This is my second attempt at a city. The basic style is the same as for Iramir, but now I'm trying to be more accurate in the placement of buildings and streets; which is easier because this city is way smaller (1px = 2m).
The part I have drawn is the "lower" city, it should be a mix of poor and working/middle class. I tried to convey the idea through colours, house size and streets path.
Suggestions and criticism wanted.
It's off to a great start. looking forward to seeing this move along. One suggestion would be to blur the edges of the water contours a little more to make it look like they blend from one to another.
Thanks landorl. I tried to blur the water edges but the result does not show much. How would you do it (I'm quite new to PS).
This is the updated version, with a close-up (2x) of the city proper (for some reason, I like the older part, downhill, better than the last I drew). All those bumps in the north should be barrows (burials), but I am not really satisfied of how they look.
Let me know.
Finished? I really should stop mapping and start working...
Before you call it finished you might want to address some graphic design - border, cropping out all of that useless space, little pictures of individual buildings or people, stuff like that. The focus should be on the city and that lake takes up a whole lotta space that really doesn't need to be shown.
Unfortunately, my skill with photoshop is very limited, so I am not really able to do much post-processing.
The lake is actually a big river as it reaches the ocean; since the two shores are roughly 1,5km apart, showing it takes a lot of space. I planned to use part of that space for the legend of notable buildings. The scale of the full-size document I'm working on is 1px=75cm, so anything smaller than houses would hardly be visible (and completely invisible in the scaled down version). I could add boats and ships, but I am not really able to draw them.
But what do you think of the city itself? Size, street-building ratio etc? Is it "believable"?
The layout is a bit rigid and linear in a modern way but is the question is: is it good for a first try? The answer is yes, very good for a first try. It looks like something Steel General might have done in his early days. The gap between this style and Sheinar by a2area is just practice so keep at it, man. You're doing good so far.
A nice start - do keep it up. You're right - that expanse of river is ideal for lots of annotation. Think though - is there a reason you need to show the opposite bank? Are you going to depict anything there? If not, you could accomplish the same thing with an inset overview zoomed out 10X or so.
I like the shacks tumbled at the bottom of the hill. And the way some of your citizens have brightly painted roofs. I'd tone down the intensity, but that's just me. The street grid is awfully regular, compared to a medieval earthly city, but maybe you just have a really really orderly society. It's not jarring, just different.
The farmland is good. Some new city designers forget how very much cultivated land it takes to feed thousands of city-dwellers. You're doing well, by implying the farms go on further to the southeast. The forest and shrubs are scattered nicely -what'd you use to generate them?
Thanks for your advices.
That the grid appears so regular is a problem, it should be regular in some places, but for example the lower part of "downtown" should be "organic". If it appears not, then it's wrong. But I find difficult to obtain a properly natural layout with the method I am using (that is, not drawing each single house but mostly erasing from bigger blocks, which obviously is a big time saver).
The other bank of the river would contain cultivated land and pastures, though perhaps not in that exact area, so near to the sea. As can be seen in the regional map I posted a while ago, the area around the city is "cultivated" (though of course on the regional map it does not imply that all that area is a uniform set of fields) for many leagues south, and somewhat less in all the other directions (even north, just not in the immediate proximity of the burial ground). I could depict something here, probably some shepherds huts, but would not be really relevant, I just wanted to show how big the river was. Besides being eponimous, the river is really a central "character" in the region.
The forest where done using a brush in photoshop with some randomness of shape and size. The shrubs, which should not really be shrubs but proper trees (each one is between 5 and 10 metres in "diameter", so not that small), are generated by hand one by one, except the straight lines which are done with a stroke on a path.
The brightly colored roofs are because this particular people have the custom of painting their commercial buildings in noticeable colours.
Here an adjourned version (though done before reading the last comments):
Ok.. I was trying to "deregulate" my housing pattern, when after a couple of hours of work photoshop crashed and the changes were lost. Mayhap it is a sign from the gods of mapping.