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Thread: [GIMP] WIP: My First "Real" Attempt at Subterranean Mapping

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      Sharpe is offline
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    Default [GIMP] WIP: My First "Real" Attempt at Subterranean Mapping

    Greetings!

    I'm not an artist. I'm certainly no where near many of the members' level of talent on here. I just use GIMP, but not very well. XD

    Here's the base of my map (3,000 x 3,000): http://img706.imageshack.us/img706/6050/shadowyrm6.jpg

    First, I painted black walls on a white canvas. Then -- obviously to those who know of it -- I used RobA's Subterrainian Map Prettier Script. After removing the square grid, I sandwiched a hex grid between the wall and floor layers (we play GURPS Fourth Edition, which uses hexes).

    Then, I freehand drew the little elevation stairs all around and used the drop shadow filter on them.

    That's it so far.

    Eventually, I'll remove the wall texture and use filters to create my own with the help of the tutorial, "How to Blend Textures for Use in Battlemapping with GIMP."

    Next, I'm going to add stalagmites everywhere. Then, I plan to blend in some dirt texture (created with filters) on the floor. Not sure exactly how I should do that, I just know one single texture for the whole floor is boring.

    I'd love to add mist, but I've no idea how to even start with that or how well even an expert could pull it off.

    Dramatic lightning would be great as well, but again, I'm a total newbie with little experience and no talent.

    One thing I really want to accomplish is add water in the center room on the bottom "row" of rooms using only filters, no textures. Though I worked through a good tutorial once, I can't seem to get results that please me. If anyone can help, I'd appreciate it! I want to add a pool of water to the north and south of the "bridge" in that room.

    I might break down and add furniture and stuff, but I typically use minis to represent things like that. Also, I have no resources at all, rugs, tables, urns, boxes, books, piles of coins -- none of that stuff. I'd have to spend hours searching for it all.

    Well, thanks so much for talking the time to read my post and look at my map! Advice is greatly appreciated, but remember, I barely know how to use GIMP at all!


    Regards,


    -RD Sharpe


    EDIT: Latest version: http://img854.imageshack.us/img854/7528/shadowyrm8.jpg
    Last edited by Sharpe; 03-25-2013 at 01:09 AM.

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      Sharpe is offline
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    Update: I added three new layers in an attempt to make water. The water layer is just a selected area filled with blue at normal and 75% opacity. I know water isn't "blue," its translucent and reflects whatever is above it, but... I didn't know what else to do there.

    The top layer is just a 50-px brush around the edge, then a gaussian blur with a radius of 100 px.

    The bottom later is the floor texture copied, then blurred by a radius of 5 px.

    It just looks kinda... surreal. Not really like water, I don't think. Reducing the opacity of the blue makes it more translucent, but not really closer to water.

    I dunno.

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    Guild Artisan Jacktannery's Avatar
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    Great start Sharpe. Your map has great personality. I like your water but agree that it is very saturated with blue. Water is very hard to do, and i'm terrible at it so can't advise, but there is nothing wrong with your water. If you are aiming for a photo-realistic water, then you will need to desaturate it heavily until only only a trace of blue remains - water in a lit cave like this is very reflective, almost glass-like. If its in the dark the water is black; this can still look good but very dark water depends on really good edges. You can see it in a map of a cave I did for a friend in the Virtual Tabletop/Battlemap Mapping forum, look for 'Heart of Shadow' cavern map.

    Other than the water (which I quite like anyway) I think your map is a bit dark. Lighten it up a tiny bit

    The key problem on your map is your steps and changes in levels. You have the shading backwards. Take a good look and you will see what I mean. Its wrong - you need to do it again the other way around. This will help make your map come together. Also did you really use drop shadow on this? Don't. Just do it by hand with the smudge tool and the eraser tool. It will take longer but look better.

