View Full Version : October Entry: temple transformation

10-03-2007, 04:47 PM
Lots of ideas brewing for this challenge, but first I have something special in mind for the main floor of the chapel area.

I want to experiment with mosaic tiled floors. Since this is a temple in transformation, I am leaving a remnant of the "original mosaic" partially removed with the "replacement mosaic" already in progress. Its a kind of cool way of showing a temple under transformation, I thought.

The photo to the left is Elenora of Toledo 1550 - although alittle modern for my tastes, the lines in her face are very distinct, which helps when converting the image with a mosaic filter. Since the mosaic filter will "pixelate" the image, there will be loss of detail - but that helps with what I'm going for anyway.

I imported the image into Xara Xtreme. I used a pre-installed Photoshop Plug-in called "alien skin xenofex 2 > classic mosaic." I used a the smallest tile setting of 4 pixels, and a 50% grout using a browninsh gray as grout color. This is the second photo.

From within Xara I used a freehand drawing tool to cut a line along the edges of tiles on the face to remove part of mosaic. The line extended beyond the edges of the image, then I selected "Arrange/Combine/Slice" tool to cut the portion of the image away. This is the third image.

Finally I found a demon photo, some marble texture and a tiled floor texture to create the final image.

This is the main temple floor... next onto walls! 8)


10-03-2007, 05:37 PM
Nice concept! I like it!

10-03-2007, 06:21 PM
Yup! Neat idea!

10-03-2007, 07:39 PM
I plan to do much of this design in 3D.

So I can get some really nice shadow effects - like window shadow and sunlight stream from outer hall way, through doors onto floor. The marbled area of the floor will have square columns with fancy footings. I want proper shadowing of columns on floor from all light sources.

I might put a couple candelabras just above the "top" of the mosaic image, as the altar will sit in a niche beyond the boundries of the main chapel floor, as well as unlit niches in sides and "bottom".

I'm even thinking of creating some scaffolding on one side of the monastary, where the "new statues" are being lifted from the ground to be brought in through upper windows into chapel. Yes I'm putting the chapel in the 2nd or 3rd (?) floor, in photo.

Oh and to be really dark, look for an on ground cememtary with all the graves open!!! Lots of work to do. ;)

10-04-2007, 07:59 AM
I definitely like where you're going with this...and 3d is my language...so I'm glad to see ya speakin it. Some good GI and AO would be nice ;)

I really like the mosaic tile transformation though...thats a nice touch indeed.

10-05-2007, 12:02 AM
OK, no 3D yet, I'm still using Xara. I couldn't get what I wanted in 3D. The doorway light/shadow was created in Xara, I just placed a polygon filled black with a 40% transparency applied and an 11 pixel edge feather.

Instead of pillars, I decided on small platforms where statues will go. The upright and broken statues will be 3D, as well as some boxes of tiles, a trowel and straight hoe used to remove the other mosaic tiles. I also plan to have a small pile of loose tiles as well.

Image so far... 8)

10-05-2007, 06:47 PM
Still using Xara Xtreme. The basic floorplan for the chapel level is finished - still got to add windows, statues, tables, chairs, doors, lights and shadows, blood stains, etc.

Progress so far... 8)

10-05-2007, 07:19 PM
wow! That's impressive! Although it looks a little odd to my eye that you would have mosaics on the floor where the stairs are going to go up in the tower bits....or maybe I'm misunderstanding...still looks pretty cool.

10-05-2007, 07:57 PM
The stairs weren't an afterthought so much as, I didn't include them in my thinking when I was dreaming up the mosaics. I plan to make the central mosaic square a tad bit smaller, then use that "blue tile" frame to match up better around the stairs.

I was getting pretty far along, when I thought I post a WIP, though lots of details and "fixes" yet to perform. When I said "done with the floorplan" who am I kidding, I got lots to do.

Somehow my "blue frame" tile that should surround the central chapel disappeared when I exported to JPG (must have deleted it by accident)

Just so you know, I've never created an indoor map like this before - I'm pushing myself to the next level :o

10-06-2007, 11:55 AM
I am not Russian nor Eastern nor Greek Orthodox (nor Catholic, for that matter), and I've never been inside an Eastern Orthodox church or monastery before - and really have no intentions of doing so, anytime soon.

