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View Full Version : World Map (very rough draft) have some questions on Drawing it



rentauri
11-30-2011, 08:22 PM
Long time lurker, few time poster.

I am drawing a map of my world and there are a few areas which I am not quite sure how to draw to show them how I want. Here is my world map, roughly done:
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I have colored some areas to possibly help in the close ups (White and Green are land and Blue is the Sea). The first one is the North Eastern portion of the map. This area is inspired by Finland, Norway and Sweden and like those I want to have lakes galore in this area but every time I draw them they come out sort weird looking.
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This portion is the Shattered Archipelago on the Western side of the map, it was created during a titanic battle between the forces of two super powered forces. The 'islands' are actually mountains that were tall enough to survive sinking of the mountain range that use to be. This area like the lakes I wanted to make look strange to me, the islands come out more as blobs then actual islands they are to be.
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This portion is the Falls' Channel, it was created when the Angels cut away the Chaos Lands to the west from the Mainland and moved it so its corruption would not spread outward. I wanted the two sides of the lands to show a smoother edge as a visual clue that this is not remotely a natural channel.
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My problem with all three areas, to me even roughly drawn, don't look right and I don't know how to correct them so they look correct to me. Anyone have any tips and/or ideas on how I can fix this and improve the map?

rentauri
12-05-2011, 10:03 PM
Well I kept the Archipelago and Channel as is and didn't add the lakes to the Easter side as I wanted to. I simply noted that it was the Land of a Thousand Laks (I mis-spelled it and was to lazy to correct it).

I used a Tutorial by Gidde which was very helpful with some minor changes here for my own purposes. I am still very new to the GIMP program but I think I did pretty well for what I could.

Some problems that I know of are the rivers, they are not tapered as they should be because I could not get it to work. That and because of the size of the map, it being a world one and not a smaller area, I felt that I should only show the massive parts of the rivers and taper them when I draw close ups of the area (or at least what I tell myself).

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rentauri
12-06-2011, 08:31 PM
Update it with a clearer image, upped the resolution from 72 to 300

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I noticed that the Duchy of Filano and River Cuva names were on top of each other.

maxsdaddy
12-06-2011, 08:53 PM
Nice! Let me rephrase that. Awesome! Add some more color so that I can go home and cry that I don't have your skills. rep

Alex
12-06-2011, 10:10 PM
I agree with maxdaddy's comment! That truly is an amazing map! :O Take some rep!

jbgibson
12-07-2011, 01:35 AM
Well, while it's 'in character' of that style to have the mountains all be pointy peaks, real ones are likely organized in chains, and have more ridges than lone peaks. So what you have is mountain symbols representing whatever real mountains inhabit those areas. And while that works OK, a coastline in this style would be closer to realistic... but your shattered archipelago looks like a bunch of blocky, pointy peaks. Too, they're all of a size. T'would look better if they were of a variety of sizes, and if they exhibited some directionality - be it each more linear, or just many strung together in somewhat organized chaos. Your islands at the East, south of your Scandinavia-ish area -- those are similar - they're too 'evenly' blobby, if that makes sense.

The rivers are just weird. Real water flows always downhill, at any point taking the single best downhill direction. So with RARE exceptions, they join but do not re-branch. Deltas are a limited phenomenon. There's just no way to get a network like you show. Check out Redrobes' excellent tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3822-How-to-get-your-rivers-in-the-right-place&highlight=river+placement) for some pointers. For a minor example, take the Ikey river -- think how drastically sloped the land must be, for its source to be that close to the coast, yet be able to flow downhill all the way to Lingrei. Yet you show all the land along there as flattish.

The mountains, hills, and trees are nicely placed, but the extra shading behind them turns them kind of muddy. Which introduces the subject of contrast. There's not any, between the forest and the label "Wild Lands", hence it becomes illegible. Mosat other places you've labeled things clearly, but you let some things overlap even where there's open space adjacent - like the road that crosses the Vorna and Strana city labels, in the east. The huge over-print labels are striking, but I have a hard time imagining how a hand-drawn map would have them done. Watercolor? Particularly at that big size, they're all typographically perfect, not handlettered with subtle irregularity.

"Still Lands", "Demon's Isles" .... I'd suggest making more of an effort not to let labels cross coasts. It's not totally verboten, but it is hard to carry off legibly.

The map's got a lot going for it - I bet you could tweak it to improve both legibility and plausibility.

Freodin
12-07-2011, 03:05 AM
Another point that would need to be changed: your mountain and hill brushes are transparent, your tree brushes are white-filled.

rentauri
12-07-2011, 03:18 PM
Yeah forgot to change the forest layer to blend with the background, corrected that I think.

