View Full Version : December Entry: Kazh - Homeworld of the Klarr

12-08-2010, 02:21 AM
This comp seemed to be up my alley. Perhaps it will get me off my arse an' postin'.

### Latest WIP ###

Edit: Hopefully this is okay. The planet is already formed insofar as continent shapes are concerned, but I have a lot of cartography and not a little worldbuilding left to do. If not, I'll do Shtakamashkan instead, which really doesn't have any terrain design at all yet.

12-10-2010, 04:26 AM
Well. Inevitably enough I've fallen off the wagon. After manipulating my data considerably in Wilbur, I decided to port it into ArcGIS by way of SagaGIS.

This is an early and now lost color scheme. For some reason ArcGIS refused to properly project the grids even though I had the spatial references all properly set.

### Latest WIP ###

12-10-2010, 04:29 AM
As an experiment, to see how it looks, I've decided to render the map so far using Eckert V, which I think is fairly attractive.

### Latest WIP ###

12-10-2010, 04:43 AM
One more WIP for the night, then I turn into a pumpkin.
Added a bit of background color. Not sure if I like this yet. I'll have a look in the morning.

### Latest WIP ###

Steel General
12-10-2010, 08:11 AM
Some neat stuff here su_liam.

Greason Wolfe
12-10-2010, 09:25 AM
Glad to see you involved in this one, su_liam. When I first read the challenge, my thought was that this was right up your alley. I've enjoyed reading your sci-fi blog and would have been sad if you hadn't had a chance to enter this month's challenge. Oh, and btw, looking good so far. I do like that projection quite a bit.


12-10-2010, 02:33 PM
Added some cities, a legend and a few digitized rivers. The Eckert V projection in ArcGIS ate my ocean polygons, so those labels will have to be manual.

I can't pretend I'm altogether happy with the cities. The markers are just... eeeugh, and I've yet to work out a good labelling style. Maybe I'll try out Maplex. Yeah. Those city markers have got to go.

Down the line, I may reduce the map size to add planetary astronomical data. I also need to alter my datum so that its sized for Kazh and not Earth.

### Latest WIP ###

12-10-2010, 02:41 PM
I don't want to call this a WIP just yet. More of an experiment, or possibly a false alley. There's a lot of space down there I'd need to fill, somehow.


12-10-2010, 03:48 PM
Just put some flags in that empty space. It's a good way to fill space.

12-10-2010, 03:55 PM
Large blocks of text are such a PITA with ArcMap that I might just export to Illustrator to finish 'er off. I may even use Photoshop for blending purposes.

Still, flags are FTW!

12-10-2010, 04:49 PM
Yay! Triple posting. I think it's allowed.

Kind of a WIP. Kind of a mess.

This is what the Illustrator Export from ArcMap looked like in Illustrator.
Not actually too bad. I can use my text magic on the labels; the ones ArcMap put in just act as placeholders. The Markers need nee-hee-eed to be redone. That'll just add a few hours.

Of course I'm not using this copy, this was just to see how much time I'd have to allot for Illustratory goodness after I had the map nailed down. More than I was hoping, less than I feared.

12-11-2010, 01:30 PM
Looking at the colors, I think the seas should be a bit more blue and the land just a touch greener.

Actually, I probably will blue the seas up more, the land I will probably try to desaturate a bit. The thing is, the basic color on the land is just a neutral backdrop for variation. I'll add in warmer-colored deserts, greener swamps and forests, probably browner or grayer mountains with white glaciation and some sort of color variation for anthropogenic features like croplands and such.

I messed about with the Illustrator a bit more(when on a computer without ArcMap everything looks like a nail), The graticule should go pretty quick, but redoing the markers for all the cities will get to be a nightmare if the numbers get too high. I'm considering dropping ArcGIS out of the process. At least for the comp.

I'm also considering going back into Wilbur, breaking up the elevation map into smaller, higher res tiles and refining that a bit. I'd like something approaching Sorol ultimately. The question is wether that's worth doing during the comp or if I should save that for after and focus on the cartography.

I decided to post my Illustrator noodling as a WIP.

