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mearrin69
07-05-2010, 03:15 PM
Hi all,
I'm working on my first commission map and asked the client for permission to post the WiP here for feedback from you helpful folks. The client is Louis Porter Jr. Design (link (http://www.lpjdesign.com/)) and the map is a regional map for that company's NeoExodus (link (http://lpjdesign.rpgnow.com/index.php?cPath=1308_4217)) product line. It seems to be an interesting world (from the one 27-page PDF history I've read) with some pretty complex politics going on (and a lot of war) - perfect for guys and girls with swords and spells.

When completed, the map will be 17"x11" (landscape). I was given a rough map showing major political bodies (attached), which I imported into CS4 and traced over with the pencil to create the land outlines.

I wanted random coastlines so I tried OldGuy's cool technique (link (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?9056)) but wasn't 100% happy with the results I was getting (the smooth original shape of the coastline was still pretty visible) so I started over and used brush dynamics and decreasing sized brushes to randomize the coastline a bit. After that I ran OldGuy's technique again (with one change) and it worked very well - the change was that I created a "stop" by shrinking down the landmass shapes and pasting that over the "noised up" layer so that I could really eat away at the coast...but not go too far into the interior. Don't know if that makes *any* sense at all but I could probably post a step-by-step if anyone's interested. I've posted snapshots of the drawn coastline, the roughened up version, the post-OldGuy technique version, and then the final version with a stroke (which will very likely not look that way in the final).

The ocean's pretty standard I guess: clouds followed by burn/dodge for a little shaping and then a continental shelf layer and some blending down. Will do more with the surface later but I was just trying to get it looking good quickly.

After that I drew the political borders (colored the same as the countries in the "turnover" for now), dumped on a texture, and added some "dressing" from the product line (snagged from a PDF so the quality's maybe not that great but it's temporary to get a feel. I'm out of picture space in this post so I'll post the current version and a zoom-in in the next one.
M

mearrin69
07-05-2010, 03:20 PM
Okay, here is the current view. Still to come are climates, terrain features, cities, etc. I actually don't have a great deal to go on here and have been given some freedom to create so we'll see how that goes.

There are some odd climactic features that I have to stick with: Cordel is desert, Nas is icy plains, and Bal is jungle. Maybe not likely in the real world but, hey, it's fantasy. Other features I'm aware of is that Ablis is a volcanically blasted wasteland and that Sametia, Koryth, and Unthara are basically wilderness (some cities/ruins). I actually don't know anything about Gavea (don't remember it mentioned in the PDF but that probably means I should check it again).

So, not much to critique yet but please feel free to give suggestions and pointers!
M

Steel General
07-05-2010, 03:31 PM
Looking pretty good so far Mearrin. I think you could maybe 'tone down' the borders a bit (unless the client wants them that way).

mearrin69
07-05-2010, 03:43 PM
Thanks! Yar. They're a little bold. Stolen straight from the product PDF, though, so it's "in style" with the setting. The guy's a graphic designer so I imagine he'll apply his own treatment when it's done...this was just to give me a feel as my normal tendancy would be toward more muted colors.
M

Ascension
07-05-2010, 04:37 PM
Nation borders that hug the coastline always sort of bug me, could just be me, though. It's the vivid colors that kinda mess things up. I would suggest erasing the borders along the coast as they aren't really needed there anyways. But you say, "what about the islands?" They have names on them so that's good enough. But if you wanted to have some sort of color denomination then I'd replace the red stroke around the letters for each country and give them their own color stroke. The mainland countries have their inland border plus the color stroke and the islands have a color stroke...should be good enough.

Slylok
07-05-2010, 04:40 PM
Hello Mearrin,

I like your technique for developing the coastline. It looks great and im sure i will use it for future maps.

Off subject question: How much does a customer pay for a map like this? What goes into the pricing scheme for commission maps? is it the size, the complexity, style? sorry if this is a bit bold, but im curious as to how it works. id love to one day get paid for this type of stuff.

mearrin69
07-05-2010, 05:01 PM
@Ascension: I think I agree with you on the borders. It's kind of a temporary thing that I can take care of later...each is a country-shaped layer with 0% fill and a stroke. At some point I'll flatten them and erase out the parts I don't need. Note that there is also a border along the top and bottom where the shape ends, which I also plan to remove. I'm actually not sure that the colors need to be there, and probably not so brightly even if. Waiting to hear back on that.