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Changed the rivers, now there are only 5 merges and splits (not counting the Anvil River which is more of a swampy flood plane then a true 3 river into one). The Heart's Blood River starts in the Shattered Lands and flows south into it dumps into the Sea at Riverhead.

It merges with the River of Tears in the north and then merges also with the Flamewalker River at Freetom. It then splits at Strohighm to make Shinning Waters (maybe its man made, a rare geological thing or some else) and both rivers continue on the way. Now the Heart's Blood river probably shouldn't move back north after splitting and continue west to the Western Sea like it did before. That and the Shinning Waters split is more story based then real world based so I may need to create some 'cheat' that lets me get away with it.

The Flame Walker River travels the way it does because the lakes (and the land between them) are on a much higher ground. If fact the start of the river is meant to be a waterfall with Apo built into the side of the elevated land. I was going to ring it with Hills to 'show' this elevation but it looked strange, plus it seemed like the hills circled the area not that the land was higher ground. To that end I move the words "Clans of Flame and Sand" into the middle of the lakes because I was concerned someone may think the Clans were outside. Problem is it does clutter that area.

The Avna River creates a merge as well, will break that one up. Didn't see it the first time and I think I changed it to merge.. weird.

The Mylys River now flows from the North instead of to Freetom as before. I'm thinking that the entire Soran land is slightly lower then the rest of the land but I'm not sure if something like that is more trouble then its worth.

I haven't gotten around to moving the text around, only getting the area that I changed as I changed them. The Large print exist only because I didn't want to draw borders. I will need to look into subtle changes that a hand written map would make.

The islands. The Shattered Archipelago was a challenge, when I first created this thread that was one of the 3 areas that I didn't know how to draw out and still really don't. Now the 5 islands to the east of the Necropelios were one land mass that split in the past due to something. I drew it as one big land mass then erased parts into it and played connect the dots to it. I was under the impression that a good way to create it but I could be wrong.

RobA
12-07-2011, 08:29 PM
The rivers are just weird. Real water flows always downhill, at any point taking the single best downhill direction. So with RARE exceptions, they join but do not re-branch. Deltas are a limited phenomenon. There's just no way to get a network like you show. Check out Redrobes' excellent tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3822-How-to-get-your-rivers-in-the-right-place&highlight=river+placement) for some pointers. For a minor example, take the Ikey river -- think how drastically sloped the land must be, for its source to be that close to the coast, yet be able to flow downhill all the way to Lingrei. Yet you show all the land along there as flattish.


http://www.cartographersguild.com/customprofilepics/profilepic768_2.gif
We've got another deputy!



Better with the new rivers, btw, rentauri. AN remember - magic can explain alot when physics seem to fail ;)

-Rob A>

Hai-Etlik
12-07-2011, 10:31 PM
I find that it's better to increase letter spacing rather than just increasing text size, and that it's best to avoid line breaks in map labels. The gigantic faded labels are both distracting and hard to read in places. Curved labels also give you a lot more flexibility in placing the text to both indicate what it is labelling and to avoid crossing other features.

jbgibson
12-08-2011, 12:26 AM
<aside> Thanks, RobA! I shall try to dispense valid advice, and steer streamdiggers rightly :-) </aside>

Yeah, that helps the river situation some, rentauri. I can sympathize - it's just plain hard to depict a gradual slope! Really, though, a realistic river network does a good job of showing what's higher and what's lower, all by itself. Like RobA said, if geography won't support a particular feature, you can label it magic and just drive on. There's a principle in fantastic fiction, though, of being stingy with extranormal items. One's universe is more engaging if the departures from our own are limited. Present, just limited. For instance, if you want a bunch of harsh history, some of those watercourses could be canals, dug by generations of prisoners slaving away in the blazing sun and driving rain. Or the product of useful earth-benders (my kids have been rerunning Avatar / Last Airbender episodes).

That said, no matter what the reason for some remaining over-connectedness, you could indicate direction of flow by some placement of tributaries. Rivers don't start big, they build up from many smaller streams. Visual direction-of-flow hints come at the junctions - the join is usually at least a little less than 90 degrees, with the resulting angle "pointing" downstream. If you place some tributaries, you'll start to see where the water comes from, and realize that unless there's one heck of a spring at (say) Strohigm or Freetom, it would be hard for multiple major rivers to spread out from one point. More likely, all those mountains have creeks and streams starting, joining, and eventually merging to make the big rivers.

