looks surprisingly good. I'm really pleased with the mountain texture and the land looks like it's got all sorts of little borrows in it and somehow (I don't know how) it's got quite a 'painted' feel to it. Very pleased so far, although the forest texture will need tarting up, but luckily some great brains have been kind enough to help me with the forests on another thread.

Redrobes
02-01-2010, 08:50 PM
Makes me consider getting my paws on some 3d software to mess with.I do some completely free stuff for this here ! (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/cgi-bin/viewingdale.pl?category=dragons_flight). But you have to make the height map yourself or use the other free tool instant islands.

Coyotemax
02-01-2010, 10:13 PM
redrobes: thanks, I'll check that out sometime tonight!

Ravells: oooh, that's coming along very nicely!

Shifty
02-02-2010, 12:48 AM
yes indeed! Looks quite something else, and I think it will pull a lot of ooh and ahh at the gaming table :p

ravells
02-03-2010, 06:40 PM
Sorry Shifty, I've run into difficulties with placing rivers. In the meantime, could you do me a favour please? Are there any more labels you want to put on the map? names of areas, mountain ranges, forests etc etc. in addition to those you already have? Is this map to be used as a player handout? Do you want a version where the geography fades into nothing for the players and a full version for you? The cities you currently have seem to be placed in a near perfect rectangle...is that intentional? Looks a bit weird.

cheers

Ravs

Shifty
02-03-2010, 08:07 PM
Sorry Shifty, I've run into difficulties with placing rivers. In the meantime, could you do me a favour please? Are there any more labels you want to put on the map? names of areas, mountain ranges, forests etc etc. in addition to those you already have? Is this map to be used as a player handout? Do you want a version where the geography fades into nothing for the players and a full version for you? The cities you currently have seem to be placed in a near perfect rectangle...is that intentional? Looks a bit weird.

cheers

Ravs

Hiya.

The map itself will be used as a player handout.
At this stage I was happy with the labeling (keeping it light) and only recognising the major townships etc. Anything less than those I am just treating as non-noteworthy by-road towns of no importance.

The Rectangular notion I got was a mashup between how they designed Canberra (our Capital City in Oz) and the concept of dead straight Roman roads... although I see what you are saying, and if it 'looks better' to offset them so be it!.
The large 'squared' pasturelands are a bit stylised, but typical of the massive farmlands and 'stations' as you see them from Aircraft over a lot of Australia - so yeah the image kinda stuck :p

As for handout, yes the players will be given the map as a handout, and will pretty much know what is where, so not trying to hide a lot. So probably just need the one version.

On the south side of the mountain range, not a lot is known, and the couple of fortifications and southernmost town are (assumed) to be ruins, as the civilised folks abandoned that area a while ago... of course everything IS actually populated, but not by the kind of things that want to give any travellers a hug and a cup of tea.

torstan
02-03-2010, 08:11 PM
Looking really lovely Ravells. The recent close up of those mountains looks great!

ravells
02-04-2010, 05:46 AM
Thanks for the info Shifty and the compliments Torstan. Hoping to have this finished over the weekend.

Shifty
02-04-2010, 08:57 AM
Awesome... this thing is looking pretty amazing so far!

su_liam
02-04-2010, 05:27 PM
I'm really liking the forest bumpmap in your closeup. I'm glad you didn't drop that completely.

What app are you rendering this in? Doesn't look much like Bryce, and doesn't look very much like povray either. I'll just assume it ain't blender...

ravells
02-04-2010, 06:33 PM
Wow, thanks, I thought the forest was a bit meh close up. That render was in Bryce 7 (beta), Photoshop CS4 has a built in POVray render engine but I'm just more used to Bryce. I need to do some render comparisons to see. I'm not using any Bryce procedurals for the texturing, it's all painted as a UV map in photoshoshop. I've been following your Illustrator thread (need to put aside some time to read it all, properly) - the Arcgis stuff is just way beyond me, but I'm seriously stuck on the rivers. I rendered a heightmap in Bryce, took it into Wilbur (which I've never used before) just to get an idea of what the rivers would do - I'm just after a black and white image of river positions - because will all the little borrows it's nearly impossible to draw the rivers by eye without them going uphill at some point (it's like a maze). I may just have to fake it by hand....the final render is going to be at a distance so hopefully uphill rivers shouldn't be noticeable...I'm still working my way through the Wilbur (fun with Wilbur) tuts and playing with dials etc to get the rivers to look good, but I think that without doing the model again and having all the land above sea level, it's going to be impossible, (when I made the initial model I just put a sea texture over the sea and didn't worry about non mountain height that much), anyway, I'm blathering now.

ravells
02-05-2010, 08:09 PM
Got the forest texture now...the distribution is too bleh, so I'll redo the forests from scratch right at the end, so I can get funky stuff like stands of trees following roads and rivers. I've been putting off the rivers for too long...got to try and get them done.

