View Full Version : WIP - an as-yet unnamed region

06-02-2010, 11:02 AM
Here's the map I'm currently working on as the region in which my new fantasy novel will take place. As yet, I don't have a name I like for it so my "placeholder" name for it is Teyemanon (try spelling that backwards ;)).

The region shown in this map is roughly the size of the Anatolian peninsula (possibly a little larger) with a similar overall geography of very rough terrain with limited arable land. The southern landmass is on a plate that is colliding northwards so in another few million years the narrow sea/waterway will gradually be closed off to become a series of lakes and eventually dry land. At present it remains navigable to the brave, though the currents and riptides are fairly hazardous.

So far I have layers completed are:
- the overall shape land/water
- the sea and sea textures
- the coastline (though I'm not 100% happy with the shading so I might go back and rework it
- there are a pair of lake in the north (with connecting waterway) and another pair in the south that are only placeholders and will get their own separate layer later
- the greenish layer will act as a background for the various land layers I'll be working on next

Still on my to-do list...
- additional layers to suggest the limited regions of arable land, larger swaths of Mediterranean-like grassland, and large areas of steppelands
- exposing dirt/scrubland/rock upper elevations (perhaps including alpine glaciers in the deep north-east interior)
- major rivers
- the aforementioned proper treatment for the lakes and connecting waterways
- and then once all that it done, start adding human settlements, limited "roads", etc.
- then go through the torturous task of naming everything that needs a name (and getting the names to look pretty)
- and then finally to add illustrative components (scale, compass rose, etc.)

Any comments/criticisms are welcome!

Steel General
06-02-2010, 11:27 AM
Looks like a good start, look forward to seeing it develop.

06-02-2010, 02:51 PM
Looks like a good start, look forward to seeing it develop.

Ditto from me.

06-03-2010, 03:12 PM
Thank you to you both.

Here's the latest incarnation with almost all of the terrain features completed. I still have to do the rivers (they're next on my agenda) and then add in forested areas, but the rest of it is pretty much in place.

I'm not 100% happy with the mountain peaks yet, but I'm not entirely sure how best to go about improving them. Suggestions would be most welcomed.

06-04-2010, 11:54 AM
Rivers are now in and I've tweaked the mountains and lakes somewhat. Forests will be next (after I get home from a weekend at the cottage).

Attachment is scaled down to about 1/3 finished size.

06-04-2010, 12:28 PM
Nice tweak on the mountains. That's looking really good.

My one comment at the moment would be that a few of the rivers have very heavy shadows along the edges. Even if the rivers are in a canyon, I wouldn't expect the shadow fo the drop to be particularly visible at this scale, and certainly not darker than the shadows cast by the mountains. If anything, the mountains should have the darkest shadows on the map.

What software are you using for this? Did you use a program to create the heightfield or is it by hand?

06-04-2010, 12:30 PM
This is looking great. I am so jealous of this style; nothing I've ever tried has managed to produce it :(

06-04-2010, 12:45 PM
@Torstan: yes, I noticed the drop-shadow issue on my rivers but haven't quite figured out how to reduce/purge them. I'm using two different bump maps to produce the elevation illusion: one that's very mild (looks like a rolling landscape), and the other is a very exaggerated map that's more along the lines of the Himalayas. I superimpose the two bump maps as the top pair of layers, with the "soft" one at 100% opacity and the "hard" one above it. I nudged the hard one up to about 80% opacity for this screen, while in the previous versions I posted of the map it was more in the 55%-60% range. The trouble is my river drop-shadows are embedded in both of those bump maps so I'd have to go in and remove them all by hand (*shudders*). I used Wilbur to create the base image (and bump maps) and I when I did a fluvial erosion I must have made it too strong. No convenient way to undo that, sadly. I'll see if I can come up with a work-around.

EDIT: I mentioned the 2 bump maps because by raising the opacity of the hard one, I get a better illusion of height/roughness but it really exaggerates the river beds. That's an error/oversight on my part and a mistake I won't make next time I use Wilbur as a base (I won't do fluvial erosion until the very end (after all my other maps have been exported).

@Gidde: thanks :) It's actually not that difficult. I start with Wilbur to make the underlying terrain and bump maps. Then I bring in those results and use roughly the process in RobA's tutorial to proceed from there but instead of using random cloud pattern to generate textures and bump maps, I use a mixture of the maps I exported from Wilbur (gray scale elevation map, relative elevation map, light map, etc.). With some careful combining and tweaking I can get it pretty close to the way I want it as well as auto-generating my masks for things like plains, mountains, etc. Then I can just tweak/paint them as required and apply a suitable palette to get the look and feel I'm after.

06-04-2010, 12:59 PM
Perhaps you can do the following? Get a selection of the rivers in Gimp. On a new layer fill this with a colour (say black). Run gaussian blur. Generate a selection from this and use it as a mask on the problematic bump map. That should target just the areas with the overly strong erosion. You can expand the selection a little before filling and blurring to get a stronger mask. I don't know if that will do the trick, but it might be worth a shot.

06-05-2010, 02:39 AM
I actually kind of like the rivers, they might not look exactly like what you get from a satellite image, but they do add some dynamics and make the whole map a little more interesting. I'd wait and see what they look like once you get some more details in, and then if you still don't like it you can maybe try what torstan said.

06-05-2010, 03:11 AM
Wow, Sadist, could you have made that any harder to read? :D

But I do agree with you; I think the rivers look fine.

06-07-2010, 08:53 AM
@torstan: Thanks for the suggestion. I got back from the cottage very late last night (note to self: a set of carefully prepared and detailed plans to build a large deck on uneven ground does not in any way make the darned thing any easier to build!) and had to wait until this morning before I could start tinkering. I've come up with something that might do the trick rather nicely...it's a lay mask for the "hard bump" layer to mask the rivers (and ~15 pixels to either side of them) to blend the hard bump with the soft bump...almost like making a separate "medium bump river" layer. I generated the mask doing roughly what you suggested and then tinkered a bit by hand from there. The change is subtle but does reduce the emphasis of the harsher river bumps but still has them stand out more than they would if I used only the soft bump.

Here's the result, which I'm pretty happy with.

06-07-2010, 09:03 AM
Very nice - it looks good. Looking forward to seeing the next stage.

I sympathise on the decking - it takes a lot of time and care to get those flat even on pretty even ground. Hope it went well in the end.

06-07-2010, 10:48 AM
Wow, Sadist, could you have made that any harder to read? :D

But I do agree with you; I think the rivers look fine.

I was using my girlfriend's computer, and the default language is Chinese...very frustrating because the language keeps doing funny things...
I can't even read what I posted


06-07-2010, 01:08 PM
Desert/arid zones and forested areas now added, plus I made a few additional tweaks to various other layers to smooth things out. This should now be more or less my finished terrain base map for placing settlements, "roads", etc.