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Thread: A windy river, a town, a keep... A GIMP project.

  1. #11
      ravells is offline
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    Hey that's great! You should cross post it this bit in the tutorial section where people looking for help will be able to find it!

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    Agreed. I know in my wanderings through the Tut section I've seen allot of GIMP users looking for some sort of Town Walkthrough in GIMP. This would be helpful to allot of people.

    Cheers,
    -Arsheesh

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    I dunno... I've always thought tutes should be step-by-step with screenshots and all. And to be honest I don't really have the time to do that.

    But then maybe I've been spoilt by RobA?

    I'm more posting my notes... And that means there might be mistakes in what I've posted too.

    Perhaps this would qualify as a "tute for intermediate GIMPers"?? If folks generally agree with that then I'd be happy to cross-post it... Or for the admins to move this thread to that forum either now or when I am finished.

    Anyway. Back to puzzling through the "turbulent surface water" layer
    -doug

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    Part 5 - Water Turbulence

    We have a pretty good river now. Right? Well it could be a bit better! What we need now are splashes of surface turbulence travelling with the river.

    What I did was make some sets of lines that run parallel with the river banks and manipulate these to produce the turbulent layer. There's probably a much more efficient way of doing this but here's what I did...

    1. Make a new white River Turbulence layer, channel to selection, grow selection 100px.

    2. Default colours, Pencil Tool (Brush: Circle Fuzzy 15, Use Color From Gradient: checked, Gradient checkbox: unchecked, Length: 100 px, Repeat: Sawtooth).

    3. Stroke selection with the pencil (emulate brush dynamics = true).

    4. Shrink selection 41 (uncheck Shrink From Border). Change one or two of the Use Colour From Gradient settings (limit gradients to B&W ones) AND invert the selection gradient. Then repeat 3 above. Do this until there is no selection (or close to it).

    This will give you a nice set of parallel dashes where each "run" is different from the others. It will also <b>really</b> highlight flat spots, flaring, etc in your curve

    5. Create a new River Turbulence Noise layer and fill it with small sized (I used 4px), highest detail noise. Set this layer to non-visible.

    6. Choose your River Turbulence layer and Displace (Filters->Map->Displace) it with your new noise layer. This should be a fairly small polar displace. I used Pinch: 20, Whirl: -20, Displace: Polar, Edge: Black. You may need to undo, tweak the settings and run again a couple of times to get this right.

    7. You might have a few sections that are still not distorted enough. I loaded up IWarp (Filters->Distorts->IWarp) and did some <b>very</b> light swirling on those areas (Mode: Swirl, Radius: 25, Amount: 0.3, Binlinear: checked, Adaptive: checked and very lightly and briefly click in the areas that are too uniform). If you have any voids you could drop a little fuzzy 13 black brush in there and then blur it a bit. <b>Go light if you do!</b> This can give an unnatural end result.

    8. Create a new black layer called River Turbulence Black just below your original River Turbulence layer.

    9. Set your channel to selection so you can see what the lines wittin your river area are like. I was pretty happy with mine but you could do some manual adjusting with pinches, etc at this point if you felt the need. Deselect All when you are finished checking.

    10. Run a light Gaussian Blur (5px), invert the colours on this layer, set your River Turbulence Noise layer back to visible and change it's mode to Addition. Those lines should now be a very noisy white!

    11. Select the River Turbulence Noise layer and tone it down with Colors->Levels and set the lightest Output color to something like 75. Do the same with River Turbulence layer.

    12. Use Layer->New From Visible and turn the other River Turbulence layers off.

    13. Change the Visible layer's mode to Screen and go into Colors->Levels. Play with the Input settings until you have a very mild turbulence on the water surface. For me Shadow: 30, Gamma: 0.35, Highlight: 240 gave me a result I liked. You can tinker with this layers' opacity too. I was pleased with mine as-is.

    14. Finally I used a Layer Mask to mask off the land, deleted the River Turbulence working layers and renamed Visible to River Turbulence.



    Part 6 - River Debris

    What is the debris layer? The following is simplified but suits our purposes...

    Most, nearly all, rivers carry a certain amount of debris downstream.

    There is surface debris. Rivers that are experiencing higher than normal flow on tributaries, which is often an annual event, will carry branches and other light debris on the surface. There'll be a fair bit of this and the river will generally be running fairly fast. Slower flowing rivers will have the odd bit of this debris.

