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

  1. #1
      Preypacer is offline
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    Question Thread/Tutorial/Tips for a specific map style?

    Hi all,

    Haven't posted here in a bit; the last time was to introduce a map in progress for a game project. I continued trying to plug away at it for a time, but was getting frustrated with the results and so decided to step away from it for a while, and work on other things. Had a computer crash in there, too... which is always "fun".

    I'm back to working on it again, however, and in seeking "inspiration" for the 'style' of it. I've found exactly the style I would like to emulate for my map... and it's the one used in this one here:
    Thread/Tutorial/Tips for a specific map style?-jonrobertsmapwebres.jpg

    I absolutely love the hand-drawn style and have decided that's the way I'm going to go. I've tried the route of "pre-made mountain and hill icons" and have never been happy with the results. The same is true of the photoshop/gimp "bevel and emboss" approach.

    I really love the hand-drawn look, and that map there demonstrates perfectly what I'm after.

    I have PS. I have a Wacom tablet and I have the basis for my map in place. I've given it a go on my own and can not seem to get that same clarity in my lines and such that the map has, though. I'm wondering if there's a thread for that map's WIP, etc ... where perhaps its creator shares insights to their process that I might be able to use as reference? I'm not looking to copy their style, just to understand the process they used and apply it.

    Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    Edit: I've since found a thread for the map, 'Mechanol' by Ramah that's also very close in style to what I'm looking to create, so I'll definitely be studying his work/style as well. I really dig the hand-drawn/detailed mountains, cliffs, etc.
    Last edited by Preypacer; 09-05-2011 at 01:15 AM.

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      Jaxilon is offline
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    That is one of Torstan's maps that he did for a game "World of Rhune". He posted it on his website.

    As far as I know he did not do a WIP here since it was a commissioned piece but if you take a look at some of his other maps you will see some of this style and he may have mentioned things about his process in those. Alternatively, he's active here so if you have a question ask away and he will probably come by and offer up whatever help he can.
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      Clercon is offline
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    You might be intrested to know that Torstan who made the map has made the style available as an addon for campaign cartographer 3 by profantasy. The style is included in this years annuals and let's you recreate his mapping style. If you're interested to know what it looks like you can have a look at my finished map dragonbay kingdom. ( Click the finnished map link in my footer and look for the dragonbay kingdom link)
    My finished maps

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    Guild Artisan eViLe_eAgLe's Avatar
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    If you don't want to use CC3 I personally find it more confusing that Photoshop.
    All I have to say is, talk to Torstan (one of my favorite artists ) And get practice. Lots of it.

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      Ascension is offline
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    Big T has been evolving his style for years here at The Guild. You might get more information from diggin through his old maps and read the wips there and follow along as the style developed. For you to emulate the same style right out of the box will be extremely hard to do without the CC3 annual mentioned earlier. It will take a lot of practice on your part otherwise. Heck, I know what I'm doing but I could never replicate his style without years of practice and even then I'd fail. Style is sort of like a fingerprint; I can spot a Torstan map a mile away, or a Djekspek, or Schley, Ramah, Coyotemax, Red Epic, GamerPrinter, Aerius, Lazzaretti, Chris West, RobA, or whatever. Even my styles have their own fingerprint, many have done maps using my tuts but none of them look like a Big A map; close but not quite. One helpful tidbit is to remember that we usually work at double the size posted when doing hand-drawn maps. So you make a really big map with lots of blemishes and every single line stroke is glaring but when you shrink it down those blemishes become artefacts and nuances that can't be replicated.
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      Preypacer is offline
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    Hey all...

    Thanks for the replies, and for providing the name of that map's creator.

    I'm not looking to replicate his style exactly... It's more that I'm interested in a hand-drawn approach, and am curious of any tips or hints used in terms of brushes, layer settings, etc. etc. It's just that his map, as well as the one by Ramah I also linked, are great examples of the overall style I'm after.

    I'm finding that in my experiments, what I'm drawing doesn't blend as nicely as what I see in his,and in Ramah's maps. So that's more what I'm after, I guess.

    I'll keep working at it!

    Thanks again.

  7. #7
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    FYI, much of Ramah's mountains/hills are available as brushes... and many people have made wonderful maps using them...perhaps you should try the brush approach again with the right brushes...
    My Finished Maps
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    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
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      Coyotemax is offline
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    Yes, practice practice practice.
    That's probably the most frustrating part for me too. The style I'm ultimately heading for (and my thoughts on this change daily!) is I think something between Ascension's latest and the one you posted from Torstan. I keep wobbling back and forth, and I know what will happen is that eventually I'll end up with something that's in the same ballpark but still uniquely me.

    If it helps any, my progression since starting mapping (for hand drawn look anyhow) is kind of like this:
    Followed tutorials almost to the letter, and used copy/paste from already existing maps to get mountains, trees, and symbols.
    Used other people's mountain and symbol brush packs
    drew out my own mountains and turned them into brushes to use them, my style but still easier than drawing out by hand
    Incorporated Fluesopp/Ramah's forest generator
    Realized that the best way to make something look hand drawn is to draw out the whole thing
    Got frustrated with very slowly progressing map since I'm drawing everything from scratch
    Got extremely pleased with hand-drawn results and forced myself to keep doing it no matter how frustrating it is



    Ascension's point about drawing at double size and shrinking the final piece does go a LONG way to turning those differences into a personalized look/style. Give it a shot, you'll be nicely surprised by the results.

