View Full Version : June Entry: Wheel of Time - from Falme to Fal Dara

05-30-2010, 02:29 AM
My job is to get an entry in fast... one that makes everyone else thing, "gee, I can beat that!"

Well here you go. My favorite books of all times are Robert Jordan's (RIP) Wheel of Time series. I have read and reread the series a number of times, which is a daunting undertaking as there are now twelve books and each is 800-1000 pages long. I just finished the twelth book for the first time. A chap named Brian Sanderson is finishing the series out after working with Robert Jordan for the months before his death. I must admit, being a solid Jordan fan, Sanderson is doing a good job. I thoroughly enjoyed the 12th book.

Anyway, here's the first pass, with just the shapes of the land masses and the names of cities and countries put in. There are many settlements not included of course, and even though some small ones are there, they are included because of their significance to the story line, not because they are well-known in the world.

As you'd expect, political borders tend to end where relatively impassable obstacles such as mountain ranges begin. Also note that much of the land is unclaimed. Even the mighty Tar Valon is outside the boundaries of any country.

Not sure what the problem is with the attachment. I'll fix this as soon as I can get some assistance.

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05-30-2010, 02:38 AM
very nice (and big*lol*) - love Jordan's books as well, remember I had a hard choice once - between finishing book number 1 or leaving it to go into town and buy number 2 before the shop closed for the weekend - choice 2 won (and I bought book 3 too). I'm only up to book 10 myself but planning to catch up soon. However if you like Brandon Sandersons writing you should definitly check out Mistborn - best damn fantasy I've read in a long time, he has developped a whole different world and a whole new way of magic - it's fantastic! :)
oh... and will there be plot-spoilers?

Steel General
05-30-2010, 08:23 AM
I had to re-upload your image, unfortunately it has fallen victim to whatever bug there is in the system and the thumbnail isn't showing.

For some reason maps that go out of the "frame" bug the crap out of me :D

05-30-2010, 08:32 AM
Thanks SG. It bugs me too. I hate feeling helpless and I know nothing of the finer points of vBulletin. All I know is that all of the flexibility of html is kind of lost on thsi platform, although I'm sure there's some brainiac way of invoking html code within your post. I haven't figured it out if there is.

05-30-2010, 09:07 AM
Agreed, Tilt, in fact I was just saying almost the same thing about Mistborn yesterday at my niece's wedding.

Just read 12 a few months ago actually, and I'm very happy to see someone doing the WoT map here; the style in the books was never really my favorite. Thanks Immolate :)

05-30-2010, 04:33 PM
ohw nice Immolate! Been playing a DnD campaign in this world for almost 10 years now. The only reason I didnt read the books yet is to not spoil the campaign, so please go easy on the details of the map ;) By now my character is getting the idea he's actually the "dragon reborn" (whatever that may be ...) cheers!

05-30-2010, 06:36 PM
The 'Wheel of Time' is the best fantasy I've ever read. I'm reading book 11 atm :D! (Knife of Dreams)

Simply awesome.

05-31-2010, 10:34 AM
It didn't take long for my map to go from 700k at the least lossy setting to 7Mb.

I did a lot of work on this Sunday while my wife was at work. I added some texture and labeled the cities and places. I looked for a banner that fit for the countries but, though I found some I liked, none had the look I was going for, so I created that using the tablet. The few mountains I did I'm still not sure of. There are a lot of mountains on this map and they need to harmonize.

The rivers were a huge pain in the butt. They use shape dynamics to taper from mouth to headwaters, but this requires guessing the length of the river and often retrying. Another variable is the size of the river at the start. I think I did well enough at that but I did have to go back and resize a few times. This map has a lot of rivers in it, so it was important they look good. I think they turned out nicely.

I still have mountains, city markers, forests and fluff to put in.

I value your thoughts and opinions, so feel free to offer them.

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05-31-2010, 10:39 AM
Looks good so far Immolate! I really don't have any criticism at the moment.
I am currently rereading the series, so I can read the 12th book. Can't wait to see the job Sanderson did :)

05-31-2010, 10:58 AM
He did a great job Gandwarf, you won't be disappointed.

Looking great so far, Imm ... I especially like those banners. You may want to think about a different font instead of/in addition to lower case for the terrain areas ... the same font all over is kind of blending a bit.

05-31-2010, 11:20 AM
I'm really looking forward to seeing how this one turns out. I'm also a WoT fan, and did a map myself about a year and a half ago: http://www.bryanray.name/illustration/randland.png Feel free to use it for reference—being vector, it's a little easier to read than Mitchell's painting, on which it is based. Apologies for the missing northern border of Andor, though.

You currently have some labeling issues. The high ascenders and descenders of the font you're using make a two-line label almost impossible. For instance, the Fingers of the Dragon label is overlapping itself. And given the amount of space the labels are taking up, I think you should either use Paerish Swar or Darkwood, but not both. Pay close attention to your type hierarchy. Nation labels, being on banners, are probably okay to be a bit small, but I think your town names are overwhelming, and some of the features are certainly too big. I think all of the non-nation labels could do with being shrunk significantly. I love the reversed-out labels on the ocean.

You have a couple of misspellings: Aryth Ocean and Plains of Maredo. I think you could safely lose the "the" from The Fingers of the Dragon. Oh, and I think World's End is actually that peninsula to the left of where you've put the label.

The woodcut texture you're using is cool, but it's too fine across the land, I think. It puts me in mind of the interlacing on an old black-and-white television. Maybe that will improve as more features go down, though. I like the mountains at Windbiter's Finger; see if you can't get them to integrate better by using the same sort of hatching that you have on the banners, or at least the same quality of shading as you have in the banners' shadows.

Again, I'm eager to see your finished product!

