Today I’m covering a quick way to layout a city and make it look pretty and easy to read. As with the previous post, this originally appeared on my G+ and facebook pages.
- 3 steps to an attractive city map
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.
It’s a new month, and that means a new map pack. Once again we venture to cold and wintery climes – unlike the current balmy weather we’re enjoying on the Eastern Seaboard. Today’s map pack takes us deep into the heart of a besieged city of ice, with the armies of the attackers camped outside the central compound. A moat, crenelated walls and sturdy gates bat the final assault. In the stalemate, the attackers have built a robust barricade of carts and wagons to fend off any counter assault. Buildings are shattered from artillery fire but calm reigns before the inevitable storm of the final assault. (map preview after the jump) Continue reading “Barricades and Bonfires – the Siege of the Inner City”
The Paizo blog today was all about the wonderful steampunk world of Zeitgeist from ENWorld and that reminded me that I need to post the rest of the Zeitgeist maps. I created these maps for the Island at the Axis of the World – the first module in the adventure path. You can download the adventure and the maps for free.
As well as the map of the City of Flint (above – or click here to see the map larger) I created an island map and a star fort for the adventure path: Continue reading “Zeitgeist Maps for Island at the Axis of the World”
The Dwarves of Redwall are builders. Their city stands on three great terraces carved from the side of a mountain, and the walls are grounded by massive octagonal cannon towers. As with any dwarven city, the overground structures, temples and railway stations are just the surface. Below the city, mines and tunnels probe deep into the earth.
Continue reading “The City of Redwall”
After showing off the city map tiles for Wayfinder #4 (previous post) it got me thinking. The square format is repetitive and blocky. Also, the directional lighting means the tiles can’t be rotated for variety without it looking like there are 4 different suns. So, whilst they are pretty, they have their drawbacks when trying to create a large map. I also feel that creating a whole city at this level of detail is a bit of a fools errand. That’s a lot of tiles to build a district, let alone a full city.
So I’ve been playing around, and because this is a personal project rather than a commission, I can make my mulling public. So here’s what I’ve come up with so far.
Here’s some of the logic behind the design: Continue reading “City tile ideas”
I’ve been curating a gallery show of maps of New York by a collection of very talented artists. The maps are on display at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art until March the 16th. We’ll be having a party on the 20th to show off the maps and have some wine and nibbles and if you’re in the New York area you’re very welcome to come by. Wine will be open from around 7.30 and the address is 138 Sullivan Street, Manhattan.
If you are unable to make it to the gallery in person, you can still view the wonderful maps on display. Check out the online gallery for the show here.
- Cassedega – Built on the Ruined Remains of Ankeshel
This sunken city map was created for Open Design for their Pathfinder supplement Sunken Empires. I was asked to create a city in two halves – one above the sea and one below – built on top of the ruins of an ancient city that had been sunken beneath the waves and recently re-appeared. Nothing like a challenge…
Continue reading “Cassedega – Built on the Ruined Remains of Ankeshel”