View Full Version : My First Attempted Map

03-31-2011, 10:55 AM

I've been lurking in the shadows for a while, and decided to try my hand at creating a map for myself.

He's my first attempt, by following a tutorial (i can't remember who wrote it, but I got it from here) called 'Saderan - a tutorial.' It's done entirely in photoshop but I don't think it looks right. Not entirely sure what's wrong with it, but was hoping someone here could point out the faults.

So, without further ado ...


(I hope that attachment works)

Thanks in advance for any pointers,

03-31-2011, 02:02 PM
Hi, Jay, and welcome!

This is a really nice start, and if it weren't for the fact that you have qualms about it, I'd personally say run with it. However, since you're not happy with it right now, I'll be a little more critical.

The first thing I notice is that if this is a full world map, it is very low on water. Earth has about 70% water coverage, while I'd estimate this map is around 30%. I think this is the root of two reasons that you might feel the map seems a little odd.

First, the high ratio of land means there are a large number of inland seas. Modern Earth doesn't have nearly as many of these. Your map looks (in tone, not in actual geography) a lot more like Earth would have during the breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea. Most of the seas, especially the ones in long strings, could be explained by the depressions arising from the slow drifting apart of continental plates. There are some other seas that don't make a lot of sense to me, like the round sea in the upper left. This looks like it was created by a meteor impact or a gigantic volcano caldera.

The second thing you might find 'off' is that the outline of your total land space looks blocky and less organic, conforming to the rectangular shape of your image. For example, the northernmost and southernmost edges of your continents are all at about the same latitude. This is in part due to the fact that a large portion of your water coverage is in the form of inland seas, and you need land external to those seas to define them. It's also due to the fact that there is no land projecting off of any edge of the map.

To fix these or to test and see if they're what's actually bothering you, try opening up a layer that's just the land / sea contrast and erasing parts of your land. Specifically, try opening up a couple of seas to the open ocean and getting rid of some of the parallel land to the south of the image. I'd try erasing fully half of your land, as this will make the land/sea ratio close to that of earth. Try a couple of different configurations and see what you think.

04-01-2011, 05:14 PM
Hi darkling,

First off, thanks for the reply.

I've actually spent a while reading and re-reading it, almost analysing each line. I've come to the conclusion that you're spot on !!
I'd like to say that you're reference to Pangaea was the idea behind the map, but i'd be lying ;)

I think that my problem with the map is two-fold. One, It's not the style I had in mind, and two, all of your points above.

After reading your comments, I've come to the conclusion that the problems with the map are more of a geological issue. I see what you mean about the land/sea ratio, the inland seas (and can also take that further after looking back and include the mountains) having no reason being where they are.

I've actually since found the style that I want here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?13738-Mir-aj-World-Map-for-the-novel-In-the-Shadow-of-Swords-by-Ascension) and I'm working on another attempt, with a little more thought to the placement of landmarks. I think i'll start with something a little smaller, a continent perhaps :)

Thanks loads for the input, i think I need to learn about the geological makeup of a world , the how, why and where, if you like (especially for rivers, bleugh!!) It never entered my head that making a map would need so much thought (draw an outline, couple squiggles for rivers, triangles for mountains, job's done!!) Not so, don't be fooled.

Thanks again,

04-06-2011, 07:26 PM
Glad to help! For your next map, check out my tutorial on animated brushes in GIMP (a free open source photoshop clone.) While the map I make in the tutorial is significantly different in style, the same technique would speed the creation of a map of that type quite a bit. Just fiddle around with a mountain style and brush spacing until you get something you like.