View Full Version : Commercial World Map WIP - for Blackstar Games

09-14-2011, 02:48 PM
So I was asked to do a map of a world for Blackstar Games (https://www.facebook.com/BlackStarGames) and they were up for letting me post a little preview of the world map in progress. Here's the result so far:


The plan was to s a Dragon Age-esque map in a hand drawn satellite style. That turned out to be a little tricky!

It's a new style - especially the mountains - and that took a little time pinning down. Here's a little walkthrough of the way I went about building up the map. Each step is a new layer, so there's a good chunk of experimentation in there. Most of the layers are overlay layers, with a hard light for the bright mountain highlights.


The next step is all the decoration - labels, scales, borders and so on. I'll post the final once it's approved and done.

This is a commission so it's rights reserved. There's a few more details on the blog (http://fantasticmaps.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/preview-of-the-world-of-saemyyr-a-new-pathfinder-setting/).

09-14-2011, 02:52 PM
Looking great so far. Obviously they made a good choice in hiring you.

09-14-2011, 03:21 PM
Fantastic! I really like this new style T, and thanks for sharing the little walk through of how you did it.


09-14-2011, 04:20 PM
Looks great so far, man.

09-14-2011, 04:31 PM
I must add my vote to the "fantastic"!

09-14-2011, 07:01 PM
That looks very good man! Some time ago, I also tried to emulate the Thedas map, the mountain work of that map is just amazing... If you look at a high-res version (http://images.wikia.com/dragonage/images/8/80/ThedasMap.jpg) of the Thedas map, you can see that a lot of texture was used (including some existing DEM I assume) and that it seems to be all about painting at a huge canvas (about 6x bigger then teh final map) to create this kind of effect. cheers, DJ

09-14-2011, 10:48 PM
When you look at that Thedas map that big, isn't so impressive is it? Anyone of of us could do that. I think many have gone way beyond Thedas. I'd like to see a really large version of Albion and see how it measures up.

09-14-2011, 10:58 PM
Albion <3. But yes, I kind of noticed that when I zoomed in. I certainly couldn't do that, but you guys could.

09-15-2011, 12:05 AM
Torstan that is simply stunning work. Those mountains are just glorious. As I said before (and will no doubt continue to say in the future) I just love the way you push yourself to new heights rather than repeat the same style over and over again.

09-15-2011, 05:45 AM
Wow, this is fantastic! I really really dig that style and the map (shapes of the landmass). Well done! Have some rep. .

Too bad i have no interest in d20 and its derivatives. I have to check out the fluff vs. crunch ratio of the book, if possible. Maybe it's worth buying just for the world info.

Anyway, great job.

09-15-2011, 10:04 AM
Thanks everyone :)

@djekspek: Thanks for the link to that. I hadn't seen the huge version. I see what you mean. It looks like a good chunk of (generated? pasted?) mountain data is used for the mountain textures. I really hadn't realised just how much texture was built into that. It's beautifully composited, but I honestly thought it was painted rather than texture work. Very interesting - thanks.

@Ascension - I agree about the Fable map - I'd love to see a huge version of that. It must be hand done - there's no way all those mountains would fall into place otherwise.

@Ravells Cheers :) I think that comes from being totally over optimistic about how quick a job will be and then being forced to actually deliver it! Nothing like an inspiring commission to force you to push the boundaries.

@Eilathen - I think there will be a lot of good fluff in the setting. Much of the crunch for PF settings is already delivered in the published rules so it gives third party settings the freedom to use wordcount for worldbuilding. However I haven't seen the text for this so I can't give you a more precise answer than that.

09-15-2011, 04:19 PM
indeed the Thedas map isn't very impressive zoomed-in and indeed I think there's a lot of pre-rendered texture/existing dem data on it, with some handpainted accents, but somehow (s)he managed to make it look very awesome. Ok, here's the Albion map at hi-res (http://media.xboxlive.fr/galeries/divers/fable2-albion.jpg), hope you guys aren't as dissappointed. It's a little more sophisticated with painted mountains in at least two layers, the lower layer is overlayed (It may be possible there's some stitched pre-rendered dem data underneath some of the mountains, used as a base).... Hmm, sorry Torstan for hijacking this thread, but in my opinion your new style can rival with the ones that are mentioned, so Blackstar must be thrilled with your work. cheers, DJ

Steel General
09-16-2011, 06:28 AM

09-16-2011, 08:22 AM
The map looks really, really awesome, man. Especially the sea, for me. :)

09-16-2011, 12:11 PM
Great job Torstan. I'm sure that anyone who sees this map is wondering who did that and how. It's gorgeous.

09-16-2011, 04:19 PM
:) Thanks.

And no worries about the threadjack DJ - I couldn't find the high res version. Interesting to see that close up. I can see the technique in there - and it does look hand done and not that complicated. Interesting.

09-17-2011, 05:24 PM
Eyecandy <3 I do love those mountains! Great work.