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It Came From Beneath a Crown Royal Bag Full of Dice

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  • It Came From Beneath a Crown Royal Bag Full of Dice

    So it happened that one fo those fancy-shmancy "Black Friday" sales was for a thing called d20Pro, which is a utility for running tabletop RPGs online. It tracks character and monster stats, provides a standard reference document for several of the more common games...

    ...and most importantly for this context, it contains a mechanism for making and sharing maps. Because these games can run in a vacuum, but it's nowhere near as fun.

    See, the problem is that there are some very skilled fantasy cartographers out there, and they make some very purdy maps for gaming. The program comes with a few such maps, but those get tiresome after a while. I want to make my own, for situations of my own creation. (Yes, running these things requires one to be just a little bit of a control freak.) And that's where Canvas Draw comes in. Or at least, it should very soon.

    The scale for these maps will vary greatly depending on the application and situation in the given game, but for the very core tactical level, one inch equals five feet. And that "one inch" in the d20Pro world seems to be best represented by 150 dpi.

    Now, I don't have the option of setting up a document at that resolution, but I can still work on that scale, by selecting the scale 150px = 5 "world feet." So there's that sorted out.

    Maps of this sort need a variety of terrains, like grass, dirt, tiled floors, and other things like that. I'm still working some of those out, but I've had a good start with the tiled patterns. For instance, a pattern of offset squares can be shrunk down to the appropriate scale, copied, and pasted into a 5'x5' graphic object. Boom, tesselable pattern. Go into Attributes, Inks, Textures, create, select the paint object, and double boom: Tesselated pattern that can be applied to any vector object, so add preset. I could conceivably cook up with a big bunch of usable map textures that way. Individual tailoring parts to these maps in production could include sprite objects to shift or recolor parts of tiles, individual splats of paint, and other things.

    Does anyone else here have experience with this sort of thing? Does anyone have suggestions for better best practices than I've latched onto? And how do I get good grass stains into my paint obejcts?

  • #2
    Can you post some images?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by kohanmike View Post
      Can you post some images?
      I could, but there are issues. First, the finished imported maps tend to be very large; I'm looking at one right here now that's 5300 px by 3000 px.

      I found a 1000x1200 that looks postable; cross your fingers.
      Click image for larger version

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      And that's the grade of quality I hope some day to at least approach. There's a lot of texture work here that I've got to mimic.

      For the sake of attribution, this is one of the "starter maps." And there is a whole marketplace full of other graphic images suitable for either tromping around on or doing the tromping — and that "marketplace" thing is why I'm loath to post more samples.

      Meanwhile, I'm back at this level...

      Click image for larger version

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      ...working up what I hope are easily tesselated floor patterns (and they are, at least individually). I'm still working on improving my craft, obviously.

      Attached Files

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      • #4
        Wow! Based on what you are attempting to achieve, I would state that you are another candidate for the reason we need Photoshop plug-in support brought back to Canvas.

        While it is completely feasible to create these maps in Canvas Draw (or Canvas X for Windows), certain aspects will take considerably more effort because Canvas users can no longer use filters (SpriteEffects) outside of those provided in Canvas Draw/Canvas X without going between Canvas and another image editor. I would not be surprised if many of those maps were created in Photoshop using plug-ins such as Alien Skin’s Eye Candy. Just looking at the image you posted I can see evidence of the following Eye Candy filters: Stone Wall, Wood, Marble, and Texture Noise.

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