View Full Version : Belgariad/Mallorean WIP

07-03-2010, 07:16 PM
Hey folks ... I hadn't intended to post this until I could put it in the finished section, but I find that I've become slightly addicted to the feedback on here. This map is probably my last book-map-as-gift; it's for my aunt who requested a Belgariad/Mallorean map for her wall, "like your mom's Middle Earth map" -- and since my aunt has been supplying me with books my whole life, I figured I owed her ;)

So this is ALMOST done ... As I was tweaking the labels I found a couple cities for which I had forgotten the label, plus the label for Dariya is annoyingly overlapping the Ancient Mallorea tag. And I've got to make a compass/cartouche for it.

All I'm really looking for is impressions, nothing's really striking me as a problem area. It's more along the lines of "am I missing something that the Guild folks would catch?" I'm also slightly nervous about the mountains, as they're a new style for me.

// Edit: Oh, and I realize the top edge looks funky -- I'll be cropping that off.

Steel General
07-03-2010, 08:52 PM
Honestly I like everything but the mountains, they look overly fuzzy/blurred to me.

The one thing I think is missing is a representation of the Fens - maybe even add a marker for the Witch's hut (can't remember her name).

07-03-2010, 08:57 PM
Ah ... Vordai, was it? Good point there. Not sure what I can do about the blurriness, but I'll start experimenting. Thanks!

07-03-2010, 10:47 PM
Does this help at all? I overlaid the mountains with a not-quite-opaque layer containing the original mountains before I oilified them. I can't quite revert all the way or I'll lose them matching with the rest of the map, plus I'll get back the embossing artifacts I got rid of by doing the oilification in the first place.

//Edit: Uploading a version that's shrunk to closer to what will be seen when printed at almost lossless compression (eddings3.jpg), as opposed to the first one which is at 1/1 pixel but at an extremely lossy compression (eddings2.jpg).

07-04-2010, 09:08 AM
The problem that I have is that the mtns are all the same height in appearance and the escarpment doesn't seem "cliffy". The challenge map (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?7001-September-Entry-Voyage-of-the-Godslayer) that I did last year didn't exactly nail the escarpment either. The forests are kind of blobby - they start and stop quite abruptly with a solid edge. I'd add some solo trees around the edges or somehow "dither" the edges with chunks of trees. On the whole it seems rather flat except for the trees and mtns sticking up and dominating everything but it's your baby and this style seems to call for that kind of thing, shrug.

07-04-2010, 09:17 AM
Good call on the forests, I'll do that. As far as the mountain height issue, I have the same issue, I just have zero ideas on how to fix it. I tried to add some manual shading, but that didn't really do much. The inherent problem is that they're so darned *thick*. So no matter how much variation I put into the heightmap, it still ends up looking like a plateau with variation. As far as the flatness of the rest goes, yeah, it's the style -- a style I tried hard to talk her out of, but hey, it's her wall.

07-04-2010, 09:22 AM
This is a really nice style of mapping.
Two things: First, the Temba Marshes, I can't really see a marsh there, and second, it might be a good idea do build some bridges where roads cros rivers.
There is also something I don't quite like about the roads, but I can't say what it is...

07-04-2010, 09:29 AM
Thanks, TheSilentOne! That's vote #2 for needing something more to designate marshes. I'll definitely do some work on them. I'd left the bridges out since some of the rivers are improbably wide in the representation and it looked funny; I'll do some more experimenting to see if I can't come up with something that looks better.

07-04-2010, 09:35 AM
I figured it out what I don't like about the roads:): for example, on Ancient Mallorea, the terrain is a bit dull, meaning that you only have the roads and some rivers, but nothing in between. I know it is close to the sea, so maybe you don't want tress and/or mountains there, but it looks a bit too empty.
Again, I really love this style of mapping, the forest style is great amd the "glassy" look of the water on the coasts and near the islands is just wicked, very realistic.

07-04-2010, 09:50 AM
Ahh ... unfortunately that's a consequence of redoing an existing map in a new style. I tried not to take any liberties with Mr. Eddings's world, adding stuff in if it wasn't already on one of the maps from the books. That said, I just caught some discrepancies in Ancient Mallorea, and looking at the roads has me thinking they really ought to be tweaked a bit. Thanks for the comments on the sea, that's probably my favorite part of the whole map :) The forest style is straight from the tutorial in my sig, with a slight glass filter run and then faded in PS afterward.

Thanks for the suggestions so far everyone; I'm glad I posted it after all. Looks like I have some serious reworking to do :)

07-04-2010, 11:33 AM
I actually kinda liked the impressionistic mountains from the first image, but they didn't go with this map. The revised mountains look pretty good to me.

You might dial back the drop shadow on the forests, as it's making them look a bit like they're wax stuck to the map.

The only other quibble I have is with the font for the cities—that font's capital D's look like O's, particularly when small.

A very nice piece, and I'm sure your Aunt will be proud to hang it up.

07-04-2010, 06:26 PM
Thanks Mid!

Ok, first rework. I completely redid the base land layer, to give it a little more texture and depth. I also tweaked the mountains and forests to tone them down a bit and completely got rid of all of the post filters on them -- turned out that was at least a portion of the forest-blob issue, but I'm still not really happy with their shape.