    At lower levels most rivers carry material with their flow. Even rather buoyant materials become heavy when waterlogged and slip below the surface. This certainly applies to the river in this work.

    Of course there is also the bottom "sludge" layer. This layer accumulates a a very slow moving layer of earth, rotten material and heavy objects (e.g., rocks) that shifts along at a much slower pace than the rest of the river.

    This particular river is mostly fed by mountain melt-water and springs, it is shown towards the end of spring. Winter storms and heavy spring run-off have cleared most of the sludge and surface debris away. For a couple of short moons it will be fairly clear and quite blue. In coming months a reduced flow and rising microbial content will turn it green.

    It seems appropriate for us to represent primarily mid-level debris. We will use a technique similar to that used with the Turbulence Layer. But we will need to produce a sparser brown/green base effect.

    1. Make a new white Debris Lines layer, channel to selection, grow selection 100px.

    2. Default colours, Pencil Tool (Brush: Circle Fuzzy 19, Use Color From Gradient: checked, Gradient checkbox: unchecked, Length: 150 px, Repeat: Triangular).

    3. Stroke selection with the pencil (emulate brush dynamics = true).

    4. Shrink selection 53 (uncheck Shrink From Border). Change one or two of the Use Colour From Gradient settings (NOT the Repeat tho and limit gradients to B&W ones) AND invert the selection gradient. Then repeat 3 above. Do this until there is no selection (or close to it).

    5. Create a new Debris Noise layer and fill it with medium sized (I used 8px), highest detail noise. Set this layer to non-visible.

    6. Choose your Debris Lines layer and Displace (Filters->Map->Displace) it with your new noise layer. This should be a fairly small polar displace. I used Pinch: 20, Whirl: -20, Displace: Polar, Edge: Black. You may need to undo, tweak the settings and run again a couple of times to get this right.

    7. Use IWarp as before if you need more warping for some line sections.

    8. Create a new black layer called Debris Black just below your original Debris Lines layer.

    9. Use Channel to Selection to check your lines then deselect all.

    10. Run a light Gaussian Blur (5px), invert the colours on this layer, set your Debris Noise layer back to visible and change it's mode to Burn.

    11. Duplicate the Debris Noise layer and set the copy's mode to Subtract.

    12. Do a Layer->New From Visible. Now erode (Filters->Generic->Erode) this until there's nothing but stick-ish looking flecks. For me three times was the charm.

    13. Now run an emboss (Filters->Distorts->Emboss). You want the lumps evenly textured without being too pronounced. For me Function: Emboss, Azimuth:30, Elevation: 135, Depth 10 looked right.

    Well if we wanted this to be standing texture on the river we would be done. But that's not the case. We need the right colours for the debris.

    14. Choose a Dark Brown foreground colour, a Light Brown background colour and Colors->Map->Gradient Map to translate the greyscale to brown.

    15. Pick the Fuzzy Select tool, deselect all options except antialiasing and click on the lightest brown in the image. Fill this with 50% grey, deselect all and then run a Gaussian Blur 5px over the layer.


    16. Optional. Set this Visible layer to non visible and jump back to 12, with the following changes:
    • 12. Erode a couple more times than the brown debris layer.
    • 14. Map to greens (dark khaki) instead of browns.
    • 15. Instead of filling with 50% grey hit delete.
    • Put this layer above the Visible layer and set it's opacity to 75%.
    • Merge this layer down onto the Visible layer.


    This gives some of your brown debris nice rotten green highlights. Especially the bigger patches of debris, which is about perfect.

    17. Set the Debris working layers to non visible. Rename the Visible layer to Debris, set it's opacity to 75%, mask off the land and set the mode to Overlay.

    18. At this point I was finished with the Debris working layers and deleted them. It's also worth checking if the image looks better with the Debris layer below the River Turbulence and River Bank layers. I put mine below the River Turbulence layer.

    If you feel you have too much debris in one area and too little in another you can simply cut and paste on this layer to move debris around without ruining the effect. I prefer to avoid manual touch-ups, but in this case I moved five pieces of debris manually.



    Well that's pretty much the river done now. Next time I'll move on to the cliffs on the inside of the main bend. Here's how it looks now...
    A windy river, a town, a keep... A GIMP project.-river_town_keep.002.jpg
    Last edited by surfarcher; 05-23-2011 at 07:31 PM.
    -doug

  5. #15
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    Part 7 - A Cliff

    In my mind the inside of the big bend in the river features a cliff that the river snuggles up against. At the top of that cliff is a Castle. A slope runs downhill to the east and at the bottom of that slope is a town which is being progressively fortified.

