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Thread: WIP: North Marches

  1. #1
    Guild Journeyer Green-Pilgrim's Avatar
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    Wip WIP: North Marches

    WIP: North Marches-new-north-marches-1000.png

    ARGH! Stupid forums keep eating my post.

    Ok - fourth time re-posting this so I'll sum it up.

    Building a 'hand drawn' overland map using Gimp and "Tree Thing" tool.

    1. Not sure about the look of the 'Green Mountains' down the center. Should I give them a different color to make them look more like 'mountains' or what?

    2. Text on the map. Using a white halo to pull them out from the terrain so they don't get lost. How has everyone else solved 'lost text' as a problem.?

    3. Want to add color on the coast and mountain to show variations in terrain. I'm using the base green to suggest a forested (but not as dense as the named forests) land but it can't all be woods. Suggestions?

    4. Adding color to the water of the inland sea (left) and coastal areas (right) to make it more 'animated'. Just use a white 'noise' effect?

    Thanks.

    Green Pilgrim.

  2. #2
    Guild Journeyer Green-Pilgrim's Avatar
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    Also...

    What's your thoughts on using symbols like a tower or castle to show the different types of settlements rather than the traditional variations of circles that I'm using currently? Does it give a cluttered look to the map? Maybe use them on 'close-up' maps where I can show more terrain and details?

    Thanks again.

  3. #3
      Akerbeltz is offline
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    Hey! Looks like a good start.

    1. Yes I would probably try a tan or greyish colour. I would also ditch the thin light outline on the peaks.

    2. If you dislike like the halo effect you could try a scroll or similar graphic layered under each label, or just stick to a strong readable font and be mindful of the label placement, ie putting it beside instead of over dark features, and clearing the trees directly around the forest labels.

    3. I think graphical elements would work well for a map like this, ie those little swamp grass things etc. But as for colours my thinking would go something like: dirty tan to represent plains, greenish light grey for tundra, dark greyish green for swamps, very light grey with a tinge of blue for ice/snow, but I would try to keep it all fairly subtle. I would also blend the darker green areas under your forests.

    4. Well depending on what you want your end style to be like there are a couple of options. You could try adding a woodcut fade to the coastlines, there are a couple of great tutorials around. If you want a more "realistic" style try making a new layer either below your land layer or with your landmass set as a mask, then render clouds > white noise > randomize checked and the other settings cranked to max, set it to set it to like 30%O and try out some of the modes (overlay, hard light, soft light, etc). Also try a soft light blue or teal glow around the shore.

    5. You could turn all your current dots to little towers or castles without the map looking cluttered, so I think that leaves it entirely a matter of personal taste.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. #4
    Guild Journeyer Green-Pilgrim's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback. I'll give the shore-glow / clouds trick a try and see what happens.
    -GP

  5. #5
    Guild Journeyer Green-Pilgrim's Avatar
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    Well, here's an update to the regional, hand-drawn map project.

    The first thing I did was take a crack at the coastline and try and give it more of a feeling that the water actually had depth. I used a gausian blur between three different layers of blue to show gradation of color and I think it turned out rather well. I'm still not sure about the outline but it works for now.


    WIP: North Marches-north-marches-update-coast-01.png

    I used the same effect for an inland lake and added more forests. The "Tree Thing" tool is just too cool and I gave the region a drop shadow (and dropped its opacity) to give it a 'darker but not too dark' appearance.

    I wanted to put additional, smaller hills to show the 'foothills' of the main mountain range and then added a large peak at the end. I think the layout works fine but I'm still concerned about the 'green mountain' look.

    WIP: North Marches-north-marches-update-lake.png

    So this is what the newest update looks like as a whole image.
    WIP: North Marches-north-marches-update-01-sm.png

    One thing thing that did catch my eye was a problem with the river that cuts through a cave in the northern cave. I'm not sure how to show that on the map. Currently I just have the river dead-ending into mountain since I'm not sure how to make it look 'cave like' on a map.