Additionallly, I am an older soul, and prefer architecture earlier than 1400, preferrably, earlier than 500 AD, but the "challenge" is using photo of a Russian Orthodox monastery built after 1400, probably as late as in the 1700's.

As far as the "challenge" goes, however, "this is a fantasy site".

Unlike NeonKnight's entry - architectural accuracy to an Orthodox church is not a consideration for me. I am simply using the exterior architecture to guide me on creating my own fantasy temple interior structure, based on what I think it might look like. (I am not torn by historical accuracy in any way)

For names - this is the Monastery of Saint Bes, the Autumnal Matriarch located in west central Ostrovia (actually a demigoddess from pagan times, her popularity by the local pastoral peoples have forced the Orthodox Synod to canonize her into the formal Ostrovian pantheon.)

The Disciples of Degoth, Master of the Perverse Sanctum, have usurped the monastery with hopes of calling their master, Degoth, from the Shadow Plane to bless the world with madness and perversity. 8)

10-06-2007, 04:42 PM
OK, fixed the tile issue around the turret stairs, also on the interior wall of the outer hallway. Added stairs to the higher "mezzanine level" in the front, as well as to the exit doors at top and sides. In the top corners are guarderobes.

I still need to add the windows on the front apse areas, the outside green roof structures - and all the doors and objects within. But I am almost finished with this level. I won't be using mosaics for the rest of the design, so things should move along faster.

So far this thing is approximately 180 feet from the end of the top stairs to the front of the monastery, and 180 feet from apse to apse.

I will be placing labels for chambers, windows, stairs, and the grid at the end as the last thing I do to complete a level.

WIP so far (I have to do family stuff, then go gaming so I'll start up again tomorrow afternoon) ...

10-07-2007, 06:02 AM
This is looking really beautiful. I love the tiles you've chosen surrounding the central mosaic. I'm a bit confused about the large blue borders though, I'm not sure if they are meant to represent tiles or internal walls. If tiles, then you might just want to pop in some grouting.

10-07-2007, 06:31 AM
This is looking really beautiful. I love the tiles you've chosen surrounding the central mosaic. I'm a bit confused about the large blue borders though, I'm not sure if they are meant to represent tiles or internal walls. If tiles, then you might just want to pop in some grouting.

The blue borders are supposed to tiles to frame things - not inner walls. I thought about the grouting as I was doing this. I thought nobody would catch that, of course Ravs proves me wrong again!

I will have to adding the grouting in the blue frame tiles.

On an aside, I just had a long arguement with a fellow gamer over where the pulpet should be. I kept insisting that my monastery was not a Christian structure and to not confuse the expectations of the exterior to be what that kind of church looks like from the inside.

(I will label elevations on map as well) The inner sanctum, where the central mosaic is located is on the same elevation level as the "choir" and "vestries", which is raised higher than the entry door outer hallways probably about 6 ft.

Since this is a monastic temple originally for a nature/pastoral goddess, there are both male and female clergy-monks. Males enter in one of the side doors, females, the opposite. High Priest and Priestess enter through the top door (west door)

From the steps outside, one enters the door into the outer hallway. Then heading to the "dawn side" which holds the choir structures. One vestry serves as the male santifying chamber, the other the female sanctifying (haven't decided which, though I'll add mosaic icons to indicate which side is which) before entering the central "dawn chamber".

All monastic participants wait in the "dawn chamber" (choir area), first the High Priest and Priestess enter the inner sanctum where they stand on the central mosaic facing the statues on the (west or top) wall. The high clergy always face the statuary on the altar and never any audience. They speak with the goddess not with other mortals in the church.

On the north and south wall niches of the inner sanctum are steps that serve small choirs men on one side, etc.

A gallery level exists above the inner sanctum where the relics, vestments, holy scrolls and religious tomes are kept. This area is used to copy books and documents (as monks in many religions do). The gallery is only on 3 walls, as it does not exist over the altar platform.

The inner sanctum is surrounded on three sides by walls with only entry through dawn side entrance.

