Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Happy Mapping

Many evenings, the first thing I do online after reading my email is to come visit my blog just to have a look at the various updates made to the blogs down in my "Blogs List". Not surprisingly, this tends to eat up a lot of my time, but then again, it keeps me off the streets. :D ..so it's all good.

Recently I came across a posting on Chgowiz's blog and followed his link to a spot on YouTube called ZombieNirvana. There I found a series of podcasts on how to create medieval-styled maps in Photoshop for use in your roleplaying games.

Now..this isn't Photoshop For Dummies. Yes, he guides you through step-by-step, but it does help to have a working knowledge of how layers work, what the various tools are called, and how to navigate the various menus. If you've mastered those, then you should have no trouble with this series. Each video takes you through a different step of the mapmaking process, and once you have done that, you can save your original Photoshop file so that with a bit of editing on certain layers you can create more different maps in the same style with minimum reworking.

Best of all..it's like having a cooking show on DVD. You can make a project right along with him and pause whenever you need a bit of extra time to finish the step you are working on. So of course I jumped in with both feet and made myself a li'l ol' map.


I think the tutorial is using PS7. My version is PS6, so I have a few less fancy brushes in my palette and also am unable to resize any brushes except for the perfectly round ones. Other than that, my version was good enough to keep up. Now, I thought I was a person who knew Photoshop fairly well, but after watching the first 12 videos, I learned five new techniques for accomplishing various effects as well as at least half a dozen keyboard shortcuts to help me get my workflow unclogged. (Apparently you are not a "real" digital photographer until you are comfortable throwing around terms such as "workflow".)

By the way, those four orcs at the bottom left are courtesy of JuniorGeneral.org, another free download site for tabletop gamers that allows you to download, print,cutout and play with paper miniatures. Those orcs, however, can no longer be found there, as the site has discontinued its fantasy models section. Those particular orcs were made by Michael Krein.

Chgowiz also has a link to a dungeon mapping tutorial, which I will be trying out really soon.


In Tomb of the Iron God PbP related news, the game WILL continue, but the gamemaster has been busy the past two days with a bit of important beta reading. I'll keep after him to move things along tomorrow.

1 comment:

Chgowiz said...

Wow!!!! Your map looks way better than mine the first time I tried! Your roads look really nice.

Did you run into the same problem I had with the trees - when you paint them, the edges don't always look like I think they would if someone hand inked them. I went back and forth and now I use a tablet to clean them up and place the trunks. It looks like you might have had that problem.

And can you share those now gone paper minis...? :D