View Full Version : I thought I'd share how the tutorials are affecting my mapmaking skills :)

09-26-2010, 03:07 PM
Well I spent today working through Ascensions Atlas style tutorial and I'm pretty blown away by what he's achieved - and been gracious enough to share. I thought I post my map before I read the tutorial and after to compare and contrast the difference that a single tutorial made to my output!



Geographically it's an abomination lol but it's nice to take a step up the old learning curve.

09-26-2010, 03:29 PM
Pretty good, man. :)

09-27-2010, 03:56 AM
Thanks Ascension - although to be fair you can probably take credit yourself for the good bits in that map. It's really opened up a few new options for me seeing the way you used lighting effects to generate the terrain 'bumps', I'll be having a look through your mountain tutorial next - I'd like to reduce the randomness a bit on my next attempt and take control of some of the land features a bit more. When I came to do the rivers I looked for patterns where downslopes would cause water to run but the random nature of the landscape made it difficult to pin down where they would flow. I originally made these landmasses using Fractal World Explorer (By NBOS) so in their natural form they were a bit more logical but I'd modified it a lot so I could export it into Campaign Cartographer 3. CC3 crashes so much that I abandoned it and went back to Photoshop and to be honest it's a more natural environment for me, I know where I am with layers and filters.

09-27-2010, 08:43 AM
The only problem with fractal generators is that they tend to put the mountains in the middle of landmasses and you don't get something like the Andes because of that (they run down the west coast of South America). It's not a big thing but a thing nonetheless. Sure my randomness has its drawbacks as well so that's why I use the Lasso Tool (with a 50 pix feather) to pick out chunks and move them around. My method is best for creating totally random things to play with just to give you an idea of what you may want. If you already have a landmass planned and know where the mountains are then your best bet is to use the black and white airbrush to paint the difference clouds to be more precise.

09-27-2010, 09:16 AM
with regards to CC3 crashing, you have updated it haven't you?

09-28-2010, 03:52 AM
Yes I have NeonKnight, before that it wouldn't start at all! I like what CC3 offers but I just don't trust it - I don't think I've ever got more than an hour before a crash and when I work on a map in Photoshop I tend to stay at it the whole day and it'd be soul destroying to lose that much work :(

Ascension - I'll take your advice about the mountains on board, I was happy with the mountains in the middle of the continents but now you mention it that isn't really true to real-world geography. I'm going to have another crack at that map at the weekend - there are a few mountain tutorials around here that I plan to work through and I think I need another dozen attempts to get the river system right at least! I'm thoroughly enjoying this learning process though, every pass through seems to bring out a result that I previously would have thought beyond my ability so although it's a steep learning curve you really do see results as you work through it. One thing that's obvious already though is that you don't just "knock up" a map, you really have to inject your consciousness into it and feel the make up of the different regions to make them hang together logically as well as visually don't you?

Aval Penworth
09-28-2010, 04:02 AM
Do you run a powerful computer setup? Some of the CC3 enthusiasts are running quad core proceesors with 12+meg of ram etc etc.

09-28-2010, 09:05 AM
Yup - without going into all the funny words it's a ridiculously powerful machine. I do run a 64bit OS though and I'm wondering if that's what's making it throw a shoe? I bought the Dell top-of-the-line gaming rig last year, it's almost a waste that I very rarely do any gaming with it but I'm a .Net developer and the development studio runs like a dog unless you have a powerful machine.

10-04-2010, 06:15 AM
Here's another go with the same atlas - this time I used the file straight out of the Fractal Terrains package to see if I could use the actual raw terrain image but I don't really think it worked. I kinda like the way the water came out on this one though :)


10-04-2010, 11:54 AM
One last question with regards to CC3, I know I too at times suffer the crashing issues (won't lie), and as a result I run with the software doing auto backups every 4 minutes or so (I have it set to not even ask me, just do it), as a result, I may lose at most a couple of items, but certainly not the soul crushing 3 hours work like I have in the past.

10-05-2010, 04:21 AM
Yeah - I took that approach for a while too NeonKnight but when I'm working I like to do incremental saving so I'll rotate through version 1-4 when I do a save-as so I have different stages to roll back to. I'll give CC3 another whirl I think at some point but at the moment I'm working mostly in photoshop while I do the atlas view - I suspect CC3 will be more use when I break it down into regions.

10-10-2010, 03:10 PM
The latest version - started playing around with textures and incorporated Acension's techniques into the same landmass, I can't tell you how much I appreciate learning about that CTRL-Click on the base layer to highlight your landmasses tip - that alone has saved me hours!


Next I'm going to work on those mountains a bit and then tackle my greatest fear...rivers!

10-12-2010, 02:02 PM
And now - some names.30133

Aval Penworth
10-30-2010, 08:07 AM
Coming along nicely. But them's some crazy straight rivers!!! Maybe give yer waterways some wiggle. Looking forward to your next post.

11-05-2010, 08:40 AM
Yup! They look very odd :) I used a few software tools (mostly Wilbur) to map the flow of water according the the heights of the land and that's where it said the major waterways would flow. I'm going to tease out some tributaries and emphasise the mountainous regions so they make more sense. It was interesting to see where the water flows went though - it's nothing like I would have drawn them freehand!

02-02-2011, 03:22 PM
I've been quiet for a while - thought I'd practice a bit and then come back and try some of the other tutorials. If I can remember how, I'll insert my latest attempt in here :)


I also made a silverlight Deepzoom of it - this seems like a very fitting technology for displaying maps with - and it's free :)


02-02-2011, 04:27 PM
Hey cool! Looks pretty good, and I like the Silverlight zoom :) I've been toying with the idea of Silverlight for a map preview deal on my new site when I get it up and running, and that's a pretty good example!

02-02-2011, 07:48 PM
With all those apostrophes, this must be a truly alien world...

02-03-2011, 02:08 AM
That looks pretty cool!

...Although I'm curious as to what sorts of folk live along the Ho River. :D

02-03-2011, 09:59 AM
With all those apostrophes, this must be a truly alien world...

It is indeed a little odd, each of those words represents a demi-god that adopted the race of men that dwell there - the letters after the apostraphe represent whether the entity was a male or female. For example Shorai was a female entity and her adopted peoples are the Shorai'el, Agrean was a male so his people are the Agrean'eth. There's a little method in the madness ;)

02-03-2011, 10:00 AM
That looks pretty cool!

...Although I'm curious as to what sorts of folk live along the Ho River. :D

Everybody has to make a living ;)