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    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 5th 2017 edited
     
    I had a frustrating day with CC3+ and finally found some happiness working on this:

    Throne of the Blue Empress

    I am not even sure that I will finish it with this style, but I probably will :) It is a lot of work hand drawing mountain and hill elements.

    Back story? The prominent ring of ice grows by about 20% every year. It is also growing in height nearly as quickly and has started calving small icebergs into the Misty Lake.

    I am seriously considering renaming the map to 'Throne of the Blue She-Jarl' since that is closer in tenor to what I intend. That has a more savage, pulpy sound to it. It also might give away a bit more than it should.


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  1.  
    This style is awesome, I really want to give it a try. I hope you continue with it! Looks great so far, I'm looking forward to seeing more and learning about the area!
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 5th 2017 edited
     
    Slow going, but then again, only got to work on it during a lunch break...



    I decided to add a caldara and was pretty happy with how it turned out.

    Am I the only one that continually has inverted results when tracing lines as part of closing a filled object? I don't know how I manage to do it so consistently! It seems like it should be 50/50 but it is more like 10/90 - right/wrong when I give it a go!

    Tim
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      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeJul 5th 2017
     
    If by inverted results you mean that the trace goes the wrong way around the entity you wish to trace, it is cause by using an erroneous selection point. The main thing that many people do wrong when they trace something is selecting the entity to trace in the wrong spot. The important part here is that the trace will always go through the spot on the entity you used to select it, so make sure when selecting the entity to trace that you click on it in a spot that your trace will go through.
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 5th 2017
     
    Monsen -

    In my case, I traced one thing along a line and then tried to use the same line. I believe that it was continually selecting the secondary object - once I deleted the secondary item, it worked out. I later discovered that I could select the line I wanted WELL away from the trace area, set the entry node, and then things started working as expected. When things are stacked up, you can get some mystifying results :)

    Tim
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2017
     
    Over the last few days, I continued working in the lower left-hand quadrant of the map whenver I had a spare 10 or 20 minutes.



    Still not sure about this style - or rather, my ability to use this style effectively - but I am gonna keep on keeping on :)

    Tim
    • CommentAuthorAlric
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2017
     
    It's looking very nice. You might want to put a bit of blur between the mountain and the pinkish layer, as well as between the pinkish layer and the tan, to smooth the transition a bit.
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2017
     
    Alric -

    I might experiment with transitions, but this is based off the issue 26 Annual style - Fantasy Realms. I was planning on sticking largely with the style, with some cartouche borrowing being done. As far as blending goes, this style doesn't do it much :). It has beveled forests and no overlapping of terrain types.

    If I were changing it up, I would definitely toss in some darker shadows and probably add some transparency to the ridge-lines so they seemed a touch less stark. Maybe I will do it straight-up and then come back and create a tweaked version.

    Tim
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2017
     
    Here is where I am at post-weekend...



    Quite a bit of work ahead, but it is starting to take form. I will post up some background info once i have it done.

    Tim
    • CommentAuthorHadrianVI
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2017
     
    Posted By: MonsenIf by inverted results you mean that the trace goes the wrong way around the entity you wish to trace, it is cause by using an erroneous selection point. The main thing that many people do wrong when they trace something is selecting the entity to trace in the wrong spot. The important part here is that the trace will always go through the spot on the entity you used to select it, so make sure when selecting the entity to trace that you click on it in a spot that your trace will go through.


    THANK YOU, REMY! :D
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2017
     
    Some of the background info... Yeah, a wall of virtual text





    Once I had the core text written, I made these handouts in Microsoft Publisher in a few minutes. There is quite a bit of disdain for Publisher, but it does a good job for someone running on a budget :)

    Tim
    • CommentAuthorHadrianVI
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2017
     
    Tim, this map looks great!

    I assume you drew the lines on the mountains yourself?
    You may manage to make the mountains look even better if you darken the left/lower side a bit.
    This could be done by creating a new drawing tool (smooth polygon) with a solid 20-40 fill style ( I would go for 40, because you can always increase transparency afterwards).
    Then you use trace to trace the central ridge and the lower end of the mountain.

