View Full Version : My first (real) map

04-03-2012, 10:30 AM
Hey all, I'm new here. I'm just gonna copy what I posted elsewhere her to explain my first project, which I intend to detail here:

I have had a homebrew world that has spent years in pitiful penciled mediocrity as I've dreamed of coming across someone who could turn it into something respectable. In the meantime I've gained PS experience, but never had to use it creatively like this, so couldn't put the pieces together to do so. Now I find this (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?8086-Award-Winner-Saderan-%96-a-tutorial), read it, and realize I can do it! I'm adapting it to base the land masses on my hand-drawn map, which I hope will be helpful to someone.

All I did was scan the fore-mentioned map, trace the coastlines and fill in the inland bodies of water with a small black brush (on another layer, of course), then fill the oceans black with the paint bucket. Make that the background layer for the "Clouds/Threshold" set, and tweak the clouds layer opacity to taste. I went with 60-ish%. After some cleaning up, it broke up the coast nicely, filled the oceans with various, surprisingly geologically sound archipelligos, and added a few inland lakes for my consideration. (See attached). That's as far as I've got so far, having to restart the process twice for various failures on my part to pay attention to some important details that really messed things up later that I couldn't figure out how to fix.

I'm going to need some help down the road with a few features not specifically covered in the tutorial linked above. Does anyone have an idea for making large plateaus, like mongolia-style? I could also use help making a few smaller, yet still very large ridges, and several small but very tall rock spires.

Thanks! I'm sure my stay will be short-lived, but I'd appreciate any help you guys can give me, and I'll try to contribute things I figure out along the way.43654436554365643657

Don't know if I did that quite right. Note the parenthetical numbers for the viewing order of the jpg's. Also note the selected layer in the screenshots. I suppose it'd be helpful to reference the tutorial linked above to follow what's going on as well. Again, I hope this can help someone!

04-03-2012, 10:39 AM
Looks like a good start! I've always had trouble with that tutorial (others do fine, I think I'm just wired wrong) so I'll be of limited assistance, but you should be able to make plateaus using the tutorial's method for laying out mountains. Just make some of those mountains really really wide with a flat top :)

04-03-2012, 11:48 AM
Thanks, Gidde! It hasn't been the easiest process, but I got the oceans done. I ran into some wierdness on page 6, though, when it came time to paint in the elevations, I got some dark haloing going on (see attached). I don't know if this is because I didn't re-size as instructed on page 3, and this somehow is messing with the bevel/emboss? For now, I'm just leaving it without painting the elevations in. I think it looks alright as is:

EDIT: I figured out part of the problem with the elevation layer. I turned the mask off, and realized that the coastlines weren't beveled because they didn't exist on that layer. Duh! I loaded the alpha channel (created in the tutorial from the land mass layer) as a selection and deleted it from the elevations layer and voila! Now I need to tweak the layer styles for a noticable effect at the resolution I have going, and I think all will be better. I think I might erase some of the layer further to create coastal shallows and continental shelves.

04-05-2012, 10:39 PM
Land progress.

See here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?8086-Award-Winner-Saderan-–-a-tutorial&p=182032&viewfull=1#post182032) for how I fixed my ocean elevation problem.

Please critique what I've got so far!

04-06-2012, 03:27 AM
:) I've always said Volcanoes are the pimples of the Earth! :)

It's looking quite good, though I find the mountains on the sou'-westerly continent a bit too massy.

04-06-2012, 11:35 AM
Thanks, Lukc! Bummer that those aren't volcanoes, though. They're supposed to be tall monoliths. Don't know how else to show that.

I kind of agree about the mountains, but I think that's how they should all look, really. They're the only ones I had the space to bulk out like I wanted to. I think the northern mountains look kinda lame, being so thin. I'm gonna see about making them more consistent, but right now they all just match my pencil-drawn map as best I can make them.

Thanks again for the feedback. I'm really excited for how it's turning out!

04-06-2012, 04:07 PM
K, I beefed up the mountains a bit and got about 2/3 of the river work done. I initially had the western of the three northern rivers just ending in the plateau, but I didn't think that'd fly, so I pooled and diverted it instead. Is that more feasible? I honestly don't like how the large lake's estuaries look, nor can I find a look I like...thoughts? What do you think of the pumped up northern mountains? How do my deltas look?

Oh yeah, I painted the waterfalls white as well. (One on each of the island continents, one where the aforementioned pool's river drains into the valley.)

04-07-2012, 04:59 AM
The rivers look good, if perhaps a bit too straight - but I really like how they seem to have cut into the land. For the monoliths, you could probably use a symbol to denote they are also monoliths - maybe a little cross or tower or ... well, a little 2001 monolith :)

04-07-2012, 02:31 PM
A 2001 monolith? I'm afraid that reference is lost on me...

04-07-2012, 04:02 PM
It's basically a big black rectangle sticking up out of the ground. But go rent 2001, it's a classic :)

04-11-2012, 05:22 AM
2001 is a movie ;)


04-12-2012, 02:24 AM
Wow. Duh. Kind of ages me, eh?

Progress continues on the map, mainly softening coastlines for the moment, getting rid of the jaggies. Anyone else have thoughts on what's here so far?

