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Thread: The Western Kingdoms - by Greason Wolfe

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    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Wip The Western Kingdoms - by Greason Wolfe

    Once again, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here at the Guild. There have been family health issues, work issues, motivational issues, and so on. In all honesty, these last two or three years have been, to put it mildly, rough. I think, though, or at least I hope, I am finally back with a new project entitled The Western Kingdoms.

    And I’m trying something a little different for me.

    For any of you that have followed my work in the past, you probably know that I have a tendency to lean towards rendering my maps in Terragen with a little (well, maybe a lot) of help from Wilbur, with a smattering of FTPro and graphical editing. One of the major downfalls of that approach, at least for me, has always been how long it takes. I’d spend hours, days, a week or more working in Wilbur in an effort to get my mountains looking good. Then there would be even more time laying out the rivers and lakes. Forests. Hills. Deserts. All those wonderful terrain features to make a map look complete. And, lastly, the rendering process in Terragen. It could take hours, and if I wasn’t happy with the results, there would be even more hours adjusting the coloring and rendering angles. In a nutshell, I’d reach a “burn-out” point and abandon the project all together.

    The difference this time is that rather than trying to put everything together in a single render, I’m going to render individual bits and pieces of the map and put them together the way most people here do via layers in my graphics editor. I’m hoping that by only focusing on smaller, individual pieces of the map I won’t hit that “burn-out” stage.

    Wish me luck.

    As a sign of my good intentions, here is what I’ve accomplished so far (at about half the actual size of the file I'm working with). I’ve got the basic land masses laid out along with some smaller islands. I’ve also shaded and textured the ocean/seas a little bit, though I’m not sure if I’m 100% happy with the “wave” effect along the coasts just yet. On the whole, though, I’m generally happy with the way things are looking so far, and the good thing is, I have quite a few notes on where most of the significant terrain features are going to go. I can't make any promises as to how frequently I'll be updating this project, but if things go well, I should have more to show in just a few days.

    Again, though, wish me luck.

    GW
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The Western Kingdoms - by Greason Wolfe-western-kingdoms-wip-03-14-14.jpg  
    Last edited by Greason Wolfe; 03-15-2014 at 12:25 AM.
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      Lingon is offline
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    Excellent coast! I really like the wave effect, as well as the shape of the coast itself. Very cool

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      Diamond is offline
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    Good to see you back in action! What you've got down already is fantastic; I love that coast.
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      Lyrillies is offline
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    From what you said in your post it seems you have a very interesting work approach, and I love that you render your maps in Terragen! I will definitely have to have a look at some of your older projects.

    As for the current map: It looks very nice, I like the islands and the wave effect is very beautiful!
    Good luck with this! I hope you will finish it
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    And that's with great detail like "A COMPASS tells you which direction is north!"

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    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Thanks for the kind words so far, and, given that you all seem to like the wave effect as it is, I won't do much to change it except maybe to create a tiny bit more separation between the waves and the actual coast line. I've been at work all day and haven't had a chance to work on this yet other than a slight bit of line work on the coast lines to make them stand out just a little more clearly in an effort to keep the smaller islands from disappearing. It's a very subtle thing, so I'll save it for when I've done a bit more work on the map as a whole.

    @Lyrillies - I have done quite a few renders in an older version of Terragen (version 0.9.whatever...) but because I'm on an older computer system, they tend to take hours and hours when I'm trying to render them at a decent size. I did get some really good mountain renders a while ago, and have a couple two or three challenge maps that were rendered in terragen, but, as I mentioned, I'm now leaning towards rendering individual elements in terragen rather than the entire map.

    GW

    P.S. If anyone is interested in how I got the coast lines to look the way they do, I'll be happy to explain it. It's a pretty simple process, though it does require Wilbur.

    P.P.S. Figured I'd go ahead and post the minor tweaks while I had a little time. As I said earlier, they are subtle and meant, for the most part, to keep the smaller islands from disappearing. Also posted the map and what I expect to be the final size for the sake of being able to see things a bit more easily.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The Western Kingdoms - by Greason Wolfe-western-kingdoms-wip-03-15-14.jpg  
    Last edited by Greason Wolfe; 03-15-2014 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Adding Image
    When nothing is going right and you can't find someone else to blame, start beating your head against the wall, 'cause it'll feel so much better when you stop.

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    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Seeing as how it is going to take me a little longer than I thought to get all the mountains rendered (I'm planning on rendering at least 49 individual mountains if not more), I thought I'd post a sample of what they should ultimately look like. I may have to adjust the shading a tiny bit, but it is pretty close to what I'm aiming for. The overall goal is to get all of them rendered, then set them up as brushes (or PSP tubes in my case) and start painting them into the map. Took me a while tweaking the process to get the look I wanted, but now that I have that down, I'm hoping to crank out 10 to 15 mountains a day so long as I don't have to spend extra time at work.

    GW
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    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Still refining the mountain building/rendering process, but feel as though I am very close. Worked up these mountains tonight. There are a couple that I may need to tweak just a bit, but overall, I'm pretty happy with the way they look. I'm thinking that I have at least 27 more to do, if not more, before I set them up as brushes (or tubes in the case of my archaic version of Paint Shop Pro) and start working them into the map, so I'm figuring I have a few more days worth of work ahead of me just in setting up the mountains. Once those are laid in, I'll start working on the more unique mountains (i.e. multiple peaks, plateaus, cliffs, and so on). Same basic process, I think, but maybe a few extra steps to get the right look. I think the fundamental process will also work with hills, and possibly even forested lands. I'll have to work the shading differently, and, perhaps, the render, but I'm confident that it shouldn't be too difficult to get what I'm looking for.

    GW
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The Western Kingdoms - by Greason Wolfe-sample-mountains.jpg  
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      Caenwyr is offline
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    I love this! Curious to see how this'll work out!
    Come pay me a visit on my blog!

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      Ilanthar is offline
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    Wow, impressive mountains!

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    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    So I spent my evening tweaking the erosion process in Wilbur and the rendering process in Terragen in an effort to get just a little more out of these mountains. A lot of results got discarded, but I hit on 3 that, IMHO are pretty decent. At this point, I'm leaning towards the second or third of these results, but thought I would toss them up here to see what others think. I might need to do a little additional tweaking in the rendering process, but these are pretty darn close to what I've been aiming for in the long run.

    The only real difference between the three of them is the number of times I ran fluvial erosion (precipiton in Wilbur) over the mountain before sending it to Terragen. The left most mountain got 15 passes, the center got 10 passes and the right most got 5 passes. I've come to the conclusion that anything more than 15 passes washes away too many little details that give the mountains character, leaving behind something more cone-like than mountain-like.

    Thoughts? Comments? I'm always open to suggestions.

    GW
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The Western Kingdoms - by Greason Wolfe-sample-mountains-02.jpg  
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    When nothing is going right and you can't find someone else to blame, start beating your head against the wall, 'cause it'll feel so much better when you stop.

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