Something is not right.
Okay, after graduating from the RobA school of regional mapping I have moved on to trying my hand at a city map.
I've got a good start on it but . . . something is not right. First, here is the map so far.
It looks . . . okay. So far there isn't much 'special' about the city, but that is more geopolitical than anything so it really doesn't matter. I'm really pleased with the way the city walls turned out.
Still I'm not satisfied. I think the problem (in part) is that I was going for something more art-like and less photo-realistic. The buildings look good for that but the land is off. I put an embossed overlay in to create the land effect and it really changes the image. But . . . I do want to show the way the city is inbetween two high ridges descending to the sea. If I take the embossed layer out the map has a more artificial feel but looses the important terrain feature.
Well, give me your opinions folks. I could use some feedback.
Techniques For Those Who Care
Land and Sea - Used a simplified version of RobA's regional system to get the basic land and sea. To get the elevations I used a radial gradient (with a healthy offset to get the flat zone), a bottom to top linear gradiant, and a noise layer all overlayed or in addition. Played with the levels till it looked right, made a layer from visible and embossed it (remembering that 30 elevation rule). Also bump mapped it with a blurred copy of the river mask to get the valley effect.
Roads - I just stroked a path on a new layer, selected the path by color and filled it with a brick pattern stolen from someone here. Added the slightest of drop shadows too.
Walls - I used the Voronoi path script from Ijontichy. I put anchors in where I wanted the center of my city sections (often on a major road joint). Used the script, then fiddled with the resulting paths. Took some work to get the outside walls right but the Voronoi did great on the inside. Stroked the path on a new layer. Made 2 more layers. Selected the walls (a thick line at this point). Grew it by 3. Stroked the selection 6px with a solid line on layer 2 and a half/half dash on layer 3. Filled all three lines with a stone tile. Dropped the brightness on the second layer. Added a drop shadow to both (making it bigger by two for layer 3). Then just to give it a bit if a beveled look, I selected the crenelations and stroked that selection 1 px.
Bulidings - I fiddled with a building tile for a while, but never got a result I liked. So I made a brush pipe (several actually). Half of the houses were downloads someone here pointed out, half were hand made. Then I simply got my daughter to brush all the section and told here to fiddle with the scale a bit to make the buildings have more size difference. I did the important ones myself.
Everything else is pretty straight forward.
I'm not fond of the grassy land texture. It's clearly grass, and as such is too large for the scale of the map. Plus, the water is flat color rather than textured, which makes something of a mismatch to my eye.
I'm not sure how nice it will look without that texture, but perhaps if you simply had something with much smaller detail? You said you're not going for a photoreal look, though, so I think maybe either flat color or a stipple texture of some kind might be better.
Yup, the grass has been driving me crazy. I tried straight color but it doesn't work at all. I guess I'll dig through these forums and see if someone put up a nice small grass. Or, I could make one . . . to tile or not to tile that is the question. . .
Okay, here it is with a finer gass.
Better I think.
Ooops, just noticed I shrunk the grass edge and have dirt there. I will fix that for the final.
I think the grass in side the city looks good, just outside the city I needs some sort of adjustment, I just don't know what.
Personally I like the water as is. I know it isn't textured, and thus looks different from the rest of of the city (style wise), but I personally like it
Quick question, you have a building which has it's own wall, somewhat centered on the map, a little to the right. Is that suppose to be a church with a graveyard with mausoleums?
(My comments above were on the first version of the map)
I like the grass texture from the first map inside the city walls better, but the second texture on the outside better.
Exactly. I was worried about that, but since you pegged it perfectly, I'm happy.
Originally Posted by JoeyD473
As for the grass I'll fiddle with both and see what happens
Okay, here is the inside outside grass.
Personally I like it like that
That grass outside has a nice color range but is speckled and distracting, maybe a tiny blur of 1-3 pixels or so might help ease that. That grass inside is very vibrant, I'd save that for parks. Your docks have a shadow with the sun in the bottom left, your walls have a shadow with the sun in the top left, but your buildings have no shadow and are highlighted with the sun in the bottom left mostly - the large inn-like buildings with many gables have sun in top left highlighting.
Personally, I like the bay and the docks the best. The docks have a slight stroke and it works pretty well with the water...maybe try that on the buildings as well. I might go and scrap all of that grass in favor of straight-forward coloring like the water...all that grass distracts from the building detail. That might be the whole problem, too much detail fighting for attention all over the place. The walls do look great, though :) Just my thoughts, follow them if you like.