Most St. Bes rituals occur at dawn.

10-07-2007, 08:18 PM
Long night gaming, slept in too long, so I didn't get lots done with the monastery. I did add grout to the blue tile, though I'm not really happy with the way the blue tile turned out - I may "nix" it altogether.

I added a few more shadows as well as windowed walls on the apses and the "dawn chamber". I got a couple statues done, both upright and broken. I'm working on the various 3D objects and the roof at this time - still in progress (rendering time.)

I really liked the stained-glass light hitting the floor of NeonKnight's monastery, but I'm not going to include stain-glass. Technically, I can't see any stain-glass in the monastery photo - although it may be just to dark to view.

Because "dawn" and "holy sunlight" is so integral to the ritual worship of St. Bes, the idea of placing colored glass between the holy light of the sun and the confines of the monastery is tantamount to sacraledge. Thus no stain-glass is used, at least not in this temple.

WIP so far... 8)

10-07-2007, 10:27 PM
Bonus Mini Tutorial: How did I make those cool Broken Statues?

Image 1: I imported a royalty-free gravestone angel photo into Xara Xtreme.

Image 2: Drew a freehand line extending from beyond top of photo down the rightside contour of the angel against the background, drawing to bottom. I selected - Arrange/Combine/Slice. Then moved the slice to show you.

Image 3: Drew a freehand line down the leftside (here you see the line).

Image 4: Completely sliced free from the background, I need to decide how to break the statue up.

Image 5: The head always seems to break-off, so here's my first line to slice.

Image 6: Nudged the head section away to show the break.

Image 7: Then I sliced my way along down the statue, with a couple side pieces, added a slight bevel, then a drop shadow (needs tweaked I see...) for final image.

Then start using it right from within Xara Xtreme to create your map, or export it to transparent PNG format and import to your favorite map-making application. That's it! 8)

10-08-2007, 02:56 AM
Last one before I go to bed.

I created the roof structures, though I might add a different roof texture. I altered the shadows and added a couple windows in the shadows. There was a strange artifact in the upright statues - I think a "mis-dropped shadow" so I eliminated the graphic shadow from the statue.

I still need to add the upper walls and windows in the "choir dawn chamber", a couple of tables, shelves and the detail objects around the mosaic in progress. I need to add paths at end of outside stairs, a few small trees and grounds detail. Otherwise this floor is done.

I threw in the building shadow for final effect.

WIP: ;)

10-09-2007, 01:13 AM
In any artwork, you have to decide when to stop putting in detail and you're done. I decided, I'm complete with level one!

I changed the roof structures to have a more weathered texture, I added the "Dawn Luminary Chamber" upper walls and windows. I added windows throughout. I placed a holy water bathing basin in each "Sanctifying Apse". I added shadows behind the upright statues.

Despite it looking cool in the last WIP, I removed the grass and building shadow from the final level one map - it seemed distracting from the floor itself, even overwhelming.

After I complete all the levels, I will create a map of the monastery grounds at scale of 1 inch (square) = 20 feet. Then I will create an area map, showing terrain surrounding monastery grounds.

I added all labeling, scale, quickee compass rose (I'll probably replace before final day), and the grid. @ 1 square = 1 inch and 1 inch = 5 feet, the map now measures 43 x 48 inches!

WIP on completed level one: 8) - Whoops the compass rose is upsidedown!!! Duh!

10-09-2007, 01:32 AM
Small Critique, the Apses would look like they are actually Vestries, especially if they were used for the sanctifying of the priests/priestess before a ceremony. Technically, the Apse would be where you have the Dawn Illuminary Chamber.




10-09-2007, 01:42 AM
Small Critique, the Apses would look like they are actually Vestries, especially if they were used for the sanctifying of the priests/priestess before a ceremony. Technically, the Apse would be where you have the Dawn Illuminary Chamber.




Doh! You are absolutely right! I must be exhausted - its past midnight again.

Thank you very much, NeonKnight! I will rename those from "Apse" to "Vestry"

You do realize, that the inside of THIS monastic temple, doesn't look like an eastern orthodox cathedral. I changed the architecture to do something different, yet still maintain "accuracy" to the outside structure. In other words it could have been built this way.

