My Finished Maps
Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
Now on to the buildings!
I'm taking the outlines out to make the process is easier to follow.
First, I define/separate the man-made floor from the natural ground. In this case its cobbledstone roads so I put a bit of a texture on the area and the use a basic texturizer photoshop filter (mosaic) to make a bit of a large patter on it and give a little feeling of cobblestone. This pattern could have been a lot smaller (and thus more "realistic") but I think this level of detailñ would had made the picture harder to read, so I left it simple. I added a circular gradient to focus the brighter part in the center and draw the viewer's attention towards it. Last, I exposed some parts of the roads (its layer turned off right now) to show "worn" and highlight the most important parts of the cobblestoned roads. The sunken bits on the west and south are more visible now with the cobblestone separating dirt from structure.
Next, I add main roads, bridges and other non-building structures, like road walls, plazas and such. This is done in a different layer with a different (but similar) color to the cobblestones. The diferent layers serves a big function: to add the dreaded bevel and emboss effect. In this case I think this effect is really good since its very discrete and adds the perfect sence of depth/height to the roads/walls/bridges and is super simple to do.
Next, I outline such non-building structures. This is a small but kinda troublesome step, since this outlines had to be done separated from the other building outlines because these got in the way of selecting and definig building areas. Its not much trouble but it does require a separated layer.
Next, the buildings. I magic wand-select the outside building outlines and then inverse the selection to fill the inside of the building areas. You'll notice the are some huge structures in there, these are huge pyramid-plaza structures I did on a bit unrealistic (maybe not!) size to enhance the main temples sense of "greatness" and to add a bit of multi-hieght leves to the city. This step also creates all monuments and big buildings like the dams and bridges. I gave the whole thing a single color to unify the color palette in the next step when I add indiviual colors for the buildings and also to make this color the base one (to be further explained in the next step). I shaded (burned) some of the buildings in here, specially those that would have an extra level abode to give the a enhanced sense of depth. You can see in this step how the sunken structures are covered and now become two-level buildings.
Once the color base is laid, I proceed to color individual buildings, doing a layer for each color, for this allows me to change specific colors easier if I want to. This was a looooooooong process that could have been faster if I planned the separated coloring on the creation of the outlines, simply doing separated layers for each set of buildings which will be of different color. This would complicate a bit the selecting process for interior filling but speed up the coloring process a lot, thou you need to have a very clear picture in your head of the final city to plan this far ahead.
Now we just turn the outlines layer on and voila! It all makes much more sense
A final Step was to add a few blocks of sinking buildings on the south. tese are not totally submerged and I tried to do a gradual sinking but I failed miserably and the buildings look all fake. I tuned down their hideous appearance on a later stage. These are an entire separated layer in order to give all transparency effects individually without affecting any other building.
And that's all for buildings. If you have any question please do ask!
Next: the BEVEL mountains!
Wow - this is just pure gold !
(I thought Id get that in just before the bevel mountains oh yeah and I will be trying to make than ban stick with my staff of repping in a mo... And a thread vote... )
That's a great tutorial you've got here!
Thanks for sharing, have some rep!
We love it
Hey Hugo, it's been a week since your last post.
Everybody agree, right?
Now, the horrible BEVEL Mountains!
I was really excited with these while I was doing them, but a few days after I delivered the map I started to see how fake they looked. This step is rather simple and depends most on smudging and erasing to give the height effects.
First: I set the outlines for different height levels and to make the map easier to read. I added a light shadow to one of this outlines to enhance a little the sense of depth.
Then I color the lower "city" rock level. Some buildings are abode this level. I pay no attention to the inside contour coloring because the next level will cover it up.
Then I added the bevel effect, which is plain and simple. Be careful to check the level of Hardness on the bevel effect so that it looks rock-like. You can always throw a little texture on the effect s that it does not look to plain. I did not added texture because the map is already too complicated and texture on this level would make it harder to read. I also added a shadow on this level for more depth.
Then, color the top level. Simple
EDIT: I found this images aroud and thought I'd add these to see a better difference between the regular bevel effect and the one I used here:
The first image is the typical bevel filter all soft and plastic. To get a better rocky look you need to use the Sharp Bevel effect and also add a texture to the base color layer. Its also useful to play with the bevel depth to get the height you want on your mountains/hills/rocks. In the second image you can see a harder shadow and light, this is achieved with the depth and sharpen bevel effect.
Now you can see the difference between a normal bevel effect and the one I ended up doing (see below). This was achieved smudging the edges and erasing some parts of the beveled layer. I'll get to do a step by step of this effect later on.
Then, THE HORROR! The plastic bevel mountails. This step has a lot more work than it appears, its composed of three separated layers, sadly, I did not have these separated to show it individually. First, its the plain effect on the base color layer, which BTW has a simple noise texture so that the color did not looked so plain. The bevel effect is Sharp so thatit looks rocky and not too soft. Then the second -and most important layer- is erased and smudged to give all the different height effects. The bevel effect gives a plain straight "depth" level effect, but if you smudge the edge you'll see the level moves with the smudge, the same happens if you erase the inside color with different opacities, that's how I got the different edge levels and the "sink" areas on top. That's a lotta erasing and smudging. This second layer lies on top of the first one which has no smudge because of course the secon layer smudging and erasing leaves it all holed up and without a defined inner edge, so you'll need a "base" layer to fill the erased areas and the smudged ones filled from the second layer. I hope I make myself clear, this could be kinda confusing, I think I'll make another tutorial for this effect. The third layer is a merging of the first and second one and then multiplied to give a darker look to the first two layers. The bevel effect could achieve a nice contrast by itself. The first layer also has a dropped shadow.
This is all on the mountains. As I said, all of the work is smudging and erasing. The mountains have further work but that's a whole different step.
BTW: Sorry I "dissappeared" for a while, dayjob has been terryfingly busy this week...