@Slylok: Not a lot, really. Let's just say I won't be quitting my day job soon. :) I'm mainly doing this because it was an unexpected offer and I wanted to give it a try to see where it goes.

tilt
07-05-2010, 05:54 PM
Mearrin - looking good.. and congrats on the comm ... think I said that before but that can't be said to much :) ... I'm also not a fan of colored borders along the coasts... I like my borders where countries clash :)

slylok - there's been a couple of threads lately on HOW you get commisions and HOW you evaluate your price sceme :)

mearrin69
08-31-2010, 12:22 PM
*animate thread*
BTW, the client for this dropped off the radar for quite a while but I pinged him and he resurfaced so I guess it's back on. Will be posting an update tonight but wanted to post to put this back on my stack.
M

mearrin69
09-05-2010, 12:13 AM
I've really been waffling on this. The publisher really hasn't given me any style guidance (seems pretty open) so I'm fishing about trying to find something that looks good. I've abandoned the branch with the comic-book-style (which seemed appropriate given some of the setting's imagery) and am doing something slightly more realistic - starting with Ascension's atlas-style tutorial (thanks, Ascension). Here's the basics of that, with no "climate gradient".

My next step is to try to take this a little away from the atlas style and a little more toward something more like what I had before. A merger of styles if at all possible. We'll see. In any case, this is all I'm going to do on it tonight so...C&C welcome, if you see any issues feel free to point them out.

Oh, and, I've decided that I'm going to donate my fee for this map to the Guild (it's only $100, so don't get *too* excited).
M

mearrin69
09-05-2010, 02:28 PM
A little progress on this. Started laying down some textures to suggest terrain and climate (which, I'll admit, doesn't make a lot of sense to me in this world...but, hey).
M

mearrin69
09-06-2010, 02:13 AM
More texturing. Think I'm nearly done with that process but would like to see what you guys think. Added back the border just to see how it looks with this style. This, again, is the style of the product itself (see capture from the setting PDF) so, even if he doesn't keep this border, it'll be encased in trade dress that looks similar and I need to make sure it doesn't clash too much (I think).

So. I want to add some rivers. I haven't been given an exact scale on this but have been told that it represents about "half of the world" which makes it a pretty big chunk of land. I'm thinking that means only major rivers. Any of you River Police (or aspiring deputies) have some suggestions for where to put these? FYI, the lands to the southwest are arid desert and just north of that is "frigid hills" according to my notes. The lands at the top are basically deep jungle and forest...good place for a Nile-like river maybe? If it's not apparent, Ablis is not a nice place with pretty rivers.

Here's another question: how's the water color? Look good? Should I shift it? Think I should tone down the shelf a bit?

Any other color suggestions? All of the textures are on layers with "Pattern Overlay" style so, once I flatten them, I can do color correction as desired. I think maybe Cordel's desert needs to be a bit brighter.

Thanks for the feedback/help!
M

ravells
09-06-2010, 02:35 AM
Sorry for coming into this a little late. I really do like the large amount of lakes in your map...for some reason we tend not to really feature lakes in general.

mearrin69
09-06-2010, 02:40 AM
NP. Thanks. Glad you like that. I was sort of wondering if maybe I had too many (and what I would do about it if so). It's pretty "porous".
M

rdanhenry
09-06-2010, 03:15 AM
The areas of Earth with lake plentitude like that have had glaciers sliding over the landscape, shaping it. When it comes to rivers, the lakes will need them as outlets, or they'll become salt lakes/inland seas. Also, if that's half the world, it's a lot more land-heavy than Earth. If it is a globe, rather than a flat world, I'm curious as to how close to the poles it cuts off and if the projection used has been considered (the visual width of the primary landmass is essentially constant top-to-bottom, but if that's nearly half a globe projected onto a flat surface, the reality is likely *very* different.

mearrin69
09-06-2010, 03:43 AM
I am fairly sure that projection has not been considered. I'm taking the "about half of the world" guidance as a very rough concept. Climate guidance I've reflected in the map (jungle at the top, frigid hills in the center of the western portion of the landmass, desert at the bottom) *might* be possible in a physically based world but you'd definitely have to have quite a lot of map both above and below the portion pictured - and that would mean a lot more map on the west and east sides in order to bring this up to hemisphere scale. I'm not going to get terribly bothered about it as I'm thinking this is just a place for the setting's authors to put some interesting cultures and history and geophysics be damned. :) That's cool. I can roll with that.
M

Diamond
09-06-2010, 06:58 AM
Hmm... I think the continental shelves look fine, at least at this display size. I'm assuming the final product is much bigger, so maybe my opinion would change seeing them in greater detail, but right now I think they look great. I always dislike doing shelves because they end up looking too smooth and regular, but yours look much more authentic.

As for rivers, well, rdan nailed it pretty well. The closest area I can think of that looks like that would be central Canada - festooned with lakes, with a crazy amount of rivers linking them all.

mearrin69
09-11-2010, 02:12 PM
Getting there. Made some mountain changes at the client's request. I changed the text to something more "classy" but I'm not sure whether that's okay or not. I might end up going back to "Gang of Three", the titling font used in the product. I like this better I think. Left the red borders too. Brash but they'll be next to the the map in the product so they need to be able to work together.
M

mearrin69
09-11-2010, 03:44 PM
Yeah, but, I like this better. I wonder if the client will - if not I've got the old "skin" too. Also, forgot to mention that the rivers are just placeholders for now. Be putting some more work into them soon (fading out the headwaters and minor rivers, beefing up the mouths and meatier sections).
M