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Thread: My first map, WIP

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      DanChops is offline
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    Post My first map, WIP

    Hello all! I'm a new member here. This map is based on RobA's superb tutorial for creating a regional map in GIMP. This is my first real attempt at a digital map, so I'm in serious need of advice.

    Obviously, I haven't even gotten to the labeling part. I figure I'll try to get the underlying physical geography right before putting down cities and roads and empire borders and stuff and then naming everything.

    The next few things on my list of tweaks are:
    • Figure out some way to make the rivers look like they're flowing through the forests rather than over them
    • Address some of the areas of the coastline and rivers that have right angles
    • Make the northwestern-most mountain look more craggy coming out of the forest
    • Add a fertile river valley along side the rivers that flow through the desert


    Thoughts? Suggestions? Pointers? Thanks!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My first map, WIP-first-map.jpg  

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      su_liam is offline
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    The coastlines look vaguely familiar, buuut.... Whuh-what happened to Europe?

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      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Very nice for your first try!

    I am just learning GIMP from Robs tut also. Though I have not tried it yet, you may be able to use the same technique used to create the "Dirt" layer to selectivly show/hide parts of your river flowing through the forest by creating "clearnings". Again, I have not tried it yet, but you may want to give the approach a try.

    Also, some of the mountains have a hard line transition to another land type. I have found that selecting the layer mask on the mountain layer(the right most icon on that row) and running pixel spread and a 'tiny" bit of blur make the areas merge better. Some people like this technique, some don't but it's there if you want to give it a try. Note that it will make the border somewhat "transparent", so play with it if you want.

    Joe
    My Finished Maps
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    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
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      RobA is offline
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    Nice go!

    Joe gave the suggestion I would have. Select Alpha from the river layer, invert and feather it. Then move to the forest colour layer's mask (and many the texture, too) and fill the selection with black (or grey, depending on the intensity of the effect. This will put a "space" around the rivers. Alternately, create a bevel effect (explained somewhere - stf for my post) around the rivers that will make then look set into the land. The stop looking like they are painted on top of the forest that way.

    -Rob A>

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      DanChops is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by su_liam View Post
    The coastlines look vaguely familiar, buuut.... Whuh-what happened to Europe?
    Yeah, I live in Oman, so I figured for this doodle I'd base the map very roughly on the Middle East/Western Indian Ocean area. It makes for a fun variety of terrain types and coastlines.

    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    Very nice for your first try!
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    I am just learning GIMP from Robs tut also. Though I have not tried it yet, you may be able to use the same technique used to create the "Dirt" layer to selectivly show/hide parts of your river flowing through the forest by creating "clearnings". Again, I have not tried it yet, but you may want to give the approach a try.
    That is a superb idea. I'll have to give it a try.

    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    Also, some of the mountains have a hard line transition to another land type. I have found that selecting the layer mask on the mountain layer(the right most icon on that row) and running pixel spread and a 'tiny" bit of blur make the areas merge better. Some people like this technique, some don't but it's there if you want to give it a try. Note that it will make the border somewhat "transparent", so play with it if you want.
    Yeah, I've noticed that. I've been playing around with blur and pixel spread on the layer masks, and it actually looks a lot better now that it used to. One idea I'm toying around with is making the layer mask for the mountain color layer a wee bit smaller than the layer mask for the mountain bump layer. I'm hoping this would make it look like the elevation carries some of the underlying terrain (either grass or desert) before it turns into the mountain itself and that this would allow for a smoother transition between the mountains and the flat lands.

    Quote Originally Posted by RobA View Post
    Nice go!
    Thanks! And thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    Quote Originally Posted by RobA View Post
    Joe gave the suggestion I would have. Select Alpha from the river layer, invert and feather it. Then move to the forest colour layer's mask (and many the texture, too) and fill the selection with black (or grey, depending on the intensity of the effect. This will put a "space" around the rivers. Alternately, create a bevel effect (explained somewhere - stf for my post) around the rivers that will make then look set into the land. The stop looking like they are painted on top of the forest that way.
    I tried playing around with a bevel effect, but I could only get it working at all on the north-south running rivers and not the east-west running ones. Compare the "Nile" with the "Ganges" for example. I did a bump map on a Rivers layer with itself. Any ideas how I could go about making it work better?

