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NatroN
07-19-2011, 09:17 AM
Greetings!

I'm a new enthusiast and I decided to go head first into this wonderful world, submitting my first map ever here, to have some feedback, criticism and improve my skills.

Some friends asked me to start adventuring, knowing that I've been an AD&D GM back in the days. I know some of the guys (and gals) are quite "nosy" and will surely go read all the setting material if I choose to use "official" sources, so I decided to make my own world as campaign setting!

I have used Fractal Terrain Pro and Photoshop CS4. I play with PS since quite some time, but never made something big, and never tried to do something like a map before. I started following the tutorial about Israh made by a2area (I found this awesome place through that tutorial :) here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?10650-Regional-Map-in-Various-Styles...).

Soon I started experimenting and trying new ideas in order to find something I like AND has a bit of originality. I simplified the "world creation" process a lot, as I don't need so much details and tried to achieve a watercolor feeling.

This is a work in progress, I've put here a reduced overall view of the central region, along with a partial view at full resolution.

All feedback and criticism are welcomed. Thanks!

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ravells
07-19-2011, 10:00 AM
Lovely watercolour look! Great map!

Jaxilon
07-19-2011, 10:33 AM
Very nice, love it.

290blue
07-19-2011, 10:48 AM
This is magnificent work, NatroN! I love the style you've developed here.

twister
07-19-2011, 11:07 AM
This is just amazingly beautiful work ... very refined style you got there !

arsheesh
07-19-2011, 01:40 PM
Wow! That looks fantastic! This is quite an auspicious beginning Natron; welcome to the guild!

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

cantab
07-19-2011, 01:44 PM
Excellent work. I like how most, but not all, of your (presumably) country borders follow natural features like rivers and mountains. And you've picked a really nice terrain too.

Steel General
07-19-2011, 01:56 PM
Nicely done!

Ascension
07-19-2011, 04:06 PM
With the others lavishing praise, and with good reason, I'll be the one guy who says that your nation borders are quite vivid and bright...maybe darken them up a bit. Otherwise, looks good, man.

ravells
07-19-2011, 05:23 PM
Bah! Don't pay too much attention to him, he's never satisfied :)

NatroN
07-19-2011, 08:22 PM
Wow,
thank you so much for this enthusiastic feedback!
Well Ravells, I'm never fully satisfied myself, and a positive criticism is always a good thing :)
I agree on the national borders... I'll darken and blend them a bit.

@ cantab: thanks. Generating a terrain that I like, fiddling with FT Pro was by far the most time consuming process so far! lol It is my first attempt with that software too, so I think I'll spend much less time next time, hopefully.

Now I'll express some of my doubts and toughts for you to analyze:
- I admit I'm really pleased with the watercolour feeling I have obtained, but I think that the wind rose and cartouche are a bit out of place now, as they are clearly printed and not hand painted... but we could assume they printed them over, along with the frame border... what do you think about that?
- Guessing from what you see, what scale you think have the map? So I can see if I got that somawhat right :P
- Should I add more particulars? I.e. The cities names, some more symbols? What type? (I know I still have to add five kingdom's names)

Oh, as the map is in Italian and here the cartouche is way to small to be easily read, here you have a rough translation: "The Seven United Kingdoms, as they are and were, under the Light of Absalom, Master Aloysius maketh at Roccaferrata in the Peace Year 2011". As you can imagine there is a magical artifact on the isle of Absalom whose light dispell magic and keep the peace on the region... and this explain that central island :)

bartmoss
07-21-2011, 12:19 AM
Really, really nice map, dude. Do post more!

And welcome to the Guild!

NatroN
07-21-2011, 12:07 PM
Hmmm... seems that my previous post got lost...
anyway
Thank you all so much for your enthusiastic feedback!! I followed your advices and dimmed and blended the political borders a bit. Added all the Realms' names and city ones too (I forgot how painstaking could be this phase!! I ended up using some random generators on the web sometimes :P )

I changed the cartouche (deleted) and the compass, as they weren't right both for my setting and my style, as all the rest is "hand-brushed".

