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Thread: [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map

  1. #21
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    Post 16: Roads (continued)

    Once the paths for the roads are defined (either using the path tool in GIMP or imported from Inkscape) it is time to actual render them onto the map. There are two main styles for roads – single stroke, and over-stroked. Single stroked roads look like a line (dashed or solid). Over-stroked consist of multiple strokes layered over one another. For example, a wide dark stroke with a light narrow stroke on top will look like a light road outlined in dark. The type of stokes used will be depend on the style you develop, and you might want to use several, along with a legend, to indicate what they represent.
    Here we will make a road similar to that of the ones I used in my Niagara map.

    Create a new, transparent layer below the town layers, called “Road1”. Select white as a colour, and click Edit->Stroke Path (since there is only one path, it is selected as the current path). Choose a width that goes with your map scale (I used 3 px) and pick a solid line with curved end caps. Click Stroke. (I brought the dialog up again after stroking to show the options used).
    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post16-1.png

    Change the drawing colour to black and bring up the stroke dialog again. This time, use 1.5 px, and a custom pattern. Draw the dash pattern you want to use. I made it short dashes.
    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post16-2.png

    Change the layer blend mode to Overlay to get a nice road that blends in well. Alternately, different colours could have been chosen up front for the roads if you wanted specific colours. I want them a bit darker, so duplicate the Road1 layer.
    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post16-3.png

    This looks nice now, but the roads are hard to see in the forest, so lets fix that. (And here is where the power of paths really comes into play.)
    Select the “Forest Bumps” layer, ensuring the mask is selected for editing. Pick the paintbrush tool, with black paint, and a fuzzy brush slightly wider than the road.
    Now again, stoke the path (Edit->Stroke Path) but this time select “Stroke with a paint Tool” and make sure paintbrush is selected.
    This will paint a black line on the bump layer mask to make the road more visible. You could do the same thing to the colour layers as well to define it more.
    Alternately you could stroke with the erase tool to erase areas along a path, or the smudge tool, or anything!
    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post16-4.png

    Finally, as an optional step, to make the roads more jittery, I went back and applied a small (3px) displacement map to them (Filters->Map->Displace) selecting one of the noise layers in the drawing. This just makes the roads less smooth, and a bit more hand-drawn. (though it does look better to do this on a single stroke map)
    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post16-5.png

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    A small diversion-

    I am working on the next installment, but have been....distracted.

    I just wanted to jump here with a variation of the map used in the tutorial until this point. I changed the colour layers (forest, grass, and mountain) to represent a more autumnal environment. This is one of the advantages I have found in keeping the colour and textures on separate layers...

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-aside.png

    -Rob A>

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    I was pm'd with a question on how the TLS works. Here is a sample xcf file you can look at that will explain better than I can (hopefully).

    I have also created and added the mask layer on top, and turned off its visibility.

    -Rob A>
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Here is a clarification of the overlay mode.. The way overlay works is that anything white in the lower layer will remain white, and anything black will remain black, it is only in the greys that the noise layer will come through and have an effect...

    Here is a sample:
    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-clarification-1.png

    See how the randomness of the coast is restricted to the width of the greys in the blur?

    -Rob A>

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    Post 17: Labels

    It is now time to start labeling the map. Most of the horizontal text will be made using the text tool just like the city icons were done. So I won’t provide the detail here. Just merge all the text down to one layer when happy with its look, and apply an outline glow to separate it from the background. I am going to use the same colours as the cities themselves for most labels.
    One thing to remember is that more is not better when it comes to font text. If there is more than four different fonts then something should be reconsidered. I would suggest one font for most labels, optionally a different, possibly more ornate font for a map title, and a clear small font for labeling rivers, roads, etc.
    Colour in labels can be useful as well, keeping cities in one, territories in another, etc can help make a complex map easier to read.
    I am using a font called Chaucer Ultra-Light for most of my labels. I also duplicated the text layer to make it a bit heavier, and reduced the opacity of the outline to 50%. To make things fit better, I also used different font sizes corresponding to the importance of the city. (Hedge and Il-Lac are both in a smaller font.)
    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post17-1.png