### Latest WIP ###

12-11-2010, 03:38 PM
Just to fit in, I decided to show my original texture image in Wagner VII projection. Fatlady buttshots for everybody! Thanks for the image Ravells.


The projection is actually pretty nice. It's equal-area. Among the equal area projections in Flex Projector, only Eckert IV has less scale distortion. Among the equal-area projections in Flex Projector only Kavraisky V and Eckert IV have less angular distortion. Eckert IV is best for angular distortion.

Eckert seems to be the way to go for me. Reasonably attractive, doesn't look any part of a fat lady and low overall distortion. It's a winner.

12-12-2010, 03:57 AM
Very much of a WIP. I'm experimenting with colorizing in Photoshop. Still not happy, but hey it's just a WIP.
### Latest WIP ###

I'll probably leave the colorized version in geographic and do the actual projection in ArcMap or Saga. This is a preview.

12-12-2010, 04:12 AM
Wow. You've got some good stuff happening here, man. I'm in awe of you mathematical geniuses that can create convincing (and accurate!) projections.

12-12-2010, 05:09 AM
I like your land colors but the water...kinda bright. You've probably already fixed it by now, though :)

12-12-2010, 11:26 AM
That was actually the last thing I did for the night. I prolly need to hand color the water like the land for it to fit in. In terms of the water color, I seem to go back and forth between no-contrast practically-green and holy-crap neon-blue without finding the good place in-between.

I enjoy the mathematical genius characterization :D . The key to my success is my apps. On the Winders side, I gots ArcGIS (www.esri.com/software/arcgis/index.html), which costs(a lot), and SagaGIS (http://www.saga-gis.org/), which is free. On me Mac I has GrassGIS (http://grass.fbk.eu/), which I'm not smart enough to operate, QGIS (http://www.qgis.org/), which I can kinda make do stuff, Flex Projector (http://www.flexprojector.com/), which is cool and free and also available for PC, also I have G.Projector (http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/gprojector/), which is free too. Not to forget the Flexify (http://www.flamingpear.com/flexify.html) plugin for Photoshop, which I use to rotate my viewpoint. Good for fixing the polar pinchies.

You, too, can be a mathematical genius, if you are fearless and willy-nilly d/l stuff off the internet always confident that viruses only happen to otter people. I got me some bad reflexes from over fifteen years on a Mac. Fortunately, I've been lucky and only had to reinstall Windows just the twice 'cause of viruses or something...

12-12-2010, 02:37 PM
I've just spent the entire afternoon trying to rescue my mother in law's computer from a BSOD caused (perhaps) by an 'anti-virus' (Anti Virus 8) proggie she downloaded which turned out to be a virus itself. Got rid of the proggie but the BSOD still persists and I'm out of my depth, so she has to call the nice Polish techhie she got her computer from...

You're one of the few people here who uses 'serious' mapping applications and I love seeing what you do with them, glad to see you're going with a 'big bum' projection too!

12-13-2010, 02:17 AM
In my experience antivirus programs are usually almost as much trouble as the viruses they ostensibly fight. Even with legitimate ones. Hopefully you got the BSOD fixed. Usually, at least with Windows('cause I just don't know the system very well), if I can't get something fixed in less than two hours I reinstall the OS. What that don't fix is usually damn serious and requires the intervention of Polish technology.

While I do use some serious apps(at least as long as my educational license lasts[till June]), Flex Projector and G.Projector are reasonably simple to use. I prefer Flex Projector 'cause it can handle vector files to some degree and the output is usually marginally prettier(to my eye). G.Projector is a more strictly raster app, but it has oodles of weird projection no one outside of the cartographic community has ever heard of(Canter's Pseudocylindric 2002 f5.23... WTF?). Some of these are really quite attractive and have good distortion attributes, so I kind of like having them available. I've spent way too much time researching some of these projections.

While it isn't equal-area, I've grown to like the look of Eckert V. Eckert IV is equal-area and does seem to have a lot of advantages in terms of general distortion, but it just looks way too lozenge-shaped for my taste at the mo'. The 'big bum' projection has a lot going for it, but I think I'll stick with Old Flattop.

