Graven (first map)
Finally finished this. Took about a year to get all the parts together, finalize the shape of the island, and draw out all of the buildings. Most are hand "drawn" using the lasso tool in Photoshop, then filled. Others were created by filling in a large shape and erasing out the streets. A handful (which I really need to go in and clean up) were "built" with a square brush using a narrow scatter field. Those don't look so good. The map itself is rather big - I worked it at 20"x20", so I could put in labels on a lot of buildings and streets (I still have to label streets - not sure how best to do that yet). No terrain is marked on this map - I felt there were too many buildings to really show terrain without compromising the building details. There are canals in the southwest where the land is pretty flat; the northeast area is more hilly and there are cliffs (think Cinque Terre in Italy) along the northeast side of the lake. I realize I haven't added in the river(s) leading into/out of the lake; I'm still making sure I like the terrain before I decide final placement. Plenty of buildings arc over canals and rivers, so drawing in river(s) under/through buildings isn't an issue. Anyway, here's the map. There are some labels; I think I'll change most of the building labels into numbers to better indicate which building I'm actually labeling, and then I'll put a key somewhere. That might get long though. There is a scale in the upper left corner; I left off the grid for now, but I can put it back on if that would help. Also, I've included a map of the train system I'm working on, which is totally up for drastic changes. There's some minor method to that madness, but not enough to make me completely happy. I may completely overhaul it at some point, but I'd love some feedback. I have no idea how to map train lines, bus lines, or other transportation routes.
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Hot damn, that is a massive undertaking! No wonder it took you so long. Sadly I can't offer much in the way of critique as I have yet to try my hand at crafting cities. So I'll leave the advice giving to those with more expertise in the matter. But I think it is looking very promising so far. Looking forward to watching it develop.
Thanks <3 It did take ... way too long. I've been putting off the labeling 'cause it's just so daunting, but hopefully I'll have something worked out soon. I'm slowly cleaning things up so I can generate paths from the building selections, import the paths into Maya, and then create a sort of "block city" in 3D for drawing reference. And to see what buildings look like on a 3D terrain I generated. Thanks again ^^
Fabulous work, Kes. Mapping cities requires a lot of stamina, so grats for seeing it through to the end. One way to check if your city looks credible is to think of a real city that is similar, extract some basic principles about its underlying design and to compare it with your own work. As for how to depict transport networks, again, I would use look for style that I liked on the internet and copy that. It might be easier to do your transport system as a separate layer in a vector application (e.g illustrator or inkscape) than in photoshop though.
One thing to think about (it may be too late now) in terms of the structure of canal cities is that roads frequently follow the line of the canals, but that is not too obvious from your building placement - but there may well be reasons that you have done things as you have and it's a minor point.
Great work and congratulations on getting to the end of it. I find myself getting heartily sick of my cities before I even get half way through them, but I'm very impatient that way!