    labeling terrain requires a slightly different approach, as terrain labels often follow terrain (for example, labels follow mountain ranges and rivers). For those labels that are horizontal, just do them the same way as the city labels. For others, here is the way to do them using GIMP 2.4, which now supports a “Text along Path” function.
    This does not actually bend the text to a path. Instead, it creates a new path outlining the text that is bent along the previously active path. As an example, lets add a label to the mountains.
    Select the path tool (just like when making roads) and create a new path along the line where the text should go (I have changed to the path dialog as well to show the new path):
    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post17-2.png

    Now pick the text tool, and click in the middle of the screen. You can set the font and size, but there is no point setting the colours. Set the alignment to centered, and type the desired text.
    Click on the “Text along Path” button. This will create a new path outlining your text, bent along the first path drawn. If you need to change the text (font, style, spacing) or the path, undo (ctrl-z) and make the changes in the text or path and redo the whole “Text along Path” process.
    Depending on how bendy the path is, the letter spacing might have to be changed to prevent the letters from being either to mashed up or too spread out.
    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post17-3.png

    Now in the path dialog, click on “Path to selection” (or right click->Path to Selection). In the Layers dialog, create a new Transparent layer called “Labels” (or what ever you want to call it) and fill it with your desired colour. Here I chose to keep the colours the same as the city labels, but flipped around (light text with a dark outline). Remember you can fill a selection simply by dragging from the colour palette.

    GIMP Note: ctrl-t will toggle displaying the “marching ants” outline around selections. This is handy to see the results of a fill.

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post17-4.png

    Now create the outline layer “Labels Outline” below this, and (as for the previous text) grow the selection and feather the selection. Now fill on this new layer with the desired colour:
    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post17-5.png

    You can see that the text layer is still there but is not necessary. It is however handy to just reuse this text layer to create any additional labels you want. I tend to put all the labels on one layer, so after getting the text selection, make sure you select the proper layer to fill on.
    Finally, all of the paths used for lining up the text can be deleted (if desired) or keep them in case you need to redo the text later.
    GIMP Note: The transform tools (rotate, move, scale, skew and flip) can all be used on paths as well as layers and selections. This means that if the text isn’t exactly where you want it after putting it on a path, you can move it, rotate it, etc.

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    Here is the map after adding a number of titles and labels using these techniques:

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-tutorial.png

    And of course, by keeping each type of text on a different layer, it is simple to change their colour by locking the transparency and dragging a new colour from the colour palette to the drawing area...

    -Rob A>
    Last edited by RobA; 11-21-2007 at 04:47 PM.
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    Post 18: Titles and Legend

    Now come a title and a legend. These will be set on a paper-like background fitting the feel of the map. First the title. Create a new transparent layer named “Title Background”. Select a rectangular selection, and fill it with a suitable texture. Use one downloaded, or create your own.

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post18-1.png

    Using the Text Tool, add your title above this in any color desired.

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post18-2.png

    Here the new Align tool GIMP 2.4 provides will be handy to align the title text entered in the center of the title background.
    Right click on the title background and choose “Alpha to Selection” to select just the rectangle we had filled with texture. Click on the Title layer, and choose the Align Tool.
    Using the Align tool is fairly straightforward. First, choose what to align to. In this case make it Relative to “Selection” (as the current selection is the Title Background rectangle). The Align Tool looks like a hand with a pointing finger when over the image. Click on the title text, and it will get boxed with a marching-ant marquis that has blue corners. Now back in the Align Tool pane, click on the two buttons to center horizontally and vertically.
    The text should now be centered on the background.

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post18-3.png

    To make the Title blend with the paper a bit more, Duplicate the text layer, and blur the copy by 5-10 pixels, then play with the blend modes. Here the text is 50% opacity, normal blend mode and a blurred copy above it is set to multiply, 100%.

