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Mapping Adventures, Design and Illustration

New Photoshop Video tutorial
Well, it's about time I did something like this. My computer now has the ability to record what I do. What does this mean? It means that I can now successfully share some of my Photoshop trickery with the masses...psst, that's you. And here it is, the first of hopefully many more Photoshop video tutorials. Enjoy and leave comment with suggestions for future tutorials. Thanks!!!

December already?
Wow. It's been a few months since blogging about anything. I've been busy to say the least. On top of finishing a series of Star Wars environments for NEW planets, like these small previews:

The last few months of Game Mastery maps have been challenging and some of the best I've done. Honest. I've been trying some new techniques with more CG modeling and new brushes. The previews on their website should show you a good idea of the amount of detail going into these. The current one is no less of a challenge..it's an honest toughie. Here's the links to the latest: Pathfinder Lodge, Bandit's Outpost, Arena, Jungle

November's big project was composing original music for the Magic: The Gathering World's Pro Tour induction ceremony...which was held in Rome. I was stoked to say the least and I'll have a sample on my website over the holiday for sure. I YouTube'd and found this great video clip to see how it came out at the event and it was pretty cool to hear it in context with the announcers and the stage show:2009 World's Ceremony

December is plowing through at the same pace time usually goes but always seems faster than I wish. Busy times. More tutorials for sure in the 2010 outlook. Also, discussing entries for Spectrum, GenCon, Celebration 5, and seminars at PaizoCon. Fun times ahead. Best wishes for the solstice and the new year.

CMNMD website relaunch!
I'm happy to announce that I have relaunched my website: CMNMD! The new site includes mostly more of my recent map illustrations and motion graphics work. It has taken a few back-and-forth iterations in Photoshop and Flash, but I got the code right to do what I want it do and look good. The web and sound sections are not live, but will be by the end of the week if I survive another convergence of deadlines this week, but am very pleased with the outcome. Who can't be once you get ActionScript to do your bidding. I REALLY dislike coding anything. I'm quite content with pixels anyday. Enjoy!

I took this photo in an elevator in Long Beach, CA. It makes a neat appearance on the new site. Hehe.

I'm made the stairs. That is really all I can show of this project, but it has SO much detail and little hidden things in it! Enjoy.

Red Dragon and an ENnie!
I'm all in favor of technology and blogs. I followed the Gen Con ENnie awards via twitter on Friday and was excited to find that Paizo Publishing won a Gold award for my Waterfront Tavern Flip-mat. Woohoo! That's 2 ENnies for me from Paizo! Congrats to ALL nominees and winners.

I will be in full-force at Gen Con next year with my Mapping Adventures products. Yes, that is plural. This Fall will see the release of 2 expansions. Well, maybe one expansion and a stand-alone product. I have not made up my mind on how to present it, but it will be exciting.

The Red Dragon is now available to the masses.

I have added this HUGE 5" x 5" Red Dragon tile for purchase from my Mapping Adventures store for only .99¢! It's an exciting addition to any dungeon map setting. Get yours now! Enjoy, see you soon!

New maps, lower prices, more maps.
The heat! 'Nuff said.

But alas, I've been busy with a LOT of fun map and illustration projects. This image is half of a planet for a futuristic setting in a galaxy far, far away. It is one part of 9 maps for an RPG module coming out this Fall. Really fun work.

I am also reducing the price on my Mapping Adventures: New Expeditions to $9 and the subsequent expansions to $5...when I get around to creating them. Convention season hits us all and I've been behind on the expansion packs, but am gearing up with lots of new textures. I will also be posting free useful Photoshop templates to my store for basic map dimensions to get y'all going.

One last update, I will be doing a full page map for an upcoming issue of Kobold Quarterly. I'm not going to spill the details, but can say that it will be big, scary and to 1" scale. Neat. See you then.

GRUNGE!...and prints.
One big secret to be revealed with this blog entry today: adding grunge. There are a lot of texture resources online for illustrators to use. Some are free, some are not. Some are high-quality and some are well, not quite useful. In this blog entry, I am going to share a couple techniques and websites to expand your collection and fill up your harddrive. I think I have over 8GB of textures on my computer and about 25+ DVDs of misc textures and objects gathered over the course of my career. Enough about that, let's get to it!

