View Full Version : Central and Eastern Cyro'bar - For my novel - (help will be dearly appreciated)

09-15-2011, 01:03 PM
Update - Latest state of the map (fixed the mountains, drew in the equator and Arctic Circle and added nations):
http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=38630&d=1316510730&thumb=1 (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=38630&d=1316510730)
Dotted red lines = Majour roads
Red circle-dot-things = Majour/notable Settlements (size of dot roughly represents size of city/town in comparisson to other dots)
Huge red circle-dot-things = Capitol cities. There are only two on this map, Darwin and Valdin. I think I posted the maps of both those cities (one of which, Darwin, is the largest and oldest human colony (in the tiny white area somewhere on the border of the green and yellow) on the planet and the other, Valdin, is the capitol of the one nation (on the southern shore of the yellow area) of native aliens (oxymoron-lol)).
Coloured bits = The edges of nations
Black lines between coloured bits = National borders
Semi-transparrent black curved line thingies = The northern one's the Arctic Circle, the southern one's the Equator

Well, this is a map of the central and eastern parts of the continent of Cyro'bar on the fictional world of Novusvita and is the setting for the first book in my The Peoples of Algol trilogy, The Start of Two Journeys.

The area of the map is about the size of China (the planet is about half the size of Earth). The grey is land and the white represents bodies of water (the oceans, seas and lakes).

I went about making this map by doing the following:
-Generating multiple worlds on Fractal Terrains, then cutting my favourite bits from each map and pasting them together to form a single map.
-Taking the aforementioned world map and orbing it in Fractal Terrains, then print-screening a zoomed-in view of the part of the map I wanted.
-I then took that image, traced it with a brush in GIMP and coloured it to show land and sea.

I still have a .xcf file of the map with the outline as a seperate layer.

In the second attached file, the black is mountainous area (it has to be overlayed onto the map). Let me tell you more about that:

I traced the areas that should be mountainous (this does not necessarily meen high in elevation, as no mountains does not necessarily meen low in elevation) using the selection tool, based on the original topographic Fractal Terrains image and my own interpretation of where tectonic fault lines should lie. I then aplied a black/white gradient to the selected region, made it a new layer and used it as a height map. The result was... disgusting.

So I undid that, now having no idea how to go about making the mountains.

My goal is to create a realistic looking map like the super-amazing ones I see all over this place (I'm talking about those that basically look like a view from space, but without clouds or sun-shading). However, I also want it to include the borders of nations, the locations of cities and roads and text labelling the map.

If all else fails, a simple un-coloued map would also work.

I also have images fitting that map which show the following:
-Topography (Fractal Terrains image).
-Which areas belong to which biomes, as well as where the equator lies.
-Where the tectonic plate boundaries roughly lie.
-Roads, cities and other notable settlements and the territories of the nations present in that region.

The topographical and tectonic maps are just for referencing mountain locations and such. I have yet to work out river placement.

So, uh, what should I do next? I really don't know where to begin...

09-16-2011, 07:58 AM

Okay, I figured I'd make mountains simply by shading the mountainous area by overlaying a transparent version of the mountain layer over the map.

I'll probably do rivers next. I'm not sure I'll make them so that roads and rivers are distinguishable.

09-16-2011, 02:12 PM
I now added rivers and made the mountains somewhat lighter.

I noticed that the mountains are much smoother to the east than to the northwest (where I started). I made a mental note to fix that later.

09-16-2011, 02:48 PM
I like the shape of the landmasses. As to how to proceed, hm, well if you are going for the photorealistic sat style then I'd recommend using the cloud layers (rather than GIMP colored version you are currently working with) as the base height map. The cloud layers provide the kind of texture one wants in a realistic looking map. From there you can use GIMP's "Bump Map" or "Emboss" features to give a three-dimensional appearance to the texture, and from there it's just a matter of adding color. Since you are a GIMP user I'd recommend checking out Gide's GIMP translation of Ascension's Atlas style (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?4084-Award-Winner-My-atlas-style-in-PS/page23&highlight=gidde+ascension+tutorial) as you may find some useful techniques for bump mapping and coloring there.


09-16-2011, 02:49 PM
Thanks! ^^

Edit: The problem with Ascension's method is that pretty much everything is randomly generated.

Is there any method that will give me a simmilar result that I could use with predetermined coatlines and topography?