Do you have an app that will help you place text along a curve? Instead of 'claiming the territory' with great big labels, a more conventional approach would be to spread a territorial label out curving across its extent, maybe using a different font or all caps to distinguish from other features' labels. It doesn't even take a terribly large font - such a label will often have letters spaced 'unnaturally far apart' -- look at some old maps and see what looks best to you. Google "16th century map" or the like, and have a nice wander through the University of Texas' online map collection, or any of a dozen others. Search 'map collection' or the like on the Guild - there's been numerous threads with links to stellar examples.

Maybe the islands seem too blobby because they are so rounded. Try putting some sharp points and clefts in places, and see if that helps. If you erase to get channels, you run the risk of your smallest curve being the radius of the eraser brush you use - that looks unnatural. Try some of such erasing really zoomed in, and/or freehand youself a jaggy selection in place and erase all within that.

rentauri
12-08-2011, 11:51 AM
That said, no matter what the reason for some remaining over-connectedness, you could indicate direction of flow by some placement of tributaries. Rivers don't start big, they build up from many smaller streams. Visual direction-of-flow hints come at the junctions - the join is usually at least a little less than 90 degrees, with the resulting angle "pointing" downstream.

That was what I am trying to do but the 'fade' out that shows the start of the river via tributaries is currently beyond me. I have tried multiple times to create them and I can't seem to get it right. This is why rivers that start at mountains (heck start off anywhere) always are a big as the river itself.

This is a problem I intend to fix, I just haven't had the time to search a tutorial and applying it to the map yet. I did try a script but I must be using it wrong because it always errors out. When I can I'm going to post the error in the that thread and see if I can get it resolved.


Do you have an app that will help you place text along a curve?

No currently this is all done in GIMP. This map is my first very digital map so I am tossing different things at it and seeing what sticks. I have a heck of a time getting the text to move at a 45-90 degree angle, curving it will be interesting.


Maybe the islands seem too blobby because they are so rounded. Try putting some sharp points and clefts in places, and see if that helps. If you erase to get channels, you run the risk of your smallest curve being the radius of the eraser brush you use - that looks unnatural. Try some of such erasing really zoomed in, and/or freehand youself a jaggy selection in place and erase all within that.

Yeah I decided to go with the 'steal from reality' approach in the Archipelago and that area. For the Three islands I am going to use the Philippines as the template (looks like what I am interested for that location) and the Mergui Archipelago for the Shattered Archipelago (it has that jagged look).

Hai-Etlik
12-09-2011, 12:24 AM
That was what I am trying to do but the 'fade' out that shows the start of the river via tributaries is currently beyond me. I have tried multiple times to create them and I can't seem to get it right. This is why rivers that start at mountains (heck start off anywhere) always are a big as the river itself.

No currently this is all done in GIMP. This map is my first very digital map so I am tossing different things at it and seeing what sticks. I have a heck of a time getting the text to move at a 45-90 degree angle, curving it will be interesting.


You might want to look at Inkscape then. I use it for just about everything myself, but it's reasonably easy to load an image into it, place your text, turn of the background image, export it, and then load the result into The GIMP if you prefer to work that way. It's also good for doing tapered rivers via two of different methods: Pattern along Path and Tweak

My most recent map has examples of "tweaked" rivers and text on a path done in Inkscape if you want to get an idea of the output: http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=3281&attachmentid=39598

RobA
12-10-2011, 11:45 AM
That was what I am trying to do but the 'fade' out that shows the start of the river via tributaries is currently beyond me. I have tried multiple times to create them and I can't seem to get it right. This is why rivers that start at mountains (heck start off anywhere) always are a big as the river itself.

This is a problem I intend to fix, I just haven't had the time to search a tutorial and applying it to the map yet. I did try a script but I must be using it wrong because it always errors out. When I can I'm going to post the error in the that thread and see if I can get it resolved.

No currently this is all done in GIMP. This map is my first very digital map so I am tossing different things at it and seeing what sticks. I have a heck of a time getting the text to move at a 45-90 degree angle, curving it will be interesting.


If you want to stick with gimp there is this tutorial:
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3011-Award-Winner-Tapered-Rivers-in-GIMP

-Rob A>

rentauri
12-13-2011, 01:55 PM
I changed the islands on the eastern side and the Shattered Archipelago. Instead of filling the crater like sea I threw a couple of bigger islands at it. When I re did it I did kept out the shading for the Mountains, Hills and Forests but quite honestly I will probably put them back because I like it better in, even if it looks muddy.

I haven't applied the background to the map (yet) and I have applied only some of the labels.

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Lalaithion
12-13-2011, 04:06 PM
i would even say that the background contributed to the messiness of the map. could you possibly find a lighter parchment as the background? i think there is a thread full of them in the map resources section.

rentauri
12-16-2011, 09:50 AM
Here is the map with my colored background and nothing shaded for the mountains, hills and forests. I used a lighter color for the background and the Sea.

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