    I did something similar on this map: http://atlas.monsen.cc/Maps/Paihana
    But instead of a transparent solid 40 fill I used a darker version of the bitmap fill style to draw the shadier parts of the mountains.
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2017
     
    Hadrian -

    Yeah, I drew the lines and shading. The hills will be the same way, though I am planning on using the ridge-line styling to indicate steeper slopes on some of the hills.

    I am pretty sure that I am going to return and add a deeper level of shading to the mountains as you mentioned. I appreciate your suggestions on how to add it and will give that a try - it sounds like it can be tweaked pretty easily using your approach.

    Paihana is a good looking map! The line-work on the mountains is very nice indeed, decidedly a lot more refined than the style that I am using now.

    Tim
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      CommentAuthorDogtag
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2017 edited
     
    This looks really good. I've always liked the Forgotten Realms maps and this style.

    If I can offer one observation to add to Hadrian's? The shading on the mountains north of the Ring of Ice makes the mountains look like a plateau, but you drew in the spine of the mountain ridge, which suggests the shading should go up to the spine. If it is more of a plateau, I recommend re-drawing the spine along the edge of the shading and then trimming the "ridge" lines to the new spine, or perhaps having no drawn spine at all, and just having the shorter ridge lines, as you do with the hills. Actually, one more observation, you might consider removing the drop shadow from the compass. I think it distracts from the overall feel of the map.

    Beyond that, I really like it! It's so cool to look at a map and think, "I wonder where in the Realms that is." And then to realize,"Oh wait, this isn't part of the Realms, it just looks like one of the published, professional maps!"  :D

    Cheers,
    ~Dogtag
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2017
     
    Dogtag -

    Not that you should know it because it really isn't evident, but I have not finished the mountains to the north. All I added was the perimeter shadow - I still need to style all of the ridges and peaks. And you are right, it looks like a big mesa.

    I like to block in the big stuff and later add all the detail work. My first go around, I tried to meld it all together, but it became evident that I would get more even results with few extra steps. My art background finally prodded me into blocking the big shapes and things started to look and work a lot better. Anyhow, those mountains are in a rough, blocked-in state. I've drawn them a couple of times now since getting the peaks laid in has proven require a bit more thought than I had been giving it.

    The drop shadow on the compass, yeah, it has bugged me more than once. I also am not super happy with the title scroll (which probably needs the drop shadow and the two are on the same layer). Anyhow, I am likely to change that to match your recommendation. I am not quite sure about what I will do about the title plate.

    I am going to do some art for the map and may end up crafting a stylized border as well. This will also allow me to embed a title plate, so it has some more merit.

    I am not quite sure WHY I am doing it. The entire map, I mean. I don't plan on running a fantasy campaign - but I've had a handful of ideas and the urge to create something more personal kinda struck me. And being able to infuse some art would really scratch a creative itch. Writing some background material has been fun. At this rate, I will be running a fantasy campaign :)

    The towers & keep look ok, but don't really match. They need to be a bit rougher hewn, so I will probably make a set of towers and probably the keep as well.

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      CommentAuthorDogtag
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2017
     
    Coolcoolcool.
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2017
     
    I decided to start work on the towers. It occurred to me that someone might like to see a tower in a very early stage since it illustrates a process that one might use to create isometric items.



    I know that modern graphic tools have straight-line tools. But I want a more hand-drawn look, so I am drawing it by hand.

    Anyhow, I found an isometric transparent png on the web and placed that image as a layer. Once it is was in place, I used the isometric layer to keep my lines true. It will be hidden later.

    The tool that I am using to draw also has the ability to create a perspective grid, with origin points and so on, but using it is overkill for a single building. clip studio paint is the name of the app should anyone be interested.

    Tim
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2017 edited
     
    Custom towers are in and my lunch break is done...



    Still not as rough/primative as I had been aiming for...

    Tim
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2017 edited
     
    Working on a cartouche for the Riders of Grann... Grann has a mobile defense force on it's frontiers, the largest group being along the south border. The towers watch and ignite the signal whenever they spot a green-skin incursion.

    Anyhow, I thought that a marker was in order.



    It will take some time to finish the coloring. Cartouches are an odd thing. You've really got to lay-in heavy lines since they will get reduced to a much smaller size.

    Anyone recognize her?

