View Full Version : Subcontinent: The Westerlands in Gimp
03-03-2010, 05:42 AM
Hey, I'd slipped back into lurker status for quite a while, but Arsheesh recently tipped me off to Gidde's Gimp adaptation of Ascension's atlas tutorial, so I thought I'd take a crack at the technique in hopes of finally creating a satisfying map for my current D&D campaign. This is what I have so far...
A couple things I would love some advice on... I am not very happy with the way the mountains merge into the lowlands. I had to use the lasso tool to move all my mountains into place by hand, since the technique in the tut places them randomly... as a result, I just noticed a big-ol' vertical edge in the costal mountains, and many of the other ranges seem misty rather than blended where they meet the lowlands... if that makes any sense.
I made sure to throw some rep to Ascension, Gidde and Arsheesh for the tutorials and the heads-up that they existed, respectively.
03-03-2010, 01:59 PM
Wow, you sure didn't waist any time! Actually, mist and vertical edge notwithstanding, I think you've done a pretty good job on those mountain ranges, given that you're working with random cloud patterns. I'm not quite sure exactly how that vertical line in the south-west mountain ranges showed up. My only guess might be that perhaps in attempting to move all of the mountain ranges, you might have accidentally moved one of the layers as well? As for the off-set snow caps, I experienced the same issue in making my map. What I did was simply to use the eraser, smudge and blur tool on the snow-caps layer to try and manually get the snow caps in the right places. If I were to do the map over again, I would do things differently. Instead of waiting till step 20 to erase/move the already finished mountains, in-between step 15a. and 15b. I would have moved the resultant cloud patterns where I wanted my mountain ranges to be. If I had done this I would have saved myself a considerable amount of time doing "touch up" detail, since steps 16-19 of mountain creation would have be based on the "planned" mountain arrangement, not the "random" cloud generation. So, if you still have an existing duplicate layer of the mountain layer prior to step 15, this might be another option available to you.
Over all this is looking great so far though Geoff. Looking forward to watching it progress. By the way, if you're looking for ideas for how to do trees, a friend and I are currently collaborating on a tutorial on the subject. We haven't finalized the tutorial yet, but I could send you the beta-test tut if you'd like. If you're interested, just email me at email@example.com.
03-03-2010, 02:54 PM
Oh, and just one more thing: it seems that the mountain ranges are hovering over a few of your lakes. You might want to use coastline channel to selection, and, following step 15b-h, delete the mountains floating over those lakes.
03-03-2010, 07:50 PM
Yeah... I noticed that too. The hovering effect only happened when I physically moved the mountains into position with the lasso, which happened after the channel to selection steps. I'll probably take a second crack at things using your suggestion of editing the cloud layer before generating the mountains/hills. I think I may try a hybrid technique between the one in Ascension's tutorial and the one in Rob A's Artistic regional map tut.
02-24-2011, 05:37 AM
Okay, after quite awhile away, I have decided to have another go at this regional map. It's currently still a WIP. I started over with the mountains using Gidde's adaptation of Ascension's atlas tutorial. I played with brushing the clouds used to make the mountains in order to make them appear where I wanted, and I feel the result looks much better than my previous attempt. I then applied Arsheesh's technique for generating forests. While I think it turned out okay, the smooth, sudden edges of some of the forests kind of bug me. I may need to tweak this somehow.
02-24-2011, 08:14 PM
Good to see you back at the Guild again. Sorry, I missed your earlier post till today. As to the forests technique, I've made some additions and revisions to the technique since I originally posted that tut (someday I'm going to have to rewrite the Tutorial altogether). If you read through the posts on the tutorial thread (which you can find a link to in my sig) you'll find some suggestions I make for helping to get rid of those annoying hard edges. Also, just today I added an update on how to make these forests more lifelike by mixing up the colors a bit. If you have any questions, or run into any issues with any of the updated info let me know. Looking forward to watching your map take shape.
EDIT: Oh, also try setting the Layer Mode of the Green Tree Color layer to "Multiply" rather than "Soft Light".
02-26-2011, 05:15 PM
Okay, I decided to wait to do a final rendering of the forests until after I had a chance to put my rivers in place. I added the rivers using the Gidde/Ascension tutorial method, with my mouse pen's sensitivity turned on to give them a taper. I also added a layer called "river cut" with an emboss effect to give the rivers some discernible banks. Finally, I had some lakes that appeared when I rendered the oceans, but I needed to add others as well. I drew the new lakes in the river layer, abd then added some coloration over the tops of the other lakes to help them blend better with the rivers.