Anyway, thanks again - I will change it sometime tomorr... er... today! :o

Oh and let me add, that I love CC3, I am still very much a newbie though. I just received DD3 and the CD version of the Ultimate Tome (I know its CC2), but still very helpful.

I see Profantasy map-making software as far more practical than what I am using - its just you have to be proficient to make it work for you. Since I'm more the artist, I like to try different, even bizarre experiments and sometimes require a tool like Xara Xtreme to accomplish.

I very much admire your work, and hope that I will be as good someday.

This map, I'm making is a different kind of animal altogether.

If I was more proficient with CC3/DD3 I would probably be doing this challenge with those applications instead. (Despite the results so far...)

10-09-2007, 05:02 AM
No probs. Just figured, might as well make terminology correct though I have been known to be wrong in the past as well :D

10-09-2007, 11:38 AM
Thanks to NeonKnight's sharp eyes and sense of ecclesiastic vocabulary, I've changed the names of the Apse and Vestry chambers. Rotated the compass rose 180 degrees, and moved one of the inner sanctum choir pedestals under the grid - that's it, everything is corrected.

Now onto level two - this should go much faster!

WIP so far... 8)

10-09-2007, 11:28 PM
I told you it would be faster! Level Two is complete.

I finally used 3D. The domes, cupalos and half dome are all 3D objects rendered in my old Raydream Studio with Nendo objects.

Although I could have easily created shaded circles in Xara, I wanted the lighted side to follow the gentle curves of the dome and cupalo just right. Surprisingly the colors I selected in Raydream was damn close to what I already created with the previous roof structures in Xara.

I really wanted to keep the two looking separate so I kept the original roofing with Xara and placed the 3D transparent PNG objects right on top. The tiny half dome at the top of the Dawn Luminary Apse dome isn't in the photo, its a cheat to cover a small 3D artifact at the top of the dome. It works though.

The Sacristy Gallery is where the holy books, scrolls and vestments are kept. Monks also copy these documents here in the sacristy. Although other documents are copied in the cloisterhouse behind this cathedral, the holy documents must be "near the goddess" for allowed copying.

The "niche" over the doorway into the Inner Sanctum below, is an open arch window that views the Dawn Luminary Apse below. Though rarely allowed, when an exceptional person or authority figure and family wish to witness: a marriage, baptism, right of passage, or funeral, they are allowed to watch from the gallery (the table here is moved to one of the side wings of the gallery).

You will also notice a lack of books and scrolls in the Sacristy Gallery, thats because there is a good ole fashion "book burning" going on in the inner court. This will be viewable when I map the monastery grounds.

Any comments?

WIP so far... 8)

10-10-2007, 03:09 AM
Bravo! Now that's how to draw an onion dome!

Beautiful work. No comments here.

10-10-2007, 01:59 PM
The 3d work is gorgeous! Very nice color.

Those stools are enormous, though!

10-10-2007, 03:03 PM
Well these priests have big, fat ... oh yeah, I guess 2.5 foot diameter seats are kind of big, aren't they. I can keep the books and scrolls oversized, but them stools need to be about half the size, don't they?

That's an easy fix!

I'll get to that and begin the cellar level after work tonight.

10-10-2007, 05:16 PM
Yeah the problem was that original map file was getting "meaty" so I created the tables with books and scrolls, and the stools on a separate sheet without any reference to scale. When I brought them into the map, I scaled to fit the niche in the walls, not really paying attention to the actual scale of the stools themselves.

I reduced them - everything fine now on level two. Thnx!

New WIP: 8)

10-10-2007, 05:27 PM
I uploaded the old one, not the adjusted version... done.

10-10-2007, 05:28 PM
The grounds man! you have to do the grounds!

10-10-2007, 05:57 PM
Tonight I plan to create the cellar level beneath the cathedral, including a priests crypt area. Oh you'll like this, the chamber beneath the vestry with the door in window in the photo, will be an infirmary, and sometimes used to perform exorcisms.

After the cellar, then I'll create the grounds, probably tomorrow.