    Thus the following assumes an east facing cliff on a curved west bank of a river. If you are doing something different to that you will need to make adjustments.

    Note: This part uses the Layer Effects plugin and the Felimage plugin.

    1. Create a new white Cliff layer and set it's opacity way down, I used 25%.

    2. Set the River Channel to selection, invert selection, go back to your Cliff layer and shrink the selection by the width of the cliff (Shrink from border: unchecked), for me this was 100px. Hit delete to clear this unwanted white.

    3. Taper the ends of the selection down towards the river. Take the Free Select tool (Mode: add, Antialiasing: checked, Feather: unchecked) and use it to run a line through where you want your cliff shape to taper. Then square off the outside of that selection and hit delete to clear. Repeat for the other end of the cliff.

    4. You may want to clean up the curves of the white area, on the side away from the river. We aren't after perfect results, as we'll see soon that's less than desirable. But we do want our curves roughly consistent without any really glaring oddities or square/pointy parts. I used Free Select to smooth out ugly corners. A fuzzy 19, scale 1 eraser can also be useful here.

    5. Give consideration to your viewpoint, in regards to the cliff. What sections have cliff face more directly away from you? These will be narrower and more pinched. Are there sections you can see more directly? These will be wider. Make further adjustments accordingly. A little extra thought and effort here is worth it.

    6. Feather the selection 10px and hit delete.

    7. Add the River Channel to selection, go to your cliff layer and hit delete. Use Fuzzy Select to add the remaining white that isn't where you want your cliff to the selection and hit delete.

    8. Invert selection and set the layer opacity to 100%, go to channels and hit new. Check the Initialize From Selection option and call the selection Cliff Channel. Set visible to no and lock the channel.

    9. Go back to Cliff layer, deselect all and white fill the layer.

    10. Channel to selection the River Channel, go to the Cliff layer and hit delete. Use Fuzzy Select to pick the right white area and create a new channel from the selection called East Land Channel. Set visible to no and lock the channel.

    11. Go back to the Cliff layer, invert selection, hit delete and deselect all.

    12. Before we can actually pop our cliffs out we need a rough edge next to the river to work on. The rougher this is the better our result will be. I'm sure there's a better way but here's what I did...

    Fuzzy Select the white region on the Cliff layer. Set a jittery random white Paintbrush (Brush: circle 7, Brush Dynamics: Pressure=opacity + random=size, Apply Jitter: 1.25) and stroke the selection. Select the non-white area and repeat. Change to the smallest, tightest square brush (a 5 for me) and repeat both strokes. Fill the non-white area with black and erode the layer a couple of times. Set the layer to 50% opacity and you should see it's intruding quite a bit into the river but is looking fairly rough now. Switch the brush to black, change the jitter a bit (I set mine to 1.33) and repeat the procedure but selecting black then white (rather than white then transparent).

    You might need to repeat this procedure and even with some manual jittery brushes. At the end you want a jagged and random line more or less running along river edge.

    When you think you are done Fuzzy Select the white area, invert selection, hit delete, deselect all and set the layer opacity back to 100%.

    13. Time to pop the cliffs out! Choose Filters->Layer Effects->Bevel And Emboss and set a nice deep, linear bevel on the layer. What worked for me was - Style: Outer Bevel, Depth: max, Size: 100, Angle: 135, Gloss Contour: Linear, Highlight Mode: Dodge, Highlight Opacity: 25, Shadow Mode: Multiply, Shadow Opacity: 30 and leave the rest at defaults.

    14. Select all, right click Cliff Channel and choose Subtract From Selection.

    15. Select the mask for the Cliff-shadow layer and fill with black. Repeat with the Cliff-highlight layer's mask.

    16. Sections of the cliff should be too grassy. Set the Cliff channel to selection and go to Dirt layer's mask. Pick a big Airbrush (I used Fuzzy 19, scale 3) and airbrush white into the mask to reveal some random clumps and streaks of dirt. Don't get rid of all of the grass tho! We'll be adding some rock shortly and you can come back and "up" the amount of dirt with this approach again later. if you feel the need.

