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Thread: [WIP] Hand-drawn map features

  1. #1
      Morgan is offline
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    Help [WIP] Hand-drawn map features

    Ok, I've been experimenting with mountains for some days, and I find myself a bit frustrated. What I'm trying to achieve is a realistic effect for grounded, solid and convincing mountains, like in this map.

    Now, don't laugh, these are the results of my efforts up to this moment (the black white version is the standard brush):
    [WIP] Hand-drawn map features-mountainbrush.jpg
    Now, this is just a sketch, I know I should draw details more carefully, but I think that is beside the point, I don't find the overall effect convincing at all. Since I think the basic brush is not bad (even if it can be improved) I think the problem is in the coloring/shading.

    I drew the brush by hand and then scanned it. As for the coloring, the layers I'm using are:
    - Brush outline (the default) set on multiply
    - Highlight layer (hue/saturation set on hard light)
    - Shadow layer (hue/saturation set on multiply)
    - Texture layer (granite texture set on multiply)
    - Color layer (plain base brown)
    - Parchment background

    Suggesions, anyone?
    Given the choice:
    wheter to rule a corrupt and failing empire
    or to challenge the Fates for another throw, a better throw against one's destiny...
    what was a King to do?
    But does anyone truly have a choice?
    One can only match, move by move, the machinations of Fate.
    And thus defy the tyrannous stars.

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      Gidde is offline
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    I don't think any laughter is imminent, that looks pretty good! Maybe if you rounded the bottom so that it looks more organic? It has a kinda pyramidal look at the moment since the sides are so straight and even down to the point in the middle. Another thing (and I've struggled with this a lot so I see it fast now) is that your lines on the actual faces are too regular. Most are the same length, and on the top most section they're parallel and in perfect rows. Try making them more random and varying the length and thickness. I find random is the HARDEST thing to do; I always make order like this unless I specifically guard against it. I make orchards instead of forests too!

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      Morgan is offline
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    Yes, that is one of the problems, now that you mention it.
    Another sketch, done in 5 minutes, just with tablet (not scanning), trying to follow your advice. Shape seems better (thank you), not the colors though...
    This came out quite cartoonish!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails [WIP] Hand-drawn map features-prova-montagne.jpg  
    JefBT likes this.
    Given the choice:
    wheter to rule a corrupt and failing empire
    or to challenge the Fates for another throw, a better throw against one's destiny...
    what was a King to do?
    But does anyone truly have a choice?
    One can only match, move by move, the machinations of Fate.
    And thus defy the tyrannous stars.

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      jfrazierjr is offline
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    I like the second B&W image quite a bit(the first has too much black for my tastes). I would love to see just the line art for the last one though. It's hard to tell with the color, but personally I think you have hit on what I have been "trying" to get for quite a while, which is avoiding the cut off bottom effect. As Gidde noted, it's fairly easy to fall into a pyramidal approach(I admit to having done it several times) and while it can look ok in some maps, I think the "random" sawtooth approach works quite well. I even think if your careful, you could go "deeper"(relative to the base line of the mountain outlines) and still have it look very nice.
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    Guild Journeyer Facebook Connected rpgmapmaker's Avatar
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    I have had an issue with the "flat bottom mountain" This gives me some ideas. I like the "bit" of green too, that is a nice touch.

    The lines in the newest one seem "off" in some way (not that we would get a close up if it was put on a map). The lines might be too "hard" or slightly out of alinement with the shadows... either way this is a cool mountain and I hope to make such things with my tablet soon.

    Thanks for shareing. Reped!
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      Gidde is offline
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    Now that is a very good mountain! The texture looks awesome, the bottom looks great, the shading looks good. The lone line in the center of the bottom looks a little strange, but I'm not sure what's bugging me about it. Tiny nitpick there though, it doesn't really take away from the whole.

    Oh! forgot something. You've got your shadows getting deeper further down the mountain, which actually looks ok to me. However, I read an article once on swiss shading (someone linked to it here but I have no earthly idea where it is) that stressed that shadows should be darkest near the peak and lighten as you go down. I honestly don't know why that is, but you may want to give it a shot and see how it looks. And maybe someone who understands lighting and shadows better than I do could enlighten us as to why they'd say to do it that way?