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      RobA is offline
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    You are right. The bevel doesn't work well in differentiating the forest (this was just a quick, overexagerated, hack attempt):

    My first map, WIP-fm.jpg

    I think masking away the forest edges might be the way to go...

    -Rob A>

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      DanChops is offline
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    Here's the results of my efforts masking away the forest edges. I think it went well...I like the way it looks now better than before, but I'm not 100% happy with how the rivers look. Maybe I ought to try to bevel the rivers a bit anyway, just to give them definition?

    Anyway, the way I ended up getting this to work for me was by selecting the alpha in the river layer, inverting the selection, growing the selection by about 5 pixels, and then feathering by about 15 pixels. I found that the resulting path meandered a bit around the rivers.

    I think I'll tackle making the upper-rightmost mountain next. I plan to add a layer mask for just that mountain and duplicated the bump map. Hopefully, that'll give the effect I'm looking for without affecting the rest of the mountains.

    By the way, a few questions about the map generally. What do you all think of the color scheme? Two of my goals were to have large swaths of clearly differentiated grass and desert, and to have distinct looking sandstone and granite mountains. What do you think? Also, any thoughts on the forests? I spent a fair bit of time trying to get them to look "foresty", and am interested in your thoughts.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My first map, WIP-first-map-2.jpg  

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    Guild Member elemental_elf's Avatar
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    I like the map, it looks very neat and clean

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      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanChops View Post
    Here's the results of my efforts masking away the forest edges. I think it went well...I like the way it looks now better than before, but I'm not 100% happy with how the rivers look. Maybe I ought to try to bevel the rivers a bit anyway, just to give them definition?
    Agreed, much nicer. The bevel makes not on the rivers look nice, but I thing it tends to make the river end where it empties into sea/lake look a bit better also. If you can get access to a tablet, from what I have seen from others, the rivers will look so much better as the pressure sensitivity will allow them to start as a small line and get bigger as they go down stream instead of staying a constant width. I hope to get my tablet in the next few weeks. Another possible thing that I have been playing with a bit, though not sure how good it looks yet is to add a fade out to the brush and start the river away from the mountains and draw to the mountains as the brush fades. Not perfect, but it is a cheap way to get somewhat of a fad as you enter the mountains.



    Quote Originally Posted by DanChops View Post
    By the way, a few questions about the map generally.
    Still need work blending the hard line of the mountains.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanChops View Post
    Two of my goals were to have large swaths of clearly differentiated grass and desert, and to have distinct looking sandstone and granite mountains. What do you think?
    The blending between grass and desert is superb!

    Quote Originally Posted by DanChops View Post
    Also, any thoughts on the forests? I spent a fair bit of time trying to get them to look "foresty", and am interested in your thoughts.
    You nailed it. Great look
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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      DanChops is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    Agreed, much nicer. The bevel makes not on the rivers look nice, but I thing it tends to make the river end where it empties into sea/lake look a bit better also. If you can get access to a tablet, from what I have seen from others, the rivers will look so much better as the pressure sensitivity will allow them to start as a small line and get bigger as they go down stream instead of staying a constant width. I hope to get my tablet in the next few weeks. Another possible thing that I have been playing with a bit, though not sure how good it looks yet is to add a fade out to the brush and start the river away from the mountains and draw to the mountains as the brush fades. Not perfect, but it is a cheap way to get somewhat of a fad as you enter the mountains.
    Yeah, I would love a tablet. Unfortunately, one's not really in the picture at the moment, so I'm going to have to make do with what I've got. And drool over maps people draw with tablets of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    Still need work blending the hard line of the mountains.
    Yeah, you're right. I have a few ideas on how to address this.



    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    The blending between grass and desert is superb!

    You nailed it. Great look
    Thanks!

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