In the grounds, I intend to create a kitchen, workshop, stable for the monastery's six mules, cloisterhouse to west of cathedral, and the on grounds cemetary behind that. All will be enclosed in a low wall pierced by 4 gates.

After that, I will create a regional map for the surrounding area - probably will use CC3 for that portion.

Yes, Ravs, but can you wait until tomorrow??? :P

10-11-2007, 02:01 AM
The Cellar took lots longer than I expected and I'm not even finished yet. I still need to add some furniture into the infirmary and some storage boxes and such into the under apse area.

I got some grid climbing up the walls, so that needs to be tweaked as well.

For something special, since the region beyond the walls under the inner sanctum and entry hallway touches below ground level (non-traverseable area) - I decided to create this entire walls and floor completely in 3D.

Another 20 minutes of work and the cellar is complete.

Yes, Ravs, tomorrow, the grounds.... :P

WIP so far...

10-11-2007, 11:26 AM
The Cellar ....

Wow nice work! I think you still need to keep scale in consideration (like with the giant stools :) ) In this level, the floor grate in the center is about 12' square, and the slots look big enough to loose a leg in! As well the escape tunnel is over 15' wide. Because of the scale of those, it makes the room look like the cellar of a much smaller building, and the coffins look too small (though they are correct by the grid scale!)

-Rob A>

10-11-2007, 11:38 AM
Actually I was anxious to get as far as I did, but it was after midnight (and I've doing this after midnight thing for about a week straight - its wearing me out!) and I was starting to loose my senses.

I will narrow up that escape tunnel and rescale the grate so a rat couldn't pass by the slots (don't want any injured monks falling into the grate).

Strange, but I did try to get the stone sarcophagi properly scaled. Apparently that's the only thing properly scaled.

OK, now its about an hour's worth of corrections. I already fixed the grid lines climbing up the walls... so much to do, so little time... ;)

Expect these corrections and the ground plan tonight!

Keep up the comments guys - its the only way to maintain quality control!

10-11-2007, 12:25 PM
This is an enormous amount of work. Well done! I was going to mention the floating grid, but you've picked that up already. The texture of the surrounding rock looks a bit odd to my eye, it looks like a repeat texture of some garden gravel and doesn't give that feeling of solid rock. Maybe just a dark grey with some noise and some 'veins' running through it? Not sure. The grass texture at the bottom looks a bit big as well.

I'm not sure I understand the topography. Are the crypt and the bottom rooms on the same level. If so, then I guess the building must be built of some sort of step or slope so that the crypt is underground but the bottom rooms are overground?

Excellent work all round, love the tiling in the bottom rooms and the stonework in the crypt.


10-11-2007, 02:38 PM
Ravs, although the cathedral could actually be on flat ground, there seems to an illusion of a slight drop in elevation from front to back. Since the Apse and Vestries elevation is approx 5 feet higher than the Entry Hall, and the Entry Hall is approx 4 feet above the ground level.

In intend to create a slope in the floor under the Apse from the open archways towards the foundation walls leading into the crypt - I didn't create that yet. (Probably just place a gradual fade to dark gray semi-transparent layer.)

Notice stairs leading down into the Crypt area under the Inner Sanctum. Actually the ceilings in this crypt are pretty low, maybe alittle over 6 feet.

And time investment in this "challenge", when I'm done, I'd say I'll have 30 hours into it. If I was less adept at Xara Xtreme, it might be twice that.

Although I am certainly proud of my work thus far (errors withstanding) I'm not trying to blow the competition out. My goal is to challenge myself.

I have never put this much work into a commercial map... 8)

10-11-2007, 03:16 PM
Well it looks fantastic!


10-11-2007, 07:02 PM
Cellar level is now complete!

I rescaled the grate in the center of the crypt floor, I narrowed the escape tunnel by placing support side walls - so it doesn't cave in. I placed the slope and placed elevation labels to indicate sub level topography and to justify the spacing beneath the Inner Sanctum.

You'll notice the spiral staircases in back of the Inner Sanctum reach down to this level, while the front two spiral staircases only go up to the gallery.

I changed the earth fill to a more neutral tone and rescaled the grass outside.

I placed furniture in the infirmary and some storage containers in the main cellar entrance area.

