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Thread: Vallee Mystique : Rivermania Challenge

  1. #1
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Wip Vallee Mystique : Rivermania Challenge

    As those of you following the Monthly Challenge Threads may already know, my efforts towards the March Challenge (Rivermania) were side lined due to a conflaguration of family emergencies that consumed the bulk of my attention and time near the challenge deadline. This was a disappointing thing for me as I was rather enjoying the challenge for both the nature of the challenge and the opportunity to explore styles and techniques that I'd never used before or hadn't used in such a long time that they might as well have been new to me. Fortunately, these emergencies have finally passed and, as promised, I am back to work on this challenge so to speak.

    I can't say exactly what it was about this challenge that inspired me, but it most certainly did. That's always been one of my problems. Brief inspiration that seems to fade as I get closer to finishing a map. That hasn't been the case with this map, however. In fact, with each step forward, I've become more inspired and more determined to finish this map. Although it will be far too late to include it as an entry for the March Challenge, I have every intention of posting the finished product (as well as the rough drafts leading up to it) here in the WIP forum as well as in the Finished Maps Forum.

    One of the good things that has come out of this is the fact that I've been able to take a couple steps back and re-approach this map from a more logical point of view. One of the things this called for was a slight restructuring of the base textures I was using. I wanted a little more variation from land to sea as well as in the rivers. With that in mind, while keeping the same basic land texture, I re-approached the sea/lake texture and decided to expand a bit on the shallow areas along some portions of the coast. The end result is shown below.

    With a bit more time to work on this now and, hopefully, all the family emergencies settled, I'm hoping to make some steady progress on this, but I won't promise anything given the nature of the last few months for me and mine.

    Hope everyone enjoys and, as always comments, criticisms and suggestions are always welcome.

    GW
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Vallee Mystique : Rivermania Challenge-vm-version-1_0_0.jpg  
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  2. #2
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Wooohooo. Finally, I get to spend some of my vacation time! That means that I might actually accomplish something over the next week or two. Who'd have ever thunk it?

    Anyways, I've been fiddling with my procedures for creating hills and mountains, trying to tweak them just a little bit to give a better impression of depth and elevation. I've also been tweaking the coloring just a tiny bit as well to make sure everything will be visible. With those being ongoing processes until I am happy with them, I still wanted to make a bit of progress. To that end, I re-laid the base rivers from the template and finally settled on a scale for the map as a whole.

    The more I looked at this map (and my rough hand-drawn versions of it), the more I kept thinking that I wanted it to be extremely detailed in the sense of being able to identify even the smallest of creeks and streams. The problem with that kind of extreme detail is that it limits the "working area" in ways that can, at times, make it difficult to detail some of the larger features. That'll mean a bit more tweaking with the other procedures, but I'm getting closer and closer to what I am looking for. In the meantime, here's the brief update that includes the template rivers, scale, compass rose and main map label. Hope to be able to lay in the beaches and their associated dunes sometime today or perhaps tomorrow.

    GW
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      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Glad your keeping on with this. I am a bit concerned about your scale though. With the whole thing only being 8~ or so across, that does not give a lot of room for tons of mountains and rivers. Of course, this statement is under the assumption that you are keeping with the original challenge guidelines and not just using the template cause you liked the shape. In either case, this would make a really nice little isthmus connecting two landmasses.... or part of peninsula.

    I am looking forward to seeing how you develop this as so far, it looks nice(perhaps using the tutorial Torstan just posted to make your mountains?).
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    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    Glad your keeping on with this. I am a bit concerned about your scale though. With the whole thing only being 8~ or so across, that does not give a lot of room for tons of mountains and rivers. Of course, this statement is under the assumption that you are keeping with the original challenge guidelines and not just using the template cause you liked the shape.
    Ah, I meant to explain that in a bit more detail. Since most of the inspiration for this is coming from the very local area in which I grew up, that scale (which is actually 10 by 10) will work very nicely to create a multitude of small creeks and streams, some of them no more than 10 to 20 feet wide and will also give me room to drop in buildings and roads with greater detail. What makes this work is the fact that the area where I grew up has a lot of small mountains and a ton of rainfall every year. The end result is quite a few small lakes and ponds as well as dozens upon dozens of creeks and streams, most of which would never be seen on a larger map. It's also one of those areas that, at times, seems to defy the laws of lakes having only one discharge, though that is more a matter of two or three mounds at a wide point of discharge with all the little streams and creeks eventually joining into a single flow. In other words, lots of areas at or below sea level. Not sure if I will be able to simulate that as accurately as I would like, but I'm gonna give it my best shot.