    Eventually, I'll remove the wall texture and use filters to create my own with the help of the tutorial, "How to Blend Textures for Use in Battlemapping with GIMP."
    I like your wall texture. In any case, there is an easier and better way. Do not get hung up on textures - textures are the enemy! Seamless, repeating textures are only good when you want to produce a very large number of identical maps. Otherwise, you should not use them. Instead, use google image search to find photos of 'rock close up' .Choose an image (of high resolution) and save it as a .jpg (WARNING - if you plan on selling your map you can't use copyrighted images and should credit all open-source images so think carefully) you like and stretch/crop it on its own layer on your drawing until it covers the whole thing. Then using a layer mask, make it visible only on the walls. Then either desaturate it totally (luminosity) and add a burn layer of pale colour over it at 35% opacity, or adjust the colours, so it works on your map. Then add another layer over it with various opacities of black to make the walls much darker and varied. It's easier than it sounds.

    Next, I'm going to add stalagmites everywhere. Then, I plan to blend in some dirt texture (created with filters) on the floor. Not sure exactly how I should do that, I just know one single texture for the whole floor is boring.
    Good luck with stalagmites - they are really hard to do. One idea is just little circles of normal wall - I think that looks the best after much trial and error. Whatever you do DO NOT try and use the stalagmite objects other people have made and uploaded for use as .pngs, they look awful.

    I'd love to add mist, but I've no idea how to even start with that or how well even an expert could pull it off.
    It's easy! Make a new (transparent) layer, FILTER>RENDER>CLOUDS>FOG, change colour to something good like very pale grey, then press ok. Then use a layer mask to remove it from the walls, and change the opacity. The crucial thing with fog is that you need to light and shadow it. To do this, copy the fog layer and apply its layer mask and make this layer invisible. Then make a new 'lighting' layer and with a big fuzzy brush messily draw very pale yellow (eg) overlay highlights over some of your fog. Then add layer mask, and make that mask the copied and applied fog layer. Then do the same for some shadows. Its important to give fog depth otherwise it looks crap.

    Dramatic lightning would be great as well, but again, I'm a total newbie with little experience and no talent.
    But you are half-way there! Just build it up gently with layers of darkness and light. Advise! Use layers of black shadow set to 'normal' at 50% opacity, and layers of pale orange light set to 'overlay' at 80% opacity. Draw thickly with a fuzzy brush and then use your smudge tool and go crazy, then block out the walls with layer masks. Build up layers of light and darkness, every now and then go out of the room and take a break and return. It doesn't take talent - only patience.

    I might break down and add furniture and stuff, but I typically use minis to represent things like that. Also, I have no resources at all, rugs, tables, urns, boxes, books, piles of coins -- none of that stuff. I'd have to spend hours searching for it all.
    Overuse of these pre-made objects can lead to disaster - cluttered clashing maps with no sense of style. Avoid if possible.
    Last edited by Jacktannery; 03-22-2013 at 01:09 PM.

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      RobA is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpe View Post
    After removing the square grid, I sandwiched a hex grid between the wall and floor layers (we play GURPS Fourth Edition, which uses hexes).
    -RD Sharpe
    Hoya!

    Glad the script is useful for you!

    If you use the latest version: Subterrainian Map Prettier Script it has an option to create square, hex, or none. To create the hex grid, you will need my hex script Hex Grid | GIMP Plugin Registry also installed.


    -Rob A>

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    Thanks, both of you for your replies! Very, very appreciated.

    I don't have time to reply right now (including to PM's), but real quick, I just wanted to mention that the steps aren't backwards as far as I can tell. For example, from the entrance, the three steps to the east are going up. So, they're right, correct? If you go north from the entrance, the two steps there lead downward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpe View Post
    I don't have time to reply right now (including to PM's), but real quick, I just wanted to mention that the steps aren't backwards as far as I can tell. For example, from the entrance, the three steps to the east are going up. So, they're right, correct? If you go north from the entrance, the two steps there lead downward.
    Perhaps, but you have made them LOOK backwards by curving them in the opposite way that one imagines steps should curve. Of the ones you mentioned, the steps going down look great - exactly right - but the steps going up LOOK wrong. Even if they are technically correct, they look wrong, to my eyes at least.