    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

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      Preypacer is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coyotemax View Post
    Yes, practice practice practice.
    That's probably the most frustrating part for me too. The style I'm ultimately heading for (and my thoughts on this change daily!) is I think something between Ascension's latest and the one you posted from Torstan. I keep wobbling back and forth, and I know what will happen is that eventually I'll end up with something that's in the same ballpark but still uniquely me.

    If it helps any, my progression since starting mapping (for hand drawn look anyhow) is kind of like this:
    Followed tutorials almost to the letter, and used copy/paste from already existing maps to get mountains, trees, and symbols.
    Used other people's mountain and symbol brush packs
    drew out my own mountains and turned them into brushes to use them, my style but still easier than drawing out by hand
    Incorporated Fluesopp/Ramah's forest generator
    Realized that the best way to make something look hand drawn is to draw out the whole thing
    Got frustrated with very slowly progressing map since I'm drawing everything from scratch
    Got extremely pleased with hand-drawn results and forced myself to keep doing it no matter how frustrating it is



    Ascension's point about drawing at double size and shrinking the final piece does go a LONG way to turning those differences into a personalized look/style. Give it a shot, you'll be nicely surprised by the results.
    Indeed... Though I gotta say, it's frustrating to me, having spent so much time on this one map (days worth of time, easily), and all I'm still left with is the base map, no different than what I posted on these forums some time ago. I can't even get a darn cliff to look good, yet there are people on here who seem to crank out amazing looking and highly detailed maps every few weeks.

    I'm usually really good at shading, and have many years of experience in PS... For some reason, though I just cannot get anything to look good on this map. At all. Everything I lay down, no matter how much time I spend on it, just looks terrible... It looks completely out-of-place, like it doesn't belong there. I can't get it to blend.

    Ugh. I'm a big believer in "try and try again..." but in this case, for some reason, I might just have to admit defeat and give up on the cartography thing. It's becoming more and more discouraging every time I spend an hour or more trying to lay down a small area of terrain, only to erase it all and shut down PS in frustration.

    I don't know if I'm just being my own worst critic or what, but nothing I do is coming out even remotely the way I intend it to.

    Anyway... not trying to go too negative here. I'm just really aggravated at myself right now, because I've done things far more difficult than this in PS before, and they came out fine. I don't know why this one task - creating one decent looking cliff area - is proving to be so difficult.

    Ah well.

  10. #10
      Coyotemax is offline
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    Days? I've been working on my current commission for what, 5 weeks now. I've only just become happy with the forests in the last few days

    Stop trying so hard. let it happen. Sometimes too much effort is worse than not enough. Let your own style develop. Draw out your cliffs quickly, then start adding in the details around them. See what they look like after the forests and hills are filled in, and drop some delicate shading in for the extra details. Sometimes you find that things that look like "ugh" are "whoa nice" when contrasted with other elements. Believe me, I've spent YEARS trying to develop the ability to draw out what i see in my mind's eye. When I first started seriously drawing, it was VERY frustrating, i knew EXACTLY what I wanted. It wasn't until 4 years later that I drew out a piece that actually looked the same when i was done as when i first envisioned it. Don't let that stop you, let it fire you up and motivate you! Don't let the time it takes to practice and learn slow you down, value the time for what it is - you are getting to really understand how to draw and how NOT to draw what you see. The time you spend practicing is ALWAYS valuable, treat it like pure gold. You will look back on it years down the road and go "wow, I'm so glad I took the time to learn this". I know I do. And the patience you develop is a transferable skill, it will help you in ALL walks of life





    If you can, post your work as you go, get critiques, sometimes you're not as bad off as you think you are. I've learned to value the feedback I get from this site, there are some DAMN fine artists here and the fact that so many of them are willing to take the time to really look at what you post and offer honest well thought out feedback, well, my word of the week is "awesome". I try to give back to the site as much as I get out of it, both on an individual basis and site level, and it honestly helps me improve - by reviewing other people's works and looking for ways I can offer helpful criticisms, it actually makes my own work better. I'm not just looking at my own work and going "how can I do this better" - I'm looking at other pieces and going "how could that look better" - and then I keep my thoughts in mind for my own work too!

    My current map for example - i was all set to go through and do finely detailed line work to emulate shading effects. I posted up what I had and a whole bunch of comments came back saying "wow, those mountains are lovely they way they are". I stopped, took another critical look, and I had to agree. Now I'm doing the shading on a different layer, I'll let the colours do the talking. That saved me probably 3 days of work I spent probably 2 weeks working on the forests before scrapping them entirely and redoing them. I just couldn't get them to look like I wanted them too.. but then I noticed one tiny little detail that changed everything.. when I drew in the edge details, I tended to draw in a half circle and then continued the drawing outward.. not sure how else to explain it, but it just didn't look RIGHT. I actually grabbed my eraser tool and erased the bits off the end so the stroke was about 1/4 as long, and suddenly they looked AWESOME. that was JUST the effect I was after. I couldn't draw the details in directly to save my life, but if I drew them the way my hand wanted to and went back over with the eraser, it got the effect I was after..

    Don't be afraid to ask for help and advice. Sometimes an extra set (or 12) of eyes will spot something you miss.

    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

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