Oh and I added support pilings beneath the entry hall on north and south side, since (in my version) these were an afterthought, so the foundations were originally built for the inner sanctum area only. Thus additional supports were required to support the added foundation.

That's it for now. Supper, an hour of relaxation then back to the grindstone and to create the Monastery ground plan.

Comments welcome!

WIP so far... 8)

10-12-2007, 02:08 AM
I found a couple more issues with the cellar - the stairs were above the grid, the slope was too dark inside the under apse area, stuck some furniture in the storm cellar (which incidentally is where the monks are being held). I altered the ground took look less repeated (though still doing it... sigh), and found a better grass fill.

For the ground plan, I spent most of my time finishing the roof of the monastery, as well as rendering a correct by sun angle 3D shadow of the cathedral, which I traced as a transparent polyline in Xara for the map.

The ground plan may be too large I haven't decided yet. The building with the courtyard is the monastic residence dormitory. The black rectangles are locations and sizes for: kitchen, workshop, stables, and dining hall. I want to add a small potters kiln and potter shop. I thinking of adding a winery, but that might be too much.

WIP: 8) - now I'm goin' to bed!

10-12-2007, 02:20 AM
Note: the ground plan is barely started. The ground looks too flat, I need to give changes to the lawn, no lawn is perfect. I want to place a garden somewhere. The cloisterhouse isn't even created and it will have an attached enclosed "garden" courtyard with fountain and statues, colonade as well.

So, Ravs, don't be disappointed - got a long way to go! :P

Hmmm... noticed a patch of grass in the middle of the crypt all of a sudden, need to fix that... er!

10-12-2007, 12:12 PM
I removed that erroneous grass patch in the crypt of the cellar - so that's finished.

I'm thinking about shrinking the ground plan area to about 2/3rds to one half its current perimeter size. I don't want so much open grassy lawns. I'll bring the other structures in closer to the cathedral.

And I do have to remember to create the exit for the escape tunnel.

That's it for now... I hope to finish this project tonight! 8)

WIP of cellar improvement...

10-12-2007, 04:43 PM
Looks superb, the stairs down to the crypt from the storage area makes sense now, and I love the new rock and grass textures. Looking brilliant!


10-12-2007, 06:24 PM
Nice shadow work!

10-13-2007, 12:26 AM
8)Damn I'm close to finishing this challenge.

I need to add a few more details: more trees and more variety of plants, crops in the fields on mostly surrounding monastery hill.

I need to add a graveyard, not sure whether to place it inside the compound, on higher elevation near the road or on the road bottom to the north. I want to add a water body, probably a small stream - then that's it.

I don't think I need to create a regional map - knowing the monastery is located in a peasant farming region with a road to "Lenska" whether that's a village, town or city is up to the writer I guess. This monastery grounds map and surrounding terrain should be enough!

Oh the elevation thing was an experiment. Sean MacDonald the cartographer for EN Publishing War of the Burning Sky, does something like this, I thought I'd try it out!

That's it until Sunday!

WIP so far... 8)

10-13-2007, 10:44 AM
Any chance you could post that without the grid? I'd love to see it as nature intended!

10-13-2007, 12:32 PM
For all intents and purposes, I say, "I'm completed with this challenge!"

I may yet create a regional map, before the month is out, but for mapping the location, structure and grounds, there ain't no more...

For Ravs, I added a version of the completed grounds, sans gridlines.

Of course any mistakes can still be repaired, so I'm not completely retired from this project.

Again, let me reiterate - the level I put in this challenge reflects me pushing the envelope in my map-making, trying to makeup (to cartographersguild) for inappropriate behavior earlier in the month, and to proving once and for all the value of Xara Xtreme as a fantasy map-making tool.

Regarding the level of work -- I thought it was kind of strange that two months ago, the challenge was "create a compass rose" (which was easy). This month, as far as I could tell was to create a map of the structure and surrounding territory - that's a lot to ask in comparison, but I'm always up to the challenge, any challenge!

Final WIP... 8)

10-13-2007, 02:34 PM
Gamerprinter, for me I have to say that I like the outside map far more than the inside map, but overall you did a good job. Using 3D tools is always a huge asset when attempting photorealistic maps and you did a great job bringing that across.

