View Full Version : Unnamed Mercator World Map

04-30-2012, 10:37 PM
My first project since the hard-drive-wipe. I'm inspired to do something along the lines of Mercator's 1569 World Map (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercator_1569_world_map), but there's no way I'm going to get that kind of artistry out of it, so I'm going with a celtic knotwork border instead of the myriad of pictures he's got.

I still haven't decided whether the final product will be actual ink-and-watercolor, or digital, so what I have so far is the plan for the knotwork, and part of the map layout. The greyscale nature is to facilitate tracing onto watercolor paper if I go that route; it's much easier to keep track of which lines are down if one uses a ball-point pen over a relatively light original (after coating the back with graphite).

The world map is spliced together from a few different planetgen outputs; the poles are at equal scale to each other and in stereographic projection; the knotwork is hand-designed but cookie-cuttered into place, which is why it doesn't quite match up in some places. I'm rather proud of the fact that each piece is a single band (which is harder than I thought it would be to do).

Still need to plan out the rhumb lines (which oddly, Mercator seemed to put in at random wherever he had room), fishies and ships and monsters, text areas, and the main cartouche. Oh, and the map itself lol. While I dither about whether I want to go analog or digital ;)

A final note: one of these days I'm going to finish a world map and be happy enough with it that it will actually go into a novel, so please don't use this (or what it evolves into) for anything but personal games and whatnot. Thanks!

04-30-2012, 10:57 PM
Wow, this sounds incredibly ambitious Gidde. I like the outline so far, and can't wait to see what you do with it. Kudos on the knot-work, I've attempted that before myself and you're right, it ain't easy!


04-30-2012, 11:47 PM
Thanks Arsheesh!

Last little bit before bed tonight: I took a stab at a kraken and colored in a piece of the knotwork to show the hubby what it would eventually look like.

05-01-2012, 05:55 AM
That's a really gorgeous map you've got going there. I especially like the top views of the poles as well. Nice touch.

05-01-2012, 09:06 AM
It looks lovely! A fine start!

05-01-2012, 03:06 PM
Unleash the kraken! A very nice start.

05-01-2012, 03:51 PM
Looks like a good start, but I have seen the border in many other maps so far.
Thanks for starting the thread, it reminds me in visiting the local Mercator exhibition (http://www.mercator500.de/oeffnung.htm).Sorry, german language.

05-01-2012, 04:26 PM
Cool link! As for the border, it's true; my first attempt was bound to be rather simple and therefore done before. So I knew I'd be reinventing the wheel, but it was a good learning experience. I'd like to think the polar inset breakage of the knotwork is somewhat fresh, but I'm sure that's been done too at some point! :)

05-01-2012, 04:38 PM
I don't want to afront you in any way Gidde, but it is the style I like most. And I know you will have to spend much (very, very) time into that map, so it should be unique.

05-01-2012, 04:39 PM
Oh I wasn't affronted, just acknowledging the well-made point :) Also, as I stare at the map I may end up improving the knotwork over time.

05-01-2012, 07:02 PM
Ah, the hard truths. So I realized Katto was right (of course), and also found out that it goes faster the second/third/eighth times around on designing knotwork ;)

I put a redesigned border plan on; does this one look a little more original?

05-01-2012, 08:02 PM
Well I personally didn't find anything wrong with the first design, but I like the second as well.


05-02-2012, 01:36 PM
Hi there. Nice start, I like the shapes and the maps of the poles. I wanted to make a map of one of my poles too, but I decided not to put land at the poles at all because I couldn't make a separate map for it that looked like it should be. If you can, could you please tell me how you did it or give me a few pointers? ie how to take either the centered island map and translate it into a realistic stretched landmass as it would look on the mercator projection or take the stretched north pole and create a good looking centered island map from it?

