View Full Version : Atlas/Globe of my (unnamed) fantasy world.
05-27-2011, 05:39 PM
Just a quick WIP post to get some feedback/ideas. I've just put about 5 hours into drawing mountain ranges. My wife says that you can tell they are mountains, but I wanted to get a view from the more discerning eyes on this forum.
The world is for a story I'm writing, which will take place in the "caribbean basin" area in the world. It's important that I get the rest of the world right to have an idea of the migration patterns of the various races from the "Old World" to the left of the map. My next area to tackle is forests/rainforests. Does anyone have any good ideas on how to present those?
Here are my maps:
Hand drawn prior to digital editing (http://www.flickr.com/photos/63365244@N07/5765747073/)
Digitally traced with minor adjustments (http://www.flickr.com/photos/63365244@N07/5764555387/)
What I have so far - mountains and climate included (http://www.flickr.com/photos/63365244@N07/5766295012/)
Cheers in the meantime folks, and I look forward to sharing thoughts with you. :)
05-27-2011, 06:38 PM
Looking pretty good so far. And yeah, drawing mountains is always a lot of work. They definitely look like mountains to me. As for the size and placememnt of the mountains, they look a little unnatural to me. I think for good placement and size one needs some thought on plate tectonics of the world (but I'm no expert on that. I think there is some info on this here on the forums, can't remember the thread though). For example you can see on this site (http://www.geography-site.co.uk/pages/physical/earth/tect.html) why there are mountains on what place on earth. Well... Maybe this helps... cheers, DJ
05-27-2011, 07:33 PM
A very good point. The problem with plate tectonics is that you have several very large continental plates, and then several sub-continental plates, which if you delve into it too deeply can cause a myriad of problems.
I have roughly divided my planet into 8 continental plates now, and for the majority of the mountain ranges, they work, but as you rightly say, there are a few that seem unnatural. Fortunately my main mountainous region (on left hand landmass) can remain (with some slight tweaks) but some need to go, and I'll have to think of other ways to create natural borders. Forests should work.
What would you suggest for the mountain scale? I'm not very artistic, so creating larger/smaller scale mountain ranges on a map this big just confuses me :/
Cheers for the help, I'll repost once it's amended.
05-27-2011, 11:36 PM
It's hard for me to be sure because of the small size of the image, but it looks like the X-shaped range on the left-hand continent is just two crossing single ranges. You might 'roughen it up' a bit by making two or three smaller, parallel ranges for each, bumping into the larger ones here and there to create gorges/big valleys and a more natural-looking ripple-effect as if (I'm assuming) four plates meet there and continually churn up the land. As it is now, it just looks too neat.
In some other areas, particularly that ginormous area in the northern hemisphere on the right, it just doesn't seem natural to me that every square inch of land is mountainous; if you look at maps of Earth, even the most mountainous terrain doesn't take up millions of square miles. Not that that couldn't happen on your planet, but I think it'd wreak havoc with some of your weather systems.
I love love love the continent shapes though, and the colors you're using. Just wish the image was bigger so I could get a better look at it.
I agree with the mountain cross - it looks to artificial, but you got a nice map going :)
A little hint - when you post press "go advanced" - this will give you a button called "manage attachments" - here you can upload your pictures to the guild servers. Then we get thumbs of your pictures (when the thumbnailer works ... or a few days later when the site updates all) which will make it easier to see what you do. (and some people might not bother to go outside the guild to check your work).
Secondly - if you ever should remove those pics from flickr (or if the site is down for some reason) no one can see them any more, leaving this thread rather empty.
So post here and everything works much better :)
05-28-2011, 07:53 AM
Hi guys. Thanks for the tips.
I've amended the map after adding a layer for tectonic plates. The very mountainous region to the north of the left hand landmass has been retained, although modified. There are 3 plates pushing together here. This has left me with an area where the plates are moving apart over a landmass (to the south of the landlocked sea on the left landmass). I was considering adding a volcanic region here with a chasm.
Anyway, here it is:
05-28-2011, 10:31 AM
Yeah the mountains defintely look more natural now. good job. cheers, DJ
05-28-2011, 03:35 PM
Okay, so I've played with the map a little bit more. I've added more textures and shading, which has helped me around the problem with forests, etc. There is a chasm where the land is spreading in one area. Oh, and rivers, I've added major rivers.
05-28-2011, 04:40 PM
Something about mountains stretching directly across pieces of land, like a wall connecting 2 oceans, just doesn't look natural. I can't prove that it is wrong but it just looks wrong. Colors and style look good, though.
05-30-2011, 03:10 AM
Well, the Pyrenees are pretty much a "wall of mountains" across the land, but those are exceptional. You can have such ranges, but when you have more of those than you have ranges running roughly parallel to the coast, it does strain plausibility.
05-30-2011, 04:25 AM
The wall of mountains effect results where continents collide. The Himalayas and related ranges are an example with Eurasia on one side, and India on the other.
With such mountains, you should have something that would look right as an independent continent on either side.
Some technical nits of my own:
The overall layout has a "contrived to fit the map" look. You have two very large continents that are almost exactly the same size, and centred directly opposite each other. Then you have two small continents directly opposed to each other and centred at the poles, and again the same size as each other.
