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Thread: Westcrown - After-the-Fact WIP

  1. #11
      Ashenvale is offline
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    Wip

    Here it gets fun. Understand that all layers I'd created so far were black lines or words on transparent fields or, in the case of the water level, a translucent gray through which we could see anything underneath.

    I opened one of my many existing files of "old parchment," saving it as a new file. I then dragged all of the layers of my B&W map over to the new parchment file.

    (Hint: to copy multiple layers from one file to another without having them splay out of orientation to each other when you paste them in the new file, don't copy them one-by-one. Hell, don't "copy" them at all! Drag them.

    Open both files side by side on your screen. Go to the Layers Palette of the file whose layers you want to copy over. (If it's not open, click Window/Layers.)

    Next, select ALL of the layers you want to copy over. To do this, first move the layers up or down in the Layers Palette (by clicking and dragging them up and down across the Palette's drop-down window) until all of the layers that you want to copy to the other file are oriented on top of each other in the Layers Palette. When they're all together in a stack, click on the top layer in the Layers Palette you want to copy. Hold the Shift key down and click on the lowest layer in the Layers Palette you want to copy. This will select (highlight in blue) the entire block of layers for transfer.

    Now just click on any one of the selected layers and drag your cursor over to the open window showing the OTHER file into which you want to copy them. Release the clicker. The dragged layers will drop into the OTHER file. Once dropped, they remain all selected (and thus move together) in the other file, so you can use the Move Tool from the toolbox to slide the set of layers around to where you want them.

    Note that, at any time, you can Link any layers together with the Link icon that looks like a three chain links at the bottom of the Layers Palette. This locks them together with respect to their position in the picture plane. Once linked, if you move one layer, all layers linked too it also move. I usually link layers I'm dragging into another document before I drag them to the new file. You can unlink them after you drag, drop, and orient them.)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Westcrown - After-the-Fact WIP-westcrown-b-w-03.jpg  
    Last edited by Ashenvale; 09-06-2009 at 02:34 AM.

  2. #12
      Ashenvale is offline
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    Next I started getting funky and added a scroll.

    I created the paper rolls out of rectangles copied from the parchment layer. To color and shade these rectangles, I mostly used the Quick Mask tool and Gradient Tool to make graded selections, and then adjusting the graded rectangles with Image/Adjustments/Hue-Saturation, Image/Adjustments/Color Balance, and Image/Adjustments/Brightness Contrast. I added some colors and shadows directly with the Brush Tool set to a low opacity. I then warped the edges of the rectangles using Edit/Transform/Warp to make them look like bulging cylinders.

    I photographed the tops of the spindles on our four-poster bed, opened the photo in Photoshop, selected and copied the spindle tops, sized them, and pasted them behind the scroll roll layers.

    I created a simple background layer grading from a blue gray with hints if purple at the top left to a teal gray at the bottom right and added texture with Filter/Texture/Texturizer, selecting the Sandstone filter.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Westcrown - After-the-Fact WIP-westcrown-b-w-04.jpg  
    Last edited by Ashenvale; 09-05-2009 at 10:20 PM.

  3. #13
      Ashenvale is offline
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    Wip

    I then tilted and zoomed in on the image, reaching what I hoped was my final B&W version.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Westcrown - After-the-Fact WIP-westcrown-b-w-06.jpg  

  4. #14
      Ashenvale is offline
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    Wip What I Initially Sent to Paizo

    So here are the two files that I originally sent to Paizo. I hoped they showed some of my versatility. I asked Wes which he preferred, hoping my job was done.

    No such luck.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Westcrown - After-the-Fact WIP-westcrown-color-final.jpg   Westcrown - After-the-Fact WIP-westcrown-b-w-06.jpg  
    Last edited by Ashenvale; 09-06-2009 at 02:34 AM.

  5. #15
      Ashenvale is offline
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    Gracious as ever, Wes thanked me for both and asked for a close up of the B&W version without the scroll, which he said looked too muc like a player handout.

    (He was right, of course. He could have added that the scroll was hackneyed, cheesy, and not all that well done, but he has too much class for that.)

    I asked if Paizo would distress the edges of the map like they often do for published adventures. He said maybe, and I offered to do it for them. He suggested sending distressed-edge versions along with a plain one, if I wished.

    Off to the races again!

    I went back to the manuscript to check everything before creating my new finals and realized I had a mileage problem. In essence, I needed to zoom in more to keep the waterfalls and their adjacent towns relative to each other. And I needed to draw in hills. I did so, creating a new base map with no edge distressing (the first one below, image 07). I drew in a mileage scale. I lightened some of the name tags, leaving in black only the names of locations described in depth in the manuscript, to draw attention to those highlighted sites. I lightened the coastal outline under the cliff tags to make those tags more legible. I found the symbol for Cheliax in the Campaign Setting and drew it into the compass rose.

    Then I mocked up these two extra versions with distressed edges, wrinkles, and dropped shadows. (Note that these were created against transparent backgrounds, not white, so Paizo could drop any one on top of whatever page color it chose. I put them on white here merely for convenience's sake.)

    I sent them all to Wes.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Westcrown - After-the-Fact WIP-westcrown-b-w-07.jpg   Westcrown - After-the-Fact WIP-westcrown-b-w-08.jpg   Westcrown - After-the-Fact WIP-westcrown-b-w-09.jpg  
    Last edited by Ashenvale; 09-05-2009 at 11:07 PM.

  6. #16
      Ashenvale is offline
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    Wip

    He liked the simple version.

    I went back and eliminated the Cheliax symbol behind inside the compass rose because, with fresh eyes, I found it distracting. I balanced out the contrast.

    And here's the true final map (copyright 2009 by Edward J. Reed, all rights reserved).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Westcrown - After-the-Fact WIP-westcrown-b-w-final.jpg  
    Last edited by Ashenvale; 09-06-2009 at 02:47 AM.

  7. #17
      Ashenvale is offline
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    Wes loved it. It proved to be a great follow-up for me to my adventure manuscript.

    What did I learn?

    Keep it simple. Keep it clear. Keep it clean.

    The elegance of black and white can be more engaging than all the colors on the palette.

    Ripped edges, scrolls, dropped shadows, and the like have been done so often that we'd better do them extraordinarily well, or find a way to make them original, or they'll just look cheesy to experienced eyes. Experienced editors look for the quality of the map itself, not its packaging. Even if done well, goofy edges are more appropriate for maps intended to be player handouts than for GM maps or maps in a book.

    Do use job offers to show versitility. But don't offer multiple options unless you're sure you can complete them all by deadline. (I did, but it was too close!)

    Although we must always remain professional (no stupid jokes!), make sure editors see our fun and our passion for our work! Passion is infectious, and those who share our passion will respond to us.
    Last edited by Ashenvale; 09-06-2009 at 02:35 AM.

  8. #18
    Guild Member MysticMagellan's Avatar
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    Great advice and awesome maps. It's good to hear someone in the industry give such a detailed example of the process of creation as it applies to professional publishing. I look forward to more of your posts and insights.

    On a side note, I looked through your portfolio website and noticed the Wolf Nomads and Cold Marshes maps you did and realized I used them in one of my games a while back to great success.

  9. #19
      Gandwarf is offline
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    Hmm... I kinda liked the "scrolly" versions though. Especially the last version you did, on the crumpled and torn paper.
    Check out my City Designer 3 tutorials. See my fantasy (city) maps in this thread.

    Gandwarf has fallen into shadow...

  10. #20
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Cool stuff...thanks for sharing.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    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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