05-02-2012, 02:00 PM

Well, to be honest I cheated ;) I started with a randomly generated map in PlanetGen, which outputs as equirectangular (planetgen is free software; i can't grab a link while posting from my phone but google should find it pretty easily). Then I took that equirectangular map and ran it through g.projector.win (also free software, by folks at nasa) three times for the mercator projection and for both polar projections (with latitude set at 90 and -90 respectively).

To go from mercator to a polar map is really difficult, because the mercator projection fails at the poles (it stretched to infinity and never actually gets to the pole). And I can't free-hand the stretch for equi --- so I cheat.

05-06-2012, 11:39 PM
I've decided on digital, and started on the actual map. So far I have the border started; I've found that hand-inking knotwork, even over a copied template, gets really tedious and time consuming! So whenever I tired of drawing the lines I did some coloring and shading.

I'm trying to stick with effects that I'm confident I could reproduce with nibs and brushes, ink and paint, so if I ever feel masochistic enough to do this over on paper I could ;)

Posting just a piece at full resolution, since this is all I have so far anyhow. Whole map posts will have to be severely shrunk; the full map is 10800x7200px.

05-07-2012, 07:54 AM
This looks pretty cool, so uh. Where does the program unpacks itself? I can't find anything in the help section.

05-07-2012, 08:27 AM
Huh? what program?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

05-07-2012, 10:20 AM
Go Gidde Go !
Isn't it possible to color just one or two elements and then copy and paste them alternating?

05-07-2012, 05:44 PM
These borders are looking really nice Gidde. I'm excited to see more.


05-07-2012, 05:45 PM
It is, and I may have to end up doing that for my sanity's sake. As you were the one who caught the generic first pattern, does this one look better?

//Edit: Cross post! Thanks, Arsheesh :)

05-08-2012, 01:13 AM
Much better :)

05-13-2012, 03:21 PM
Satisfied with the border (for now, anyway), I've moved into the actual map part. Added the graticule and land masses (and colored the sea so I'd stop getting confused at which was which). Next I think I'll tackle the rhumb lines.

05-13-2012, 04:22 PM
Nice progress. Could you tell me how you did the lines for the graticule? I tried for ages to get that faded out effect, but never got it quite right.

The land shapes look very nice, though I am not quite decided on the dropshadow. It looks good... but seems to be a little out of style.

05-13-2012, 06:02 PM

The graticule is laid down with a 2px hard brush (5px for the Equator etc). Then I ran a size-2, smooth-10 spatter filter on it (I'm using Photoshop for this one). It's very similar to a spread-blur process in GIMP with very tiny values for both spread and blur (like spread-2 blur-1). Then I put the layer on Multiply blend mode at <100% opacity (I think it's at 60%).

As for the drop-shadow (It's actually a watercolor-filtered bevel) I agree, but I'm letting it ride for now because I'm still feeling my way into a style. I have a copy saved without it just in case :)

05-13-2012, 06:40 PM
It looks good. I certainly have to commend you for using a real projection properly.

I think it might look a bit better with the text for the graticule labels a bit smaller, and maybe in a simpler typeface.

The bevel effect doesn't really work for me. Particularly around the edges. It makes some sense around the land, but not at the borders of the map. I used a similar watercolour effect on one of my maps (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=3281&attachmentid=39598) but instead of a bevel along the coast, I just increased the opacity. It was actually done in three stages, first the increased opacity along the coast, then I clipped it to the extent of the map, then I applied the watercolour filter (so I didn't get an artificial looking sharp edge).

05-13-2012, 08:33 PM
Thanks for the detailed feedback, Hai! Most of the stuff you mention is on the list for tweaking already; I'll certainly take your points to heart when I do!
I must say though, when I looked at the beveling and thought "eh ... probably not but I'll leave it for now until the map develops some more", what bothered me was the land and not the outside :) In any case, it's awfully easy to take out; it was just an inner bevel on the sea coloring before I hit the watercolor filter (and I saved the non-filtered layer in a separate file just for this reason).