Hi, I'll get straight into this quick guide on how I create cliffs. The images show you exactly what tool I used and later I might add what I did for each part, but for now, this is just a visual guide.
- Research. I can't stress enough how important this is to a good map. Find yourself a good collection of screenshots from the Lord of the Rings movies and of real-world locations. Make sure you are acquainted with the geography and history of a location before you start mapping. For the visual guide below I used this webpage. www.pexels.com/search/cliff/
- Outline, sketches and balance. Often called grey boxing in real video-game environment design. Get the basic outline of the map first, and then test it out in a game. You'll get a feel for farm placement and points of interest this way.
- The easiest way to make the terrain "look good" in a short amount of time (that I have found) is to start with gently smoothed terrain, create large basic ridges and large details with big brushes, use the ramp tool to remove stretched terrain, move onto smaller brushes for smaller ridges and small details, and then for specific details or sharp ridges I use a 1, 2, 3 sized brush if I'm in a hurry.
- A simple way to texture a cliff or mountain is to use three textures, one for the tops of ridges, one for valleys and a rocky terrain for where you would expect rocks to be. I start with the rocks and paint an outline that I fill with the valley terrain and then I paint the ridges. I might use another texture for steep cliffs.
- I was asked to show how I use rocks and cliff objects. Sometimes I use them to exaggerate the natural feature that I've created with the terrain, I sink the rock object into the terrain and try to blend it in with the terrain - this would be used for a feature like a sharp ridge or some stoney deposition. Or I might plan to use them as a natural feature, and for that, I would make them pop out as much as I can.
This guide contains only screenshots. I have included the map as well.
Short Cliff Guide.pdf 2.02MB 24 downloads
Short Cliff Guide.zip 22.54KB 8 downloads