January 2011 Entry: Deep in the Wood
My entry this month serves two ulterior motives. One, it is a map of a part of the campaign world for my old friend, Dan. Some of the names of places therefore are not mine, but cherished nonetheless.
The second is an honest effort to learn all that I can from my original inspiration on these boards, Ramah's Vaniya. This piece cleaves as closely as I can manage to the style of that original work. Where it deviates, as it does in a numbers of areas, it is generally in ways in which Ramah has been advancing his craft.
Besides some superb hill and mountain brushes designed by Ramah and executed by vhailor27, and some pretty town markers that I have colorized, I have also used Ramah's excellent "Tree Thing" application which creates shaded trees as you see in this map. One need simply provide a template that instructs the program where to place the trees.
Praamador is a small place, a fraction of the size of most of the states in the US. Yet in spite of it's relatively small size, I wanted to give it a feeling of scale appropriate to a sometimes wild place that one must cross on foot (either yours or a horses). Whether I have accomplished that with this map is open to debate. The journey, which will be documented on this map, will track a party of adventurers from Tradefree to Avilton, the two cities of Praamador. The wood in question is the Wyrlyr'n Forest, wherein the adventurers endeavor to "shave a few days" from the journey. Of course much hilarity and bloodshed ensues.
I have been engrossed in this map for a few days now, never quite getting to the point where I wanted to post it. Now it is nearly finished after about twenty hours of work. To-do's are forest names, cliffs, additional weathering (it is startling just how deep the backdrop of Vaniya is), and perhaps replacing some of the brushes that I used for the project. I can't realistically hope to equal them, but if I can do a presentable job, I will have given something back.
Thanks to RobA for his corner flourishes. I really wish you'd create that tutorial you've been threatening RobA. I love flourishes.
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The trees seem kinda bright, maybe a darker shade there, but that's up to you. The black lines that go through the flourishes might be changed to white so that they can blend with the flourish or change the flourish to black, up to you. These are just technical things and in no way mean to detract from a nice looking map that does come pretty close to your goal. So...nice job, so far.
If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
-J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)
My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps
The only thing that jumps out at me are the town icons. The colorization looks great, but since they're colorized they seem to really pop out of the map and float. Maybe some deeper shadowing for them would ground them a bit. All in all though, a great map and a goal I can identify with; Ramah's Vaniya/Aronbor maps are a couple of those I go back to over and over again for inspiration.
Thanks for the feedback. Your suggestions have been incorporated and I've added some forest names. If you see a problem with the changes, let me know.
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It looks great. One thing you have down in your maps is this 'Smoky' quality. I don't know what else to call it but if you just zoom in and go down around your map legend there is a smoky feel to it. It's like the steam coming up from my morning coffee. I hope I can capture that someday because I love it.
“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
* My Finished Maps
* My Challenge Maps
* My deviantArt
Something I learned from Jezelf through studying Ramah's work... select your item, whether it be a line or some text or a landmass; stroke it with a dark color on the outside, inverse selection, then put a gaussian blur on it. Depending upon the color and size of the stroke and the size of the blur radius, you can come up with some really nice effects. This is a technique I didn't know before trying to reverse-engineer Ramah's shorelines. It's a lot like an outer glow, but more flexible, and you can use the selection mask to point it in one direction or the other, or no mask for both directions.
Oh and the background is really, really complex. It has so many textures embedded into it you can't see some of them anymore. One texture that is almost gone is some Latin monk scribblings in white. That along with the east-west fiber texture that I finally settled on to approximate Ramah's hint of brushed metal look gives the background a hint of shimmer. Look at Vaniya around the legend and you'll see a similar effect.
Last edited by Immolate; 01-09-2011 at 12:35 PM.
Looking really good so far Immolate, I've been thinking of trying something in this style in the near future also One thing that jumps out at me is that the City icons are a lot brighter and more distinct than everything else. Maybe they just need a slightly lower opacity, or a nice colour or texture overlay, or maybe even just a very slight blur.
I love the changes to the cities. The colors match better now, and they seem to be a part of the map instead of floating on top of it. Looks fantastic.
Oops, I hadn't actually looked at your first upload Immolate - sorry! The cities are leaps and bounds better now that in your first upload. After looking at it bit more, I think it might just be the purple colour that's throwing me off, it looks quite vivid and might just need to be desaturated a little bit.
It's a poser Moutarde, no doubt. I am trying to see this through the cartographer's eye and within the them of the challenge. These settled places are points of light, so they should be more "lively" than the rest of the map. If I tone them down much more, the settlements become grim and uninviting. I want travelers to look at that map and feel comfort that they are nearing a town. I'm going to keep looking at them with squinty eyes so I'm not sure if they will tone down more or not.
Added names to the roads and an Elven town nestled in the Black Oak Forest.
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