    Tim
    • CommentAuthorJimP
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2017
     
    Red Sonja ?
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2017
     
    I used a photo of Xena as inspiration :)



    Got the cartouche finished and placed. Another successful lunch break.

    Tim
    • CommentAuthorJimP
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2017
     
    Ah, I remember that character.
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2017
     
    Another quick little cartouche...



    This one was super fast.

    Tim
    • CommentAuthorHadrianVI
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2017
     
    Wow, great job. Those symbols look really nice:)
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 16th 2017
     
    Thanks, Hadrian!

    Here is my end of week image for the map. I'd guesstimate it at 50% done, though if I do an illustrated border it might be more like 40% of the way.



    The southern half of the map is pretty much done.

    Tim
  2.  
    Hey Topdecker

    Well done on this map.

    I like the Fantasy Realms style very much, and you're using it in a great way. I love the central, growing, glacier and the flooded caldera you created in the South-western mountain range.

    However, your isometric custom symbols are awesome, and I'm very impressed with your work there.

    Keep on keeping on, and I'll watch with interest.

    All the best

    DMG
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017 edited
     
    Thanks, DMG, I appreciate it! Been working on it for two weeks now, and I am getting anxious to get it finished up.

    Spent my lunch break knocking out the line work for a cartouche...



    I added an arid region in the NE corner of the map and needed something to make it pop. The funky thing about this scale is that you aren't too concerned with detail - form and shading are the important elements.

    TIm
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2017 edited
     
    Cartouche built and placed...



    2.3mb seems a bit huge for the file, but I'm reluctant to scale downwards since I have the line thicknesses working fairly well.

    Tim
    • CommentAuthorScottA
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2017
     
    Great map and I love the new symbols you are creating. The peeking eyes are especially fun!
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2017
     
    Posted By: ScottAGreat map and I love the new symbols you are creating. The peeking eyes are especially fun!


    Thanks, I appreciate it! The eyes leave some mystery :)

    Here is the end of week overall update:



    I did not get in enough time to work on it as much as I wanted to :(. I was hoping to be done next weekend, but it seems doubtful now. I did start the framework for a VTT Fantasy Grounds module and have been reading up on the generic fantasy rules for the Savage Worlds ruleset, so some of my progress isn't visible or of much interest to many of you.

    My cartouche to-do list... A keep to match the towers, a giantess, and a fallen god. Oh, and elvish plains riders. Maybe something to enliven the seas.

    Tim
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2017 edited
     
    I have been working on some of the border art...



    I need at least 4 pieces (this is 1 of 3 that I have in various degrees of completion), but honestly might have wasted some time since I failed to constrain these to matching aspect ratios.
    • CommentAuthorShessar
    • CommentTimeAug 8th 2017
     
    This is really unique and quite creative. I love your custom created decorations. Can't wait to see more of the border decor. Love it!
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeAug 9th 2017
     
    Thanks, Shessar! Starting to believe that I will just go with a pair of inset images and create a title panel to tack on to the top or bottom
  3.  
    Your cartouches are outstanding, Topdecker! The border one is right out of a medieval tome. Awesome work my friend!

    DMG
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeAug 10th 2017
     
    It is actually heavily based on a woodcut from Pierre Gringoir's "The Castell of labour" circa 1505
  4.  
    Woah amazing!! <3 I especially love how you've made and included some of your own symbols, I never thought of doing that, it's brilliant, and a wonderful map!
    • CommentAuthorTopdecker
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2017
     
    Thanks, pixelkitteh. If you ever do try to make your own symbols, I would suggest that you put a heavy border on the resulting image - that is the #1 trick to making them look solid :)

    I have GMed the Forgotten Realms setting once and have read a lot of the lore. I did not recall 'Feywild' but now that I know about it, I guess it is possible that the name filtered in as the woods that I named 'Fey-Wylde'.

    Anyhow, it is funny how things like that can creep in :) I started with Fey Woods, then Fey Wilderness, and then Fey Wild, and finally Fey-Wylde. Even so, I don't really want to use a Forgotten Realms style and then appear to repurpose an entire plane of existence into a named forest.

    So that bit of woods is now marked as 'Tuatha de Sidhe' - or Tribe of the Fey. Still gonna lift Oberon and Titania from Shakespeare.

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