As a test for my scaling abilities, I'd like to ask you: what do you think it is the distance between Bradu and Egica? (The two capital cities on the close up)

Any criticism or suggestion will be appreciated.

Oh, the compass and the cities all comes from this set by StarRaven HERE (http://starraven.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=24#/d2j4ofe)

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Yandor
07-21-2011, 12:47 PM
I know this topic has come up plenty in the past, and someone correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Rhumb Lines only used in water navigation??

NatroN
07-21-2011, 01:05 PM
@ Yandor: If you refer to those lines going "out" of that glowing island, those are not Rhumb Lines, but it's the depiction of the "Light of Absalom" a magical artifact located on that island, and that ensure peace on the region, etc etc. ...it is a setting thing, but I'm open to suggestions if you think I should change the way I depict it :)

Ascension
07-21-2011, 04:13 PM
If they are not rhumb lines, and instead a symbolic "light" to signify unity then I would make those lines white or yellow. As for distance; if the inland sea is meant to be a true inland sea (like the Mediterranean Sea) then I would guess 500 kilometers...if it is just a large lake (like the Great Lakes in the US) then I would guess around 100 kilometers. Looks really nice.

cantab
07-21-2011, 05:49 PM
Heh, I've just noticed you have 9 twice on your horizontal scale.

As for that distance, well if I assume your scales are degrees, then it's about 50 nautical miles (~60 statute miles, ~90 km). That doesn't seem unreasonable for the size of your mountain ranges (maybe a little small), but it does make the realms distinctly on the small side.

NatroN
07-22-2011, 07:21 AM
Thanks Cantab and Ascension!

The intended scale makes the distance between the two cities around 460Km. I was asking because something gives me a wrong feeling, and I see both of you have tought about the possibility of the area being smaller than it currently is... maybe it is the shading on the mountain's tops? They appear too big maybe? They seems 5-6 great peaks, while at that scale they should be way lot more and way smaller. Am I right?

As for the light, I've changed that completely, using the white and a wavy effect. I've intentionally made a couple of "mistakes" (angles not perfect and a couple misaligned rays) to try to give a less artificial sensation. I've dimmed and erased the rays in order to show the effective radius of effects, influenced by the geography and distance. I could be quite "picky" sometimes, just like ascension :) , and I must say that I'm not fully satisfied with the "rays"... mostly because I know that you cannot paint lighter on a darker background with watercolours, so it's almost impossible to achieve that effect... but the carthographer could have used some other type of colour, doesn't he? :P

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Ascension
07-22-2011, 04:27 PM
Well with watercoulor you would use a scraping knife and scrape off paint or you could have used a mask beforehand to keep the area clean and then rub off the mask when ready to paint there...a la Gary Spetz (who I think is a load of balogna since his paintings all look like Photoshop filters and he uses masks for everything). Now then, as to the rays...what you could do is make them thicker by the island then thinner in the middle and then fade them out at the ends like a starburst. You already have the fade going on and a thin middle so that is good. The mountains are highly stylized and abstract so that sort of conflicts with the rest of the map and confuses the eye as to scale. But all you have to do is put any scale on there that you want and that will be enough to satisfy the brain. You have the rectangles border so just make each rectangle 100 km and you will be fine.

NatroN
07-27-2011, 11:17 AM
Well... my Photoshop is acting weird since some time, like crashing when I try to use the magic wand, closing the lasso selections at will and, sometimes (and this is a brand new funny behaviour) saving corrupted files with strange artifact all over the places...
I have discovered this opening this map... imagine my happiness.
So, basically, I've re-done 70% of the whole map in the meantime, and I'm now saving a backup copy every time instead of once in a while lol.
I've added the scale and changed the cartouche, then I've started adding all the geographical names (leftmost side of map). Any suggestion on the subject is welcomed. I still have to enlarge the "rays" near the island as suggested by Ascension.
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