09-16-2011, 05:44 PM
Take a random clouds, then airbrush black or white over top to raise/lower the terrain to how you want it. Set the brush blend mode to overlay or soft light or just use a low opacity/flow. It requires hand work so it takes more time than just pushing buttons. Once you have a decent grayscale image height map then run it through wilbur to get proper erosion of the mountains.

09-16-2011, 08:11 PM
Yup, that's how I do it to. But I was assuming you already had the cloud patterns for this map that were generated in FT; I merely meant to point you to ways (i.e. techniques for bump map and/or emboss settings and coloring) in which you could turn those per-existing cloud patterns into a sat-style looking map.


09-17-2011, 02:32 AM
Ah, okay. I'll try that. Thanks. :)

Edit: Okay, it was fairly easy to blacken the coastline and lowlands, but now that I get to the mountains and highlands I'm struggling.

Since I wanna finish off my novel's illustrations as fast as possible, I think I'll go with the much simpler yet considerably-less-awesome method I've been using, then attempt the atlas style in my free time for the second or third book. Unless, of course, someone would take the time and effort to make the height map for me (in which case I'll give credit to that someone in the book).

Edit 2: Here's a new version with majour roads and settlements:

Goblyns Hoard
09-17-2011, 07:11 PM
Had a quick play with the files you've posted and came up with this... obviously just mountains and oceans at the moment, other stuff to come - but getting late here and need to be able to function in the morning, so limited to this for the moment. Thought I would post it and see if you even liked the basics - can maybe do some more during the coming week if I get the chance. Would have to say that if you have them I can do more with larger size copies of the files you have - plus any others (rivers, borders, city locations, etc.). Any thing I can bring in as a layer makes life a lit easier than having to try and recreate.


09-18-2011, 07:37 AM
OMG awesome! Thank you!! ^^

However, mind taking away the continental shelves? They make the oceans look highly unnatural.

Anyway, here are the layers. They're in order of bottom to top (in other words, layer 1 would be the very bottom layer and layer 10 would be the very top). Also, note that, on the map, layer 3 is set at 19.6% opticity and layer 8 has been made invisible (also, the version of the map where layers 2, 8 and 10 are present won't upload for some reason -_- ).

-Layer 1, Land:
http://i53.tinypic.com/2hn5rht_th.png (http://i53.tinypic.com/2hn5rht.png)

-Layer 2, Nations:
http://i54.tinypic.com/33y6rt2_th.png (http://i54.tinypic.com/33y6rt2.png)

-Layer 3, Mountains:
http://i51.tinypic.com/2ch86sw_th.png (http://i51.tinypic.com/2ch86sw.png)

-Layer 4, Rivers:
http://i56.tinypic.com/w0su82_th.png (http://i56.tinypic.com/w0su82.png)

-Layer 5, Roads:
http://i52.tinypic.com/2sblxlk_th.png (http://i52.tinypic.com/2sblxlk.png)

-Layer 6, Settlements:
http://i51.tinypic.com/33maj2c_th.png (http://i51.tinypic.com/33maj2c.png)

-Layer 7, Water:
http://i56.tinypic.com/11vqsz7_th.png (http://i56.tinypic.com/11vqsz7.png)

-Layer 8, Borders:
http://i53.tinypic.com/16kndrc_th.png (http://i53.tinypic.com/16kndrc.png)

-Layer 9, Shorelines:
http://i54.tinypic.com/2zrjbkg_th.png (http://i54.tinypic.com/2zrjbkg.png)

-Layer 10, Equator and Arctic Circle:
http://i55.tinypic.com/20uu2zc_th.png (http://i55.tinypic.com/20uu2zc.png)

Goblyns Hoard
09-18-2011, 12:10 PM
Yeah - the continental shelves were just added very quickly - wasn't happy with them... I might have a play see if I can get them to work, but they're always easy to remove. Will have to import those layers now...

09-18-2011, 12:13 PM
Awesome, thanks.