    Additionally - does anyone have any suggestions for how I can give the representation of waterfalls?

    Thanks for any comments.

    -GP

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green-Pilgrim View Post
    Also...

    What's your thoughts on using symbols like a tower or castle to show the different types of settlements rather than the traditional variations of circles that I'm using currently? Does it give a cluttered look to the map? Maybe use them on 'close-up' maps where I can show more terrain and details?

    Thanks again.
    I like the overall feel of the map, but the text is a bit over-bearing. The "Northlands" text in the northwest" looks very good compared to the white-highlighted text.

    As far as symbols, that will be what I go with. Circles , squares and stars are boring unless you can really find a way to make them pop. There's a recent example of where they look very nice, I'll see if I can find it.

    Edit: Here is what I am talking about: http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...med-Experiment

    I think it is more a condition of the type of map. Since yours is hand-drawn, symbols will work better than geomorphic shapes.
    Last edited by Piscivorous; 11-09-2011 at 07:15 PM.

  7. #7
    Guild Journeyer Green-Pilgrim's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments!

    Yes, I agree with you that symbols are the way to go. I like how the one example that you mentioned used red stars and dots to 'punch' up the look of where cities were on the map.

    On my newest update I withdrew the 'settlement symbols' so I could concentrate on the map itself.

  8. #8
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    So... is that "river" going through the big mountain and ending at each coast? If so... well... thats probably not very likely(though not impossible!) in a real world geography sense unless this is an island and that's a straight instead of a river.

    You mentioned somewhere something about a cave? Well... if you flip the elements(mountains and forests/shadows), then you have a light colored surface and you can then "draw" in the cave mouth fairly easily.

    As for Waterfall, where is it located? a cliff or somewhere on a mountain? Show us where it will go and then perhaps we can make the suggestions. Likely you will need to do some "editing" of the existing mountains if that's where you want the waterfall to be in order to make it look good.

    For me, the colors are just waaaaay to bright.
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  9. #9
    Guild Journeyer Green-Pilgrim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    So... is that "river" going through the big mountain and ending at each coast? If so... well... thats probably not very likely(though not impossible!) in a real world geography sense unless this is an island and that's a straight instead of a river.

    You mentioned somewhere something about a cave? Well... if you flip the elements(mountains and forests/shadows), then you have a light colored surface and you can then "draw" in the cave mouth fairly easily.

    As for Waterfall, where is it located? a cliff or somewhere on a mountain? Show us where it will go and then perhaps we can make the suggestions. Likely you will need to do some "editing" of the existing mountains if that's where you want the waterfall to be in order to make it look good.

    For me, the colors are just waaaaay to bright.
    The river that's going through the large mountain at the top from the inland sea was a project of the dwarves in the world's history. Similar to the Panama canal, the channel carved through the base of the mountain (a large tunnel) was then used to divert the river on one side of the mountain, through it, and then connect with an existing river on the other side to create a trade route.

    I don't have a spot nailed down for the waterfall but the idea popped in my head and was curious how I would show it.

    Thanks again for the comments!

    -GP

  10. #10
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Ah... so that's two rivers, that are unnaturally merged.. but then the question is: since rivers form from rain runoff (or springs), are these mountains representational of a fairly large mountain chain enough create a deep enough channel for navigation? ie, is there enough water flowing into the newly formed channel to keep it filled from natural sources (or unnatural for that matter, such as a bound water elemental) Also, how do they deal with the currents(ie, going against them), especially if part of the route is underground(rowing, steam power, etc)?

    Or, perhaps I am missing it since your description seems to indicate an unseen source of water above the map where at least one of the rivers originate.

    As for the waterfall, once you get an idea for placement(you need either a cliff or two mountains joined together to form the "lip" as well as a mountain behind to form the water source), let us know... I see a few places that might fit the second approach with a small bit of moving around.

    Oh yea, there is a "river" that splits from the top river, goes through forests and then joins another river near the bottom that empties into the sea.. Again, not a likely natural occurring formation.
    My Finished Maps
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