Speaking of which, I have made a little more progress. Gots ta love da Clipping Path.

### Latest WIP ###

I also fixed a bit of boneheadedness in the graticule.

12-13-2010, 01:22 PM
I'm a huge fan of equal-area projections for various, I'm sure psychologically very significant, reasons, but I've been liking the bulgy, flat-polar look of the Eckert V quite a bit. Until now I haven't found an equal-area projection that had the look I wanted for this project. Mucking about with Flex Projector, I realized that Werenskiold I was equal-area, and look it's all fat and flat-topped. So I figured I'd try 'er out. What d'y'all think, dudes?
### Latest WIP ###

EDIT1: Oh, God! I just realized. I need to reproject my rivers and cities. Eugh!

EDIT2: Which... I can't do with Flex Projector, because it assumes geographical coordinates on the input. Aaaargh!

12-13-2010, 02:56 PM
The differences are pretty minimal between the two (from an arty farty point of view)...except you've got to reposition the rivers and cities now!

12-16-2010, 02:42 PM
I've settled on an Eckert VII for display. For editing purposes, I'm using latlong to avoid problems.

As part of my development work, I created a watershed basins map. I think I need to clip my elevations to the continents and try again. But for now.


12-16-2010, 03:48 PM
Everything looks great but: you are going to do something about the river presentation? you're not going to let those giant earthworms crawl all over the map are you?

12-16-2010, 03:53 PM
The longer the hair on those fuzzy caterpillars the colder it's going to be :)

12-16-2010, 03:57 PM
Brrrr!! :)

12-16-2010, 05:30 PM
The rivers are fat, because I had an easier time editing them that way. This is in no way a presentation specimen.
Once I get the rivers more or less the way I like them, enough in wet places, fewer in dry places, actually reaching the #$$@% ocean(!), that kind of thing, then I'll set them to a narrower stroke. The ugly basin map and some other ugly stuff I'm messing with will also go away once I draw out my desired boundaries.

Working out the climates is going to be a nightmare. Just not looking forward to it...

12-28-2010, 05:18 PM
I realize my WIP is in a bad state of broken. I also realize the competition is pretty stiff. Gotta drop a lot of my world building and just get down to cartography. Should have another WIP soon.

12-29-2010, 04:02 PM
I think I'm done with climates, at least as far as this comp is concerned. Now on to labeling and the making of it beautiful.

By way of a legend, the greyed areas at the top and bottom of the image are glaciated areas. My temperature model is too sensitive to latitude, too insensitive to altitude and going to have to do. The darker green at the center of the map is the tropical regions. Same temperature model, so... yeah.

The rivers will look better if I can get them vectorized. I wasn't at all happy with my previous river network. I still have too many rivers in areas that will be desert. Speaking of desert, I intend to add a composite desert effect as soon as I can get back to photoshop, which requires me to boot up my Mac volume. I figure I'll make sure I have all of my Wilbur, Saga and ArcGIS stuff out of the way before I do that.

### Latest WIP ###

12-30-2010, 04:35 AM
Made some progress. Even if this doesn't get me up to speed in time for the comp I think the world and terrain building I've done should pay off in my work conworlding Kazh. The dark band around the equator is roughly the tropical areas. This was determined by setting a lower threshold on a very primitive temperature model. Seasonality effects might lead to some monsoonal regions around the middle eastern coast of the major continent that aren't covered by this, but for now this is about as much climate model as I can manage.

The rivers were calculated and vectorized in SagaGIS using a precipitation model at least as primitive as the temperature model and twice as flat-headed as the map projection. Even with a lot of fudging and hand-alteration the deserts are still sprouting way too many rivers for my taste...

Almost all of my analytical and creative work was done in Wilbur and SagaGIS with the last pretty-fication work done in ArcGIS. I figure there's a blog post on that somewhere in my future. The projection is Eckert VI which meets my need for a flat-headed, equal-area projection quite nicely.

Now to labelling.

### Latest WIP ###

12-30-2010, 12:47 PM
Yet to get to labelling...
I think this is my overall appearance pretty much finalized. I have my deserts, ice and tropics well delineated with some nice textures. Though, honestly I think the tropics texture conflicts with the desert, I don't have time to clip the tropics away from over the desert regions. Something to think about later. I just had to pick a comp that was strictly limited to a month. And over Christmas, no less:roll:.