Also, the small polar continents should be visible at the top and bottom of each of the equatorial maps. Assuming a Stereographic projection with equal scales, you can fake this by cutting them in half and putting a scaled up (Stereographic keeps things roughly the same shape, but makes things bigger as they diverge from the centre) half at the top or bottom of the corresponding hemisphere map.
Here's an example of faked poles in stereographic projection.
If you look carefully you can see bits that have been cut off, but as long as you stick close to the poles, it works fairly well. You can also do it backwards by scaling down the tops and bottoms of your equatorial aspect maps and pasting them over the polar maps. Instead of cutting bits off, this will leave gaps that you need to fill in.
The smaller the area covered by the polar insets, the better the illusion works. My example is fairly large with the insets covering out to 45° so as to show the errors better.
05-31-2011, 07:16 PM
Top tips Hai-Etlik. I will have to do a little bit of modifying methinks in order to make the poles physically fit. I had considered this previously, but couldn't get my head around it. Your illustration has proved very helpful.
With regard to making the land fit the map, admittedly, the aim was to make it Earth-esque but easily definable into regions for my various races, hence the mountains placed as they are, Natural borders are easier to visualise than political borders.
I think the mountains argument is a bit of a misnomer though. As a couple of you have said, there are "walls of mountains" where "landmass" continents colide, but equally, The Andes and Sierra Nevada are basically walls of mountians where tectonic plates collide and the landmass crumples (or has crumpled in previous millenia), but this just happens to be along a coast. Case in point, look at the north of Canada, there is currently no reason for the large mountain range that is there to exist, however, these plates have been moving for millions of years, and have had many different formations, allowing mountain ranges and fells to be formed in the strangest places (Lake District, UK, for example).
Additionally, Mars has no plate tectonics, yet it has mountains due to huge volcanic activity in the past, creating individual mountains of up to 310 miles across. (Olympus Mons). Venus again has no plate tectonics, yet look at this huge list of mountains: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_montes_on_Venus.
I do agree though that for a more natural look, I should "shape" the continents slightly if only for aesthetics, but this is a fantasy story, and although I do want the continents to look and feel natural, one of my plot items is for an island to be created from the sea by a "goddess" in a later stage of the story, so there is an element of "mysticism" about it too.
Don't get me wrong though, I'm taking everything onboard from everyone who has offered their help, you guys are a lot better than me at this and I hope to learn plenty from you.
[EDIT]: There is a theory that Venus did have tectonic movement at some point in the past, but the crust is now so dense it isn't possible to prove this. :oops:
05-31-2011, 07:51 PM
I think the mountains argument is a bit of a misnomer though. As a couple of you have said, there are "walls of mountains" where "landmaIss" continents colide, but equally, The Andes and Sierra Nevada are basically walls of mountians where tectonic plates collide and the landmass crumples (or has crumpled in previous millenia), but this just happens to be along a coast. Case in point, look at the north of Canada, there is currently no reason for the large mountain range that is there to exist, however, these plates have been moving for millions of years, and have had many different formations, allowing mountain ranges and fells to be formed in the strangest places (Lake District, UK, for example).
Additionally, Mars has no plate tectonics, yet it has mountains due to huge volcanic activity in the past, creating individual mountains of up to 310 miles across. (Olympus Mons). Venus again has no plate tectonics, yet look at this huge list of mountains: [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_montes_on_Venus"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_montes_on_Venus
Sorry, I was responding to Ascension's comment that a wall of mountains between landmasses seemed wrong. I was explaining that specific case. I wasn't suggesting that convergent continents were the only form of mountain building. I live in the Cascadia Subduction Zone myself and I can see the mountains it's produced all around me so I'm well aware of coastal mountain building. My point was that IF you have a dense wall with significant flat land on either side, it's probably due to a convergent continental boundary.
I should have quoted his post to make it clear.
Volcanoes aren't really relevant as they don't form walls like folded/accreted mountains. They certainly form chains, but they are much sparser.
06-01-2011, 03:45 AM
Sorry, I was responding to Ascension's comment that a wall of mountains between landmasses seemed wrong.
Sorry, the latter part of my post wasn't aimed at you, it was a general response to the previous mountain comments.
06-01-2011, 01:42 PM
I like the way you draw mountains. Nice style.
06-01-2011, 02:02 PM
Thank you... I wasn't sure at first because it was mainly squiggles and lines, but the more I drew, the more I liked them.
06-02-2011, 03:31 PM
I think I may have taken a step too far trying to create a stereographic map for my first attempt. The problem is that the continents were designed to for an rectangular atlas, and I got carried away when I saw a SP map. I understood nothing about stereo-projection. Do you think I should abandon the SP? Thoughts anyone?
06-02-2011, 03:43 PM
Here's my latest update following previous comments by the way.
06-02-2011, 03:56 PM
Since it's not our earth you don't have to worry too much about 100% accuracy since no one here can refute it. It's a fantasy world just to give you some idea of how far apart things are. If you want to be technical then follow the latitude and longitude lines and make sure that things warp consistently to allow for proper travel times. But if it's just for your general knowledge then do it however you want I say.
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