05-31-2010, 04:16 PM
yep, agree with Midgaardsormr, lot of interlacing going on - making everything really hard to read. Maybe you should resize to 50% before making the jpg you upload to reduce size also :)

05-31-2010, 08:22 PM
Ah yes, I'm familiar with your map Midgardsomr. I've been using it extensively in this process.

Thank you for the thorough critique. I feel that the best way to honor that sort of an effort is to take it seriously, and I have. I'm surprised I only made two typos. I can't tell you now many typos I've found looking at other people's published maps. The mapper at the 13th depository is probably the most prolific Wheel of Time mapper but even he or she made a dog's dinner (WoT phrase) of the map of Sheinar, putting Faldara north of Tarwin's Gap. I've also found numerous maps equating a league to four miles.

Just FYI, the labeling of the World's End vertically as I did it was the same as the book map method. I agree though that it's more useful and accurate to have it horizontal.

The labels are a struggle of course. There are a lot of important places on the map. My first attempt did have some really big labels that needed to come down. I've been through four fonts with the place names before I found one that didn't annoy me too much. I'd love to hear everyone's opinion on that. One thing you learn quickly when you're dealing with big maps: you immerse so deeply that you can't really see the map objectively anymore.

I've collected and added some names to the map, along with rivers.

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05-31-2010, 08:51 PM
I like the new font for place names, it differentiates from political names beautifully. The rivers are gorgeous!

05-31-2010, 08:53 PM
The hand-written Timesesque (heh, I made up another word for ya there :) ) font looks great but I think of Aquilline much like Papyrus...overused. No biggie, it's a nice font. The ocean has me scratching my head, though. It has some subtle colors, which are cool, and I'm wondering if there will be some more subtle color in the land. It also has this kind of "fields" pattern on it that I'm still pondering...don't know if I like it or not. I leaning towards liking it but maybe turn down the opacity a bit...shrug. You might want to hide those rivers that are showing through the banners with a solid color instead of a lower opacity. It looks pretty damn sweet, though, so these are just some minor nits.

05-31-2010, 11:12 PM
Thanks for the pointers Ascension. I haven't used the font myself so I wasn't aware of its overuse. I don't notice that sort of thing in the maps of others. I tend to see the whole thing and not notice the components. The ocean is actually a pretty standard crosshatch pattern with a filter of texturizer-grain-clumped-low intensity-high contrast. I've toned it down a bit.

It's hard to hide the rivers as they are actually a carved out part of the land. However, I can put a blank behind the banner to keep the river from bleeding through, or crank up the opacity of tha banners in general.

Some changes to the mountain methodology, plus some added low mountains on Tremalking. I've also blended in some woodcut texture to the land. I know that traditionally, the woodcut goes on the ocean side, but I wanted to try this to see how it feels. Feedback from others is welcome on this especially.

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06-01-2010, 04:25 AM
As Ascension said I also noticed the rivers looking through the labels, and feels that spoils the labeling a little. I feel the wood cut in the land is making everything harder to read, liked the look before that, however it did look a little like the rivers were hovering over the map, and if anything should hover it should be the country names instead ;)

06-01-2010, 11:23 AM
I'm surprised I only made two typos.
Two that I noticed, anyway. I won't assert that I saw all of them, particularly now that you've added some less significant names to the map.

I've also found numerous maps equating a league to four miles.
I don't remember what conversion Jordan was using, but "league" is an uncertain measure, being the distance that can be traveled in an hour on foot. Four miles is not outside of the range of acceptable values. I've seen examples of leagues as small as 1.5 miles (the Roman league) and as large as 5. I did not bother to try to convert to miles on my map, since leagues is the unit used in the books, and the only really useful scale statement I can recall was the distance from Tar Valon to Tear.

Anyway, back to the art:
Even with the additional visual interference from the new woodcut, the new labels are much easier to read and less chaotic. You're definitely going to want to make an apostrophe for that font that doesn't have one, though. Incomplete fonts are a pain, aren't they?

I'm definitely liking the hatched mountains, but they need to be blurred a bit to integrate properly with the map. Are you using a version of Photoshop that supports Smart Filters?

I love that huge watermark. I didn't notice it when I was looking closely at the map, but it's clearly visible in the thumbnail. Very nice touch.

Incidentally, I notice that you've used the name Aridhol rather than Shadar Logoth—is there a reason for the anachronism?

06-01-2010, 01:41 PM
..."league" ... Four miles is not outside of the range of acceptable values.
...to make an apostrophe for that font that doesn't have one, though. Incomplete fonts are a pain, aren't they?

I love that huge watermark. I didn't notice it when I was looking closely at the map, but it's clearly visible in the thumbnail. Very nice touch.

Agree with Midgard, stay with leagues and incomplete fonts ARE a pain - especially when you live in a country with letter like (don't know if they'll show up properly) but they cause big problems when I convert books from US to European format as the designer in the US don't care if those letters aren't there, which leaves me to desperatly try to find a like font thats "complete".
Didn't see that watermark either - thanks for drawing my attention to it - cool :)

06-01-2010, 05:16 PM
This is looking awesome. I gave up after book four (I have a crippling case of literary ADD I think, I got distracted and didn't finish the test) but I always loved the look of the world and thought it would be great to visit. I'm really impressed with how this is progressing. I started working on one for the movie Stardust, but now I'm scared. My only real nitpick would be that the grungy background in the latest iteration makes it a little muddy in a wide view. Maybe play with the opacity some, or is it just me? I am new to this style of mapping. Anyway, looking forward to seeing this develop further.

06-01-2010, 10:48 PM
Trying some different fonts, switched the wood cut pattern to offshore (everybody's doing it), some further resizing of labels and gave a .5 gaussian blur to the mountains. I'm glad I still have a month to finish this thing because it might take that long just to get some mountains I can live with.

