View Full Version : My Attempt @ RobA's: Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map

A R Frost
04-12-2010, 08:48 PM
OK, after scanning through probably every forum post on the sight the last three days. I decided to give RobA's, Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map, a try. So I downloaded GIMP yesterday afternoon, and pulled out my WACOM Intuos 3. Both made my wife very happy, since GIMP is free and my WACOM has been collecting dust under my desk for the last 2 years. She likes to remind me of the money we spent on it for me to only stop messing with t-shirt design a year latter. lol Sometime you can never win, when the wife is involved.

So I took one of my vector maps and deleted everything except the land shape. And converted it into a 300dpi jpg. Opened up GIMP and imported the file. And started tracing the coastlines. Good call on using the tablet. Cause I redrew the outline six complete times after post 4 because i was loosing all of my detail and the little islands keep getting grabbed up by the bigger islands and new lakes where forming all over the map. After reading through all 47 pages and almost 500 posts, I came across someone suggestion to skip the first few steps if your original land mass had good detail already. So back to my GIMP map I went. And everything was going just fine until I got to the dirt, well I should say a few steps into the dirt part. Somewhere in post 10 my dirt started looking like small hills or pretty bad mountains. At this point I decided I had spent to much time going no where.

RobA to be honest I was really hating you at this point, I had pretty much decided to find someone in the Guild who does freelance and hide the money from the wife and pay to have the two maps I want done, created. But, no RobA's tut is so good it made me thing that I could do stuff as good as him or Ascension, NeonKnight, or Steel General. Just to name a few of the extremely talented artist in this Guild who's work I like.

So after a good nights sleep I begin my GIMP adventure again. After about 30 minutes of deleting layers and trying again I still ended up with dirt that looked a lot like mountains. So instead of starting over again, I decided to move to the next posts. And hell I already had my "OK" mountains finished, no need to struggle through the post about mountains or the second tut on doing them a different or easier way that is in the thread latter on. So onward I went, and again a ran straight into a wall. Forest from hell, full of all sorts of vile, cutthroat demons that enjoy nothing more then feeling your anguish and pain seeping through your monitor as you delete layer after layer and retry the steps to make it look right. So I came up with a grand plan to defeat those vile demons, and it was a simple one. My Island kingdom didn't have any major forest or stands of trees, they had long been used by the dwarven inhabitants for fuel and building material. So next came the towns and mines of my small dwarven kingdom.

Symbols and names where easy, but again those evil demon's RobA has unleashed upon my soul returned to torment me when it came time to make outlines and add color to them. I began messing around with stuff and made somethings look ok but, I couldn't figure out the glowing gold outlines.

Well, like every other time I became stuck I just moved forwards towards the next step by ignoring the steps i couldn't grasp. So I created a small mountain lake and a few rivers. Not to bad but not to good either. The roads are the one thing I think turned out decent, but its hard to screw up brown paths that follow the contour of the land. And my title board is nice and plain. Again the text effects throw me off.

All in all it was a pleasant journey through RobA's tut. It was like any grand adventure somethings go your way and some don't. For starting with no knowledge of the program I learned a lot and feel that with practice I'll be able to master it one day.

If I could give RobA rep I would give him 10 for the tut and a bonus of 10 more for driving me nuts for 2 days and many more days to follow.

Thanks for spending the time to teach people like me something new.

Allan Frost

04-13-2010, 11:52 AM
Sorry for the aggravation, Allen....

I think a few issues you might have experienced are because of the size of your image (larger image will require different settings for some of the work) and the age of the tutorial (stuff has moved about and changed in Gimp).

The people here are usually good at assisting, as do I when I can, so posting a WIP (Work in Progress) along with HELP type requests usually gets you somewhere.

There are numerous other tutorial that can be "plugged in" to replace some of the steps that typically give better results that my techniques. Here are a few:

My random coastlines: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=875
Karro's jitter method: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3216
OldGuy's photoshop method that also works in gimp: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?9056
A thread on making rough walls that can port well to landmasses: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?4140

Better/Alternate/Easier Mountains:

More fuel for the fire ;)

-Rob A>

A R Frost
04-13-2010, 12:09 PM
No need to be sorry for the aggravation, that my attempt at your tut caused. It was self induced aggravation, and a good type of aggravation. Trying to learn any new computer program without first learning the basic concepts of the program makes everything seem 10 times harder then it should be. I have been combing through tons of GIMP web pages trying to learn the basics so I can start another project. A guess if there is any blame to put on your it is for leaving the door to GIMP unlocked. I'm the one who chose to open it and step through.
Again, thanks for spending the time to teach people like me something new.

Oh on another note RobA, I did get that feeling that what I was creating was at too large of a scale for the size of the map.
My goal is to do a full continent size map to add to several more to complete the whole world map of Milosha.

Allan Frost

04-13-2010, 12:19 PM
I had to laugh reading your post. I too felt your anguish after I first downloaded GIMP and tried to follow that tutorial. For some reason I just seemed to have issues and felt like I must be mentally challenged because I couldn't seem to get the same effects as others I saw who used it. In the end I decided it was probably due to my absolute lack of knowledge in Gimp. I will get back around to trying Rob's tutorial again but I'm still a bit gun-shy.

I knew that I could do it all with a pencil on paper or with pastels or any other number of tools that I could hold in my hand but for some reason when it came to making it happen on my PC I was 60% fail. Knowing I was artist enough to do it by hand I pretty much just junked what I couldn't make work and drew it by hand. Did it take longer? Heck yes!! Is it easily duplicated? I don't think so. I figure if you paint it by hand it pretty much will always be unique because no two people are alike. So that was my solution.

Still, one day when Gimp is like a third arm I will be able to follow all the tutorials and know exactly what should happen when I run a given filter or add-on. For now, I'm content to keep beating on it and developing a style of my own. When next I hit the tutorials I will be doing so mainly to see what I can learn that will add to my tool box for later works.

Take comfort in not being the only one who did not seem able to get the results you wanted. On the bright side, I think you have elephant skin down pat! :)

I rep thee

A R Frost
04-13-2010, 12:40 PM
I think you have elephant skin down pat!

LOL!!! Nice to know I perfected something in my first GIMP adventure...

Hmmm, an idea, maybe I should make my world map on the back of an elephant. That way at least I can say It was meant to look that way...

04-13-2010, 12:50 PM
Drawn on Elephant hide would work, hehe