    17. Load or create a rock layer. We want one that's got brown tones with some grey in it. The Making a Stone Texture tutorial is pretty good, although I used a non-zero seed and tweaked a couple of colour settings.

    18. Create a new layer from the visible rock layer, calle it Rock and delete your work layers. Add a black layer mask to it and drop it to below the dirt layer.

    19. Now you can control the amount of dirt, rock and grass visible on the cliffs by tinkering with the Rock and Dirt masks! Painting black on the Dirt layer mask removes dirt while painting white will add dirt. The same goes for the Rock layer. If there's black in a spot for both layers you will have grass.

    I used Felimage and some selection magic to get a result I liked. Set Cliff Channel to selection and go to the Rock layer's mask. Use Felimage, change the first dropdown to Puffy and hit go. Now Erode the mask. Go to the DIrt layer's mask, jump back into Felimage and change the dropdown from Puffy to Skin and go. Dilate the result and you should have a servicable cliff.

    From here you can touch up any areas you like with a large fuzzy airbrush (I didn;t but you might want to).

    20. Depending on how your cliff has shaped up it might be good to add some definition to the top of the cliffs. Set the East Land Channel to selection and then subtract the Cliff Channel from the selection. Select black for the foreground colour, go to the Dodge/Burn tool and pick a medium fuzzy brush (I used Circle Fuzzy 11), and Dodge with Midtones. Pick the DIrt layer's mask and stroke the selection with the Dodge/Burn tool. Repeat on the Rock layer's mask.

    Use the history list to compare with and without this definition along the length of your cliff. I thought this was slightly better and kept it.


    Next we need to address the slope from the east that leads up to the top of the cliffs!

    A windy river, a town, a keep... A GIMP project.-river_town_keep.003.jpg
    Last edited by surfarcher; 06-04-2011 at 03:07 AM. Reason: Add image.
    -doug

  6. #16
      jtougas is offline
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    This is really fantastic. Thanks so much for all your work. Repped.

    Even if I am correct, I would still advise you to follow your heart. This whole Cartographers Guild thing, it seems to me, is more about passion and skill and learning new techniques than it is about definitions and rules.
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    Everything I post is free for use and redistribution under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 licence, except where noted otherwise in the thread.

  7. #17
      surfarcher is offline
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    Aaw thanks jtougas! I figure if just a couple of folks out there get some mileage out of my humble notes then it was worth the effort of taking said notes!
    -doug

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    Part 8 - The Hillside

    What I did now was add some variable texture. Where there was more slope I wanted more pronounced texture and of course where there was less I wanted reduced texture. I did this with overlay clouds and some selective gradients.

    I spent quite a bit of time getting this bit right and one thing that really helped me was making a "Markers" layer. This is simply a transparent layer on which I marked out various reference lines and other positions.

    1. Create a new transparent Markers layer and keep this as the top layer unless otherwise indicated. Toggle this layer's visibility off and on as needed.

    2. Mark out the line that defines where the flat land stops and the slope starts going up. Zoom out on your image until you have plenty of space around the canvas. Use the Free Select tool to mark this line out, with both ends of this line being well off the canvas. If it's not quite lined up hit escape and give it another shot. Once you are happy with your line select the rest of the left side of the image by clicking outside the cavas boundaries. Stroke this selection with black at something like 5 or 10 pixels. Something that is nicely visible when zoomed right out.

    3. Save this selection in a temporary Left Gradient channel for later use.

    4. Create a new transparent temporary layer on top of the Markers layer. Select all and use the rectangle tool to mark a rectangle running about 600 pixels right of the line and 900 pixels left of it. Fill this with black and rotate it so that it runs at right angles to your line. Merge this layer down.

    You now have a handy layer you can make various marks on for the endless retries and rework you will find yourself doing.

    5. Set a darkish grey (I used 333333) as the foreground colour and a lighter grey (I used d9d9d9) as the background colour.

    6. Create a new Slope Gradients layer, load your temporary Left Gradient channel as selection, feather selection 50 and go to the Blend Tool. Now stroke the Slope Gradients layer. What you want to do is start just to the right of the line in your Markers layer and stroke well into it using the rectangle as a ruler. How far do you start out of your selection? It'll take a little trial and error but it should be somewhere around the 50 pixel mark. You are aiming not to have too much dark grey where the line is. How far to stroke? Well to the end of your rectangle "ruler" to start with. If this isn't far enough scribble a little extra on the end of your "ruler". If it's too much erase a bit off.