I went with Aridhol because Mordeth told me that he'd feed me to the machin shin if I used that "fancy pants new-fangeled so-called 'Shadar Logoth'". I don't mess with Mordeth any more after that one time.

So anyway, not a lot of progress but some needed reflection and correction.

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06-01-2010, 11:00 PM
I'm still loving it overall, but the woodcut in the rivers is striking me as strange.

06-02-2010, 03:06 AM
yes, I was just thinking the same as Gidde, or almost - I feel the woodcut in the rivers gets to "pressed" and think they would work better without that. And I hope you soon decide on the mountains cause I wanna see the rest - and I like the ones you have :)

06-02-2010, 01:03 PM
Most maps with woodcut don't usually keep the rivers horizontal. They make rivers by repeatedly insetting strokes so the lines all seem to run parallel to the river shores.

-Rob A>

06-03-2010, 11:27 PM
I didn't have a lot of time tonight so I made changes in an attempt to make the map "right" before proceeding. I attempted to tone down the fonts while trying to preserve the balance between style and readability. I removed the woodcut from the rivers as suggested by several of you. The town and river fonts were replaced.

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06-04-2010, 02:35 AM
looks way better - however I do feel the stroke of the rivers could be slightly thinner (or lighter)? But looks good, looks like a place for a story... perhaps a good dozen books ;)

06-04-2010, 12:28 PM
Looking good, Imm!

06-06-2010, 11:33 AM
One of the good things about starting early is that you're not forced to stick with something that isn't working for you. In this case, it wasn't so much that it wasn't working for me, but I felt an urge to go another direction after taking a few days off to deal with other things. There is a bit of color on the map now, and much of what was there before has changed a bit. The fonts are generally the same, although some changes in placement and presentation have been made. I have chosen a river font that I think I can live with.

I added political boundaries, both with lines and colors. One thing that Jordan did a lot with his original map is showed political boundaries just to one side of a river. While this happens now and then, it is rare. When a river exists between two places, it almost always becomes the boundary itself. One of the reason for this is that it's the path of least resistance. The other reason is that using a river as a boundary negates 99% of the arguments between nations about where the boundary actually is. Where Jordan's boundaries were very close to the river, I adopted the river as the boundary. It is quite possible that I erred here and there in my assumptions.

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Steel General
06-06-2010, 12:15 PM
Although the other version was quite good, I prefer this style. :)

06-06-2010, 12:30 PM
I'm with Steel General on this - don't really love the wood cut style - this is much more to my taste :)
And concidering how hard it is to hold on ones right to land on the other side of a river - I'm guessing its Jordan who actually erred here and there - no matter how many books on war and bla bla military bla... *lol*

06-06-2010, 01:20 PM
I like this style better too, but I'm surprised/disappointed that you took the mountains off. I think that style of mountain would match better with this version than it did with the previous.

06-06-2010, 03:38 PM
You mean these mountains?

More saturated land colors... opinions?

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06-06-2010, 04:28 PM
now he's got the ball and is running with it... ;)
looking good, the background color behind the mountains close to falme could use a bit of raggedness/getting pulled in closer... :)

06-06-2010, 05:16 PM
Or even just lowering the opacity on it would do. The mountains themselves look great, as do the hills. Good style for those, they match the rest wonderfully.

06-06-2010, 09:06 PM
Forests are in, borrowing from Ramah's Vaniya style. The brushes are two conifers and two deciduous, each using size and a slight tilt dynamic. Each is placed by hand to avoid gratuitous overlap. The brushes are painted in a dark green, with the background in a less dark, desaturated green. The deciduous trees are colored in after with a leafy green. I could have used Ramah's huge forest pattern and got it done much quicker, but I figured it was enough to borrow the idea, and the amount of forest was small enough to be hand-done.

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06-06-2010, 11:36 PM
And one more update for the weekend.

I have added roads, and made a myriad of adjustments of labels to compensate. I'm sure there are others, so call them out if you spot them please!

I also added Garen's Wall, which is basically a cliff overlooking the western horizon.

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06-07-2010, 02:29 AM
looking really good - but I'm looking forward to seing the last mountain ranges go in :)

06-07-2010, 01:49 PM
Are you planning on leaving the green even in the Aiel Waste and The Blight?

06-07-2010, 05:15 PM
Good catch Midgardsormr. As you imply, that wouldn't be appropriate considering the reality of those places. I want to get the mountains in before making those color decisions however. The colors should provide a hint as to the corruption of the blight and the arid nature of the three-fold land.

06-07-2010, 06:02 PM
I thought as much. This map is looking awesome; I'm glad you're doing it. Maybe people will stop asking for permission to use mine now! I particularly like the way you're using tints and shades of your land color to delineate the nations. I think it better emphasizes the large swaths of unclaimed territory and makes me curious about the people who live in those areas and how they survive without governance (a detail that Jordan tends to gloss over). Mitchell's maps don't really pique my interest in that way.

You might think about softening the edges of the backing color for the mountains, hills and forests. I don't know if that would look better or not, but give it a try and see what you think.

06-07-2010, 08:00 PM
That's looking beautiful Imm! Seriously gorgeous. Try this: make the road dots a shade of darker green rather than dark gray. Not sure if it will help or hinder.

p.s. what font are using? It's a beauty.

06-07-2010, 08:46 PM
Thanks Rav and Mid. The fonts are inheritance for the place names and packard antique for the cities. Countries is anyone's guess. I picked it because it was slightly information and not too shnazzy. Okay I did leave a blank and its "HamletorNot".

Mid: I am intending to tone down the mountain and hill colors, but have to separate them from the forest colors first. Those will remain more-opaque.