/Thread derail

For my own purposes, and this really is for everyone, since I have been getting more and more into Virtual Table Top software of late, I would like to see more maps that are "agnostic" to the game system. What I mean by that is no grid. Grids just get in the way of using a VTT because VTTs have their own grid overlays usually. Also, if text could be removed that would be a great addition as well.

Basically two versions of the map are needed for VTTs. One complete (text and grid) and one clean (no text or grid). The complete one is for GM reference and the clean one is to play on.

Finally, all maps should be created at a scale of 200 pixels equals 5 feet. That will make it usable across almost every VTT with the understanding that some VTTs will need to rescale, but it is easier and cleaner to scale down rather than up.

/Thread derail

That said, I would love to eventually play on this map. *hint* *hint*

Can't wait to see what the others produce.

10-13-2007, 05:14 PM
Seriously delicious. Thanks Gameprinter!

10-14-2007, 02:45 PM
Nice work GP...I'm also quite thoroughly impressed with the exterior map...The interior map shows a LOT of work done, but for my own tastes it may be a wee bit too texture heavy...I'm not saying thats a bad thing, as I'm more of a minimalist in my approach to mapping...I definitely agree that these would go really well with VTT.

As for the dpi/ppi/200 argument...there is no argument really...200 pixels per 5 square feet = 200 dpi scaled print for D&D size miniatures = good for everyone

Mapping is usually a simplification of the reality of a given terrain, such that a reader of the map can understand what is going on, scale, etc.

A map is not a photograph of the ground - that is simply too complex for most to "read" and comprehend without other features like a grid determining scale, etc.

My interior map is photorealistic - that was completely an experiment on my part. Especially after I got started with the "mosaic in transition" I was kind of forced to complete the floor graphics equally throughout the interior map.

Is it heavy with graphics? Very much so - I hadn't seen too many maps in true photorealistic style, and I wondered if a mapper could make it work - this was my thinking in creating the map.

I prefer creating wilderness maps vs. interior maps, but the challenge involved a structure that was not my preferred epoch, style or location on the historic timeline. On my own I'd have never created a map of an orthodox church - all adding to this challenge to make it more challenging for me.

I think I pulled it off pretty well, though. 8)

10-24-2007, 02:52 AM
I tried creating this map with CC3, then I tried using Fractal Mapper and neither could satisfy my realism bug, so I drifted back to Xara and tried again.
I'm sticking with this version.

I used some of the terrain techniques I learned in my Veil Vale project.

WIP so far... 8)

10-24-2007, 04:37 AM
I really like this map Gamerprinter. While I think that the cultivated areas could be blended slightly better with the rest of the terrain, overall I think it looks fantastic. There is an Eastern European mood to the whole thing. Also it actually looks like the photo that the challenge is based on. The colour pallete and the dark feel of the woodland areas really tie in with the photo.


10-24-2007, 11:54 AM
The southern edge of the river looks walled. Other than that it looks very good.

10-24-2007, 02:58 PM
Got rid of that "wall" on the "south side" of the river. It was a bevel of the rock terrain I used beneath all the grass and forest terrains, so I converted the bevel fill to the forest fill. Still has a highlight, but denotes an elevation change.

I tweaked the crop areas, though it probably needs more work. I also lessened the feather at the edge of the forest to make it more distinct. Because the monastery is so tiny in this map, I did an unsharp mask in PS to heighten some detail. Plus this map has more pixels than the other...

Unless I can tweak before tomorrow, this map is probably done. 8)

10-24-2007, 03:16 PM
Weird optical illusion... Where the land "juts" into the river it looks like it is "peeling" up. I think it may be caused by the "flatness" of the river compared to the surrounding terrain.

10-24-2007, 05:57 PM
OK, one last try. I couldn't figure out how to correct the optical illusion on the river's edge without removing the bevel altogether - and I think I need the bevel overall. The map loses something when I remove the bevel from the river bank.

I added a new compass rose, listed a village in the other direction of the road, named the forest and tweaked the crop areas a bit more. Oh I added a miles scale, just for finishing details.