    In either case, this would make a really nice little isthmus connecting two landmasses.... or part of peninsula.
    My thoughts exactly and, once this portion is done, I might actually try to expand the edges a little bit to see where things go. One thought I had was that the "sea" on the right side of the template might actually be a rather large lake while the other "lakes" are more pond-like, but whether or not I go that route will depend on my final scaling.

    I am looking forward to seeing how you develop this as so far, it looks nice(perhaps using the tutorial Torstan just posted to make your mountains?).
    Sadly, I won't be using Torstan's tutorial unless I make a 100 percent commitment to a GIMP conversion. Currently I'm developing this in an ancient version of Paintshop Pro that doesn't allow for bump mapping. Eventually, I will probably go back and re-create it in GIMP as well, or possibly Terragen (with a little Wilbur mixed in). For the most part, I am testing the limits of this older version of PSP just to see how far I can develop things before getting totally frustrated with it.

    GW

    PS BTW, I did very much like the template and the challenge. I just wish things hadn't gone whacky in the real world and kept me from completing the challenge.
    Last edited by Greason Wolfe; 04-03-2009 at 08:47 PM. Reason: Better Explanation
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    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    A small update here. Mostly experimenting with the beach and dune appearances. I'm close, I think, but I also think it could be a bit better, just gotta find the right blend mode and opacity levels, then toss in a bit of vegetation to give it more flavor so to speak. One thing I am thinking is that I might need to give the sand a bit more color, possibly a stronger differential between wet and dry sand. Another thought is to add a bit of a motion blur to the dunes to give them more of a wind swept look. (Better write myself a note about that) And I'm also thinking that this ancient version of PSP is starting to get fussy with me, but I'm a gonna whip it in to shape one way or another.

    Suggestions are more than welcome.

    GW
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    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Spent a little bit of time twiddling things this morning. I'm still not 100 percent sure about how the dunes/beach area I've been working with, but I did run a little motion blur over the area to get a more rolling look to them. As for the streams, they are probably going to be re-routed a bit just to add a bit more of a meandering feel to them.

    Comments or suggestions?

    GW
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Vallee Mystique : Rivermania Challenge-vm-version-1_0_2_b.jpg  
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      Ascension is offline
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    Just a "so far so good" from me until there's more to see.
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    Will hold off on commenting, 'til I see a bit more. But definitely shaping up nicely.
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  9. #9
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    Thanks.

    It's going to be a couple of days before I get another update ready as I am strongly considering jfrazier's input about the scale of things. I was struck by an idea this morning as I was eating breakfast, but to implement it, not only will I have to change the scale, but I will likely also have to extrapolate areas beyond the edges of the template. If it works out right, the end result should make for a rather interesting map that still meets the general rules of geography as we know them.

    GW
    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.

  10. #10
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    So I took a few days and actually spent some time on vacation, just getting away from home and what not. One of the things I did was take some time to visit a couple of wolf sanctuaries along the Oregon coast and in southern Oregon. Have to say that it was well worth all the driving to have a chance to get to know a few of my favorite furry totems. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures as I forgot to bring my camera. Still, it was very relaxing for me. Now, however, I'm back, and back to work on this project.

    Now that I'm mostly happy with the way the dunes and/or beach areas are starting to turn out, I decided to refine my mountain techniques. Well, at least I'm trying to refine them a bit. I'm also reconsidering my scale (as mentioned in a previous post). With PSP 6.00 being as limited as it is, I'm struggling a bit with the layer effects I'm using, but, again, I think I'm getting close. The big thing is going to be getting the mountains to look natural in the sense of how they're laid out as opposed to having them look too "planned." I'll probably have to add a little roughness beneath them to get them to blend in better, but that will depend mostly on how the vegetation process works out. In any event, comments and suggestions are still more than welcome.

    GW
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Vallee Mystique : Rivermania Challenge-vm-version-1_0_3a.jpg  
    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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