06-07-2010, 11:16 PM
I have added the southern extents of the Mountains of Mist, as well as the mountains up the Tarabon coast and the peninsula of Toman Head. I snuck in the Sand Hills between the Two Rivers and the Mountains of Mist, although I didn't label them.

I added some color to the Blight and the Aiel Waste. For those of you familiar with the books, you'll have recognized the many ways that James Cameron modeled the Navi after the Aiel in the movie "Avatar", from the wild race of tall, fierce and war-like peoples, down to the trademark "I see you" greeting. In the end, however, the Navi weren't half as tough as the Aiel. I guess it's because they're a bunch of blue wetlanders.

I toned down the mountain and hill colors, as suggested. I also added some apostrophes, as suggested early on.

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Steel General
06-08-2010, 08:16 AM
This continues to get better and better...

06-08-2010, 04:42 PM
In the end, however, the Navi weren't half as tough as the Aiel. I guess it's because they're a bunch of blue wetlanders.

so true so true...

Looking good - and I never doubted you would change the color in the deserts ;) ... it looks like lake Somal is hovering a bit :)

06-08-2010, 11:21 PM
I've added the rest of the Mountains of Mist, as well as replacing that portion east and south of the lake. Hopefully the effect brings the lake back down to the proper level. I've also added a bijillion stray trees, another technique used by Ramah to awesome effect.

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Lol... left the palette on that one, so now you know my ancient Chinese secret.

06-09-2010, 01:06 AM
Finally - the secret is revealed ... NOW I can strike and take over the world ;)

... or was that paint over the world? *lol*

06-09-2010, 08:38 AM
Great stuff! Some observations, which I hope aren't too many or unhelpful:

The town on the River Cary is Carysford. The name on the map appears to be Garysford.
Aridhol/Shadar Logoth is on the south side of the Arinelle, just east of where the river swings north to Saldaea (it can't be west, otherwise Bayle Domon would never have stopped nearby), not the north side (unless you are putting the name north for space, with the actual ruins marked on the south shore).
The Damona Mountains are an important range in Altara, running south-east from Garen's Wall and forming part of the border with Murandy. Given the important action that happens there in Book 11, including them might be a good idea.
There's also the Banikhan Mountains, the Sea Wall of Saldaea, that run parallel to World's End a short distance inland, which is where Lan gets an important mission underway in Book 11.
In addition are the Maraside Mountains, which run along the southern border of Cairhien separating it from Haddon Mirk to the south. As the site of Artur Hawkwing's great victory over Guaire Amalasan, including them would be cool.
You may also wish to include the city of Canluum, located a short distance south-east of Chachin in Kandor, from New Spring.
In addition are the Doirlon Hills, located along Illian's eastern border on the Plains of Maredo, where a huge (but mostly off-screen) battle between Rand's army and Sammael's forces raged in Book 7.

I like the idea of including Thakan'dar and showing the lake formed by the split in the Erinin around Tar Valon, but realistically both would be invisible on this scale. The Erinin around Tar Valon is only 10 miles or so long and maybe 4-5 miles wide at best, whilst Thakan'dar is literally a valley running around the edge of Shayol Ghul, not extending for hundreds of miles to one side of it.

Oh, and I think World's End is actually that peninsula to the left of where you've put the label.

World's End is the name given to the cliffs along the Saldaean shore of the Aryth Ocean south of the peninsula where the Mountains of Dhoom tumble into the sea. Lan and Nynaeve visit them briefly in Book 11. The peninsular is not named in the books.

I've also found numerous maps equating a league to four miles.

In The Wheel of Time books a league is four miles. I know it isn't the 'traditional fantasy' length of 1 league = 3 miles that Tolkien and Martin use, but it's what Jordan uses in his world.

The total size of the Westlands subcontinent is something on the order of 3,500 miles from east to west, according to the world map in the companion book. The RPG designers also worked out with Robert Jordan that 1"=400 miles on the colour endpaper maps in the hardcover books, although that's not precise. In fact, they weren't able to get an accurate scale everyone was happy with, so left it off the RPG map, although the 1"=400 miles thing does work as a rough guide, and matches most of the references in the text.

For some reason maps that go out of the "frame" bug the crap out of me

The eastern end of the continent, including the much bigger subcontinent of Shara and the rest of the Aiel Waste, can be seen here (http://wot.wikia.com/wiki/File:Map-shara.jpg). A map of the full continent can be seen here (http://www.wotmud.org/directory/maps/wheeloftimemap.jpg). The even vaster continent of Seanchan across the Aryth Ocean can be seen here (http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090819211239/wot/images/d/da/Seanshanmap.png). You can see a full world map here (http://media.photobucket.com/image/Wheel%20of%20Time%20maps/Tim811/WoTworld.png).

Mentioned earlier in the thread, the 13th Depository probably has the most exhaustive collection of maps of the books yet seen.

06-09-2010, 06:01 PM
In deference to Djekspek: ***SPOILERS AHEAD***

Excellent commentary Werthead, with the Jordan league info being the first time I've heard that. Also the World's End information is particularly useful as I've only read the 11th book twice and didn't catch the significance of that passage. Many of the mountains you refer to are missing on the standard map, and I've been trying to make decisions as I go based on practicality on whether to include them. The Damonas are indeed important to the storyline, and I've been puzzling how to squeeze them in there. It's funny how big they sound in the books to have been left off the map entirely. I suspect they were raised as a convenience to force the Band to play hit-and-run with the Seanchan and allow Tuon's rescue party to catch up, which of course set up the dramatic battle between the Band and the conscript-gorged Seanchan army. I am not a historian of the western sub-continent, meaning I have not made a study of it or paid attention to meta-story discussions that no-doubt contribute greatly to the subject, so there may be a good bit of background that I'm wholly ignorant of. I'm a reader, having absorbed what I have almost exclusively by having read the books many times. I'm not a purist, however, and I'm happy to benefit from whatever resources I find that lend utility or interest to the map.