And in case you didn't notice the compass rose points to West at the top! I figure east is the steppe and the frozen wastes, and civilization is to the west, so these guys look to the west, both religiously and secularly.

This has to be the final now. 8)

10-24-2007, 07:26 PM
It's an optical illusion so I don't think you could fix it without making some big changes. It is caused by what amounts - to the eye at least - as shading with the darker riverbank vegetation. This causes the brain - at least my brain - to think that that area is raised and thus the "peeling" effect. In fact, everywhere that dark green butts up against the much lighter green it creates a shadow effect. The area of the temple grounds looks like it is on a plateau and the area in the top right looks like the base of a mountain.

10-24-2007, 07:39 PM
The area of the temple grounds looks like it is on a plateau and the area in the top right looks like the base of a mountain.

These are small mountains or really big hills surrounding flatter terrain used for arable land, some of the rocky hills are exposed as to the left and bottom, some of the forest terrain lies in relatively flat terrain, while much lies in rising ground.

The top right is in fact the base of a mountain rising higher towards the top edge of the map.

However the crop land area surrounding the monastery, is more flood plain than a plateau. The edge of the forest isn't necessarily distinct, because ground brush continues between the dark green and the light green.

The optical illusion I think is caused by the 3D forest-like terrain I chose mixed with the feather applied in Xara to soften the edges between terrains.

The fix would be to use a different forest fill, but its a small issue in light of the rest of the map.

New maps would use a different approach. I learn from every map I create. ;)

10-24-2007, 10:30 PM
After doing my Veil Vale and Coast Road project - I learned some new tricks at creating variagated terrains using Xara. I used them to some effect on the West Central Ostrovia map, above.

However, in the "teeny weeny" version of the monastery grounds on the above map, despite being so small, you may notice the extra detail in the terrain of the monastery grounds. I made changes to the grounds as well, after working on the Coast Road test project.

I forgot to upload the enlarged version - so here it is sans gridlines and text (except for my name :D) - St. Bes Monastery grounds final map: WIP

10-25-2007, 04:29 PM
I like this map series a LOT...I think you did a great job of implementing the photo realistic textures with the 3d components as well like the onion domes...

Also I think its a nice "pack" of maps considering you've got the monastery and the surrounding countryside in various different functional map configurations.

There are some parts that are a little unusual considering the fact that you did a lot of experimenting on this map, but it definitely shows you pushing the boundaries.

10-25-2007, 09:35 PM
I mentioned this in ravells thread and thought I'd share it because I think I figured out whats causing the uncanny valley effect on your map...I'm not sure how this applies to xara, but maybe you can give it a shot...no pressure to put this to effect on this map of course, I just think it might be something to think about for the future...

Its the "shininess" of the bevels...In this particular map, the bumpiness is too shiny...or glossy if you will, and I think thats whats unsettling to me...the highlights should be a VERY VERY light effect, try using a different color as the highlight color (photoshop's bevel filter will let you specify the color and layer mode of both highlight and shadow, not sure about other programs) but play with that a bit...

I've learned from 3d modelling and texturing that the only way to show texture without making it lossy is through the use of shadows only and just changing the brightness enough on the highlighted parts to show the raise, without making it look glossy...Its the glossiness of the bevels thats messing it up I think.

10-25-2007, 11:23 PM
Its the glossiness of the bevels thats messing it up I think.

Another suggestion (for 2d paint programs making bevel effects) is to override the default light colour (usually white) to a light shade of the surface. In my experience, white is good for specular reflection (like a phong highlight) but not good for diffuse reflection.

-Rob A>

10-26-2007, 02:23 AM
That shiny bevel has been repaired.

I took the terrain object which was the base over the river, converted to an editable shape, ungrouped it so the bevel was a separate object, then gave it a solid fill of a brownish gray. It looks dark in places along the bank, but this is dark silt mud banks. Otherwise the highlight is gone.

I also added a plasma filter on the river color to give some texture to that flat solid blue.

All corrections done in Xara, so I didn't have to use additional software.

(October has 31 days, its the 26th, so this is still a legal submission!)

Corrected Ostrovia map... 8)