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Tutorial How to make cheap water/canal/river tiles

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Warden, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. Warden
    Skink Priest

    Warden Well-Known Member

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    Couldn't figure out how to make a new thread in the tutorial subforum because the "post new thread" button didn't show up for me, so here it goes.

    Step 1: Designing your tiles.

    I really like making my terrain interchangeable and able to be used in multiple different combinations. This makes each board I put together slightly different than the last one. For inspiration as you make your river or canal tiles, I recommend doing some internet searching first. Here is some of the inspiration I found when coming up with my river tiles.




    ALSO CHECK THIS OUT! @n810 made an epic river way back when too.

    Step 2: Cut out your tiles.

    I made my river tiles in two parts. The first half mostly had straight pieces, while my part 2 of the project had some curved pieces too. I used foam board you get out of a craft store.

    warden201810_rivers WIP 1.jpg
    Careful measuring is important to ensure all the tiles will line up. All of my tiles are exactly 5 inches thick at the connection end, with a 1/2 inch border of sand glued to the foam board to represent the edge of the water feature.

    Step 3: Basecoat

    I always paint my terrain black to start, so that is what I used here. It provides an extra layer of stability to the foam (paint both sides, two coats each) and helps hold the sand in place.

    warden201810_rivers WIP 2.jpg
    warden201811_canals and swamps part 2_ WIP 01.jpg
    Imrahil and The Red Devil like this.
  2. Warden
    Skink Priest

    Warden Well-Known Member

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    Step 4: Base color layer

    Since my river tiles are to represent jungle rivers, I used a river I saw down in Belize as inspiration.

    It was very green, so that is what I tried to make.

    warden201810_rivers WIP 4.jpg

    Base paint layers are of course green for the water features, and brown for the sand on the sides. Also during this step I added mud coloring to the sand to make it truly look like a jungle.

    Step 5: Painting the water features

    This step was probably the trickiest one. Because I was using acrylic paints, I had to move quickly in order to get the blending that I wanted. The objective is to make the center of the tiles darker, with the sides lighter to give the effect the water is "deeper" in the center and more shallow at the shoreline.

    warden201810_rivers WIP 5.jpg
    To do this, this is the general color scheme I used:

    edge--> mid-depth --> center/deepest <-- mid-depth <-- edge
    light green/brown --> green --> blue/green/black <-- green <-- light green/brown

    You may need to attempt this a few times to get the colors you like. Don't worry about how it doesn't look shiny yet, as that is what the next step is for.

    Step 6: Adding the shininess

    This is the step that makes the project come together. I used Realistic Water from woodland scenics. Just lather the stuff on and let it dry for a while.

    warden201905_canals and swamps part 2_ WIP 06.jpg
    When applying, ensure you are moving your paint brush in the direction you want the water to "flow." This is easily done by only moving the paint brush in one direction when you apply it.

    Also be careful not too add any realistic water to the mud on the side of your tiles.

    warden201905_canals and swamps part 2_ WIP 04.jpg

    7: Add details

    Last step. Go crazy with it. You can also add realistic water effects, I highly recommend @Crowsfoot 's tutorial to make this happen.

    warden201811_canals and swamps 04.jpg

    Personally I added a bunch of moss, tiny ferns/leaves, and a ton of little lilly pads made from cut off leaves from other jungle looking plants I bought at a crafts store.

    Also added some frogs, snakes, some alligators to some leftover bases, some "rocks" for minis to cross the rivers with, and other stuff.

    Some examples:

    warden201905_canals and swamps part 2_ complete 04 bridges.jpg

    warden201905_canals and swamps part 2_ complete 01.jpg

    warden201811_canals and swamps 18_group shot.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  3. Warden
    Skink Priest

    Warden Well-Known Member

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    A few more idea pics for you. Lots more here.

    warden201906_river delta 1.jpg

    warden201906_canal network 1.jpg

    warden201906_canal network 18.jpg

    warden201906_river delta 3.jpg

    warden201906_temple city canals 2.jpg

    And the complete set of water terrain tiles:

    warden201906_canal and rivers complete 2.jpg
  4. The Red Devil

    The Red Devil Defender of Hexoatl Staff Member

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    Posting threads has been disabled in the tutorial forum, as we want to ensure that the tutorials in this part of the forum contain a set standard. This is just so that everyone knows that what they find in there will help them with said topic.

    This means that we (the moderators) will be moving tutorials made by members into the forum manually, just like I just did with yours. Great work!
    Warden, Aginor and Imrahil like this.

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