I have delved the 13th Depository maps at length and have referred to each of them that I could find many times in working the details.

The positioning of the Aridhol label is indeed on the opposite side of the river from the actual city. I remember well the fragmented flight of our protagonists that ended in the river in the case of Perrin and Egwene, on Bayle's boat for Matt, Rand and Thom, or on the bank for Nynaeve, Moraine and Lan. I simply put the label where Jordan's map has it. Agreed on the scale of Tar Valon, which is again currently just a reflection of the book map. I haven't yet made all the critical decisions of how the cities will be represented and am leaning toward exaggeration to convey information.

Your pointers are all most excellent and helpful, and there is no doubt that many of them will be used to inform the map. I sense that you have put a lot of time and effort into the kind of research that is greatly helpful in making the kinds of decisions that I'm faced with and I welcome any further advise you may have.

06-09-2010, 08:43 PM
I must admit I also suspected that the Damonas were a retcon, but looking closely at the colour painting map (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_T8IHqm43MAI/RnDeedTISzI/AAAAAAAAA7A/IUUx1wSI2ww/s1600-h/map_lg.jpg) in the later hardcovers, they do seem to be on there (and that painting was made 11 years before the mountains were mentioned). If you look at Garen's Wall you see additional brown lines stretching south-eastwards through the Altaran forest into northern Illian which match the location of the Damona Mountains in the text. Actually, the other mountain chains mentioned only later are on there as well, albeit all unnamed: the Marasides on the south border of Cairhien, the Venirs on Altara's south-eastern coast, the Nemarellins on Illian's west coast, and the Banikhans near World's End. It would be interesting to see if Jordan had some kind of master-map at home with all these locations marked on it!

06-10-2010, 06:16 PM
*closes his eyes* your map's getting better and better, hehe, no really, didnt read the comments (thanks for the heads up ;) but the map is looking awesome ! cheers!

06-11-2010, 01:38 PM
yep - skipped the comments with SPOILER ALERT also... don't want to ruin anything since I'm almost done with Malazan book 1 and plan to return to WoT thereafter...

06-12-2010, 12:16 AM
Well Werthead has me off on a research binge, paging through the books and reading passages, looking for information to determine what goes where. I've done some major surgery on Sheinar based on the arguments I've read. Again, I'm not a purist, but it's hard to be exposed to knowledge and not act upon it.

I stitched in some small mountains in Altara (the Damona's) as suggested. In truth I've made a lot of small changes, but few of significance visually. I'm just putting this out here basically to let you know I'm still at it.

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06-13-2010, 02:42 AM
Not sure I made any ground today. I'm getting wrapped around the axle on mountains as I always seem to do and I wound up removing the background color from the trees and recoloring them, then doing some grunging.

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06-13-2010, 01:48 PM
I believe I've found a technique for creating mountains that I like. Please take a look and let me know if you think they work, and if not, what they need to make them right. The inspiration for the style came from Ramah, but his technique did not work for me, so I tinkered until something did.

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06-13-2010, 02:24 PM
Looks good although I'm not sure I like the coloring on the range running next to Arad Doman. Seems like you have the wrong green on that one.

Oh wait, On looking at your previous map I see that the green is there as well. I guess it must mean something so that's fine then. Just seemed a bit jarring compared to the rest of the mountain ranges you had which matched their areas.

06-13-2010, 04:52 PM

I see what you mean, and the challenge is that, in Jordan's world, much of the western subcontinent is unclaimed by any nation. For mountain ranges in particular, unless the nation has arable land completely surrounding the mountains (as Altara does with the Damonas), their writ will end at the mountain's foot. Of course Altara's writ theoretically spans to the far tip of Garen's Wall, but we know from the book that the reality is less ambitious. Ebou Dar has more in common with Mayene in that regard than she does with, say, Tear.

So neither Arad Doman, Tarabon, Andor, Ghealdean or Amadicia "owns" any of the Mountains of Mist. I'm not sure how to model that reality any different than I'm currently doing, but I'm willing to listen.

06-13-2010, 11:53 PM
Too many updates to detail all of them, but political colors have changed, and I've included non-national areas like Haddon Mirk, Tar Valon and the Shadow Coast and environs, and encapsulated the mountains in the process. I've added the Spine of the World, a frame and a compass. The map is starting to gel, hopefully in a good way. Please feel free to call out anything that you don't like.

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06-13-2010, 11:59 PM
Well, I like this one better. It's a bit more vivid and now those mountains look great imo.

06-14-2010, 12:26 PM
looking good - really like the style of those mountains.. they look very.. .stony/concrete :)

06-14-2010, 11:53 PM
I went all crazy adding stuff today. In addition to the mountains all over the place, I assembled the prophesies and added them to the margins. I also put in some lines for aesthetic. I would like very much to know what you think. It's easy to overdo it when you're this deep in it and can't see the work objectively anymore.

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06-15-2010, 12:08 AM
I think it is good. It seemed a little on the monochromatic side before which is what you are after I think but it was still missing a little zing or something. I suppose it's a preference type thing though.

My wife was looking for 'Tar Valon' because she thought that would be a cool thing to map. I told her cities were a headache to do.

06-15-2010, 02:05 PM
I think the prophesies are a bit to much, it doesn't look like the kind of map where you would scribble in the corners, and adding that much text to any map would be a little bit crazy ;) ... that much text should go on a scroll :)

@jax, yeah.. Tar Valon would be cool to do with all those bridges and such... but huge work if it is to be done properly.

06-16-2010, 04:12 AM
Looking stunning to me. I'm sort of with tilt about the prophesies being too much, but maybe if you made the writing really small you could almost have the writing serve as a way of texturing the sea? (not sure what that would look like)...it's kind of doing that already which I think is pretty cool.

