View Full Version : WIP - Teneran

07-10-2011, 04:03 AM
Hello everybody,

I just discovered this great site and it's forum a few days ago and first of all I want to say how stunned I am. It is overwhelming what
great pieces of work can be found by simply browsing the threads. Started working on my own I never thought there may be such a community
for that sort of passion. Amazing!

To get to my concern:
I worked on a project for a couple of weeks since my first ideas. The aim was to creat a realistic looking map with lots of detail, being the basis
for a world. Nevertheless it shouldn't look like a satellite image and so far I reached my goal. A thousand thanks go out to pasis at this point whose
tut helped me to come over my troubles in drawing some good looking mountain peaks.

Now I came to a point where I need to add details to terrain and signs of population as well as adjust some landscape parts to occur more logical.
Before I'd like to get that much in detail, I decided to insert the names of cities, countries, seas, etc., etc. With all that text on top of the map I surely
would have some hours of work being useless as you cannot see any of those details underneath the letters. So I decided to start with the labeling first.

And here is my problem. I can't find a suitable way of labeling which satisfies me a 100%. I'll add two samples. One contains the map as it looks like
at the moment. The other one is a small extract demonstrating different types of font.

It would be great if you gave me your opinion about the map in general and your thoughts concerning how to name my towns, landmarks, etc. so
it fits the overall look.


(As I am not a native speaker I hope you'll excuse mistakes in spelling and choice of words)


07-10-2011, 07:56 AM
Of the fonts you have on display, I think Gallerswall fits the overall look of the map the best.

For me, the most important things about selecting a font for labels are that it's clear and readable, and that it conveys the sort of feel that I want the map to have. As far as readable goes, I would eliminate Zwisteg, Rion, and Krähenfeste (too fancy and swirly). Quellheim is on the borderline here, too. I personally dislike the way Kenmern "bounces", and so I'd rule it out on that basis.

Gallerswall, Gamsburg, Weythringen and Mingen all look like fine choices to me, although I'd use a smaller font size for Weythringen. One thing to keep in mind though, is that Cities are usually labelled in all caps, while smaller towns use title case. Therefore you should choose a font that looks good in both title case and all capitals. Of course if you're not labelling anything smaller than a city then it might not matter. =)

There's a pdf on the actual placement of names on your map floating around somewhere; I guess it's in the tutorials section (or maybe toponomy). If you haven't seen it already I recommend checking it out.

As far as the rest of the map goes, I really like the textures you've used, especially the forests. I do notice a slight misalignment on the water though, there's a tile in the northwest corner that has obvious edges. In fact, looking at the larger version, it seems the water doesn't tile very well in general, which is a shame because otherwise I think the water looks great.

Steel General
07-10-2011, 08:08 AM
That's some pretty nice work on those maps, good textures, colors, etc.

I'm with 290Blue on the fonts, I prefer to keep mine easily readable unless there is a specific need for the more fancier/stylish fonts.

07-10-2011, 08:28 AM
Thanks for the quick answers!
So I'll take the Gallerswall and some suitable font for minor settlements.
In the past days I was able to had a quick glance at the pdf you mentioned but I didn't used some of it's advices with this sample. Awesome piece of theorie though.

You are right 290blue, the waterflow isn't that great. I am aware of those misalignments born by my disability of generating real seamless textures. Usually I erase those edges with the clone stamp later on and so they vansih pretty well. There are some of these texture borders on the land as well but I think they can't be seen anymore after adding ground detail.

I'll post any major progress.

07-10-2011, 10:14 AM
I'm with the others on picking fonts for legibility. I know that doesn't leave as much room to show your imagined map-maker's personal style, but it's a trade-off.

I feel your pain about going to great lengths to create detail, then covering it up with text! It hurts, and one feels like valuable data is going missing. Painters do this all the time though, and I understand the value. Say you've put in a background mountain range, and go to paint a foreground tree that covers much of it. The value of the obscured parts of the mountain is in how they make the visible bits hang together as part of a coherent whole. Same way with map details - particularly for a fantasy map. The thinking that goes into the worldbuilding process is valuable even if some of the invented bits don't make it to the screen or the paper.

