Here's my very first village map. I borrowed the Village of Hommlet layout so I could ignore the world-building aspect and concentrate on experimenting with various mapping ideas I had. I thought it turned out okay.
I jumped back and forth between Illustrator, Photoshop, and Bryce for this. I lost my weekend building this, but gained lots of great learning. Next time, it'll be faster.
Sorry I didn't include a location key. You will have to find and dust off your old T1 module if you want to find out what's what...
I like everything, except for the shadows. They indicate that the sun is high in the nrothern sky, and this jars the most for me with the majority of some maps. Living in a northern hemisphere, and most campaign worlds depicting a northern hemisphere (Exception is the continent of Ansalon for Dragonlance which is in the southern Hemipshere), most shadows should point to the top of a page.
Again, this a critique and a suggestion. If the shadows would be adjusted to point north (indicating a Sun in the sourthern Sky), this would eliminate the disconnect with the map, and make it much nicer.
I love the map rlucci. The lines are clean, its informative but at the same time there is also a sense of realism to it created by, inter alia, the shadows. I thin most successful maps balance the two forms well.
I must disagree with Neon though about the shadow direction. Why should fantasy worlds be set in the Northern hemisphere? This may be Southern hemi bias talking, but I dont think there is any sound basis, climatic or otherwise, to support only Northern communties. Kudos to the makers of Dragonlance.;)
inter alia - spot the lawyer <g>
I never really thought about that before. I see your point, but I would think that this would screw with the illusion of depth. I'll have to try this...
Originally Posted by NeonKnight
I just rendered my rough terrain with the sunlight coming from the southwest and my brain seems to be to be able to interpret the depth illusions just fine. Okay. I'll try my next map with southerly lighting, then.
I looked at this map earlier and like many many aspects of it. Esp the 3D feel to the river banks etc. The shadows are strong. I don't mind that but I always find it gives issues when you try to add extra icons to the map or try to blend this map in with a bigger area. Maybe neither of those two would be an issue. Certainly strong shadows are unusual and it does bring out depth in the landscape.
The one area that does jump out to me is the way all the buildings are quantized to 45 degree angles. Can you position them with other angles or is that a software limitation. All the terrain and water look quite natural that the exacting nature of the building lines lend a kind of CAD like sterility to it that is a bit of a shame.
I agree, except, the Village of Hommlet is located near Veluna, in the Northern Hemisphere of the World of Greyhawk. Because of the known location of the village, the shadow jars with me.
Originally Posted by Torq
That said, it is a bit of a bias that the majority of campaign settings that are published tend to be designed by people who dwell in northern hemispheres, and asa result tend to follow the natural laws as where they live (Sun is in the south, Sun rises in the east, sets in the west, tides are affeceted by a singular moon, etc.)
So, as I said before, if the map is of a well known area (be it fantasy or real-world), I look to the visual clues on a map to match what I expect. Kind of like RP Miller's pet peeve of Rivers ;)
No prob, like I said, it is my personal pet peeve ;)
Originally Posted by rlucci
Have you tried to indicate the digging of the foundation for Rufus's Keep (Area 30), and the dwarven stonesmith camp?
I quite like this map for a few reasons.
I like the way the shaded relief effect is emphasized by the cast shadows, especially those cast by the cliff north of the river.
I really like that using simplified building shapes produce shadows that again hint at the terrain, like the one cast by building 7.
Lastly, the shadows help indicate the height of various buildings (like the tower, 30).
I don't think this would work well the buildings were denser, and/or wrapped by a wall. It would end up (while realistic looking) too busy. Softening the shadows might help visually (though at this scale shadows cast by the sun would be hard edged).
A question - how much exaggeration of heights (for both buildings and terrain) did you use?
It's kind of a convention to shade maps as if they are lit from the northwest or upper left corner. Don't know why, but the illusion seems to work better that way. Lit from the south, which makes sense in the northern hemisphere, high points tend to look like indentations. I don't know the psychology of that, but hey. That said, I really like this map. Could have been a good entry for Wild West Town. I'm guessing the 45 degree bias is from the original Village of Hommlet map.