06-16-2010, 06:04 AM
Wonderful looking map, Immolate. You really do master every style you put your mind to. :)

06-16-2010, 08:53 AM
Looks good. There's a contrast between the saturation and values on the border (very strong) and the map. That transition is a little disjointed. The top set of lines on the background Yin Yang are a little off too. I'd either line them up so they come from the middle of the symbol, or make sure they are well out of the way. At the moment it looks a little like you intended them to go in the middle but missed.

Love the fonts and the banner images for the important names. Great job!

06-16-2010, 12:13 PM
Looking very good indeed. One thing I noticed in earlier maps that vanished and has since returned is the River Taren flowing out of Lake Somal, which isn't the case (although some of the shoddier book maps make it look like that). Lake Somal appears to be separated fully from the Two Rivers by the mountains, with the Taren originating in the mountains above the Two Rivers and flowing down via the waterfall of Eldrene's Veil. Also, I'd be tempted to make the Aiel Waste a more desert-like colour, as having it green looks a bit odd given it's a massive area of plains with a proper desert, the Termool, in the far south.

Otherwise, looks pretty good!

06-17-2010, 12:14 AM
It's looking fabulous. I'm with the others on the prophecies. Maybe in addition to making the text smaller, the opacity could be lowered, making for a more subtle effect.

Now give us the city markers! It's driving me nuts not to have them on there, since that's usually one of the first things I lay down.

06-18-2010, 11:58 PM
Hey all, I'm listening. I've just been crazy-busy this week with little time to work on the map. We've been having significant network challenges with our Costa Rica call center. I found time to make some updates today however, at the cost of the homework I've been putting off. Goodness.

Lots of city markers added. Long/Lat lines substituted for the radials. Fixed the Taren wandering problem as pointed out by Werthead. This is a danger of having a landmass template... it remembers the old rivers after you move them around.

Thanks so much for the commentary. You guys have truely made a huge difference on this map, which is appropriate, it being a subject of importance to many.

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06-19-2010, 02:05 AM
very nice ... love those capital symbols, they look really cool

06-19-2010, 09:51 AM
This is coming together really well, Immolate.

06-19-2010, 07:50 PM
Some minor updates. I toned down the town markers, added Elmora in Tarabon and Malkier, or rather the location of the ruins of the Seven Towers. I also modified the Maradon and Shol Arbela markers. I also changed the political boundary markers.

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06-19-2010, 11:38 PM
I've added some hills, Kintara, Blacks Hills, the hill near the Shadow Coast and on Toman Head. These were created using the same methodology as the mountains, only with a lot fewer models.

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06-20-2010, 01:16 AM
I think you should let the city shield be on top when you have a country name close by. Fal Dara, Cairhien, Lugard and Amador ... or just move the text out of the way so the problem don't arises :)

06-20-2010, 08:21 AM
Ah quite the perfect suggestion tilt. So obvious and so necessary, but I couldn't see it. My perception of this map has altered so much that I'm beyond any objectivity at this point. I really appreciate the assistance. There have been a few of you, you included, that have had a dramatic impact on the direction of this map, and for that I am grateful.

Steel General
06-20-2010, 08:25 AM
This has continued to get better and better Imm, though it still seems weird to see the Blight & Aiel lands in shades of green :)

06-20-2010, 10:24 AM
Thanks for the tip SG. I thought I'd fixed that, but I can't see it so without you pointing it out, I would not have known.

I finally found a frame that I'm happy with. Let me know if the color on that is off as well. The original was too grey. Fixed the labels and altered the background color for the blight and Aiel waste.

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06-20-2010, 10:30 AM
You're most welcome, if I only helped a little I'm pleased :) ... its looking really good ... and thats a real frame you got there...
the border between the green areas and the sandy ones are a bit edgy here and there, making it look a bit artificial - for instance at stedding shangtai and kinslayers dagger.

06-20-2010, 11:51 AM
Marvelous! The only thing left, I think, is some work on the integration of certain elements. The transitions between the colors of different territories, the stroke on the rivers, the compass rose, and certain labels, particularly over the ocean, are a bit too sharp in comparison to the edges of the other map elements. The capital city icons are a bit too blurry in the interior and too sharp on the edges.

I love, love, love that there is a consistent light direction on the scrolls, the mountains, and the icons. I'm not 100% sure where the light on the frame is coming from; each corner seems to be different. The lower-left, though, is definitely the brightest corner on the frame, so I think you should rotate it 180 degrees so that the apparent light on the frame matches that on the map.

Hmmm… The generic city icons are the whitest thing on the map, which causes them to stand out a bit too much. Maybe match their color to the white parts of the capital icons. Likewise, the compass rose, the internal shadows on the scrolls, and the nation labels are the blackest objects on the map. Those could all probably be color matched to other nearby objects. The rose is the most obvious of the three.

06-20-2010, 02:11 PM
Okay one more update and then I seriously have to get on my homework. I've made some minor adjustments based on suggestions from Midgardsormr. I added an "advanced of the blight" line as a device for handling that transition better while putting some sense of urgency into the border. I've reworked the line between waste and the wetlands to the west but that transition is still stark.

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06-20-2010, 09:20 PM
I have added some labeling, scale, etc.

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06-20-2010, 11:04 PM
One last update for the night. I made several minor adjustments that you'd have to be sharp to spot if you were looking for them. I also adjusted the banner, giving it a little color.

