Trees are useful on a battlemap as they provide terrain, cover and a lot of artistic style. As the canopy stretches over the play area, how you depict your trees will affect both the form and the function of your maps. Continue reading “Four Ways To Draw Trees On A Map”
How do you take a dungeon map like this one from the previous tutorial and add colour? An isometric map is a little trickier than a top down map. Without a solid edge to use as a selection, we can’t use the tricks we use for top down dungeon maps. Instead I colour by hand. It’s not that hard – here’s the steps I use.
It’s often the case that you find that you have a map from an adventure that has labels on it. You need to remove the labels before you show it to your players or they’ll know where the bad guys are. On many maps this is actually pretty easy. Continue reading “How to remove labels from maps”
This week I’m looking at how to take published maps, rescale them for miniature or virtual tabletop use and then slice them up for printing at home. Continue reading “Tips and Tricks: Rescaling Maps and Slicing Them Up”
This week it’s all about the dungeon, and I’ve been covering ways of creating dungeon maps without actually drawing anything. These tips should work whether you’re a natural doodler or you think pencils are the devil incarnate.
Castle Defence – a classic gatehouse
Castles are built for more than one reason – people live there, guards are stationed there and often they are political power centers for the region. But first and foremost they are built to keep people out. Continue reading “Weekly Tips 2 – How to design a gatehouse, using grids and building isometric maps”
Last year I started a series of quick mapping tips, meant to be read over lunch, that would cover a series of different questions. These are posted daily to my Google+ and Facebook pages. Rather than post them up everyday on here, I’ve opted to collate them on a weekly basis and plan to post these up on Saturday mornings for easy reading over the weekend. This week it’s City Map icons, mountains and creating aged paper map handouts. Continue reading “A Week of Mapping Tips – City Icons, and drawing Mountains”
The challenge with a city map is to lay out information on districts of the city as well as specific locations. The two can easily get confused, especially if you have a very detailed texture showing roofs and individual buildings. In this style I’m focusing on just showing the different districts. Individual locations of interest can then be placed on top by using icons, or something more elaborate.
1. Lay in the roads.
Here I’ve used a fixed width round brush, with a slightly wider width for main roads than minor roads. I’ve also used Photoshop’s layer styles to give the roads a dark outer glow to make it easier to read them. They’re white on a light background, but that won’t be an issue for long.
2. Define the city blocks
Here I’ve use the magic wand to select all the negative space where the city blocks are going to be. You can also use Select Pixels and then Invert Selection in photoshop. I’ve then shrunk the selection by 3px (though that depends on the resolution of your file of choice). The selection is then filled with black and this layer is set to overlay. I’ve also given the layer a layer style which is an internal stroke set to colour burn at 70% opacity. The result is that we can see all the city blocks, and the roads are visible as the negative space between the city blocks.
3. Delineate the different districts
Again we use the magic wand tool to get the selection of the city blocks in a specific district (you can also just get the selection by using the magic wand on the layer from step 2). Now, with one layer and one selection for each of the district, fill with the patter of your choice. Here I’ve used a striped pattern. I’ve set the stripes to a colour and used a combination of overlay and colour burn layer modes to create the effect.
Voila! An easy to read city map with clearly differentiated districts – all in less time than it takes to eat lunch. As ever, let me know if there are any questions in the comments section, or let me know if there are topics you’d like to see covered.
Today – how to draw simple hills with photoshop or Gimp. This works best for large scale maps, like world maps or regional maps, where you have a lot of terrain to cover.
- Lay in the shadows with a large fuzzy brush. In photoshop or the Gimp I’d suggest doing this on a layer with the blend mode set to overlay.
- Lay in the highlights with a slightly smaller fuzzy brush. Avoid sharp edges. You want hills to be rolling, and in contrast to the sharp peaks of a mountain range. Again, here I’ve done this on an overlay layer.
- Add colour (here I’m a layer with the blend mode set to colour) and leave the hills slightly browner than the flat plains. That helps to differentiate them – and means that even with subtle light and shade they’ll be easy to read at a glance.
A couple of other things to keep in mind:
- Lay in the rivers first. As rivers drain the water out of hills, they will determine where the hills should go.
- Less is more when it comes to shadows and highlights here. Your mountains should have the darkest shadows. Make sure that your hill shadows are quite a bit more subtle.
I hope that’s useful, chip in if there’s a particular topic you’d like to see covered!
I was asked about the process that goes into making a map like the map of Rhune: Dawn of Twilight
This walkthrough uses Photoshop and a graphics tablet. It can almost all be done in Gimp with the same settings (I use PS because it handles large files better – and has more advanced brush dynamics). The tablet is more critical. The line art can be done by hand drawing and scanning and setting the layer to multiply. The colouring can be done with a PS brush with the opacity down low and then lust built up multiple times – but I’d recommend spending the $80 and picking up a cheap Wacom. It makes all the difference.
Okay, onto the workflow: Continue reading “A walkthrough of my mapmaking process”