Last week, I discussed how I was using images to create Photo-Realistic images. That is great when I have time to be on the computer, but often I find myself with just my iPad. Soon enough Affinity Photo will be available on tablets. Until then, I needed to figure out some other solution to add realism to my RPG map illustrations. To do this, I finally decided to jump into how texture can make my art more realistic and WOW. It really adds the sort of details I could never put into my maps by hand without loads of time. It’s not quite the same as making a photo-realistic image, but for RPG maps purposes, it is now a key tool in my kit to add that extra level of detail.
Important Textures For RPG Maps
Some of the most important textures I’ve found are wood, cobblestone, cracks, water, grass, dots, and blood. Blood is a constant theme in my illustrations. I mean, why would your hero be scaling the walls or creeping through the dungeon if not for some evil doer? These textures are so critical they are at the top of my list during my final illustration phase.
Finding textures is nearly an endless search for the next best one. You can see on the right some of the textures that I sampled. Rocks, cracks, and stones create the perfect contrast to some of the straight lines that I use for my line art style maps. In the map image on the left, you can see what I’m talking about. On the left half you can see the corridor without texture and right side I added some cobblestone. It really takes the feeling of the map to the next level.
The mosaic patterns look AMAZING for flooring, but it does leave a bit to be desired for actual color in the tiles. You certainly get the feel, but not the full effect. You can see on the mosaic image to the right how fun it could be repeated across a great hall floor, but without color leaves enough to be desired that it’s not enough. I think my next test will be to take the original images and make a huge file in my editing program. Then I can put that over top of the image and erase/feather in/out the areas where I want my textured flooring to be.
If just using a basic black texture, notice how effective it can be in the left cave image. The subtle hint of the cracks gives the imagination a lot to munch on while having your players plan their moves. In RPG map design, it really doesn’t take much more time to take the brush and spread it over a vast area and quickly erase spots where I wanted it faded out a touch. On the cave map that I drew, it took me approximately three minutes to brush it on quickly and get it to a point where it looked believable.
In the coming weeks, I’ll try to share some of the brushes that I’ve made. I still want to do some more testing on it before I share them all.