View Full Version : Improved my map

01-13-2008, 07:37 AM
Hi, I've been directed here from EN world for help with making a map. I've never really made a map before, but I think i've done fairly well so far. But be prepared for lots of questions!

you can see it here:

01-13-2008, 10:57 AM
Welcome to the Guild Craig. That's a very nice start, a very clean style. I like your choice of colours which are not over saturated. Only a few comments / questions at this stage: What sort of scale of map are we looking at? Are you planning to put in other topographical features apart from woods, mountains, rivers and habitations? Perhaps delineating the deserts and the frozen wastes with different overlaid colours (with a bit of transparency so that the underlying green unites everything) might be an idea. I find that putting in a subtle texture to land and perhaps the sea (even in maps of this sort of clean style improves them vastly), a slight noise would do - give it a try and see what you think. An underlying texture might help the mountains not look so isolated as they currently appear. If you are using photoshop type software to produce this, one idea would be to create a layer of noise over the green and then use a mask over it, making the bits of noise around the mountains less opaque. It would help to know what software you are using if you'd like more comments / advice (although I'm no expert).

One final comment, one usually expects boundaries to follow natural features like rivers and mountains. There may be good reasons why yours do not in your game world, but it is worth considering.

Enjoy your stay at the guild, there'll be many hands here to help you improve your map making skills.

01-13-2008, 11:30 AM
A few things:
There is a river that flows to the sea in three different spots. This is highly unlikely, some might even say impossible. Also, you have a river that flows from one sea to another, which is impossible unless one of those seas is not at "sea level."


01-13-2008, 01:29 PM
Welcome to the guild.

That's a very nice map you made there, and I likey a lot!

01-13-2008, 02:20 PM
thanks for the welcome and input!


Yes, I am planning on representing the deserts, and wastes, but I haven't yet found a way to do that look blends in with the rest of the map. and i'm using photoshop for this. The 'boundaries' are there to roughly represent each province of Perianor. I will probably remove them eventually.


Thanks, The three rivers had begun to look a bit odd, but I got rid of the biggest one and it looks a bit better now. The larger river does slope, especially towards the delta.

thanks guys

01-14-2008, 04:53 AM
Hi guys, after listening to some of the advice I was given, and spending a fair amount of time playing around, I think i've really managed to make my map look more real:


let me know what you think!

01-14-2008, 06:49 AM
Hi Craig, I've taken the liberty of making a copy of your thread in the introduction forum so people can see your earlier map in this thread.

The texture makes the map look a lot more interesting. I expect that you will now be populating the rest of the map with the same level of detail as the central part (except for the 'here be dragons' bits which are unmapped). I really like the picture at the bottom. Did you draw it? If so, excellent work.

It might also be worth considering not using all caps for the city labels but upper and lower case - some maps look better with upper/lower some better with caps but it's worth experimenting. It's just a way of ordering information by importance - if you see something in upper/lower as opposed to all caps, you will instinctively put it in the same 'class' as othe labels formatted the same way.

Generally speaking, regional labels are quite large so it gives the eye some idea of the extent of the region (and sometimes with some transparency so it doesn't dominate too much). I think a semi transparent large regional label would look really good on this map but the best thing to do is experiment and see what you're happy with.

At the moment it's also difficult to see what the borders are for the kingdom of Perianor but I guess you'll get to that anon.

Lovely work so far!

01-14-2008, 09:18 AM
Thanks. I can definately see what your saying about the capitals, And I was thinking about perhaps fading some of the region names, as they were conflicting with the Nations and landmarks a bit.

That picture at the bottom really is nice, and I wish I could say that I drew it, but it was part of a fantasy 'font', the letter 'q' I believe. All I did was add colour to it.

I'm perhaps going to fade out the provincial boundaries for Perianor, but I will probably keep them, if only on the DM version of the map.

01-14-2008, 02:34 PM
I think this map is looking very good. The second version of the map with the desert and the tundra looks much better. I am looking forward to seeing more of this!

01-15-2008, 03:17 PM
Almost finished now... I've added all of the important parts of my world, but ther'll probably always be something that I could add, but if was to carry on like that the map would be illegible for all the landmarks.

So here it is:


01-15-2008, 04:06 PM
A goodly result!

01-15-2008, 05:04 PM
Next project will be to a larger map of Perianor, followed by the other main kingdoms. And with all the things that I know now, both from all you good folks and other places, they should'nt prove much of a challenge at all!

01-15-2008, 10:18 PM
The only advice I would give to you is to look at how you are achieving the coastline effect. To my eyes, it almost looks like you are pillow embossing the water, so it almost looks as if it is floating on top of the land, which is backwards to what it should look like. This is a purely subjective observation mind you, but if you are looking to make your map look more, "real", increase the size of your water stroke, and blur it a little bit. Or, if you like, make it into a gradient and fade the color towards the water to transparency.

A good example using your colors:

In this case, I have no idea what program you are using, but I basically went with the following using PS:

outer glow: Screen, 70% opacity, color for your waterglow (gradient - color to transparent), precise, 10% spread, 10 pix size
inner glow: multiply, 50% opacity, color for your coastline, precise, edge, 5 pix
Stroke: 1 pix, center, 75% opacity, a darker color for the coastline.

These are the settings I threw together in a couple of rounds of playing. Forgive me for the coastline as well, as I quickly drew it with the tablet.

I hope it helps you on your path. :)


01-16-2008, 05:52 PM
Thanks for the advice. I've tried it with my larger map for Perianor, which I've just started:


It does give it a more natural feel, and it doesn't look bad!