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Thread: Thread/Tutorial/Tips for a specific map style?

  1. #11
      Preypacer is offline
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    Good points, Coyote... Thanks

    I guess the reason I haven't posted anything here yet, beyond the starting landmass is... well.. for one, I haven't had anything else to show lol.

    But further, to me... I'd rather let people critique something that's at least approaching what I'm after. This way they look at it and "get" where I'm going with it. If what I'm drawing isn't even close to resembling what I *want* it to look like in the first place (which is the case right now), then the feedback - while helpful in itself - would be guiding me in a direction I probably don't want to go in...

    Not sure if that makes sense.

    As an analogy, say I want to draw a really great apple, but what I upload looks more like a peach. The feedback I get would most likely be on "how to make it look like a really good peach" which, of course, wouldn't be very helpful to me drawing an apple... Of course, apples and peaches are absolute, definable things. Cliffs, mountains and such aren't quite as "specific"... which makes it more difficult.

    What I'm finding the most trouble with, I think, is the clarity of things. Like, when I look at those sample maps from my original post, everything looks so clear and "crisp" where it should... and blends in really well with the background where it should. The cliffs just "blend" right into the map... it looks like it should. I can't get that same effect. Every time I draw it, it either stands out like a sore thumb, or it's so blended that you lose the effect... I'm having trouble finding that middle ground, even playing with different shades, different pen pressures, different layer blending modes, etc. It's completely eluding me right now... and again, I'm usually pretty good with that kind of stuff in PS.

    Hopefully when I do finally find the right combination, I'll be able to remember what I actually did so I can replicate it...

  2. #12
      Coyotemax is offline
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    so what you do is upload an example of what you have so far and say "i know it looks like a peach, but how do i make it look line an apple??"

    remember that the final product you are looking at is the culmination of days or weeks of work to get it to look just right - and that in turn is based off years of practice and style changes.

    i have faith in you. hell if *I* can learn to draw, ANYONE can.

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  3. #13
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Show us some of your attempts.. you noted especially issues with the cliff, so as CM said let us see what you have/are trying and we might be able to get you back on track.... also note that sometimes things don't look right in isolation, but once you put other elements around them, the original thing you though was bad starts looking "right" all of a sudden.


    @CM, I actually LIKED the trees you hated... but your new ones are cool too(I like the others more though)....
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  4. #14
      Coyotemax is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    @CM, I actually LIKED the trees you hated... but your new ones are cool too(I like the others more though)....
    it wasn't so much that I hated them, they just didn't match the style I was trying to achieve. Remind me sometime, I'll come back to them (actually really easy to do, i created a brush preset in photoshop that makes them a snap to recreate)

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  5. #15
      torstan is offline
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    Hey there. I'm really glad you like the map! I'll see what I can do to help explain the steps I took to create it. This was a step along the road to a pseudo-isometric style and it was pretty long run to get this done as it was a new style.

    First off, post a link to your WIP thread so I can see where you've got to. Other than that I can give you general tips. My workflow for a map like this is:

    • Draw in the coastlines and get a selection that includes all the water (usually magic wand and then expand selection by 2). I use a 5px hard round brush with pressure sensitivity for the size for all my line work.
    • Save the selection
    • Draw in the rivers
    • Line work on the mountains. First lay in the spiky top outline. Then go back and draw in the lines flowing down the sides. Make them a little jagged, and try to have one ridge line look like it connects to the next mountain in the chain to create a visual of a connected range of mountains
    • Line work on hills and forests. Try not to be too careful with forests. They're an impression of burgeoning flora, not a load of individually drawn trees.

    Next up is the colouring.
    • Add a parchment background at the base
    • Set up one set of layers for the sea, and another for the land - use the selection you saved to tell between them

    I'm going to just talk about the land - the sea is mostly done with gradients and nice big brushes.
    • Set up a colour layer and block in the colours of your land. Your parchment is brown so that's a good base. Take the tops of your mountains to grey. Tundra is a grey-blue. Plains are a yellow-green and forest a green -> blue green. Use a large fuzzy brush >100 px at least. This isn't precise stuff - you don't want hard edges on your colours.
    • Add an overlay layer. Pick a dark blue for shadow and a bright white with a touch of yellow for a highlight. Use a hard round brush with opacity set to pressure sensitivity and lay in your mountain light and shade. This just takes practice, but what you want here is the sharpest contrast at the peak, fading out towards the base. Darken your forest. Switch to a grungy brush with pressure sensitivity for opacity, and low opacity (maybe 20%) and add some texture to the rest of the regions. Use a bright white-blue to brighten up the tundra, snow and desert.
    • Add another overlay layer. Use a hard round with pressure sentivity for size, and perhaps an opacity of 50-80% and pick out details on your mountains. Use a grunge brush with scatter, colour jitter and low opacity to add texture to your forests. Lay some shadow round the edge of the forests to guve the illusion of some volume to them to stop them looking flat. Add texture to any area that feels it needs it.

    That should get you 90% of the way there. I hope that covers a lot of the questions you had, but feel free to give me a shout if there's anything that doesn't make sense.

    Oh, and the most important thing is that the line work pulls the colours together. The colours can (and should) be quite messy. But the hard edges of the lines give the colour structure. It's that interplay that gives the integrated hand drawn look and allows elements to flow into each other. Don't colour inside the lines.

    Edit: I added some screenshots of the map with the various layers in order to show how the map was built up. I hope those are useful. Note all of these are at working resolution - so appear here 3x larger than they'd appear in the final printed product.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Thread/Tutorial/Tips for a specific map style?-screen-shot-2011-09-07-10.15.58-am.png   Thread/Tutorial/Tips for a specific map style?-screen-shot-2011-09-07-10.24.44-am.png   Thread/Tutorial/Tips for a specific map style?-screen-shot-2011-09-07-10.25.32-am.png   Thread/Tutorial/Tips for a specific map style?-screen-shot-2011-09-07-10.25.47-am.png   Thread/Tutorial/Tips for a specific map style?-screen-shot-2011-09-07-10.26.10-am.png  

    Last edited by torstan; 09-07-2011 at 10:46 AM.
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  6. #16
      Hugo Solis is offline
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    To all the described abode, pour in big doses of FANTASTIC with a little sprinkled AWESOME and voila, you have yourself a great map

  7. #17
      Djekspek is offline
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    Thanks for sharing torstan, always love to hear about workflow! cheers, DJ
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  8. #18
      torstan is offline
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    Just a note to say that I uploaded some screenshots to my walkthrough to show more clearly the steps in order.
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  9. #19
      Jaxilon is offline
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    Thanks for the workflow. I'm always looking to hear better ways to do things. One thing I wanted to double check and maybe everyone already knows this but me: Do you work at 3x the size of your final output all the time? If so, do you just zoom in and draw/paint or do you start at a 3x resolution and then shrink the image at the end? (hopefully that made sense)

    If I were to do that I think it might improve my own images now that I think about it.
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  10. #20
      torstan is offline
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    So I work at 100% of my final size. I know others work larger.

    The difference is - print resolution is (normally for me) 300dpi. However computer screens are around 100dpi. So I work at computer resolution - 100dpi - which means the details look 3x larger when I'm working on them than they will when they are printed out. I've set up a shortcut so that I can always quickly switch to print resolution in photoshop to check what it looks like (View->Print Size). You can set up a keyboard shortcut for it using Edit->Keyboard Shortcuts
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