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Thread: Advice on improving

  1. #1

    Post Advice on improving

    Hello All,
    Looking to improve or acquire some new techniques.

    Although I'm generally satisfied with how things turned out I'd like to work on improving the following:

    1. I'd like for the "ground" to look a little more realistic. I usually apply the noise filter and do some shade rendering but it looks to uniform.

    2. I want to make my buildings a little more weathered, they look to clean.

    3. I also want to add some agricultural elements like cornfields and rice paddies.

    4. I think a swamp might be in order as well.

    5. I've come a long way in making my trees/forest. Any improvements would be welcome. I use a wet brush and then apply some noise, layer effects like drop down shadows, and some light rendering.

    This particular map is based off the Operation Ivory Coast the raid on the Son Tay POW camp in N. Vietnam. The map was created using Photoshop CS4.
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  2. #2
    Professional Artist Facebook Connected Coyotemax's Avatar
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    First off, let me say that your trees look absolutely perfect to me.

    For the ground layer, have you considered doing actual ground textures? There are some very good ones out there that would help break up the smoothness. The colour is pretty uniform, I think that's what's standing out to me - right now everything looks like a well manicured lawn (who do you have maintainign that? do you have a card? the lawn outside my house could definitely use this treatment! lol). you could create another layer overtop, render clouds on that with 1 shade green, 1 shade brown then set that to overlay or something similar, that would add some randomness for you.

    For the sawmp, you could create another layer, do the same thing only use a few blue tinted areas, and just paint over the areas you want to look swampy - and maybe adjust the trees a bit.

    For fields and roofs and such, you might actually want to check out Ascension's city building tutorial, it has a few good pointers for that. In particular, for the fields..
    It's a bit long for pasting, but you want steps 131/132. There's some good pointers in there overall for a map like this that you can warp to your own ends.

    I'll look for the link. This might take awhile

    [edit - or not!]
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=6536
    Last edited by Coyotemax; 09-01-2009 at 09:26 AM.

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

  3. #3
    Community Leader NeonKnight's Avatar
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    biggest thing for me is....The buildings are all perfectly aligned NSEW. They should be a little more scattered.
    Daniel the Neon Knight: Campaign Cartographer User

    Never use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice!

    Any questions on CC3? Post them with CC3 in the Subject Line!
    MY 'FAMOUS' CC3 MAPS: Thunderspire; Pyramid of Shadows; King of the Trollhaunt Warrens; Demon Queen's Enclave

  4. #4

    Post

    Guys great feedback!

    Manicured lawn, that's a great way to describe it.

    Will add some randomness to the building layout. Think I'm going to get rid of the green buildings, or adjust the colors a bit.

  5. #5
    Guild Adept Alfar's Avatar
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    Oh, while you're at it with the houses, I think it looks rather odd that some houses have the shady side north and some have it south. That's not normally how lighting works

    And some lighting on the trees (highlight the sunny side, darken the shadow side) might be good too.

  6. #6
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    It's a nice map...here are a couple of suggestions (do with them as you will).

    1. Apply a pattern overlay to your buildings (as an additional option to CoyoteMax's suggestion)
    2. Try putting a slight blur on the elevations of your hills, it will help to diminish the 'stepped' look the currently have (unless that's the look you want)
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.



  7. #7

    Post

    Quote Originally Posted by Steel General View Post
    It's a nice map...here are a couple of suggestions (do with them as you will).

    1. Try putting a slight blur on the elevations of your hills, it will help to diminish the 'stepped' look the currently have (unless that's the look you want)
    I actually need the elevation lines. This is a training map, so my students need to see the elevation breaks.

    I will try your first suggestion.

  8. #8

    Post

    Quote Originally Posted by Steel General View Post
    It's a nice map...here are a couple of suggestions (do with them as you will).

    1. Apply a pattern overlay to your buildings (as an additional option to CoyoteMax's suggestion)
    2. Try putting a slight blur on the elevations of your hills, it will help to diminish the 'stepped' look the currently have (unless that's the look you want)
    Probably sounds stupid but I have no idea how to apply a pattern overlay.

    Believe it or not a lot of what I learned has been by accident, and trial and error.

  9. #9
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Not stupid at all - A pattern overlay is a layer style...

    1) Double-click on the layer in the layer 'stack'
    2) The 'Layer Style' window should appear
    3) Click the Pattern Overlay style so that it is highlighted
    4) Select the pattern you wish to use, make any changed to the blend modes (you'll need to experiment)
    5) Click "OK"

    That's all there is to it.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.



  10. #10

    Post

    Thanks!

    In the last hour I've learned a few simple techniques that have made my maps significantly better.

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