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Thread: The Witchmarket

  1. #1

    Wip The Witchmarket

    Hey Everyone, I've got a work in progress here for a site in the Pathfinder game world called the Witchmarket.

    A quick summary of the Witchmarket:
    The Witchmarket is a small company of fey merchants and scoundrels from the First World who travel to Golarion through gaps between the planes to sell their wares to the unwary and the desperate.
    They sell all kinds of weird and wonderful items—from love potions and magic beans, to replicas of long lost items created by reading the buyer's mind. Their prices are equally strange—a year of life, a kiss, childhood memories—and at first the buyer may feel he has got quite a bargain...
    The market is run by Aggys, the Crone in the Cart.

    Current thoughts:
    I feel like this map might be a little too "city-like" for the Witchmarket, but a group is discussing the place in the forums and so it has expanded quite a bit. I might remove a few of the buildings in favor of tents and caravan wagons, or I might just add those into the spaces between. I also feel like the map is a little to clean, but I'll hold off on dirtying it up for now.

    It is a little saturated compared to normal maps, but that is intentional as the First World is a place of nature gone wild and extreme environments.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, comments, or critiques are welcome.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Guild Artisan madcowchef's Avatar
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    Though I like the style quite well I'm not seeing it as matching up well with whats described. Looks rather established and orderly. The level of compactness is something I associate with having to press into city walls rather than peoples inclination to sprawl out a bit and get some privacy from neighbors. Some of the buildings fit neatly into each other as if it started off as a small rural farming town and then built up leading to alleys and small courtyards. The size speaks of a rather large population, several hundred to a thousand depending on how many of the stalls are operated by only a single person, which doesn't seem quite right. I'm not sure of the intention but it seems more planned and pleasant city than traveling scoundrels and fickle magical creatures putting on the mask of circus like gaiety.

  3. #3
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    With the roofs of the buildings being faceted they end up looking like gems. That's not necessarily a bad thing. You could make the Witchmarket map look like an amulet or piece of jewelry; make it into a decorative map. Or maybe that's not on your list, just a thought.

  4. #4
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    The town looks like it's elevated above the forest. Part of that is simply because it's brighter, but part of it is because of the shadowing along the southern border of the town. It looks like that's a bevel on the forest? It's not quite reading right—it looks a little like a drop shadow being cast from the clearing instead. Maybe if there were a soft dark glow around the edge of the clearing, as though the trees were shadowing the ground that would clear it up.

    Similarly, the brightness of the pathways makes them appear to rise up above the buildings. I think you could safely darken the roads to the same color as the ground surrounding the buildings. They'll still look like roads because there are no buildings on them and they'll have the outline, but if you did want some additional way of distinguishing them, you could do it with a texture like what you're doing with the grassy areas.

    I really like the painterly style, and I think the level of saturation is appropriate for this map. I'm not sure about the contrast in textural quality between the town and the forest. It seems as though the town is too crisp and precise in comparison to the oil-daubed look of the trees. There's obviously some justification for that since the trees aren't the focus of the map, but maybe strengthening whatever effect you're using on the line work would be a good idea. Actually, maybe just reducing the opacity of or otherwise lightening the lines would be sufficient. If they more resembled the border around the roads they might look just right. You may also wish to treat the shadows with the same effect, since they look a little too perfectly blurred to match everything else.

    Speaking of the shadows, there's a technique to make them look more like they're being cast from a building on the ground rather than a drop shadow from something hovering above it. Do a search for directional blur shadows, and you should find some illustrations and/or descriptions of the technique.

    What tools are you using? At a guess, it looks like City Designer 3 with post processing in the Gimp. Maybe Photoshop, but the textural quality looks like Gimp to me.

    I really like where this is going, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it changes when you've got more of that nomadic influence and the lived-in quality you're aiming for.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
    http://www.bryanray.name

  5. #5

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    Thanks everyone for taking some time to make a few comments. This map is built on a layout designed by someone else, and I realize now that it feels too clean and developed. Part of that is the original layout, but the road is too light, the building bevel is too obvious, the colors are a little too vivid, and I missed a layer to deepen the feel of the forest with a custom drop shadow.

    I'm considering taking out half the buildings and replacing them with in a few tents and wagons, then adjust the bevel in the remaining structures (or remove it in favor of another approach), then muddy up the roads.

    Regarding the tools I'm using, this is entirely done in Photoshop CS5.

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