Now, for some map styles one CAN set down some labels early on... I freely admit to placing some cities and borders where they don't interfere instead of some rational choice of "right THERE at the river join" or the like :-). So your thought of labellng fairly early makes some sense. Even then, SoMeThInG is going to get covered up. <shrug> You could always create a whole series of maps using the same base outlines. The physical topography or satellite view could have minimal labelling. The strictly political map could have little of the topo data but all the city, town, and village names. A different political map might be needed to show area-type info, say if your political units were as scrambled as 17th-century Germany. Then you could do a climate map, a population distribution map, a trade-route map.... sorry; now I've got you making a whole atlas when all you may have wanted was a single sheet :-).

Heh - one can also make a virtue out of a (perceived) flaw -- use lettering to help cover up places you need to stitch tiles together :-).

Your map itself is looking really nice. Some characteristics are sending a mixed message though. The ice just in the north kind of says the map is a couple of thousand miles across, at least. The mountain and city and forest make it seem at most a couple of hundred miles across. And the coasts at the south, where you have the "beach-like" thing going on, make it seem like the whole thing is a few miles across at most. I suppose coastal plains could be ten or a hundred miles across and be mostly sand and dirt, but it's not what I would expect.

You've got what's referred to hereabouts as a river violation. Basically, a lake will have only one outlet. If one point is lowest, that's where water will flow out. Even if another spot is temporarily *exactly* the same altitude , one of two possible outlets would "win" by erosion in a very few years, leaving a single outlet.

Don't take any of that as negative criticism - you have something nice going ! Oh, and you deserve a bit of reputation for being willing to jump right in with a map in the first post - good job!

07-10-2011, 12:42 PM
I like Krahenfeste the most, space it out a little more to make it more readable and less crammed together. Gamsberg and Gallerswall are more legible but too simplistic for me (just my style) but are good if smaller. Of course the main thing to consider is what sort of era you are trying to make it feel like. Is it Hellenistic, pagan Celtic, Viking, Dark Ages, Medieval, high Gothic, Renaissance, Middle Eastern crusades, Oriental, Colonial pirates, etc? The font gives you a feel for what time period it is set in so make sure you choose the right style for the era you are doing. As to the map itself, I dig it.

07-10-2011, 05:19 PM
Some really nice texture work here, particularly the forests. The mountain ridges seem a bit smooth to me though. I have nothing really to add regarding fonts. I'll be keeping my eye on this piece.


07-10-2011, 11:38 PM
I like Gallerswall and Mingen the best for fonts; I'm kind of torn between them. What about using Mingen for city names, and Gallerswall for nations/regions/etc?

And good job on the map itself, though I do agree with jbg about there being some scale issues.

Oh, and welcome to the Guild!

07-11-2011, 10:51 PM
Thanks for your replies!

Currently I freezed the project to create a tutorial (first version finished by now). But I will get back to it, for sure.
There are lots of things I want to change or to add you're right blaming the mountain ridges as smoothy, I'll try to fix that.
As I said before I'll to post any major progress.

The period is some kind of 16th-17th cenutry. A setting close to the thirty year war in Europe.
It's a good idea to save Gallerswall for any major regions and use Mingen or any other font for Cities, etc.

@jbgibson: Right at the time when I hit the "post"-button I thougt "damn, that river..." - it's changed by now.


07-17-2011, 01:03 AM
The water looks really good. Mesa liek eet.

07-17-2011, 03:37 PM
Krahenfeste or Weythringen are my favorites. Which just goes to show you how diverse things can be when it comes to preferences.

Very nice maps so far. Keep up the good work.

07-18-2011, 12:58 AM
That is a gorgeous map. I can imagine how much time it takes to create those textures. You've received some good advice from others thus far, so I'll just add my own perspective...

If you want the main feature to be the center island/continent, I'd suggest toning down the contrast on the jut of land in the lower-right corner of the map, as that tends to pull the eye. One other note, which may not matter for your style: the river on that landmass is very close to the border.