02-26-2011, 07:16 PM
Okay, here I have added the forests back using Arsheesh's trees brush to break up the edges. I also found that after painting in the forest edges, it helps make a more organic shadow to alpha to selection, switch to the forest drop shadow layer and then apply the forest edge as a mask.
02-26-2011, 08:38 PM
Not too shabby.
02-26-2011, 08:47 PM
Looking good Gnunn!
03-05-2011, 06:37 PM
So hows that map coming? Looking forward to seeing an update.
03-07-2011, 06:38 PM
It's actually coming along pretty well. I had to put things on pause for just a bit to focus on immediate game-planning needs. I had a big session last week and another this Thursday.
Mapwise, I have reached a point where I am satisfied with the natural features and have started working on political borders. The game that this map is intended for was originally designed using an inside-out process (i.e. I began with just an idea for a town and the surrounding countryside) as such, I actually hadn't fleshed out or even named a lot of the countries or cities that populate the region. I ended up enlisting the help of my gf, who is also one of my players, to start solidifying some of the countries. I'm not sure if I want to include all the cities I have developed for my game world, or just the capitols and major population centers.
Right this second, I had an idea to include all the cities my PCs have visited in one color, major population centers that they haven't visited in another, and player origin cities in a third color, or at least with a special symbol. and maybe include an Indiana Jones-style overlay marking the path of my PC's travel.
03-07-2011, 10:31 PM
Hm, interesting idea. You know another thought would be to create two separate maps, one for the Campaign Maps portion of your OP site and one for either your adventure logs. The first would be fully fleshed out, and would serve the purpose of giving a general lay of the land. The second map could be used to record the journeys of your party. It could either be a map containing only those cities your adventurers have visited or are otherwise familiar with (using your color scheme), or it could be a duplicate of your fully fleshed out map with dotted lines between locations indicating the places your party has traveled to. You could even add a dark black layer with toned down opacity over the top of the map and then use a fuzzy eraser and (on the black layer) trace over the areas your party had traveled to, thus highlighting your party's journeys. Just some food for thought.
04-02-2011, 09:34 PM
Okay, I finally have a weekend at home where I can spend some time plonking away at this. I've started working on the map labels. The countries are finished along with the labels for the major landforms. I will probably add more labels to forests, bays and the like later, but since this map is for a campaign that I've been building from the inside out, it's a major pain to come up with all the names on the fly. So, for now, I'm focusing on capitols, major cities, major holy sites, battlefields and ruins (essentially stuff that will appear in the cartouche.) I've got the placement of the capitols finished, though I haven't applied a final color and other effects to the symbols. I'm working on place names.
04-02-2011, 09:36 PM
Wow, I just took a look at the attached jpg version of the map and realized it blurred the crap out of the icons!
04-04-2011, 03:40 PM
Okay, I uploaded a higher res png, but couldn't put it on CG, because of size restrictions. You can see the image here (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YDtYmb4KTio/TZkezdRke7I/AAAAAAAAAmY/cGohE52zZyo/s1600/2011.04.02+westerlands+cityfying.png).
04-06-2011, 08:42 AM
Looks very nice. You might want to consider putting in a thin shadow for your settlement labels, just to allow them to stand out/be more readable against fluctuating terrain colours behind. There's a bit of continental shelving running in a very straight east-west line in the south-western-most corner too but that may of course reflect upon some off-map terrain that's part of the larger world. Favourite bit: Khebir... very nice.
04-06-2011, 12:32 PM
Hey, thanks Tigon!
I've definitely got it in the plans to add an outline or shadow around the city labels to make them pop. I also plan to add a bit of depth to the various icons. If you look at the icon for Bailos in the country of Vakarus, you can see where I tested out a bit of an emboss and outline combo.
Also, thanks for pointing out that errant shelf. I think it's probably an issue with my rendering process. I'll likely either crop the map, or try to cover it with a border or cartouche, because my map copy where I could re-render it is many saves ago.
04-06-2011, 04:02 PM
Hey again Geoff,
Nice choice of font. As far as the icons go, to be honest whereas the bright red seems a bit jarring against the green landscape, the orange doesn't tend to stand out very well. I'd recommend experimenting with other colors. If you want to go with red for instance, perhaps choose a dark burgundy. Otherwise, looking good.
10-11-2011, 04:23 PM
Seems you've not been around of late. Still hoping for a reply about your maps ...
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