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Thread: The Blackwood, A Folkloric Mini Setting

  1. #1

    Map The Blackwood, A Folkloric Mini Setting (WIP)

    Hey all! This is my first time uploading a map to the forums. I've been mapping for a year or so now, but I hadn't uploaded anything so far because I'd just been following tutorials. This is the first time I decided to fly solo (though I found excellent help from StarRaven's brushpack!), and I'm very pleased with the results.

    I had started a thread elsewhere on the forums asking for help with how to orient the map. Lots of medieval maps were oriented with East at the top, and I thought about doing the same thing for mine. In the end, I decided on a north orientation, and after a fruitless search for a good brush online, I decided not to include a compass. Again, most maps from the relevant time period (1200s CE) that I saw didn't have a compass rose anyway, so it's no biggie.

    This setting is inspired heavily by German folklore, with a sprinkling of Chinese Wuxia to keep the flavor from being too bland. Normally my maps have been basically "satellite" renders, and--as you can tell--this is a much more hand-drawn piece. Any criticism or comments are definitely welcome!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Blackwood Regional 01 - Stag and Dragon.jpg 
Views:	167 
Size:	4.23 MB 
ID:	42230
    Last edited by ThatGuyEli; 02-18-2012 at 02:02 AM.

  2. #2
    Community Leader Gracious Donor Jaxilon's Avatar
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    I think it looks good...I bonk thee with my mighty rep-hammer.
    “When it’s over and you look in the mirror, did you do the best that you were capable of? If so, the score does not matter. But if you find that you did your best you were capable of, you will find it to your liking.” -John Wooden

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  3. #3
    Community Leader Gracious Donor Lukc's Avatar
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    I think it looks fantastic! Really something out of a Schwarzwald fairy tale!

    My only warning would be about the red on green - I'm boring like that sometimes - but it could be an issue for people with color-blindness (like me!) ... although you use red in big enough patches that it still functions.

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    Professional Artist Gracious Donor Sapiento's Avatar
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    Fine mix of ideas!

  5. #5
    Guild Artisan Eilathen's Avatar
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    Wow, cool map. I want to start roleplaying in that setting right away
    Very nice trees and mountains! Are these all from the starraven brushpack? Care to point me to that particular brushpack?
    And have some rep.!
    I'm trapped in Darkness,
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  6. #6
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    What's WIP about this? Looks pretty durned finished to me Although, to be honest, the river shorelines look a smidge pixelated compared to the hand drawn feel of everything else. Maybe you could put a slight blur on the rivers' edges, just to soften things up a touch.

    Still, excellent work.
    Last edited by the-golem; 02-14-2012 at 02:55 PM. Reason: Spelling fail.

  7. #7

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    Thanks everyone! Lukc, potential issues with red on green was something I hadn't thought about! I tried to think about what kind of colors would have been available in the 1200s, and it seemed like red was a pretty popular choice. Whoops!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eilathen View Post
    Wow, cool map. I want to start roleplaying in that setting right away
    Very nice trees and mountains! Are these all from the starraven brushpack? Care to point me to that particular brushpack?
    And have some rep.!
    Thanks! I may not ever run a campaign online, but if I do it will be over at the Giant in the Playground forums.

    Here's a link to the StarRaven brushpack. I didn't know about it when I made this map, but there's a high-res update for all the town brushes, too!

    Quote Originally Posted by the-golem
    What's WIP about this? Looks pretty durned finished to me Although, to be honest, the river shorelines look a smidge pixelated compared to the hand drawn feel of everything else. Maybe you could put a slight blur on the rivers' edges, just to soften things up a tough
    The "WIP" part is basically to indicate that I haven't labeled everything yet. I'd like to label all the rivers and lakes, but I don't know what I want to call them!

    Thanks for the tip on the rivers. That makes a lot of sense. I'll probably have an updated file uploaded by this afternoon.

  8. #8
    Professional Artist Facebook Connected Coyotemax's Avatar
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    I find the text and the masking/outlining around the text to be a bit sharp compared to the rest. (unlike many others I have no problem with the red text and i think it actually works nicely in this context). It might be worth considering feathering/blurring just a tad to make it consistent with the drawn elements.

    that having been said, i really like it. Please tell me you used the forest generator and didn't place all those trees individually

    if you wanted to go really nuts (it's tedious but well worth the effort) there are a few spots on some rivers where the trees cut off halfway through (it is subtle but once you see it you can't unsee it lol). masking the river when it flows behind/under the trees can really help with the illusion of depth too. Hard to explain, i can point you to some examples if you don't follow.

    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

  9. #9
    Community Leader Gracious Donor Lukc's Avatar
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    Oh, in the middle ages they wouldn't have cared about us color-blind folks they'd have slapped red on green and ignored us.

  10. #10

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    Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I incorporated your changes. What do you think?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Map 02b Fuzzy.jpg 
Views:	74 
Size:	4.20 MB 
ID:	42277

    @the-golem, the rivers looked pixelated because I had a small, darker blue stroke on them. It was intended to make them look painted on, and blurring it just aggravated the stroke into a big, dark mess. Instead, I made the stroke a much light blue, and I think it worked.

    @Coyotemax, I noticed that too, and it bothered me. I spent about an hour looking for a good Gothic font that looked like it could have been written by a careful hand, and in the end it was just a little too well-defined. I'm blurred everything just a touch. Has it improved?

    Thanks to everyone for being a fresh group of eyes. It's hard for me to notice little things like this after a dozen hours or so.

    ::EDIT:: Coyotemax, I sort of placed the trees individually. The brush pack I used came with these really cool puzzle piece stamps with a whole section of trees, but I still had to place a lot of individual trees to make everything blend together the way I wanted. All in all, it took MUCH less time than you're thinking.
    Last edited by ThatGuyEli; 02-14-2012 at 06:38 PM.

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