View Full Version : Trepindian Forest God Court

09-30-2007, 01:03 AM
So here is the second installment of my ancient "Holy Island" of Trepindia pairings of a "painting" visualization with a map. (The second was my Trepindian Sea God Hall at http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=887)

After leaving the Sea God Hall through a tunnel hidden behind a glowing waterfall, the intrepid adventurer will find himself under a long pavilion roof in a dark, tangled forest. The area is overgrown with trees, foliage, and brush, all enclosed by ancient stone walls rising some 50 or more feet from the ground. After some investigation, an ancient stone path can be found heading northwards--although to follow it one must work strenuously to cut a tunnel of sorts through the choked vegetation.

A keen eye can notice that although crowded together there is some semblance of design to the green: someone has pruned here, snipped there...and not in the distant past, either, but recently. It is like the work of a mad gardener...

After some work a courtyard can be reached: a circular clearing of stones upon which has been erected the sculpted form of a six armed figure--a cross between some sort of beast and man. Carved of petrified wood and adorned with silver axe and flora, the huge statue looks up into the reddening sky, the sun setting behind its back, over the Aenean Ocean.
Just as in my last set of image & map I tried to play with back lighting in these visuals. I've found they have the advantage of ambiance--at the cost of detail. In the case of this current project I was more interested in the mood, so I was satisfied with this trade off. I did have some difficulty, though, of conveying the danger of the place, though. And it is dangerous, for the "gardeners" are actually a large clan of viscous simian worshipers of the ancient forest god who leap down at anyone chopping their precious trees. I found that pinks and oranges of a beautiful ocean sunset have a way of being, well, beautiful vs. foreboding. Oh well, at least a guy can die in a pretty landscape. ;)

I hope you enjoy these. Take care!

09-30-2007, 05:25 AM
Seriously beautiful Don! The only thing in the first picture that hit me immediately was the repeated leaf in the centre foreground.

09-30-2007, 01:51 PM
Another great piece of art Don! Very nice! Can you give us some info about the process? Are you using filters on existing artwork, or is that all "hand painted"?

09-30-2007, 04:35 PM
Thanks for the advice, Ravs. I will fix that repeated leaf pattern--I tried to be tricksy about using those patterns, but I guess I missed the magic bus on that one! *EDIT*: Did the fix! Hopefully the pattern is now invisible!

The "art" pieces are sketched into PS, then colored by hand (and I am a really slipshod artist so this takes a long time and many layers each set at about 10% opacity, then fiddle fiddle fiddle.) (Transform>Perspective was also useful for the shadow and the paving stones.) The trees and the sky were basically stolen from pieces of images found in a Google image search, then copy-pasted (In the case of the trees copy-pasted over & over again! I love the Clone Stamp tool for hiding hard edges!). Next, I ran one or more filters on the pic--in this case I primarily used the Watercolor filter. Finally, I played with one (or more) last layer(s) of color.

The map is basically the same as the pic, although I relied more heavily on fill patterns and I did not to use filters (except on the ocean). Also, for the sunset lighting highlights I both 1) used the Render>Lighting Effects filter on individual layers and 2) airbrushed in color at about 2% opacity, then gaussian blurred.

If I were a better artist I could do the effects by hand (a big "poo pood" practice in the computer art world is to rely on filters like I do), but for my purposes--visual aide for my players & battle map--I'm fairly happy with the results. Do you guys have any other suggestions for improvements? :)

09-30-2007, 05:36 PM
None at all. The hardest thing with compositing I find is getting consistency between the images, and you seem to have done that in spades. Next step is to produce something like this!

http://community.imaginefx.com/forums/thread/20584.aspx (http://community.imaginefx.com/fxpose/irulanas_portfolio/picture51884.aspx)

10-02-2007, 05:12 PM
That pic (actually that artist's entire series!) is great--but I sure can't see myself ever doing that. Not enough talent in these little fingers, that's for sure! Plus I've always been more inclined toward impressionism and such, vs. super-realism. That being said, for fun I may someday try my hand at fantasy "Art"--just to prove to myself I should stick to maps. ;)

PS: I diddled with the leaf pattern, Ravs--does that look better?

10-02-2007, 05:55 PM
much better!

10-07-2007, 09:37 PM
Well, the simian creatures shucked out my poor adventurers over our last few gaming sessions, killing one PC, almost killing another, and causing so much damage that the men have to now abandon their exploration of the island--again. One of the men accidentally stabbed himself in the leg, too, permanently maiming it. Great fun was had by all.

Although not a map, I thought you all might be interested in seeing the "painting" of the creatures who inhabit the forested map area posted above. They are not, individually, very tough, but they fight in packs, hiding in the trees above, dropping from the trees and grappling/strangling opponents with their strong arms and prehensile tails (and close combat in GURPS also changes the rules of a fight a LOT!)

Take care!

10-09-2007, 12:51 PM
Scary and dark! :shock: Good stuff!

Yea, when I was running my GURPS campaign, my players discovered just how lethal close combat could be as well. They quickly learned that in situations dealing with sentient races it is better to talk first. ;)

10-09-2007, 02:16 PM
Thanks for sharing, I always look forward to your contributions. When I saw your jungle creature I thought of strength and speed only a second away from violence. What a great set of supporting visuals for your story.