I've decided that my other WIP (Goat island) will be, when finished, the locale of the Council building (very temple/monastery-ish) for the rulers of my novel.

My problem is... height.

Height's never been an issue for me. I paint the world from the horizon... everything flows to the center of the page, and high things are above you.

So.. height with a top-down view is hard. Shadows fall differently. Nothing is above or below the horizon, because there is no horizon. My temple is built, like many buildings, in different stories.. each higher than the last.

My experiment with layers of shadows on my lite challenge project did not turn out very well. I want this to be better.

I tried the creating a medieval city with gimp mosaics tutorial, and it showed me a little about bump maps, and the dodge/burn tools creating light and shadow, which is a big help.

But I still don't know much about GIMP, or its' tools... and digital painting is an entirely different matter than physical painting... the brushes and colors don't work the same. You need 30-step tutorials to show you how to do something that takes ten seconds with a brush and oils.

It's very frustrating. So this thread will probably be a lot of trial and error.

I'm starting, for accuracy's sake, with a highly cobbled-together rough outline based on 1) Specific examples of medieval/byzantine/roman/greek architectural examples and 2) My own needs, story-wise.

There will be other buildings outside this main building, but I want to take it one step at a time.

Okay so... here's the rough outline:

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There's no order to the color variation... I just didn't want two veery different heights touching. in general, the building gets higher to the north, and lower to the south (and away from the central, longer part of the building, to the sides. In general, domes (the round ones ) will be higher than whatever they are sitting on.

And in general, with concentric, or semi concentric areas, the center will be higher than the rest.

Now I just have to figure out a way to make that look plausible...

If anyone knows how, please do share.