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On roll20 map design using tints


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Hello everyone! Been a while since I last posted on the forums... been actually feeling conflicted about a problem with roll20, one that I will discuss on this post. Keywords: high quality map design, art compatibility, variety, tints. What is the problem? Using tints is an amazing feature on roll20, it allows for using many assets in creative or dramatic ways -- but, for someone who loves graphical design and aims at creating truly beautiful maps, using tints can create an amateur look that I hate. Fortunately there seems to be a nice fix that GMs can implement easily! Still interested? A graphical example seems like a good starting point to discuss the topic: A map featuring Gryphin flying over a waste. I would say that the art used mostly feels ok. But the wooden textures seem to not fit the map, the boulders too. Honestly I was running into this kind of problem and coming short of an answer way too frequently. I was not considering one factor: compatibility of used art can be a problem because of tints. Not always is the art itself the problem, but my choice to use/not use tints and how it makes the art feel like it does not fit together. Let me go into more detail: The griphyn might have a different art style than the landscape, but considering those are different classes of elements it feels ok, one is the environment, the other the active enemies. Can't really say the same for the boulders and trees compared to the rest of the landscape, here it just does not fit in a more glaring way. Their shadows seem off and colours just seem too glossy, and they have lines that are more defined than they should it seems - this problem is often created by not using tints on objects right next to tinted assets. The filters apply something like a colored wrapper over the art assets, which changes saturation in art assets, impacting strongly how lines, shadows and textures feel. Something that also came to mind: pure black tint does not have the same effects as pretty much all other tints, so I think it should also be treated as a "problematic tint". My points is: choosing tints is important but in more ways than I used to think. It can create variety but can also impact harmony and quality of the maps... So what I started doing is using tints on everything and not using pure black tint. Created a few macros so that I didn't click myself silly, and the results seem to be much better. It makes a big difference to me, as it keeps art consistent, even while using the advantages of tint recolors. It also helps bring art from different artists closer - by hiding some of the high variance details like finishes for texturing. An example of this applied to the map: Using tints on all background objects created a consistent look, creating the feeling of a dusty, sunny landscape. This fixes so many maps for me, and finnaly gives me the freedom to combine many assets with ease, without ending up with glaring artsyle shifts. I know many would not care a lot about this, many would not even say it is a problem. But I have struggled many times with maps where it just did not fit, in ways that seemed so though for me to change.  I hope this wasn't too confusing/boring. Just trying to help roll20 GMs with the art of map design and role-playing in general. For me great art is essential, so I thought I would take the time and bore some people with this - some might be bored in a good way haha Feedback, questions, comments?  All the best, gui8311 Note: The art above uses assets from Gabriel Pickard and Devin Night -- great artists that have made the effort of creating huge libraries in the same art style... big thanks to them!
Brian C.
Marketplace Creator
Nifty. So you tint the objects to minimize the differences in color palettes between the different objects and the background?

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thank you :) more or less -- it is more of a way to minimize undesired differences between all used art assets, by applying the tint modifiers to all objects. This might be useful in several cases:  1) some objects have tint recoloring, others do not: the tinted ones would have less saturation then the untinted ones, creating an unpleasant change in feel. Applying tints to everything would be a way to go around that, leveling saturation values. 2) the art style of two artists has a different finish that clashes: using tint functions the assets can be normalized a bit, helping with glare, shadows, colour tones, line intensities, textures. I know this does influence the art style quite a bit, but it is an option that can create pleasant results... as long as the lower saturation and more artificial colors are not a problem. I believe it does create a more professional feel though for people who want to use tints.
Forum Champion
gui8312, would you consider adding your top post to the Stupid Tricks thread ? Since it was unstickied, it has lost a lot of traffic. This would be a perfect entry.

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Hey Keith!  I actually thought about posting it there, but I was not sure if it fit. Happy to see you suggest it! I will add it to the thread then. EDIT: done! also did a quick review of the text, but if anything still does not fit the thread format, just let me know :)
Forum Champion
Looks great, thanks. Yes, anything that uses Roll20 commands, assets, or other features in a way not immediately obvious or to solve a problem in an innovative way is fine there.

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I feel quite smart now! (well it took me many months to figure this out haha) :)