04-12-2012, 08:43 AM
I like what's taking shape :) I agree with the other comments, though. Sadly I'm not sure what you could do for the monoliths (I'm no good at all for that sort of thing). Can't wait to see the next step!

04-12-2012, 08:58 PM
I've finished the rivers and softened the coastlines. I really don't like the lack of scalability; I was hoping to add cities, roads etc., but I'm not sure now with how bad it looks zoomed in. Any ideas for fixing that? Should I create a ultra-high rez canvas and copy all the layers to that?

04-13-2012, 01:56 AM
A 2001 monolith? I'm afraid that reference is lost on me...

It is an iconic item from the classic movie/book 2001 The Space Odyssey. It was an object that was so mindbogglingly foreign that it inspired our ancient ape ancestors to invent weapons.

EDIT: I like the way your map is turning out. Have you considered making the rivers a bit more windy?

04-13-2012, 03:10 AM
You're not the first to bring that up, so maybe I should. I intended this to be a very high view, (1"=300 miles), so I'm not sure how much wind would show at that scale. (...and I'm kinda lazy.) I suppose I should look at more real-world maps, huh?

Thanks for the good vibes.

04-13-2012, 04:52 AM
If 1 inch is 300 miles then your rivers are fairly wide. Some of your rivers are about an 1/8th of an inch wide, which means they are 37 miles wide. The big lake on the topmost landmass is over 800 miles wide, while the lake in the lower right landmass is 1,050 miles wide. These are very large numbers. Perfect for a fantasy setting but it shocked me a bit because I did not realize the scale you were going for. :)

04-14-2012, 04:24 PM
Well, I don't think the rivers would be visible any smaller. As far as the lakes go, I was considering calling them seas for their size, but I haven't looked into the official differences between lakes and seas yet.

04-17-2012, 10:07 PM
It's done! I haven't fixed the scaling issue yet, though. Please let me know what you really think! Keep in mind, 1"=300 mi. Obviously, the rivers are not to scale in width.

04-17-2012, 11:42 PM
So I pumped up the DPI to 1000. About crashed my machine, and is virtually un-usable, but it worked. :?

04-18-2012, 12:10 AM
A thousand DPI? Wow, that's huuuuge.

Most of my work is in the 300 to 600 range.

The map looks great! I like the forests.

04-25-2012, 05:26 PM
Here's the labeled version. I haven't named the cloud filter generated islands yet. Naming the seas was enough for now!

04-26-2012, 12:51 AM
You don't seem to be having any troubles with the look except the coastlines are overly smooth. The Middle River is not going to happen in nature, but it could be the Middle Canal if you really need it there. You have some very circular mountains and the one in the middle of the Black Sea is very obvious in its perfect circularity of coast. On the other hand, if a god/wizard did it, and the material of the island is hard enough not to erode over the time since creation, no problem there.

04-26-2012, 09:14 AM
Thanks for the feedback, RD. I've seen elsewhere that rivers don't split like the North River does, and am aware of the unnatural nature of the spire in the Black Sea. It is a fantasy world, so I'm not overly concerned with complete realism. However, I was thinking of explaining the splitting river with the northern point of the Southern Hills, though it's not as obvious as it was before I painted the Emerald Forest over the point in question. I assume the circular mountains in question are in the Krüdasian region, which are actually not mountains but solitary monumental spires. And they all, including the spire in the Black Sea, exists by a combination of your listed possibilities.

The coasts are overly smooth, I agree. Any ideas for a simple way to break them up? I really don't want to spend more countless hours hand-painting in bays and what not. Same with the overly straight rivers, but I don't think there's an easy solution for those...

EDIT: I should clarify that the land is it's own layer, so some sort of edge-modifying method is what I suppose is needed. All I can find via google, though, is photo/paper-style effects. Not quite what I think is needed.

05-13-2012, 05:51 PM
It took a while, but I got all the cities and roads on the map. I plan on putting a few cities on some islands and mapping out sea trade routes, and that'll be it! I don't think I'll end up naming all the islands, just those that are inhabited or well known for whatever reason.

Feedback is still welcome, as are thoughts on roughing up the coastlines or making the rivers windey.

05-18-2012, 09:42 PM
I think the textures look pretty darn good but the coastlines I think are much too smooth (unless of course you intended it to be that way!)

05-19-2012, 09:37 AM
Yeah, I agree and have been asking for methods to roughen them up for some time now. Same with the rivers. Any ideas?

05-19-2012, 10:07 AM
There are a ton of tutorials in the tutorial section for making rough/realistic coastlines; unfortunately the only way I know of to "roughen them up" at this point in the map is either by hand or to start over. That's probably why you're not getting many suggestions; you already said you weren't interested in the by-hand method, and no one wants to tell you to back that far up in the process ;) I guess what I'm trying to say is that perhaps the coastline stuff is meant for lessons brought to the next map, since creating coastlines is generally the first step.

05-19-2012, 12:21 PM
I've suspected that myself, but the land layer is still manipulable; I made the rivers by stroking a path. I would think that'd open up some possibilities.

05-24-2012, 01:10 PM
Fin. I added trade routes and a few island settlements. Still no ideas for roughing up the coasts?