I create the original room elements in cool colors and dark valules, as if the room were not illuminated. I then use Photoshop's Quick Mask and Gradient tools to create gradient selections spanning across rooms from the light source to the walls. The selection, when applied, will select everything fully immediately adjacent to the room's light source, but diminish as it flows away fromt he light source until it selects little or nothing on the far side of the room. I save the gradient selections.
Originally Posted by BlackLotus
Next, I duplicate the elements of the original, unlit room (floor, walls, etc.) into new, separate layers. I apply the gradient selections to each element separately, then use Image/Adjust/Color Balance, and Image/Adjust/Hue-Saturation, and Image/Adjust/Balance-Contrast to alter each element to make them lighter and warmer. The gradient selection reduces my changes as the light flows away from the room's light sources. The effect is that the lighter, warmer values and colors grade down to darker, cooler values and colors, flowing away from the light source.
I don't have a tool or magical way to know when I've done this properly, when the effect is correct. I just eyeball it. Like all things in mapping, ultimately our own eyes and judgment are the only meaningful tools. Be an artist first and a technically proficient computer user second.
For rooms with multiple light sources, I repeat the process for each light source until I achieve a convincing balance. It's time consuming but fun. If you're insane.
I then add shadows. I usually do this by selecting where the shadows would fall and then deleting those selections out of the lighter layer, so that the cools and darks of the original, darker layer show through brom beneath. For two reasons, this works far better than painting on a semi-opaque layer of darkness for the shadows. First, the semi-opaque layer of a painted-on shadow would obscure the textures and details of the floor or walls on which it sits. The loss of texture would make the shadows look painted on rather than looking like a natural part of the setting. Second, it's too easy when painting on a dark shadow to make that shadow too dark, darker than anything else in the room. Sometimes shadows are the darkest part of a room, of course. But in a haunted mansion, light sources shouldn't push back the darkness all the way. They should look like they're inadequate to illuminate everything. By erasing down to the original cool and dark room coloring of the underlying layer, I keep the shadow's temperature and value consistent with the original darkness already filling the corners of each room. I don't end up with a strangely black shadow that feels out of place.
I then blur the edges of the shadows as they move away from their light source. Of course. Clear near the object creating the shadow, diffused far away.
My plan, time permitting, is to devote several posts containing examples of this process later in this WIP retrospective. Please let me know if you think this would be helpful! ( I unsure how deeply to delve into technical details in this WIP. There are half a dozen extensive tutorials one could spin out of a project like this, and I can't fit more than a glimmer of them into one WIP retrospective.)
That is absolutely beautiful work! :) Bravo!
Ashenvale, the haunted mansion looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing the WIP and your steps in its construction. As someone who's used Photoshop for a good while, but never for anything related to maps, I like reading about different techniques. I look forward to more!
I'm getting to the party late, but great work. I've started a couple maps with this feel, but always gave up on the walls when push comes to shove.
As for the the doors, my personal vote is to have them exist in 3 dimensions outside of the perspective of the map.
Actually I was just reviewing your house again, and I noticed something I hadn't caught before (now that I was specicially looking at lighting techniques).
The statue of the tiger is not casting a shadow from the light coming in through the window next to it. Of course, this could be intentional, and add to the "ok what's wrong in this room" factor when presenting it to a party.
Yes! That's it! I'm deliberately adding to the mystery, to the building's almost inexplicable violation of the rules of optics and physics, forcing one to doubt his own senses, or his sanity, or
I'm so full of ****.
Missed that! Great catch! I wonder if I had it in an earlier version and inadvertantly deleted it along the way (something I do with far too much regularity.) Thanks! I'll fix that right up.
Edit: By the way, here's the room Coyotemax is helping me fix. As you can see, the chair in the bottom right casts shadows from both the window and the fireplace. The white tiger, however, casts a shadow from the fireplace only. Apparently, moonlight could not frame his fearful symmetry:
Originally Posted by Nytmare
Thanks, Nytmare, that's the way I'm headed. Spurred on by Alfar's suggestion a few post back up the thread, I've begun fiddling with dimensional doors that don't depend upon each room's unique, one-point perspective. I'm encouraged by the results! Let me see if I can pull it all together! If it works, I'll have to thwack Alfar with some rep!