Your floorboards looks exactly like that fake plastic wood you sometimes seed in really cheap hotels - nice!
The scale between the cobblestones and the floorboard planks looks a little wrong (planks too small?) and your building walls are a little pixellated and could do with a slight blur. Good start.
Yeah, the floorboards! I need to put some embossing on them so they look exactly like shiny plastic! ;)
Originally Posted by Jacktannery
Thanks for the tip on the scale, I probably wouldn't have noticed that until it was well too late. And the walls definitely need some trials to get something unobtrusive but still pleasing in a subtle "I won't look to hard at the walls unless they block line of sight for my crossbowman" sort of way.
Back to the Illustrator grid!
Trying out some different wall styles. I decided I would see if an Illustrator brush could make better walls, but the results haven't been totally satisfactory. I tried a stone wall brush to convey a wall constructed out of stone blocks, which was okay but hard to work with once in Photoshop, as well as a timber and plaster looking thing, but that was even worse. I think for the large scale (i.e. lots of walls) that I'm working on I may have to settle for something simpler. Anyway, here's the results of my testing, just on a small section of the map for now:
What I'm trying to develop are some techniques that will allow me to make large maps like this relatively quickly, so I may end up making some compromises. On the other hand my obsessive little brain has trouble just leaving well enough alone, so I fiddle around for large chunks of time, trying to get it "just right".
What about just drawing the outlines of the walls in Illustrator and then in Photoshop create a pattern filled adjustment layer on top for your walls, fill the layer mask black to mask it out, then switch to white and trace/draw/select&fill whatever your wall lines. After that you can add a style to that layer to give the walls drop shadow/bevel/color adjustment or whatever.
This way drawing the walls would be pretty quick in photoshop since you can draw a straight line between two points by holding shift between clicks. Also different buildings can have different wall textures/types by just repeating the process somewhere else on the map. You can save your wall style for easy repetition and consistency and you can always go back and change any wall texture on the fly since nothing is destructive about the technique..
I'm by no means an expert so this may be too rudimentary looking for your style but I do think it would be fast and easy.
Here's a proof of concept image with the stock round brush 100% opacity/fill. Its sloppy but I think it illustrates the concept. It took me around 5 minutes to do and much of that was picking a texture and remembering how to draw a straight line! =)
Using your walls and tracing on top
Replaced your city with a desert background to better show the walls themselves.
Haha! Invictys, I should have known you'd put the walls in a desert :) Joking aside though (I know arid is your thing right now), the walls do look great there. I'm almost tempted to toss the city into a desert! But I'll save that for another project. I've always wanted to do desert ruins.
What I was trying to do with my Illustrator brush walls was make something that had a little more texture than straight lines, but I think it's just too fiddly when I will need to complete over fifty buildings worth of walls.
I think my usual process is similar to what you've described, although I will admit to not really understanding adjustment layers yet. My usual move is to draw an outline of a building in Illustrator, and give the stroke a width of 20 or 30 pixels. I think copy that shape into photoshop and just apply a layer style and I have the beginnings of a wall. Here's an example where I've been mucking around with trying to make walls look ruined, but basically it's copy from Illustrator, paste into Photoshop, apply layer style (usually with shadow, texture, colour and pattern fill). You could also just draw the walls in photoshop with a brush of the appropriate width, but I do like messing around in Illustrator first for some reason...
I'm going to go see if I can learn a thing or two about adjustment layers...
Haha well I do run a Dark Sun campaign after all so I have deserts on the brain often ;)
I like those ruined walls they look nice and detailed. As always there are many paths to the same goal and there's often an inverse correlation between speed and quality.
I don't know the first thing about Illustrator but fifty buildings is a lot to detail out! I look forward to seeing how you work it all out!
Meshon that looks extremely good. Your walls do look a little metallic though. You might consider placing your wall texture as a 'hard light' layer over a pale grey with just a hint of blue in it (for example - something like Red 156, Green 172, Blue 200) or a very pale ochre - It might help to make the walls look a little more matt. I'd also desaturate your green a tiny bit. Your cobbles are really amazing, but I really think you should get a higher-resolution wood texture. I have a good grey one somewhere if can't find one yourself.
I'm still struggling with exactly what process to use as I build all the structures, but thank you for the tips on the walls. I might use two layers to represent walls, or some similar trickiness. However, until I return to civilization in about a week, I'll have to content myself with making notes in a little notebook, rather than pushing pixels.