Better? Worse?

07-04-2010, 09:47 PM
I think this map looks great. I had no problem with the oilified mountains, but I think your edits look good. The ocean is spectacular. The toning down of the shadow on the forests is better, did you do anything else to decrease the hard edge? I was also wondering what would happen if you oilified the forests slightly?

07-05-2010, 12:46 AM
I looooove this. I like the mountains in your latest version slightly better, but the originals were fantastic too. And that sea/coast effect is beyond cool.

07-05-2010, 07:32 AM
These mtns looks pretty cool - interesting. I might give that style a play.

07-05-2010, 09:33 AM
Better? Worse?
I would say better, everything is more balanced now that you redid the mountains. Love it, and once again: wicked style:)

07-05-2010, 09:39 AM
Cool.. I have been meaning to do this map up for quite a while, but you beat me to it(though, I reserve the right to give it a go at some point!) I am still not hot on the texture on the forests though, but other than that, good job....

07-05-2010, 04:46 PM
hmmmm it only loads the top third of the map... :(
but - from what I can see, it looks great - I think the mountains have gotten better, the forest could be even "duller" in my opinion. The rivers look way better now and I love the labeling of countries :)

07-06-2010, 01:30 AM
Thanks for the kind words and suggestions, everyone!

@ hohum: The original photo actually had oilified forests, it ended up smoothing out the edges quite a bit actually.

@ Ascension: I'd love to see your take on this mtn style actually ... I'm not really happy with the execution on this one, plus it took the better part of a month. I'm sure I went about it the long/hard/not-so-good way, lol.

@ jfrazierjr: Seeing as Ascension beat me to it, I have no argument with that ;)

@ tilt: Weird -- it shows up fine for me.

Complete rework on the forests here, plus I fixed the missing/overlapping labels.

07-06-2010, 02:31 AM
Forests looking much better now and you've added some white to the northen ones too :)
A point of critique would be that some of your names "hit" eachother GTHOL MURGOS ... the S is in another name, I'd shrink that slightly so they miss each other. Also with a slight rotating of "The Seven Kingdoms..." you'll miss the town name :) but looking really good though :)

07-06-2010, 08:07 AM
That ripple-looking, coastal waves thing you have going on blew me away. Love it. So . . . how'd you do it?

07-06-2010, 08:28 AM
@ tilt: Thanks for the thumbs-up on the new forests :) As to the label issue, I spent three days rotating labels to try to correct that problem, and came to the conclusion that it was impossible without reducing the level of detail (witness Tolnedra!) -- so in the end I tried to pick ways to depict each type of label so that none interacted with others of its own type (nation/terrain/point of interest) and if different types overlapped they were still readable. It's a compromise, to be sure, but the best I could come up with, unless I wanted to make it so big it wouldn't fit in a 24x36 frame, lol.

@ Ilvarin: I wish I remembered (sheepish grin). It started with the oceans from Ascension's atlas tut, then I lightened progressively toward the land (select land, grow selection by a lot, fill with 10% or so opacity the light blue, shrink, fill, shrink, fill, etc.). Then I blurred it to get rid of the lines, and then used some combination (this is where my memory gets really fuzzy) of glass, ocean ripple, plastic wrap, and accented edges filters in Photoshop. I know I faded most of them by some percentage after I ran them. Then I'm pretty sure I pulled it all back into GIMP and ran a bump map over it. I'm gonna have to re-figure it out at some point if I ever want to reproduce it, and I'll write a tut when I do.

Incidentally, I'd give a LOT for a comparable filter in GIMP to Photoshop's glass filter. I love the effect it gives.

07-06-2010, 04:30 PM
Ok, now I'm either stuck or finished. Added the compass rose, and spent all day fiddling with the swamps. I'm still not happy with them, but I'm out of brilliant ideas. Any suggestions?

// Edit: uploaded the RIGHT picture.

07-06-2010, 04:42 PM
where did you hide that rose?... and what about a border perhaps.. and a scale :)

07-06-2010, 04:48 PM
Hahaha Tilt, you're too fast! I noticed that missing rose right after I posted it and it took me this long to get another jpg made. So now the rose is there. No border on this one because I'm matting and framing it. As far as scale goes, the jury's still out. There's no scale marked on any of the maps from the books, so it'll only get a scalebar if a quick perusal of the books themselves gives me a handy point-to-point distance (which, honestly, I doubt, since they don't really take a straight line anywhere).

Oh, and PS ... thanks again for your compass rose posts; they were an inspiration when I went to create this one.

07-06-2010, 05:03 PM
beautiful compass, nice texture - well done :) ... and have some rep for that great map with my mace of ok repping +4 :)

07-06-2010, 08:43 PM
Thankee kindly :)

07-07-2010, 04:18 AM
Wow, I let this thread go for a few days, and what a change! the first mountains you had were good, but I love these new ones, and everything else seems to fit wonderfully with them well done!

07-07-2010, 08:20 AM
Thanks Yandor!

07-07-2010, 07:28 PM
Seeing no further suggestions, I pronounce this map complete :)

Finished map thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?11067-Belgariad-Mallorean-Fan-Project&p=119478#post119478)