@Steel General, Gidde (Thanks for your encouragement!) The grid's to line stuff up at the moment. I agree that it doesn't fit all that well with the layout of the castle. Maybe I'll have to have gridded regions where the grid warps or something (I don't really know if I can even do that!) to handle it. I know I saw somewhere someone was doing a voronoi diagram / escher like grid tiles for a city, maybe that would be feasible...
It's been slow going on this map now that I'm in the detail stage for this floor.
The old forge and the "ding-dong the witch is dead" skeleton:
(I should learn Human Anatomy and proportions better... he was originally about 12 feet tall.)
Servant's quarters with barred windows.
(No arrow slits on this castle, the cliff is too hard to climb en-masse, so a siege would basically entail lobbing magic spells or catapulting rocks at the wall or something. Anyway, that's my excuse, I didn't plan the openings and rooms enough to do arrow slits, really. Which is a shame.)
Mysterious Floor Carvings
They probably say: "Stop! Did you remember to feed your Bandersnatch today?"
Horned Giant Skeleton
Probably died trying to escape the Alchemist's Lab...
(This one's anatomy is better. My hands and feet still suck, but I can live with these.)
Let this be a lesson to myself, always sketch your map out before you start. Do several drafts so you understand what you want to do, instead of scribbling on a napkin...
Added "furnishings" to the servants' quarters
Several doors hang loosely on what is left of their hinges, warped and forced half-open by collapsed rubble. Peeking through the doors reveals litter and half-ruined furniture fit for the poor, or perhaps servants who lived in this wing. The door to one room seems to be in better shape than the others, inside the room is more furniture and a rude table with several dusty items left on top: an old brush, a stub of candle, and a small wood bound volume covered in dust, which on examination is a diary. The diary's last entry: "There was more screaming from the Master's laboratory last night. We have been instructed never to enter, but the screams are so terrifying that I shall never be tempted of violating that order in any case..."
I should add some personal belongings or something.
Fleshed out the courtyard battle with the horned giant.
Day lights this courtyard which was clearly once a well-tended garden. Atop a destroyed portcullis lies the remains of a giant; its horned skull and body pierced by numerous spears and arrows. The decayed skeletons of at least two warriors lie heaped as if they were discarded toys: one nearly wrapped around the trunk of a gnarled, but blooming, old tree and the other nearly covered by rubbish in the corner. Old, dried blood covers the paving stones, a trail of it leading through a destroyed gate deeper into the castle.
Lighting needs to be neutral, but fit the mood of the abandoned castle. I'll get to lighting last, still more to work on!
I love the descriptions!! This just gets better and better :)
This is an incredible piece you are doing here. The only problem I seem to be having is that it takes me a moment to figure out what I'm looking at. I think it's due to it taking my eyes a moment to figure out what are walls of stone versus what are living areas. My visual interpretation is that it's a bit flat. It might be worth adding some darkness/lightness to help with that. For instance in the shot of the barred windows if the area outside was darker because it's farther away I think it would help. You may already have it in mind and just haven't gotten to it yet.
You have great textures going on and I really love the descriptions of the ruins. I feel like I'm looking at a real place which is totally awesome man.
What Jax said about depth being needed. Also, are you using each texture on it's own layer with a layer mask to determine what shows where? If so, you may want to try a bit more blur on some of the layer masks to get a better blend of textures. In a few places, on texture just "ends" in a way that is weird. This is especially true of those with rocks/bricks/stones/etc). It could be those places are fine like that IF they are places where walls meet the floor and you just need some highlights/lowlights to help differentiate.
@Jaxilon, jtfrazierjr: Is this what you're meaning by depth? I stroked the walls with the pen tool to make them stand out.
Or are you talking about shading with shadows?
Or both? I think my shading is overwhelming the drawing, with this attempt. If I make it any fainter, it just isn't noticeable, but when you zoom out to look at it at a VTT scale, it looks distracting as a whole. :/ Or maybe I should invert my concept of light and dark, and instead of making the shadows so dark, make the brightness brighter, depending on which areas the players would likely spend more time in.
I think both, but perhaps a little less shadow. Not fainter, just ... shorter? Is that the right word?
I think just looking at the thumbnails you can see a huge difference. I can tell what's what much better now.
I think the pen tool and a bit less shading and you've got it :)
Wow... really awesome!
There's little contrast in this however... I'm not really sure how well this would work on paper. The colour of the cliff-side, and the colour of the castle are quite similar. You may want to try and SLIGHTLY colourize the walls, to just make them jump out a bit more, at the same time, it will also guide the eye, and probably help with that depth.
For an example of using shadows to make the walls stand out more in my view (a really bad attempt, as I had to draw ON TOP of you picture) I kind of 'stole' your image and did what I think would be cast shadows. I could be wrong in my interpretation of the map though, it's just an example and I hope you do not mind that I used your thumbnail.
Hope it's useful, otherwise, sorry for butchering your image.
edit: also, rep!