Need some suggestions for my first map
thanks to the great tutorials on this forum I was able to create my first map and it already looks like something. I am nearing completion but now I am stuck with the following problem: My citymap encompasses woods and lakes and I just dont get an idea how to apply a texture or something similar to them to differentiate them from each other an solid ground. Maybe someone from the forums has an idea what I could do and in wich tutorial it is explained. All other suggestions are also appreciated I am brand new to the mapping and graphics trade.
My map attached:
Ok, a short break did the trick... found a way!
Any further suggestions are welcome
Well this is a tough one. You have quite a complex city layout there and it is also big. The biggest issue in my mind is the monochrome nature of the map because it makes it hard to separate the individual elements. It can be confusing as to what is what. For example it can be hard to tell the rivers apart from the roads and the lakes apart from the trees.
In this respect, it could really benefit from some colour.
I really like this map. I don't know if you're looking for any mapping advice, but one thing I notice is that the entire city is walled, with just a single wall. A lot of medieval cities would have several walls surrounding the original city, then the first expansion, and so on. Sometimes, parts of walls would be pulled down to accommodate certain types of housing in certain areas. The city seems very organic, rather than pre-planned, which is a feature of medieval cities. Overall it looks great, but I agree with Larb - color, and maybe some basic textures. There are some great textures available in the resources area of this forum, and a couple great free texture sites (like cgtextures.com) where you can make your own. Looks good so far - you've done a good job putting together a good map. Congrats on this being your first!
I tried to find a way to take a RPG Citymap Generator map and transform it into something more pleasing to the eye. One major point for me was, that I did not wanted to draw/ layout/compose anything myself- because I am not really good at this stuff. Basicly I am searching for a way to create maps fast.
I tried to differenciate the roads from the waterways by shadowing and lightning. I wanted to do black and white map, since it will likely be only printed in black and white. The next time I am going to try some other techniques for differentiation using textures and other effects I did not know about when I started.
I will use color later, when I am more experienced with Gimp.
Kestrelgrey, your advice on the walls is completely right. I think there is an option in the Generator to include further walls. If not I will take this into account when doing my next map. It might be to late to change it in the current incarnation- since I destroyed to much in the process to go back (still learning GIMP). You are also right about the lack of planned areas. In this case it works well, since the city is supposed to be rather chaotic. But i will take it into account next time.
Thanks for all your advice! It was not in vain, I just took to many wrong turns that now hinder me to incorporate changes. Again- still learning the software. It will all be incorporated into the next version. I already have some promising ideas...
Here is the current status:
You are a city mapper after my own heart, IdiotDogBrain! Simple and fast! Here are some suggesttions when using RPG city creator which I have found useful when taking the image into photoshop (will work for Gimp) for further work:
1. I think you are exporting the buildings with the 'only outlines' box checked. Uncheck the box and you won't get the building outlines overlapping each other as you have now, instead they will look like one big building.
2. Check out Ramah's Tree thing application if you want to do forests (do a search and you will find it) or just use a simple round brush with some scatter to get the trees (the RPG city creator trees are pretty awful).
3. Note that the exported bitmap from RPG CC has no antialiasing which means that you can use the magic wand to vey quickly move streets, buildings etc to their own layers. You can then antialias the curves after that if you want.
4. Don't forget that you can change the colours for the different elements on export.
I really like the woodcut effect you have going there!
Last edited by ravells; 04-11-2012 at 08:14 AM.
Seeing that this is entirely done with RPG Citymap Generator and you're still learning GIMP, this is pretty impressive. If you still want to keep this gray-scale (if using shades of gray work), you could use white, black, and then 3 shades of gray - high, mid, and low to differentiate different elements. Streets could be mid gray, buildings could be dark gray, rivers could be light gray, and you could use black for outlines. A few more shades for the forest and possibly shadows, and you'd have a good gray-scale map that's easy to read. Textures can be helpful too, but with such a large city, and only using gray-scale, textures could also overwhelm or confuse the elements. I don't know where the tutorial is now (saved it, forgot where I found it on the forum) but a great city tutorial by Ravi, "A Guide to the Creation and Depiction of Fantasy Cities" has a fantasic section on positive and negative space, using just BW/gray-scale. Overall, though, this map is good. You're doing an excellent job both with the map and GIMP!
It looks good - I have little experience with city generator personally, so I can't really consider myself qualified: but is there a way to get some anti-aliasing going on the map?
thank you for four advice!
Playing with the outlines option is a very good idea, it really helps the final map. Unfortunately its to late to do it for my current map- since I did not know nor searched the save city function in City Creator I only have the city as a picture. One of the more epic failures in my workflow...
I checked out the tree thing. It looks very promising but I still have to check if I can incorporate the wood carving effect with it. I will keep you updated!
I think using the magic wand is THE time saver in the whole approach. Changing color before exporting the file is key to success. How do you export your images from the program? I just did a 2600x2600 pic, that turned out to be to graini for some effects, antialiasing in special. I will do a greater pic size next time, even though I have to find out how to reasamble the picture sinc I will need to export in in different parts.
The woodcut effect is based on a tutorial from this forum.
@kestrelgrey: I will search for that tutorial. Sounds promising! Working with shades of grey is a nice idea- I am going to try this out next time. I tried it on this map to but lighning certain layers did not worked very well after the woodcut effect was applied, since it lights out the effect as well.
Does anybody know a way to take a layer and lightening darker areas more then areas that are already in a very light tone?
As mentioned to ravells the city creator only allows for very small resolutions- 3200x3200 is the most you can get. On smaller resolutions Antialiasing wont do much good. Or am I doing something wrong? What resolution would you guys use on a map of the shown scale?
Anyway, I tried to work with some color. At first I was not very pleased, but then I tried the overlay option on the colored layers and the result looks promising:
Many thanks for all the positive feedback, really made me working on this more than I planned and it helped making the map better.