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Thread: WiP: Elsir Vale Region

  1. #1
    Guild Apprentice Joshua_101's Avatar
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    Wip WiP: Elsir Vale Region

    Here's another shot at the very first map I post. It's based on a D&D 3.5e module called Red Hand of Doom but modified to fit into my homebrew world of Dezoria.

    I used Photoshop CS2 to create this map with great help from Pyrandon's tutorial and AidyBaby's Gullside Tutorial. Any suggestions? I think my mountains need some work... Does anybody have some suggestions for drawing river sources as they flow from the mountains?
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    Joshua
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    Guild Artisan su_liam's Avatar
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    I assume you have an underlying heightmap for this which you then use the lighting effects filter to make mountains of? You could try making the rivers dig canyons into the heightmap. Use a somewhat weak smudge brush to drag the lower elevations up from the ocean. The stronger the smudge brush the deeper and more extreme the canyons. I haven't tried this exactly but it just struck me as a good idea. I'll have to try that after the inlaws leave.

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    Community Leader pyrandon's Avatar
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    Joshua, this is a neat map! I agree with the others (and you) that the mountains need some work. They are nifty, but seem too soft and billowy to be "mountains" per se.

    There are also two odd qualities I see in this image:

    1. The focus appears close-up with the mountain/hills and forests, and yet too distant for the coasts & water. The former are too detailed and the latter are too stylized/general. The result is a discord in the visual effect.

    2. Related to #1 above, the mountains and trees are photorealistic, while the waters, coasts, and grasslands are artistic. Again, the effect is a bit jarring.

    I hope this helps at least identify some areas to play with. I really like the map & I hope you keep working on it!!
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    Guild Apprentice Joshua_101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrandon View Post
    J
    1. The focus appears close-up with the mountain/hills and forests, and yet too distant for the coasts & water. The former are too detailed and the latter are too stylized/general. The result is a discord in the visual effect.

    2. Related to #1 above, the mountains and trees are photorealistic, while the waters, coasts, and grasslands are artistic. Again, the effect is a bit jarring.
    Agreed... I used a photo for the pattern fill on the trees, but I applied the Posterize effect on the forests to try and give them a more artistic feel. Maybe I should either use a different fill pattern or apply more filters/effects to make the trees less photo-like.

    Thanks for the input folks! Its really helping to make this map come together.
    Joshua
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    & Amateur Photoshop Cartographer

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    Administrator RobA's Avatar
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    To get the mountains less "pillowy soft", you might try multiplying the heightfield by itself, and adding a bit of value noise to it before using the lighting effect/bump mapping.

    -Rob A>

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    Guild Apprentice Joshua_101's Avatar
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    Wip

    Soooo...

    I carved the rivers into the mountains a little bit more towards their springsources and I like it more than it was before, but its not perfect.

    I increased the heightmap on the mountains to get a harder more "craggy" effect and I also added some height texture to the grasslands. I really like this effect and with some more work I think I can perfect it.

    What I did was draw some feint lighter greens and feint darker greens to get highs and lows in the grasslands then I copied that into a new alpha channel. I applied the Ink Outlines filter from the Brush Strokes filter menu to that alpha channel then blurred it out a bit to soften it. Then I went back to the grasslands layer and applied the Lighting Effects with that alpha channel I just created and made sure it wasn't very mountainous.

    So now I need some opinions and tips again! Does anybody have any ideas for my roads? The red roads were created by the Imperial Legions (in the ancient Roman method) and the dashed roads are more like cart paths that have just been worn down over the centuries. I don't wanna just keep them the way they are, but I'd like to somehow "imprint" the roads into the land.

    Also, I'd like to depict farmland different from the grasslands... any ideas? The black dots are villages and the black dots with red circles are larger towns & cities. The farmland would be concentrated among the closer southern towns.
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    Last edited by Joshua_101; 11-09-2007 at 02:24 PM. Reason: forgot to attach map
    Joshua
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    Administrator RobA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua_101 View Post
    I don't wanna just keep them the way they are, but I'd like to somehow "imprint" the roads into the land.
    Since you are adept a bump maps, just create a bump map source of all white roads on a black background, then apply it to a 50% grey layer.

    You can use the result in overlay mode and just adjust the transparency to change the intensity of the effect.

    -Rob A>

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    Community Leader RPMiller's Avatar
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    You may also get some inspiration by looking in this thread:
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=992

    Your work has a very similar 'feel' to his although his method of creation is different.
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  10. #10
    Guild Apprentice Joshua_101's Avatar
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    Map

    Okay so I tried some different techniques for the roads and decided to just draw a layer with brown roads, drop the transparency a little, and add a slight pillow emboss to it.

    I put some detail and flow pattern into the rivers using the smudge tool and then I added the labels.

    I am kinda concerned about the map looking too cluttered with all the labels right now. Any opinions on how I can keep the labels (so my players can say "I wanna go to Marthton following the Kingsway") but make them look not so messy?

    And I'm still not sure how I'm gonna do the farmlands...
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    Joshua
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