Project Spectrum

I'm starting to mess around with the idea of a new overland style with lots of nice rich colours. I was working on something similar some time ago, but that was a top view overland that ran out of steam when my real life got slightly more complicated than usual, so this time I thought I'd have a fresh start with a more traditional isometric overland style.

I've done half the textures so far. Some I'm happy with, while others still need a lot of work.

Today I sketched out the first mountain and I was wondering what you would think of it, so I posted it here for comments.

The textures in the shot from left to right are the lightest shade of grassland, a rather overcooked mountain background, and the two darkest shades of desert.


  • MonsenMonsen 🖼️ 45 images Cartographer Administrator
    edited January 2020
    Everything look really nice, but the mountains doesn't quite fit with the fills. Maybe the thick lines make them look more cartoony than the fill, which causes the clash. Oh, and the mountains are smiling.

    Thing may give a different impression when not zoomed so close though, that isn't always the best way of viewing a map.
  • Oh no!


    I nearly drowned my keyboard in hot chocolate (its a cold blustery day here in the UK)

    And now its seen, I can't un-see it!

    I can see what you mean about the cartoony style. I was trying to stop them merging into the background, but I think I will have to paint them a little more realistically with more detail, add directional shadows, and maybe tame that rather outrageously exuberant background texture a bit.

    I hadn't realised just how difficult it was to make everything work together. First there's the colours, then there's the level of detail and basic texture, and as if that isn't enough every single thing has to be assessed against everything else in the set, and everything has to work well together. The more textures you have, the harder it gets. And that's before the symbols.

    Not that I'm complaining. I'm finding this project really interesting. So many new things to think about.
  • I love your "happy little mountains" Sue!

    Nice colors. That mountains fill is a little psychedelic... ;-)
  • I think maybe if the lines for the mountains and hills weren't so pronounced... that would help, maybe?
  • Well, okay. You could reduce the lines 'obviousness' if thats a word, but its up to you.

    If the mountains ands hills were in the same style as the fills, they could be used for certan types of worlds. I would certainly love to make continents that way.
  • You no like my lines!?

    That's ok.

    Neither do I ;)

    I'm in the middle of a slightly different approach with the same mountain. Nothing to show just yet, but I have already tamed that rather wild mountain background.
  • The desert and grasslands = Aussie - how great. I hope for some more Aussie scrub trees and eucalypts, acacias and callistemons. (sez he, in hope rather than expectation). And koalas, to remind us what they looked like before their extinction :(
  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 28 images Cartographer ProFantasy
    edited January 2020
    Not so much "Aussie" as darker, and richer. I hope, anyway ;)

    This version went very dark, and a bit disappointingly dull, but that's the way with brown. I think I went a bit too far with taming the mountain background. More colour in both that and the mountain.

    But do you like my lines a little better in this version, perhaps? I'm still not happy with them. I think my Wacom may be broken. I get these weird dogleg kinks in lines that were drawn perfectly smooth. It took me nearly forever to match the skyline thickness of the hills and the mountains where the hills are so smooth.

    I tamed the background texture, but I think I went too far with it. So the mountain has gone even more dull in colour.
  • Sue,

    I don't know if you're using Photoshop, but if so, something that may help smooth out those doglegs is a plugin called Lazy Nezumi Pro. My wife uses it and she raves about it.

    (I hope it's not your Wacom, those things are expensive!)

    In the case of your mountain symbols, those are awesome looking! I liked the smiley faces too but like you said, once you see them you can't unsee them.
  • Thanks Daisho :)

    I don't use PS. I don't agree with the rental system ;) Instead I use Krita, which a surprising number of professional mappers seem to use. Krita is free.

    I think it might be my Wacom. Electronic fault, I think. I've changed the nib and examined the surface of the pad. I can't see any physical damage, but the line still jinks when it passes near the middle of the tablet. If it was a larger tablet I would simply move the drawing and use around the edges, but its the smallest model, so it's already a bit like drawing on a postcard :P

    Don't worry. As long as the tax man doesn't take too much from me I will use my ill-gotten gains from the last annual I did to get a new one. It just won't be for a month or two until I'm certain I'm not about to get a nasty bill.
  • I’ve recently downloaded Krita as well, although I’m no artist. I was using GIMP, but my wife sold me on Krita instead.