And I'd rather not have continental shelves on the map at all, actually. :)

Finally got it to upload:
http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=38598&d=1316362442&thumb=1 (http://i52.tinypic.com/34g4p68.png)

Goblyns Hoard
09-18-2011, 03:52 PM
Here you go with version 2

Shelves removed, other layers added... I went with red on the settlements and roads as it helped make them stand out, but they can be changed in a matter of minutes. I also put a slight bevel on the settlements to help them 'stand up' from the terrain. I also had to move some of the mountains from the previous version to make the rivers work properly. Finally I've separated lakes from the sea - the darker blue of the sea wasn't standing out in land, but the lighter blue of the rivers does, so I moved them to that layer. There may be some that are current lakes that you want to be part of the sea, difficult for me to tell, but let me know any you want to change over and that can be done (though it affects multiple layers so is a bit trickier than e.g. the colour changes for roads). I've toned down the colours for the country borders - but they can be brightened again fairly easily - i just thought that the current level was visible without being obtrusive.


09-19-2011, 07:58 AM
You are awesome! :D

Only three things:
-Would you mind cutting away the black lines of the borders where they cut over lakes and (if it looks better) rivers? Also, the borders in the ocean aren't needed anymore, as the islands are coloured.
-Then, the previously cyan and green nations look too simmilar in colour, as does the yellow and previously lime-green nations. Would you mind changing the colours of the previously green, lime-green and cyan nations to something closer to their original shades? The others are pretty much fine. Except for that tiny spot with the capitol on it that used to be white - I'd like that to be white again, please. (If it helps, I can post the nation colours as seperate layer-pics. :) )
-Finally, would you mind applying the/colour texture you used on the lakes to the edges of the sea (including at islands)? I think this will make the sea look better and also solve the issue of some lakes looking like sea and some sea looking like lakes.

Again, thank you very, very much for doing this. I owe you big-time! ^^

09-19-2011, 11:07 AM
It's very nicely looking but what bothers me is that the elevation basically increases with distance from the shorelines, this is not how real-world tectonics work. Not usually, anyway, there are exceptions (Hymalayas and Alps come to mind) but those crunch zones are pretty rare. I know this is probably a FT artifact, but anyway, I thought I'd mention it.

09-19-2011, 11:17 AM
I know, but this particular continent was formed by the merging of six smaller landmasses. There are coastal subduction zone mountains ranges on the planet, but very few appear on this particular part of the world (but there are a few, if you look close. Pay special attention to those two large paninsulas to the north and a bit of the mid-southern shore).

Goblyns Hoard
09-20-2011, 05:31 AM
Third Draft

Changes as follows:
Mountains - I had to move a couple as I realised there were a couple of roads going over the highest points of mountains instead of the nearby passes... so a few tweaks there.
Colours - brought back the vibrancy, and added the colour to the coastline - also brightened the deeper oceans to go with it - with everything else brighter the darker oceans looked out of place.
Borders - easy to move them (move border layer below the river layer... easy)


09-20-2011, 06:21 AM
Awesomeness!! A thousand thank-yous!! ^^

As far as I can tell, it's perfect! :D Now I just need to label it...

I'm definitely gonna give you credit in the novel. I seriously owe you for this! ^^

Edit: Actually, there is one thing. Would you mind removing the pink nation to the west? I left that in by accident. I still want the borders and such, I just don't want that region to be coloured. I'm gonna label it "Unexplored Area" (due to mountainousness and coldness).

Goblyns Hoard
10-04-2011, 04:52 PM
Finally managed to get the upload to work...

10-05-2011, 04:13 AM
Thanks. However, it seems that a lot of layers have dissapeared: The lighter blue that outlined the shorelines, the shorelines, the border lines and the Arctic Circle and Equator... :(

I could probably just carefully select and copy that part you removed from pink from and past in onto the previous draft and just paste that part of the original border line layer over it to fix whatever was damaged in the process.

Goblyns Hoard
10-05-2011, 09:18 AM
Apologies for that - didn't notice. I must have turned off some layers - will repost this evening when I get home

10-05-2011, 09:38 AM
Thanks. ^^

Goblyns Hoard
10-05-2011, 05:32 PM
As I suspected a couple of layers I just hadn't turned back on...


10-06-2011, 03:31 AM
Thanks a lot!! ^^

Say, are you good at adding labels? I can probably do it myself, but I'm kinda pressed for time (I have to work on the novel's 33 other illustrations).

10-06-2011, 06:46 AM
Well I like Novels with lots of Illustrations. I will surely have a lock when you finished it. Your WIP Thread here is inspiring, keep up the good work!

10-06-2011, 07:18 AM
Well I like Novels with lots of Illustrations. I will surely have a lock when you finished it. Your WIP Thread here is inspiring, keep up the good work! Thanks! I credit Goblyns Hoard for that! ^^