View Full Version : April Challenge Entry - Skolheim

04-13-2010, 09:55 PM
This month's challenge is a radical departure for me in a number of ways. First, I wanted to make something compact... something you could see on your computer screen in one swat, so I chose 1280x1024. That's a little bigger than the screen sweet-spot of 1024x768 at present, but most of you are probably a notch or two above average in that regard.

The much-smaller size influenced a massive number of other choices. Features are rendered in less detail. You think more about impact and presentation than wondering what to do to fill up all that space. I've been working on this for a good week, but I've been in the experimental phase until now. I really wasn't sure if it "worked". Now I think it does, but you can never tell until the lads and lasses weigh in.

Another departure for me is the style. I've been doing satellite a lot--almost to the exclusion of any other style. This one was just a little of this, a little of that, and it just sort of worked out to my eye.

I've also tried to capture a more fanciful, cartoonish style to match a topic that is both at once serious and light-of-heart. Again, the jury is out until you guys deliver the verdict. I am not finished yet, but I'm most of the way there. Better not to wait until the last minute because, without fail, the great talents here will have suggestions to improve my work.

Please... suggest away.

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04-15-2010, 11:05 PM
I did a font change and worked to subtle-down some of the colors. The old font was certainly topical, but the combination of the style and the interaction with the background made it too hard to read.

Added points of interest on the two major island groupings as well. I replaced the token for Moe'Bodey with a hand-drawn one, which leaves only Tuallori Harbor to be replaced.

So far all but the fonts and parchment have been hand-drawn. The mountains actually started out pretty literal but gradually became very watercolory.

The tokens are simple. Using a 100x100 canvas, I draw the object using 1-2 pixel hard brush and then put a layer below for coloring. A bit of shade, some highlight and it's ready to go.

At this point I believe I have technically met the requirements of the challenge but will go through and review them carefully. I read the Burdisson Brewery and Boar's Head stories closely, trying to make sure that my map was true to the geographical clues in the narrative.

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04-15-2010, 11:45 PM
wow, that's great.
The only issue I could see is that "Shadowed Coast" is a bit hard to read comparatively.

04-16-2010, 11:27 AM
The only issue I could see is that "Shadowed Coast" is a bit hard to read comparatively.

You're right there. I couldn't even see that label until I read your reply and went looking for it.

Really great looking map though, Immolate. I like it a lot. And I think the new font looks a lot nicer. Goes very well with your "more fanciful, cartoonish style."

04-16-2010, 12:37 PM
Stunning work as always, Imm. Love the ovesized symbols too!

04-16-2010, 02:49 PM
I made all of the water names pop a little more and increased the stroke on the Shadowed Coast one point to bring it out. It really is shadowed and hard to see in there.

I changed the token for Tuallori Harbor, using a theme of three Elvish glasses of honey mead. Now all of the tokens are hand-drawn.

I added major and minor roads, along with labels.

At this point, I don't have anything I must do other than go back and read the background material again.

Commentary is welcome.

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04-16-2010, 08:43 PM
Dolled up the lat lines a bit, minor revision.

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04-16-2010, 09:17 PM
Ok, to quote a friend of mine..
"Omg that's full of win!!!"

Nicely handled, sir!

04-16-2010, 10:07 PM
I like this very much Immolate.

I do have a hard time reading the road names and it seems to me the land is in danger of blending into the entire map a bit too much. I can see lines beneath the land in fact. Perhaps it's too close to the color of the ocean? If nobody agrees with me then don't worry about it. I'm just trying to help you nit pick it from a noobs standpoint. :)

It is definitely a contender and it looks a lot like a game board to me which is for sure a good thing.

04-17-2010, 01:54 PM
I have made changes to the roads and labels to make them pop a little more. I have also adjusted the opacity of the land mass to show less bleed from the parchment and lat lines, but I want to keep some of that. This required damping down the whiteness of the northern mountains to compensate.

I have been experimenting with compasses, leaning toward the Nordic variety, but couldn't find anything I liked or that looked good. I think it was because the designs I considered were too complex and didn't "fit" the map. Finally, I located a very basic design that, when blended with multiply and tweaked to interact properly with the lat lines, land masses and waves, looks pretty good.

Your thoughts on the changes or the piece as a whole are welcome.

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PS: I also finished my project of trying to rewire the air conditioning system to a conclusion. The original wiring between indoor and outdoor units (heat pump) were installed when the house was built, about 23 years ago. The low voltage wires had degraded to the point that they were falling apart, and the power circuit, which was 40amp 240v was not delivering power. Worse yet, the wiring was 10 gauge, which is insufficient for a 40amp circuit. So I replaced the breaker because it wasn't delivering current to the output side. Still no current to the outside unit. So I bought 40' or so of 8 gauge wire and re-ran both power and 24v wires last weekend. The old wires were in the cinderblock and inaccessible. When I plugged it all in last Sunday, the indoor unit was chugging along but nothing from the outdoor unit. I spent this morning staring at wiring diagrams and redrawing them, plotting wire colors and wiring codes. It was a nightmare, but finally I got it straightened out on paper only to find that it was all wired correctly... including the thermostat. Yay for me but it didn't solve my problem. So I went out and killed the local power on the outside unit and reversed the hot wires. Shouldn't matter but I didn't want to pay someone to come out. I cut the power back on and nothing. I squatted there with my back to the wall, pondering imponderables and mentioning unmentionables and decided I'd better get up and turn the power off, then go back inside and admit defeat. My wife came to the window and I started reciting what I KNEW about the situation. Explaining something to someone else is always a good way to force yourself to structure it neatly in your own mind. While I was rehearsing my litany, I heard a switch and a hum, then the fan kicked on. I slapped myself. Three hours today and all of last week worrying about what I'd done wrong and the truth was that it was perfect. I just hadn't waiting long enough for the inside unit to tell the outside unit to turn on. Oi.

04-17-2010, 02:24 PM
This looks pretty good bro. The slight cartoonishness hides the detail and work going into it.

04-17-2010, 07:34 PM
Lovin this - vote tuggingly good.

Skol skol skol skol skol skol skol skol... c'mon sing along now...

Greason Wolfe
04-19-2010, 11:11 PM
I don't know that I'd say it is cartoonish. It's definitely artsy in an eccentric sort of way that works well with the overall style of the map. This is gonna be a tough round of voting, methinks.


04-25-2010, 10:47 AM
I did some weathering of the map and riffed on it a bit by putting it on a scroll in situ. Here's the fun piece:


And here's the WIP

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04-25-2010, 11:33 AM
Great map as usual Immolate! The overal layout and colors are stunning and the details (like the grid) really finish it. cheers!

04-25-2010, 11:50 AM
Thank you Djekspek. If I had your talent I could burn mine and never feel the lack.

04-25-2010, 02:39 PM
Very creative Immolate. As Greason Wolfe said the style clearly fits the challenge.

04-25-2010, 06:29 PM
Thank you Gandwarf!

I decided to apply a displacement map as a final touch.

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05-01-2010, 02:38 AM
This one is also one of my favorites. It has consistent style and great colours. I especially like the dwarven gates at Heimaerr.

05-01-2010, 06:52 AM
Truly gorgeous work, Imm! Looks fantastic!

05-01-2010, 12:04 PM
Thanks so much for your praise, calydon and ravells!