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post18-4.png

    I want to apply some distortion to the title, so now will merge all three of these layers into one, then copy the merged layer and call it “Title Shadow”.

    GIMP NOTE: When merging down several layers that have different blend modes applied, start merging them down from the bottom layer to maintain the final look.

    Lock the alpha, fill this “Title Shadow” layer with black, unlock the alpha and apply a 10 px. Gaussian blur.

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post18-5.png

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    Post 19: Title Distortion

    To distort the title, we will be using the displacement map filter again. First, a displacement map needs to be created.
    Create a new layer (it will be a throw-away so do not worry about naming it). Select the gradient tools with the default colour, and stroke a linear gradient diagonally across the area the title is. Here the opacity of the gradient’s layer has been reduced slightly to see how it should line up.

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post19-1.png

    Now open the curves dialog (Colours->Curves) and change the straight line to a squiggle. This will end up turning the single black to white gradient in to a whole bunch of smaller gradients.

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post19-2.png

    Turn off the visibility of this new layer. Now it can be used as a displacement map. Select the Title Background layer (left after merging down) and apply a displacement map filter (Filters->Map->Displace)

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post19-3.png

    Now a few more things to liven up the distortion – (and I changed my mind here, we’ll keep the gradient layer I said was throw away before).
    Right click on the Title Background layer and Alpha to Selection. Right-click on the gradient layer and add a layer mask, choosing “Selection”. Make the gradient layer visible, and change its mode to Overlay, adjusting the opacity down a bit.

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post19-4.png

    Right-click on the Title Background layer again, and “Alpha to Selection”. Now distress the outside by stroking the selection with the eraser tool, using a hard brush with jitter. Here I used the hard Circle (05) brush, scale of 1.0 and a jitter setting of 1.0
    Then Edit->Stroke Selection and choose the eraser tool. I have brought the dialog up again to see the effect and the settings.

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post19-5.png

    Lastly, shift the shadow selection over and down, and decrease the opacity. Additionally, I played a bit with the colour and saturation until I was happy with it.

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    Post 20: Finishing it up

    Before starting the legend this is where the image was at:

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post20-1.png

    Now repeat the same process used for the title for the legend. Here I decreased the distortions amounts so the smaller text would remain legible (though it did get a bit blurry).

    I also didn’t jot down the colour changes when making the Title colours, so I had to match the legend by eye, and didn’t get it quite right.

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post20-2.png

    Since this map is small, and it is getting cluttered, the only thing I’ll add is a compass rose.
    I’ll just grab one from a clipart collection…And at the last minute I decided I didn’t like the legend, so I dumped it and moved the compass to where the legend was.

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post20-3.png

    To finish it just needs a simple border. If there is detail near the edges you want to keep, just enlarge the canvas to get working space for the border. In this case let’s add a six pixel border in the roof3 brown. Image->Canvas Size to get the dialog. The new canvas will be 512x512, and clicking the “Center” button puts the existing map in the middle. Leave the “Resize Layers” option as “None”.

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post20-4.png

    Create new transparent Layer called “Border” at the top. Select the whole image (Select->All) then shrink the selection (Select->Shrink) by 3 pixels (half the border). Select the desired color, and stroke the selection (Edit->Stroke Selection). Use a Stroke Like of 6 px, and make the dash preset is “Line”.
    Now pretty it up by stroking a solid 3 px line with the Road colour. Picking an odd px size will give a nice blur to the line, as it interpolates the half pixel colouring. Lastly, I went back to the Roof 3 colour, and stoked a third time, 2px, choosing the dash preset “Stipples”:

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-post20-5.png

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    In Conclusion

    Here is the final map:

    [Award Winner] Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map-tutorial_final.png

    I hope this tutorial was beneficial, even if you do not use GIMP. If you have any comments, suggestions, or criticisms, please post in the forums here, or PM
    me.

    The pdf is coming...


    -Rob A>

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