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06-21-2010, 05:34 AM
Personally I preferred it when you had all the text in the oceans. Something about those curved lines just looks odd to me - they seem out of place on a flat map like that. Maybe it's because I know you haven't actually distorted the coastal outlines to follow those lines. Dunno but they keep drawing my eye.
The only other thing that I... dislike is too strong a word but... I don't think they are up to the standards of the rest of the map are the ocean labels. For one thing they look a little sharp, they don't look a part of the map like the other labels that are over the sea. Compare say, "Sea of Storms" with "Fingers of the Dragon" or "Illian". Also the font just seems a little too flowery compared to the other fonts - it seems out of place.

Anyway, I really do think the map is excellent - love your forests. :)

06-21-2010, 11:39 PM
Ramah... thanks for pushing me when I'd given up. I didn't like the lines either, and I did like the prophesies, although wall-to-wall may have been a bit overwhelming. The ocean fonts I had no problem changing. They were the only thing left in that style and it was a bit incongruous.

Thoughts anyone on how to "do" the prophesy text? Bring down the opacity? Get rid of the lines? I'm open to suggestion.

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06-22-2010, 01:29 AM
Well, I don't know for sure but it seems to me that prophecies should be more like whispers because not everyone sees, listens, understands or even believes in them so I would say not quite so easy to read for starters.

06-22-2010, 02:13 AM
I'm with Jax, way lower opacity on those :)

06-22-2010, 07:41 PM
Really looking good now. No real major changes I'd suggest.

The only other minor ideas that come to mind would be to put the label AIEL WASTE more to the east. At the moment someone unfamiliar with the books might think it refers only to that small area of the mountains, when it's the entire area to the east of the Spine of the World. I'd also want to add a TERMOOL label to the open desert east of Stedding Shangtai, particularly as you have the room there.

Also, I'd move the 0 degree longitude line to intersect with Tar Valon :) It seems like the most logical city on the continent where east-west distances would be measured from, being the oldest, the biggest and the richest city in the known world.

06-22-2010, 11:38 PM
As usual good advise from you gentlepersons. The text was easy enough to tone down, though I didn't want to just make it grey by reducing the opacity drastically, so I zeroed out the fill and used layer style effects to give the text some character while making it less obtrusive. Aligning the world's GMT to TVMT made sense, and certainly seemed more sensible than using Ebou Dar. Also, border text to make the location of the Aiel Waste and adding the location of the Termool Desert were good, sensible suggestions.

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06-23-2010, 01:31 AM
looks fantastic - now just add all the characters and map their way over the land and you're done! ;)

06-23-2010, 07:04 AM
Wow wouldn't that be clear as mud lol. They were pretty dang mobile with just the ways. Imagine how difficult it would be to map the major characters once they starting 'porting hither and yon like a bunch of jet-setters.

06-23-2010, 09:49 AM
Stunning work, I'mm. I really love this map.

06-23-2010, 03:50 PM
Pure f*****g awesomeness!!! I can't say more, I just envy you! Great map! If I may say so, I'd like the greens to be more pale...just that!

06-23-2010, 05:17 PM
I haven't looked at the map in quite some time with the saturation toned down. I'll be sure to try that and submit for everyone's opinion. If you look at the early versions of this map, I'd started out with a b&w theme in mind, but as I brazenly stole more and more from my favorite inspiration (Ramah's Vaniya), I started falling in love with the simple complexity of his color scheme. Of course mine looks clumsy by comparison, but that's what happens when a colorblind mook like me tries to do subtle. Still... I know how to back down the saturation so I'll give it a go and we'll see if it works.

And thanks for your enthusiasm The-Somberlain! We all work for feedback here and positive feedback is tasty tasty motivation.

I don't say it enough but you guys often drive my projects to a much better conclusion than I'd get to alone. There's been so much feedback on this one that it feels like a collaboration. Thank you all for your help and guidance!

06-24-2010, 09:56 PM
In this version of the map, the political layers are simply reduced in opacity from 65% to 35%. Thoughts?

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06-25-2010, 02:02 AM
Wow wouldn't that be clear as mud lol. They were pretty dang mobile with just the ways. Imagine how difficult it would be to map the major characters once they starting 'porting hither and yon like a bunch of jet-setters.

Yep, jet-setter describe it very well *lol*

In this version of the map, the political layers are simply reduced in opacity from 65% to 35%. Thoughts?

I think I like the bright one better - it has a clearer distinction between the countries.

06-25-2010, 08:26 PM
I like the darker one, but the brighter one does give a clearer distinction between the countries (particularly between Amadicia and Ghealdan, which for some reason was very hard to make out on the darker one) and is somewhat clearer.

Should Ankor Dail have a town marker for it? I know we don't know its precise location, but it's definitely in that vicinity, near the mountains and above the river.

06-25-2010, 10:26 PM
Good feedback and thank you! I didn't really intend to "lighten" the map per se by decreasing the opacity of the political overlays, but in fact, the blight has a definite black tone to it and by reducing the opacity, I quite literally lightened the picture. The Blight is big and it should be dark. It is the shadow, figuratively and literally that seethes over the lands of men, casting darkness into their hearts and minds. So I pulled that layer out of the group and even cranked the opacity up more to make it darker and then messed with the gradient to make it darker still.

I also took a guess at the actual location of Ankor Dail, reasoning that it would most likely be located as near to a navigable river as possible and still perform its function. Thanks for catching that Wert as I'd overlooked it countless times.

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06-26-2010, 01:59 AM
So, I'm sitting with my 2 year old on the lab as she sees your avatar Imm, "Moon, a blue moon" she says ;) ... then I tell her its a planet but shes busy pointing out other blue things all around *lol*

still looking good, I may have to print this for my soon reading of WoT again ;)

06-26-2010, 11:59 AM
...you saw me standing alone, without a dream in my heart...

06-26-2010, 12:47 PM
Making me feel all were-wolfy Ascension.