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      Morgan is offline
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    @ jfrazierjr: Alas, the second image has no sketch, I drew it directly on photoshop. But I have an earlier sketch on paper, it's almost the same. Dunno if it can help you, but here it is:
    [WIP] Hand-drawn map features-mountainsample0.jpg
    I'm not sure I understand your last comment. What do you mean by going deeper? With central slope lines?

    @rpgmapmaker: Thanks for your approvation and the reputation! I know it's not perfect, I'm just working with a general idea for now, looking for a style, then I'll spend more time refining. The whole mountain is even too big for a map, unless I'm going to make a map of Moria!

    In the meantime, I tried to draw a mountain range with the djekspek tutorial. This is the result:
    [WIP] Hand-drawn map features-prova-montagne2.jpg
    Needs refining, like everything else, but I quite like the overall effect. Perhaps I need to go smoother with color, and use less contrast, otherwise it just becomes noise and flattens the image.
    I will be experimenting trying to merge the two techniques and see what happens...

    Well, since it seems that my sketches are helping people getting ideas, I'm sharing all of them, from the earlier ones. Sorry for the quality of the first two, but I made a mess with scanner settings. Should anyone want a clean version of some mountains, just tell me which ones and I'll rescan them properly!
    This is the fist one. Flat mountains with a linear bottom. Please notice the spider eating the sheep of the first sketch!
    [WIP] Hand-drawn map features-mountainsamples1.jpg
    Here I proudly present the awesome Ice-Cream Peak!
    [WIP] Hand-drawn map features-mountainsamples2.jpg
    This is the lat one. Better results, I think. Still improving, though. Enjoy!
    [WIP] Hand-drawn map features-mountainsamples3.jpg
    Given the choice:
    wheter to rule a corrupt and failing empire
    or to challenge the Fates for another throw, a better throw against one's destiny...
    what was a King to do?
    But does anyone truly have a choice?
    One can only match, move by move, the machinations of Fate.
    And thus defy the tyrannous stars.

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      Gidde is offline
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    Ooh, thanks for posting those! I actually really like the one on the left in the almost bottom row of the second scan. The shading at the bottom looks totally awesome. I also really love the one with the path going up it on the last scan.

  9. #9
      Morgan is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gidde View Post
    Now that is a very good mountain! The texture looks awesome, the bottom looks great, the shading looks good. The lone line in the center of the bottom looks a little strange, but I'm not sure what's bugging me about it. Tiny nitpick there though, it doesn't really take away from the whole.

    Oh! forgot something. You've got your shadows getting deeper further down the mountain, which actually looks ok to me. However, I read an article once on swiss shading (someone linked to it here but I have no earthly idea where it is) that stressed that shadows should be darkest near the peak and lighten as you go down. I honestly don't know why that is, but you may want to give it a shot and see how it looks. And maybe someone who understands lighting and shadows better than I do could enlighten us as to why they'd say to do it that way?
    I missed your post while I was writing my looooong monologue!
    In that version I added a drop shadow effect on the highlight layer, and I'm quite happy with it, but I think I have to use larger brushes to reduce complexity.
    I'll have to try what you say, I can imagine the reason for the darker shadow on the peak is that there is more light there, thus shadow is darker. On the vales there's less direct sunlight, so less dark shadows, but more gloom.
    Don't know if I made it clear, but think about a candle: if you put an object near the flame, shadows are darker near the object, an then become lighter because they merge in the general illumination of the room.
    Example:
    [WIP] Hand-drawn map features-6462068129_909496c127_z.jpg
    Here you see how the nose's shadow are thicker (near the flame), while on the cheeks they are more morbid.
    Given the choice:
    wheter to rule a corrupt and failing empire
    or to challenge the Fates for another throw, a better throw against one's destiny...
    what was a King to do?
    But does anyone truly have a choice?
    One can only match, move by move, the machinations of Fate.
    And thus defy the tyrannous stars.

  10. #10
      Gidde is offline
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    Good explanation, thanks!

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