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Thread: Kelthas, Coastal Desert City

  1. #1

    Map Kelthas, Coastal Desert City

    Hi, all! My first post here, but I relied so heavily on assorted tutorials from the Cartographer's Guild forums for this one, I thought it appropriate to post the result.

    So, here is Kelthas:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The whole thing was done in Photoshop, except I made the basic road shapes and fortifications in Inkscape, then used the SVG to generate a black-and-white mask for use in Photoshop.

    I used Kindari's revison of Ascension's atlas style tutorial to create the basic land shape, altering the color gradients to get an all-desert palette and skipping the stuff past the basic land/sea creation.

    The buildings I made using Jonathan Roberts' tutorial on drawing buildings with dynamic Photoshop brushes, with the addition of some layer styles to add depth (bevel) and texture (pattern overlay). I'd just like to say that this particular technique is MAGIC. I know that drawing buildings in by hand yields much nicer results -- but holy cow, I have other things I want to do with my life. This gets some basic building shapes into place fast.

    Lastly, for vegetation I relied on some advice from Hugo Solis in his workflow on Saventh Yhi thread, basically adding a slightly textured green to the vegetated areas, with scattered leaf brushes over top, then a bevel style on the leaves to make them a little more tree-ish. I'll confess, the vegetation in particular was a rush job, since I have to GM using this map tomorrow afternoon, and won't have time to work on it further between then and now.

    The great big lady-shape in the middle is a cathedral of Sarenrae. I should add that the holy symbol of Sarenrae I've used here is a fan-made work by Hugo Solis, the original of which may be found on his DeviantArt account. I double-checked with him via DeviantArt private message to see if it was okay to use it, and he doesn't mind as long as it's non-commercial. In order to rescale it, I traced it in Inkscape to an SVG (just using the automatic tracing routines, not manually) and tweaked it a bit, then pasted an exported bitmap into Photoshop as a mask.

    I also used some textures from for the roofs.

    I've made a number of maps previously, but they were all combat-scale -- individual buildings and small areas -- with one exception, a town map which was, um, substantially worse than this. Overall I'm reasonably pleased with Kelthas. It will serve the purpose I need it for! I hope somebody else finds it useful. If anyone wants a version with a more generic building in place of the Sarenrae cathedral, let me know and I'll post one.

    Also, am I supposed to upload a copy via the CG file attachment system, or can I just leave it linked to the copy on my domain? Either way is fine.
    Last edited by wdmartin; 02-03-2014 at 09:16 PM. Reason: adding an attachment

  2. #2
    Community Leader Guild Sponsor arsheesh's Avatar
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    Oct 2009


    First off, welcome to the Guild wdmartin! Second, nice job on the map. I think you might be able to find a better texture for the roofs though (this one is a bit of an eye sore). As to your question, it's generally best to upload a picture via the attachment system. In fact, your post was caught up in the moderation queue because, as a new member, you had several links in your post, which sometimes is an indication of spam. It's been moderated now and should be visible to everyone.


  3. #3


    Thanks! I'll attach a copy to the post once I've finished this quick reply.

    That's a good criticism about the roofs. I just grabbed some roof textures from because I was in a hurry. But as it happens, I just finished the GM'ing session in which I expected to use this map, and due to unforeseen complications, my player didn't actually make it to Kelthas. So I have time for revision! I'll look into updating the roof textures with something less grainy.

  4. #4
    Guild Expert Jalyha's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
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    Oh i like this one

    The cathedral is very unusual
    Have you "liked" a post today?

  5. #5


    I know this sub-forum is for finished maps, and when I started this thread I really thought it WAS finished. "Surely there's no way the party can avoid reaching Kelthas this session," I thought. But they managed.

    So here is a revision to address the unpleasant interference-lines of the roof textures.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Originally I was using a pattern overlay of two roof textures from -- one slate roof, and one ceramic tile roof. In order to match the scale of the map, they had to be sized waaaaay down, leading to those jarring lines in the textures.

    In this revision, I removed the pattern overlay. Instead, I flood-filled each of the two roof layers with an appropriate color (#C36C3E for the tile roofs, #605D57 for the slate roofs). The basic square-ish shapes of the house exist on the layer mask. They get their peaks from a bevel layer style (soft chisel, iirc). And to make them a little less monochromatic, I used the Add Noise filter on both layers to add 4% gaussian noise, monochromatic.

    And now I am really and truly done with it, because there are OTHER maps that need making.

    EDIT: Oh, and thanks for the compliment, Jalyha. I used Sarenrae's holy symbol because genuine medieval churches were designed to resemble crosses. It makes sense to extend that design choice to the imaginary religions of gaming.
    Last edited by wdmartin; 02-04-2014 at 07:18 PM. Reason: spelling correction

  6. #6

  7. #7
    Community Leader Guild Donor Bogie's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
    Maine, USA


    Welcome to the Guild WD. I agree, the roof texture is much better. Nice work!

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