    Speaking of her, she had a similar problem with an older tablet of hers, and it turned out to be some kind of pressure damage to the under layer of the tablet surface, due probably to overuse. She likes her new tablet much better. ;-)
  • What kind of tablet does she use these days? Is it still a Wacom. or something else? I've only had this one for a couple of years.
  • Oh, and on the Krita v GIMP front - as with all software I use each app to the best of it's abilities. So while you can work on seamless tiles 'live' in Krita, and Krita has much better drawing tools and leaves GIMP standing in terms of tablet response, GIMP is the only one of the two apps that allows me to sharpen a mask and get rid of semi-transparent pixels for a nice clean background. It's also easier to scale and crop things in GIMP. That's a huge simplification of the differences between those two free apps, but this is how I use them in tandem when I'm working on stuff like this.
  • Sue,

    Thanks for the breakdown on Krita vs GIMP.

    As for my wife’s tablet, it’s a Huion, stand-up model that doubles as a monitor. It was $500, but has been a pretty good buy so-far.
  • LOL! Gulp. As soon as you throw a screen into the mix it quadruples the price. I think that might have to wait till I'm a famous artist :P

    I'm looking at another Huion right now - the largest one available. I'm very grateful for the Wacom One I've got, which was a present from my mum a couple of years ago, but since it's broken now I might as well take the opportunity to get a much larger one. This one seems to fit the bill.

    Huion Giano WH1409

    Wacom have a fantastic customer service. You can Chat with tech support on the webpage, and sort out any driver problems (usually caused by every last Win 10 update there's ever been) in a matter of minutes. Is the Huion support as hot as that?
  • I like the first maps fills, and the second map's symbols.

    Maybe all could be in the final item ?

    Pllleeeaaassse ?
    ( That was my bestest Roger Rabbit. He talks like that. )
  • Aw, thank you, Jim :)

    I'm working on it, but there's a heck of a long way to go yet ;)

    The first mountain background was a bit too jazzy. It was difficult to see the mountains against it. The second one was too dowdy and brownish. So I'm still working on it.

    The first mountain was too cartoony and the lines too thick. The second... I just think that there must be better colours for a mountain than brown. So I'm still working in them too.

    Don't worry - the desert and grass fills are finished, so they won't be changing in the slightest.
  • I can't tell you about Huion support, as we've never tried to call them. Drivers weren't much of an issue, and the thing has "just worked" ever since, so no complaint there.

    Looking forward to seeing more of this set! ;-)

    (RIP, cute smiley mountains!)
  • Thanks, Daisho :)

    I have a few weeks yet to think about it all, but it is reassuring to know that Huion are probably just as reliable as Wacom.

    And I am glad that Remy pointed out the smile. I usually see animal shapes in other people's maps, but in my own I am strangely blind to it.
  • LoopysueLoopysue 🖼️ 28 images Cartographer ProFantasy
    edited January 2020
    Prototype mesas :)

    Or they might be buttes.

    I'm not sure any more.

    (The lines are jiggly because this is a screen shot)

  • When I lived in Denver, the Rocky Mountains from the backyard looked blue or purpose. FWIW.
  • edited January 2020
    I think the tops don't look right. here are a few pics - the mesa arises straight out of the base, and doesn't look like a hat on a cone. 2 of the pics are from Australia - the last is Mt Connor, only about 100 km from Uluru - very bumpy 4 wheel drive.
    Sorry to be harsh - I am allowed to be every 3rd January.
  • I've been repeatedly informed on the FB page that my mesas are buttes. So I went to investigate the difference.

    There seems to be a lot of confusion here. Typically I can't find it this morning, but I found a webpage last night that described mesas as being up to 4 miles wide, and butts less than a mile wide. Otherwise they are one and the same. By that definition, though, only the things in the background of the second picture, and the one in the last picture, are mesas and not buttes. However, I am beginning to think that this may be more of a regional thing than a geographical definition. It seems that American's are more likely to call flat-topped mountains buttes, while everyone else calls them mesas. I might be wrong ;)

    I purposefully haven't added vegetation because that would blur the definition of the symbol. If these were city scale elements I probably would add a bit of scrub here and there.

    Well, I suppose I can say that I'm pleased by how close I've got the colour of the sand :)
  • I hope I haven't just started a major butte/mesa conflict of opinions! LOL!

    Maybe I should call them muttes, or besas?

    I'm also thinking now of doing grassland and jungle versions...

    But these will be in separate sets, so people don't go pasting jungle muttes in the middle of the desert.

    Ah... butte... but... I once did that very thing in a map and won a Cartographer's Guild Challenge with it.

    Colour me confused in a general sort of way! LOL!
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