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Thread: WIP: Forests

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

    WIP: Forests-lake-dun-650.png

    Have you ever had one of those maps that started off so clear and easy in your head and then, for some unknown reason, you slam head-first into the brick wall of "It's not working"?

    Yeah - that's me with this map.

    As you can see it's a fairly easy map. I'm just illustrating an inland lake with a major river coming in from the north and a minor river heading out of it to the south. There will be a few settlements around it which I will indicate with some tower icons I used in a previous map.

    Here's my problem(s):

    1. I hate forests now. Caves were so much easier. I could just throw a black layer on, darken it, throw in some highlights and some texture and voila; dirt & rock. Forests, however, never seem to look right. For most of my map work they are simply expressed with "Blobby masses of dark green surrounded with a black border". This is, essentially, my way of expressing the idea of a dense forest (with a lighter green layer around it to show the less dense forests). There HAS to be a better way.

    2. Labeling. I've been reading up on the forums and even found a tutorial from Torstan (his name be praised) about how to add a 'halo' effect behind the letters to pull them off the page. I totally love the look but my problem is positioning. In the above map you'll see that I have one river label on the river itself, and the other is next to it because the text is too large to fit within the boundaries.

    Request:

    Anyone have any handy tutorials or tips for how to render forests without going all three-dimensional, isomorphic and such? I just need a way to render 'dense' forest. I think I've gotten the hang of water and rock (for dungeons least) so I assume that there's got to be a similar technique for making 'green blobby thing' look like woods.

    Any pointers for label positioning?

    Thanks!
    -GP
    Larger copies of my maps located on flickr and can be used for your enjoyment.

  2. #2
      Diamond is offline
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    Have you ever had one of those maps that started off so clear and easy in your head and then, for some unknown reason, you slam head-first into the brick wall of "It's not working"?
    All the f&!*%ing time...

    What software are you using? On most of the vector and raster-based programs, you can arc and warp text to make it fit better. My suggestion on the Red River would be to shrink the text a bit and give it a slight path or arc that would let it fit in there without touching the banks. I'd also give the other river's name a bit of an arc as well, so they match aesthetically.

    I do have a comment about the rivers themselves: Why is there a big river entering the lake, but only a small one exiting? Shouldn't it be the other way around?

    As for forests... can't help ya.
    "I like a look of agony, because I know it's true."

    -Emily Dickinson

  3. #3
      Raptori is offline
    Guild Journeyer Raptori's Avatar
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    I've never attempted anything like that so normally I wouldn't be able to help at all here, but I saw these two tutorials a few days ago and thought they were pretty good:

    On the style and rendering of trees
    How to colour quick trees for RPG maps

    I think style number 1 from the first tutorial used as a repeating texture over the top of what you've got now might look nice, plus the end result of the second tutorial looks awesome so maybe you could do that!

  4. #4
    Guild Journeyer Green-Pilgrim's Avatar
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    I'm on Gimp.

    You do raise a good point about the size of the rivers. The water flows from north (top) to the south (bottom) and I should reverse the sizes or at least make the Red River larger - which will fix the labeling problem.

    Thanks!

    -GP
    Larger copies of my maps located on flickr and can be used for your enjoyment.

  5. #5
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    Something like this? (only do it as layers, not directly to the map, so you can fix overspray and other oopses.)

    WIP: Forests-lake-dun-650-2.png

    If so, I did it in Gimp. Used the default bristles 01, brush, size 25, jitter on at 3.0. I overlayed with the green from the grass, a 63943f medium green, a light pass with the dark green you have already in the woods, and finished with a very light pass of b09433 light brown.

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