    7. Invert your selection and repeat the stroke process on the right side.

    8. Select all, turn off your Markers layer and check out your double gradient.

    What we are aiming for is a left-hand gradient that runs fairly evenly up the slope and a right-hand gradient that runs out of it's darkest grey fairly quickly and then peters out. And we are trying to avoid having too hard a line where they meet.

    9. Set the East Land Channel to selection and subtract the Cliff Channel from the selection. Remove any extra selection in the south using the Free Select Tool in subtract mode. Grow the selection 50 pixels.

    10. Add a new Slope Overlay layer, filled with background colour. Add a layer mask to this layer from Selection (Invert Mask checked).

    11. Set your colours to default and create a new Slope Noise layer. Fill this with detail 4, size 8 clouds. Set the layer mode to Overlay.

    12. Choose Layer->New From Visible and rename the layer to Slope Texture. Set visible off for the Slope Gradients, Slope Overlay and Slope Noise layers.

    13. Select all and do a 5 pixel Gaussian Blur on the Slope Texture layer.

    14. Depending on how hard a line you have at the bottom of your slope you may need to tone the lightness a bit. If so you can Colors->Brightness-Contrast and adjust the brightness up until the line in the middle has faded. This shouldn't be much tho, sometimes I used 20 or 30 and sometimes I didn't need this step at all.

    15. Time to bumpmap it! Choose Filters->Distorts->Emboss (Function: bumpmap, Azimuth: 135, Elevation: 45, Depth: 60).

    Now make good use of the preview here to check out the line - we want it pretty fine so the following Gaussian Blur will kill it altogethor.

    16. Run a 5 pixel Gaussian Blur on the Slope Texture layer, set it's mode to Overlay and it's opacity to 80.

    17. At this point I often found I still had some minor lining here and did an additional 5 pixel Gaussian Blur.

    18. Set the River Channel to selection, add the Cliff Channel to this selection and do a 5 pixel Feather Selection. Now add a layer mask to the Slope Texture layer using this selection (invert checked).

    19. If you like you can delete the Markers, Slope Gradients, Slope Overlay and Slope Noise layers.





    Part 9 - A Cliff's Shadow

    Looking a bit like a slope now But that upward slope with a cliff should cast some shadow to the south,

    1. Add a new transparent Cliff Shadow layer. Set the East Land Channel to selection and subtract the Cliff Channel from the selection.

    2. Fill this selection with black on the Cliff Shadow layer, set the layer's opacity to 40 and select all.

    3. Choose the Perspective transform tool (Tools->Transform Tools->Perspective). Set Opacity to 40 and leave the other settings at default. Slide the center down and right a bit, then tweak the corner anchors until you get a shadow you think will work for your image. Make sure you consider the height of the cliff, it's upslope and the angle of the sun.

    This is a good time to point out that you need to always keep in mind Azimuth. If you don't know what it is you should go read up on it and play around with it a little. So far we have been using 135 (south-east by south-east)... In a couple of cases we even used 135 when we should probably have inverted it... But those cases were fairly minor and it was easier to just be consistent

    I found I had to be quite aggressive with some of my anchors to get the effect I wanted In this case a picture is worth a thousand words!
    A windy river, a town, a keep... A GIMP project.-p09_sc01.jpg

    When you think you have it right hit Transform

    4. Anchor the layer and give it a 150 pixel Gaussian Blur.

    5. Add a layer mask using the East Land Channel and make sure Invert Mask is checked.



    Well I think we are kind of finished with the underlying geological structure of the map! Next time we'll think about where the lesser objects should be placed, build some roads and start constructing our town.

    As always I'd love to heart any thoughts members have on how to improve the map, do tasks more efficiently, alternative approaches, general comments or similar.

    A windy river, a town, a keep... A GIMP project.-river_town_keep.004.jpg
    -doug

  9. #19
      surfarcher is offline
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    Haven't given up on this but life did get on top of me. I didn't get it completed for the grand unveiling, but here's what the PCs got when they arrived.

    They got a cropped version of this 50% JPeg... basically the town, palisades, bridge and adjacent fields...
    A windy river, a town, a keep... A GIMP project.-beechhaven_renovated.jpg

    I'm trying to make sense of my notes now so I can post some more parts... Hopefully tomorrow.
    -doug

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