City of Delvenport [First effort]
By way of background; I am complete newie to mapping with very little ability in the visual arts. Rather I am a writer. A couple of the reviews on my first novel on Amazon Linked here if you are interested have asked for a map of the city in which the action takes place.
So I have started trying to draw a map and this is my latest go (having stated several over the last few weeks). I am using GIMP and have been trying to follow the "Fast and Easy Maps in Gimp" tutorial, and the "Using Gimp for artistic maps" tutorial.
I am having trouble figuring out how to put in a sense of slope. The city, Delvenport, is a harbour nestled in a steep valley between two large outcroppings (escarpments) of stone from a mountain. A main causeway zigzags from the harbour up to the palace at the top of the valley.
I was about to try and figure out what the best way to put in the houses, city walls and the palace but I am not happy with the basic geography of the map.
Strictly IMHO, but I think that the rocks/mountains look too flat.
You should pick a style that you like to indicate ridges and peaks and height.
The shadow pattern on the green background also disagrees with the roadway's suggested slope, but this is probably irrelevant since buildings will probably cover almost all of the green.
The city topography would lend itself to an isometric or perspective rendering, but that is a whole different level of technical skill. The isometric mapping tutorials might help you get started if you choose that direction.
Ultimately, I think that it will fall to shadows to convey the rising terrain. One consideration is how much it rises from one switchback to the next and how it rises. If retaining walls allow one building to be built against another building further upslope, then the yet-to-be-drawn buildings and their shadows will convey height. On the other hand, if the buildings are separated by rocky cliffs, then your roads will need the rock slopes drawn between the terraces.
I hope that helps.
I agree with Atpollard.
I guess, you could increase the depth on the bump map for your mountainous area. Maybe try inverting it, maybe it will help.
You could also try layering the mountains, maybe using different colours. Blur the various layers using the Gaussian blur to make the transition less stark and then bump these too, with higher and higher bump depth as the ground becomes more and more rocky...
This way, you can also had more layers toward the back of the mountains, where they are higher...
Also, as Atpollard said, shadows do great to convey an impression of depth.
In fact, you could probably try to put a black and white gradient from North to South. Then, use transparency to make the lowland more shaded than the highlands...
My final two thoughts: I feel the white aura surrounding the rocks in the ocean look a bit weird. Personally, I'd try making them a very light shade of blue. Maybe blurring them too... (I love Gaussian blur).
My second thought was regarding the roads on the East side. I guess the Easternmost road is heading toward a bridge to the island, and the second easternmost one goes toward a mountainous pass, but I am not sure about the third one. Will there be a village there? Personally, I think I'd use smaller roads there, because I don't think they'd be as important as the other ones...
Anyway, this is just some remarks I had but, as you may notice, I am quite the beginner too so, it's all tentative on my part...
Thanks for the comments. I created a brush for buildings but that didn't work so well. And I looked at doing a mosiac for the buildings but that stay too flat. I will check out the isometric tutorials next...
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