Okay, after graduating from the RobA school of regional mapping I have moved on to trying my hand at a city map.
I've got a good start on it but . . . something is not right. First, here is the map so far.
It looks . . . okay. So far there isn't much 'special' about the city, but that is more geopolitical than anything so it really doesn't matter. I'm really pleased with the way the city walls turned out.
Still I'm not satisfied. I think the problem (in part) is that I was going for something more art-like and less photo-realistic. The buildings look good for that but the land is off. I put an embossed overlay in to create the land effect and it really changes the image. But . . . I do want to show the way the city is inbetween two high ridges descending to the sea. If I take the embossed layer out the map has a more artificial feel but looses the important terrain feature.
Well, give me your opinions folks. I could use some feedback.
Techniques For Those Who Care
Land and Sea - Used a simplified version of RobA's regional system to get the basic land and sea. To get the elevations I used a radial gradient (with a healthy offset to get the flat zone), a bottom to top linear gradiant, and a noise layer all overlayed or in addition. Played with the levels till it looked right, made a layer from visible and embossed it (remembering that 30 elevation rule). Also bump mapped it with a blurred copy of the river mask to get the valley effect.
Roads - I just stroked a path on a new layer, selected the path by color and filled it with a brick pattern stolen from someone here. Added the slightest of drop shadows too.
Walls - I used the Voronoi path script from Ijontichy. I put anchors in where I wanted the center of my city sections (often on a major road joint). Used the script, then fiddled with the resulting paths. Took some work to get the outside walls right but the Voronoi did great on the inside. Stroked the path on a new layer. Made 2 more layers. Selected the walls (a thick line at this point). Grew it by 3. Stroked the selection 6px with a solid line on layer 2 and a half/half dash on layer 3. Filled all three lines with a stone tile. Dropped the brightness on the second layer. Added a drop shadow to both (making it bigger by two for layer 3). Then just to give it a bit if a beveled look, I selected the crenelations and stroked that selection 1 px.
Bulidings - I fiddled with a building tile for a while, but never got a result I liked. So I made a brush pipe (several actually). Half of the houses were downloads someone here pointed out, half were hand made. Then I simply got my daughter to brush all the section and told here to fiddle with the scale a bit to make the buildings have more size difference. I did the important ones myself.
Everything else is pretty straight forward.