Shifty
02-05-2010, 09:17 PM
That's really coming to life!
I can almost see myself wandering the hills and dales.... :P

ravells
02-05-2010, 09:32 PM
Kewl...it's going to get much better this weekend! (if I have time).

ravells
02-06-2010, 01:07 PM
Nearly there...no time to do the forest redistribution yet, but I think it looks ok with a bit of fiddling - it was a learning process anyhow, lol. I'm making simple heightmap buildings (just cubes)....I don't think they look great...must find a better way. Once the buildings are done, I think it's just about there. This render used a depth of field but it wasn't exaggerated enough, I'll leave DOF out for the future ones I think.

ravells
02-06-2010, 02:12 PM
Making little models (here's another closeup...can you see the hedges?) is working much better.

Ascension
02-06-2010, 02:21 PM
I do see hedges, pretty cool stuff there bro.

Coyotemax
02-06-2010, 02:21 PM
that is coming along very nicely!! And it took a few moments but I did find the hedges :) I love what you're doing with the buildings..

ravells
02-06-2010, 04:25 PM
Cheers guys! It's all done now bar the final city labelling. For once I played to Bryce's strengths and it's a beauty when it plays nice. Just doing the final render set now and then this will be done.

ravells
02-06-2010, 06:54 PM
Here it is - first final render with labels. Tell me if you'd prefer it from another angle.

This version won't be much cop for printing - you mentioned A3 so the render will have to be pretty massive to work at 300 dpi. Once you're happy with the final presentation we can do the big one (I'll probably have to leave the computer running all night).

best

Ravs

arsheesh
02-06-2010, 07:18 PM
Wow Ravells, that is amazing! I love the three dimensional towns. Very impressive indeed. Here's a smidge of rep to add to your well known name.

Cheers,

-Arsheesh.

Ascension
02-06-2010, 09:49 PM
I can't make out the label around Oldridge Town - it seems upside down. I can see East Country and Southern Forest well enough. The dark lines I think are roads in some places and rivers in others. Overall, though, it looks pretty cool.

Shifty
02-07-2010, 03:16 AM
What else can I say other than 'beyond my wildest expectations'?

That angle would be great, and it highlights the land from the capital - which everyone knows is the centre of the Universe :)

Amazing work, amazing....

IF it was possible (IF), a direct top down one would be sweet at some point as well - just in case I find a way to "Googlemap" the thing and add POI details of the towns, and maybe even use it to calculate distances etc (Thats a fantasy for one day in the future) ;p

su_liam
02-07-2010, 04:41 AM
The only thing I think at this late point is you might want to upsample the HF a bit. The mountains are a tad too... sharp edged. What is the resolution on your HF now? The default is, I think 256x256. From the look of it, if you did this all with one terrain object, it would have to be at least 1024sq. As a rule, I tend to use 2048 resolution in bryce, but for a big image, you might want to splurge on 4096. I wouldn't say that for a screen image, but if your going for an overnight render, it might be worth it. On the happy end B7 seems to render much faster than 5 and 6 ever did. Just a C&C for what it's worth. In any case it's a lovely job. Good on ya mate!

ravells
02-07-2010, 05:11 AM
Thanks all,

Ascension: yeah, that label is 'the green hills' - I forgot to move it. I'll have to do that in the original PS file and then swap with the the one in Bryce now that the angle of view is finalised. The dark lines are all meant to be roads - I didn't really spend enought time on them.... the only rivers are south of the mountains (weird but that's what the ref pic said). Also I ended up rushing the rivers a bit and placing them by hand so they er.. go uphill at times. (cuff me and take me to the station now, officer).

Su Liam: The land is not created from a HF but it's a soft modelled mesh which has been uv painted. The mesh is rectangular (I would make it square if I were to do this again simply because I could swap in heightfields etc - it's just easier). Interesting what you say about the mountains being sharp, I ran the mesh through Bryce's smoothing function (there were ridiculously sharp before, so much so that you could pretty much see the mesh faces meeting at a single vertex) and it seemed to work pretty well. I might try a more aggressive Bryce smooth and see what happens. B7 has a few new bells on whistles on it which has really improved it. When you're dragging objects around, they cast a wire frame 'shadow' on the ground plane so its easier to move them in the director's view, and as you say, the rendering is much faster.

Cheers guys!

ravells
02-08-2010, 08:59 AM
Top Down view as requested. I've run out of time so you'll have to label it yourself though. Just take into Gimp, Inkscape or micrsoft paint and stick the labels on. You can find some nice fonts at www.dafont.com (http://www.dafont.com)

best

Ravs

Shifty
02-08-2010, 05:22 PM
Great stuff, and thanks again!
I really appreciate all the work mate, and I hope you got a bit out of your experimentations - happy to be the guinea pig. :)