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      Jaxilon is offline
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    Looks exciting. Makes me want to get back to my own Gurps group.
    “When it’s over and you look in the mirror, did you do the best that you were capable of? If so, the score does not matter. But if you find that you did your best you were capable of, you will find it to your liking.” -John Wooden

    * Rivengard * My Finished Maps * My Challenge Maps * My deviantArt

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      Sharpe is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacktannery View Post
    Great start Sharpe. Your map has great personality. I like your water but agree that it is very saturated with blue. Water is very hard to do, and i'm terrible at it so can't advise, but there is nothing wrong with your water. If you are aiming for a photo-realistic water, then you will need to desaturate it heavily until only only a trace of blue remains - water in a lit cave like this is very reflective, almost glass-like. If its in the dark the water is black; this can still look good but very dark water depends on really good edges. You can see it in a map of a cave I did for a friend in the Virtual Tabletop/Battlemap Mapping forum, look for 'Heart of Shadow' cavern map.
    Wow, coming from you, that really is high praise! Your maps are as good as any I've seen anywhere ever -- real professional AAA stuff!

    Your words are very generous, but there's really nothing to my map. It's just balck-and-white walls with Rob's script.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jacktannery View Post
    Do not get hung up on textures - textures are the enemy!
    I'm trying to use no textures at all. Like I say, I'm going to replace the default texture Rob's script used with filter noise.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jacktannery View Post
    It's easy! Make a new (transparent) layer, FILTER>RENDER>CLOUDS>FOG, change colour to something good like very pale grey, then press ok. Then use a layer mask to remove it from the walls, and change the opacity. The crucial thing with fog is that you need to light and shadow it. To do this, copy the fog layer and apply its layer mask and make this layer invisible. Then make a new 'lighting' layer and with a big fuzzy brush messily draw very pale yellow (eg) overlay highlights over some of your fog. Then add layer mask, and make that mask the copied and applied fog layer. Then do the same for some shadows. Its important to give fog depth otherwise it looks crap.
    I... I have no idea where to begin with that.

    Layer mask? Fuzzy brush?



    Quote Originally Posted by Jacktannery View Post
    But you are half-way there! Just build it up gently with layers of darkness and light. Advise! Use layers of black shadow set to 'normal' at 50% opacity, and layers of pale orange light set to 'overlay' at 80% opacity. Draw thickly with a fuzzy brush and then use your smudge tool and go crazy, then block out the walls with layer masks. Build up layers of light and darkness, every now and then go out of the room and take a break and return. It doesn't take talent - only patience.
    Again, this is so far over my head it might as well be Greek. Well, other than the layer of black at 50%. I currently have that over the whole map, and what I've done before is erase it to add lightning.

    What am I drawing and what am I using the smudge tool on? I've never used the smudge tool.

    Sorry I'm such a newbie. This is all a little overwhelming for me.

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      Sharpe is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobA View Post
    Hoya!

    Glad the script is useful for you!

    If you use the latest version: Subterrainian Map Prettier Script it has an option to create square, hex, or none. To create the hex grid, you will need my hex script Hex Grid | GIMP Plugin Registry also installed.


    -Rob A>
    Thanks so much for the link! I downloaded the old version not knowing there was a new one further in the thread. This new one works great!

    In answer to your question in that thread, I definitely think the most current version should be included in the original post.

    Thanks again!

  10. #10
    Guild Artisan Jacktannery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpe View Post
    Sorry I'm such a newbie. This is all a little overwhelming for me.
    We all started somewhere.

    I... I have no idea where to begin with that.
    Make a new (transparent) layer on top of all your other layers. Then from the menu at the top select: FILTER>RENDER>CLOUDS>FOG, change colour to something good like very pale grey, then press ok. Then delete the parts of the fog that you don't want, such as over the walls, so it only is present in the open areas.

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