Fortunately, I have the groundwork set for my cities and other labels, so this should be quick. Maybe not quick enough, but quick as squick!

### Latest WIP ###

12-30-2010, 01:35 PM
I have all of my previously existing cities in place. More or less where they were before. Changes in position or state were predicated either by the slightly altered geography or by my evolving ideas about this planet and its cultures. I'm being somewhat conservative due to time constraints. For example, I'm considering, as part of the conworlding project, altering Valkam into the capital of an independent kingdom. For now, I'm ignoring such things as the balkanization of the main continent. I'm also considering moving most of the big cities on the northwest continent to the northern lobes of the main continent. Again, that's for the new year!

Next I need to label known hydrographic and geographical features and then add more cities and such. River labeling will be particularly miserable because of the way Saga generated the channel vectors. Thousands of independent short segments. I love ArcScan!

Please, oh god, please, don't lock down till the ball drops in Fiji.

### Latest WIP ###

12-30-2010, 03:04 PM
I think I have all the cities and labels I'm going to manage before this comp closes. Now I need to export all of this to Illustrator and see if I can make the labels suck a bit less. Wish me luck!

With so many layers up on ArcMap and Saga running in the background, my computer is starting to get a bit balky.

Apparently, I can't get my WIP to load!

EDIT: Second try on my Mac with a cropped and PS optimized version.

### Latest WIP ###


12-30-2010, 06:07 PM
This is probably the best I can do with the existing text. The ArcMap export to Illustrator does something very similar to my first idea for text highlighting, which is an approach that doesn't take well to editing.

I've moved the general text labels around and rotated them to better fit the landforms and such. The text is surprisingly large, now that I'm not looking at it in Windows. I don't know why, but my display isn't nearly as attractive in Windows as Mac. Probably some setting I have down perfect on my Mac and haven't yet figgered out how to do in Windows. Given time, I'd completely revamp the labels, but time is something I don't have at the moment.

### Latest WIP ###

12-30-2010, 06:09 PM
Nice! You are such a numbers cruncher. I feel like a kid with crayons when I read what you go through.

Crayons or not I still have my PC chuggin like a Big-Ol-Dog when I try to do anything on my main .xcf now. I've taken to flattening the layers and starting a new one for working on labels. Digital art is a hog but it's such a cute little piggy when it grins up at you! :)

PS. Be sure to check my entry out on your Mac in that case :)

12-30-2010, 09:12 PM
Xperemiante is very attractive. Mac or no... Actually, this comp has produced quite a few very attractive maps. Cute little piggies.

I've been pushing my number-cruncher so hard that I went out of my way to get temperature monitoring and fan control software. I've figured out that my power supply produces a lot of heat in sensitive places(near the processor, not... not... anyway...), so I sometimes unplug my computer and carefully watch the battery status when things get involved. The battery produces heat, but it's far from the important parts.

I'm loving my current planet. A bit of painting, a bit of blurring a lot of time-consuming erosion. Rinse and repeat. Took me about three days and my wrist took a week to recover, but hey...

Even if, as seems likely, my entry doesn't earn any votes(I'm considering voting for myself, but it's hard to decide), I still have a kick-ass elevation map and I've learned enough about my tools that I think I could build a climate model rivaling that in FT Pro given some time.

Not too bad for less than a month's "work" by one lazy guy.

12-30-2010, 09:29 PM
build a climate model rivaling that in FT Pro

Not that hard at all, honestly... It only took a couple of days way back when and most of that was doing the UI. Doing a better job that in FT Pro should be your goal.

12-31-2010, 04:03 AM
I made a dog's breakfast of a precipiton erosion algorithm. To the point where I just had to give up. I'm starting as simple as possible.

12-31-2010, 06:22 AM
This may be my last post on this. Happy New Year, folks.

### Latest WIP ###

12-31-2010, 04:20 PM
I don't even pretend to understand all the maths and calculations that have gone into this, but it looks really clean!