06-26-2010, 09:24 PM
Well I ditched the old, slighty modified compass and replaced it with one that was hand drawn. The heron design is copied from the "official" heronmark swords available on the internet, and the dragons were copied from a tatoo design, but in each case I took the time to imitate them by hand. For the dragon, I actually used the pen tool and then created the curves individually, resulting in a different, and I think smoother design. The Aes Sedai symbol was free-handed and I think it shows, and the spear was simple enough to create using basic geometry and a little Photoshop magic. I like how it turned out well enough.

Also flipped the Tar Valon marker horizontally, although I had to go back to the original to make the change because of the shading. The flame is on the right, fang is on the left in keeping with the watermark.

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06-27-2010, 01:06 AM
I added a whole lot of towns and villages. Not very visually stimulating but informative.

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06-27-2010, 02:45 AM
thats a beautiful compass - good work :) ... and good with the citymarkers too, I'm thinking you're just about done then?

06-27-2010, 12:22 PM
Heh. I'll be done when I go to bed tonight since I have to work tomorrow and I'm closing the challenge at 5pm ET which is when I get off, if I'm lucky.

Here I have made countless small changes. I went through the 13thdepository.com maps and moved some downs, added some, removed one or two entirely, adjusted font sizes all over the place. I'd curved the water labels to make them follow the spherical grid, which is gone now, so I replaced them with regular fonts again.

I added a couple of place names like Arran Head. I've also combed through other maps like Midgardsormr's "Randland". There are quite a few out there and each gives hints to the existence of this place or that. They may not always have them in the right place, but once you know it's there, it's just a matter of researching until you find it.

I found a couple of rivers in or near Shienar that had the wrong font. Stuff like that and too much to mention. Here's the thing... whether I get it right or wrong, a lot of people will wind up using the map as a reference source. That makes me want to get it right. Thanks to all of you, I've probably done a fairly decent job.

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06-27-2010, 01:29 PM
and thank you for such a beautiful map ... Looking forward to my new printer arrives :)

06-27-2010, 02:47 PM
I give you... stedding!

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06-27-2010, 04:39 PM
wow - wasn't aware there were so many... they stick out a little though.. both the brigth colors and the loose shape.

06-27-2010, 05:11 PM
Noted tilt, and stedding have been toned down. I also added a new frame.

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06-27-2010, 06:35 PM
For those who find the dragon frame too busy/distracting/much, here's a key frame which is much more soothing. Opinions?

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06-27-2010, 09:53 PM
Okay I'm going to quit and call this a map before I do something stupid. Thanks again everyone for the enormous quantity and quality of support.

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06-28-2010, 02:41 AM
now the steddings are much more in tune with the map :)

09-11-2010, 05:07 PM
Don't mean to un-necrotize the thread, but I just want to say that this map is so immeasurably better than anything I have ever seen in official media and that's not even getting into extra detail, the art quality alone is much better. Definitely going to use this map on my next read through.

09-11-2010, 05:27 PM
Thanks so much! This map was a labor of love. I'm glad you like it and hope it makes your next read-through more enjoyable.

12-09-2011, 11:57 AM
Well, I'd like to thank for this map, too. :) It's a great piece of work.

However in case there will be interest in improving the map in the future, I'd like to point out several things that sprang to my mind while watching it closely:
The color or the country name labels seems to differ a little from time to time. Some of these labels are above the light green shades that are used to make a difference between the lands of the different countries and some seem to be below that layer, causing them to be light green. This can be seen for example when comparing Murandy and Altara with Gheldan and Amadicia, but also on other places.
The country name label of Amadicia seems to be below the flows of the river Boern.
The Venir Mountains near Ebu Dar should be north of the Kabal Deep, not east of it. This is because when traveling with his Ashaman to conquer the Seanshan (or how ever they are written :) ), Rant travels to the boarder of Illian, where there are already mountains. Other circumstantial evidence to the location of that mountains are that by controlling the mountains, one controls the nearby road, as well as the effect of the usage of the bowl of the winds being described as notable over a certain amount of miles. Other maps, such as a this series (http://www.ramblesnonsense.com/?m=201102) of maps focusing on the traveling of different Taveren characters, also show the fightings happening in that mountains north of the Kabal Deep.

04-13-2012, 05:58 PM
I know this is a million years after you created this map and you probably don't check this thread much or at all anymore, but I wanted to thank you so very much for this incredible piece of work! I'm an art student going to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division, and I'm learning what all goes into design and typography and color theory, all the things that make up a good piece of artwork and This design is just amazing! Everything was so well thought-out and you got incredible critiques and tips from others in the community and used it to make the piece even better. I looked at every map, starting with the first sketch, so I feel like I followed your journey. I had a bzillion tabs open so I could compare changes from one to another. It was a fun ride!

I'll be honest. Though I loved 99% of the piece, the only thing I couldn't connect with the whole time was the border. That is UNTIL the next to last version. You put on that burnished black border and I loved it! Then you changed it for the final version. BUT, that's the only thing I don't love to death is the border.

If you check this thread at all, I wanted to ask permission to use my Photoshop CS5 program to just take the black border from the next-to-last version and apply it to the final version. It's only for my private use and I wouldn't dream of using it for commercial anything or even posting it online anywhere. Though I definitely think I'll be posting the URL to this thread to some of my WoT friends! =) Anyway, would that be okay for me to do that just for my own private use?

Thanks again, Imm. Your blood, sweat, and tears really paid off! =)

04-16-2012, 07:08 PM
Oh, one more thing I wish you had added is some markers for the Ways. Maybe something happens in the stories that makes them not important anymore? I wouldn't know. I'm still only on book #6. Anyway, I'm not hoping for you to add them cuz this is an old project and you've probably moved on. I just thought I'd throw that thought out there.

I'm still in love with your map! It stays open on my desktop constantly so I can reference it while reading. =)