This simple tutorial will show you how to combine some of the elements my Mapping Adventures tiles into a room environment and how to make the patterns of the texture not so visible. Sometimes when using a texture or pattern to cover a large area, there is bound to be visible spots where the tile starts, stops, tiles, or even drops to a hard edge. We'll start with some tiles that do this and go over one effect that can alleviate this obvious patterning. Let start with a simple 2 x 2 inch Photoshop file with 4 stone tiles from my Mapping Adventures: New Expedition map pack.

The next step is to flatten only the stone layers and increase the canvas size to 10 x 10 inches. Next, copy and paste the combined tiles to fill the document area completely. It should look similar to this.

You see some subtle tiling that appears and some greenish areas.

Now the fun begins. When I plan my map projects, I always grab a bunch of reference from my collection or online to get an idea of the mood and tone that I want for the specific environment. For some of the best textures as of recent, I HIGHLY recommend these websites: Lost and Taken and Bittbox. Both have a super selection and variety of textures that I have used in my own map creations. For this example, I visited www.bittbox.com and did a search for "grunge" and selected this texture.

Cool! Now what? Well, copy and paste your new found texture on top of your stone tiles and convert the layer option to OVERLAY. This will be a little dark for starters so tune the opacity down to 50 - 60%. This will allow the variety in the texture to lie on top of the tiles and retain the detail of the stonework underneath. The final result should look close to this.

Cool! A little extra post work and add some other items from the New Expeditions pack and voila!

EXTRA! EXTRA! Art print for sale.

This is a VERY small preview of one of my latest map tiles for Paizo Publishing from the Extradimensional Spaces set due out in October. I will be making some framed art prints available from some of the tiles for this set. Yes, I am THAT excited with the results of this set. Enjoy!

Next Blog: Special Effects! See you then!..and sooner.

The Store is live!
I am proud to announce the availability of Mapping Adventures: New Expeditions! The fruits of labors from staring at an immense amount of pixels is finally ready to be shared. The online store for all things about Mapping Adventures is now online.

Mapping Adventures Online Store!

I will be announcing details soon about the first expansion: Dungeon Explorers. I will be at PaizoCon for the weekend creating custom maps and selling this pack along with a special creature tile. It looks SO cool! Thanks for the support. Please share your comments and I will pick the best and post them on the site and reward those that i do pick with a unique tile. So unique that it will never be used in any future product. See you then!

Floor Effects
Thanks for coming back for the second post to preview some of the tiles and effects included in the Mapping Adventures: New Expeditions pack on sale soon...So soon.

I want to focus on the floor effects, what they are and how they can be combined to enhance your art and build exciting scenarios for your players. Floor Effects are elements that can be placed in any scene and environment. These include the previewed storm drain, blood spill, spell effects, torches, and of course a fireball. Each PNG file has a transparent background for easy placement and not needing to worry about post work. This example show two uses of the storm drain floor effect with a stone and cobblestone floor option.

Using the same cobblestone floor and adding a different blood trail floor effect can change the mood of the scene and spark your creative juices to create something unique.
Thanks again for all of the support for Mapping Adventures. Next post: Photoshop Tutorial-Dirty it up! See you then!

Mapping Adventures Blog launches with a preview!
Welcome to my blog!

I will be using this journal to preview images from my Mapping Adventures product line as well as tutorials on how to make the most of the product AND Photoshop tips and tricks.

Let's start things off with a preview of some components from the New Expeditions set.

This tile shows a group of maps laid out on a weathered table inviting our adventuring party to explore. It is made up of 3 components: The ground tile, the table, and the map group. The floor is pretty basic for layout and ground. The table and the map, however, are delivered as a transparent PNG file. This enables the background to be blank and the object to be placed on any surface with the transparent edges preserved.

Having PNGs make the combinations quite vast for your own map rooms, especially with the included objects sets and floor effects. Next post: Ground effects. See you then!