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Khaalis
06-15-2012, 03:47 AM
Hi all. This is my first real attempt at creating a world map and I'd like to get some opinions on how it turned out. It is obviously done in the "Saderan" style which I like for a generic topographic world view. How does this look? Any glaring issues? Comments greatly appreciated.

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Eventually, I'd also like to be able to do a globe style map but I am sure this is way beyond my meager newbie mapping skills. I'd also eventually like to get into doing regional maps in something similar to the old Forgotten Realms map style, though again, that is likely a long way off for someone new to mapping.

pogre
06-15-2012, 03:57 AM
I like it. What are the red dots for?

Khaalis
06-15-2012, 04:03 AM
The major volcanoes / volcanic regions. Do they work? Or should I look at something different?

Depassage
06-15-2012, 09:34 AM
Not bad at all.

I guessed that red dots were volcanos because all are on mountaintops, but at first I thought they were cities...

Another little problem is that the mountaintops seem flat.

My two cents...

Lyandra
06-15-2012, 09:36 AM
Hi Khaalis! Your map turned out quite nicely. Well done. I guessed what the red dots were for but it's not that obvious and I think maybe you should work on finding a better way to represent volcanoes. Are you going to be adding more rivers? I would expect more of them on a world-scale map. I also think that it's not that common for rivers to start in big lakes, but I will leave it for the river police. ;) That said, it really is a great map. I like how you managed different terrain. The textures used blend smoothly.

arsheesh
06-17-2012, 07:33 PM
Hi there Khaalis, looking really nice so far! I agree with the above comments about the volcanoes, if you put in a map key indexing them to volcanoes that would help, but they still seem a bit abstract for a map such as this. The textures you've chosen all go really nicely with the map. I have mixed feelings about the snow on your mountain peeks. My first impression was that they should have been blended a bit more. However, as I looked at the map more I thought they looked sort of interesting, and if you aren't going for photo-realism, but a slightly more abstract and stylized map the could work. Great job so far.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Schwarzkreuz
06-17-2012, 07:40 PM
I agree with arsheesh, the tops are very abstract and not what I would expect. Well it is interesting, but I am not sure how well it looks together with the other textures and elevations.

Khaalis
06-19-2012, 05:51 AM
I had a real problem getting the mountains to texture the way I wanted. I simply couldn't seem to get them high enough or altering enough in height and shape. Any suggestions on how to work them? Also any suggestions for the volcanoes? Perhaps simply darker shading and more texture to appear as craters?

Sapiento
06-19-2012, 06:27 AM
I had a real problem getting the mountains to texture the way I wanted. I simply couldn't seem to get them high enough or altering enough in height and shape. Any suggestions on how to work them? Also any suggestions for the volcanoes? Perhaps simply darker shading and more texture to appear as craters?

Try to change the level and emboss settings or simply add an layer above with l+e to get more depth.

Khaalis
06-19-2012, 10:42 AM
Thanks Sapiento, I'll do that next.

The following is what I did just messing around with the layers I already had and working on a smaller scale. Thoughts?

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Sapiento
06-19-2012, 11:06 AM
Looks much better now.

josephgene
06-20-2012, 03:15 AM
This is excellent! I always flop the mountains and I think I'm missing a step. Way to go!

I think the red dots are volcanos?

Scott Prevett
06-20-2012, 04:23 PM
That's a beautiful map. One thing I noticed though - the continent on the left looks strikingly similar to North America in many ways. Did anyone else see it too?

Lyandra
06-20-2012, 06:48 PM
I agree with Sapiento, it looks much better now.

Khaalis
06-21-2012, 03:19 AM
@Scott Prevett:
Yes it was noticed that it looked similar to North American though it was unintentional.

@ Josephgene:
Yes the red dots are volcanoes. I'm currently re-working all of the mountains and trying to find a better way to indicate the volcanic regions. However, I may just not indicate them and leave that information for region maps since in reality, many volcanoes are indiscernible from other mountains from this kind of view.

Khaalis
06-21-2012, 12:08 PM
Ok, so here is the next stage with the mountains all updated, and some more feature detail. I honestly don't know how it looks... I've stared it it too long to have an opinion anymore. lol
Suggestions?

Thanks again for all the comments and tips.

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Depassage
06-21-2012, 12:43 PM
It looks really better now. Good work!

Lyandra
06-24-2012, 08:18 AM
This is a great improvement to an already beautiful map. :) The snow-caps on the northern mountains look too straight to me though. Maybe you could add a little variation to them?

Khaalis
06-25-2012, 03:50 AM
Too straight in what way? Can you give a slightly more detailed example?

Lyandra
06-25-2012, 06:36 AM
What I meant is that the line of the snow is very straight, as if the whole area there was completely flat (like a road for example - not that roads are completely flat of course^^). I assume that the mountain tops are a bit jagged, irregular and that each "separate" mountain is of a slightly different height then the rest of the range. That would call for a bit more irregularity in the placement of snow. It looks very artificial to me in the current shape. Take a look at this google search (https://www.google.com/search?q=aerial+view+mountains+covered+in+snow&hl=pl&prmd=imvns&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=aS_oT63RLYzcsgbH-4yxAQ&ved=0CEAQ_AUoAQ&biw=1024&bih=630#hl=pl&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=mountains+seen+from+space&oq=mountains+seen+from+space&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_l=img.3...5374.6411.10.6584.5.0.0.5.5.0.0.0..0. 0...0.0.trePjOJ1vKE&pbx=1&fp=1&biw=1024&bih=630&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&cad=b) to see what I mean. Not a perfect example, but the first pic kind of shows what I mean (not that trying to achieve this level of reality is required or even possible with the style you are using.) I only think that more randomness would make your mountains look even better. :)

Khaalis
06-25-2012, 11:39 AM
Thanks for the insight Lyandra. I'll work on the snow again when I get a chance to work on the map again. I did a little bit on this version but was more focused on adding the important lat/long lines (lat = arctic, equator and the tropics / long = prime meridian) as well as testing some ocean names.

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Lyandra
06-25-2012, 12:35 PM
The snow already looks much better up in the northern left-hand range. :) I'm not sure I like the lines, they take my eyes of your beautiful continent and that annoys me.^^ It's hard to say what exactly I do not like in them... Don't know, maybe it's just me, but they remind me of those annoying "watermarks" (on Deviantart for example), if you know what I mean...

Seraphine_Harmonium
06-25-2012, 01:00 PM
I agree with Lyandra about the lines. That said, if you are using layers, I think the problem would be fixed by simply placing them beneath the continent. I have seen lines in the ocean that look cool, but they don't cut over the land. I think moving them down a layer (or as many layers as necessary) so that they only show over the water would help a lot.

Khaalis
06-26-2012, 03:02 AM
Excellent comments and suggestions. I've moved the lines to just above the base ocean coloring, and by playing with fill/opacity I think it looks much better. I can also continue to tweak them until there are no objections to their appearance. I'll be working on the snow lines next as well as attempting a scale and possibly a compass. I'll update this post when I have the next stage ready. I just wanted to again say thank you for all of the constructive criticism and suggestions. This has been a great first experience here.

{EDIT}
Ok, here is the next round.

46025

* Lowered the lines to background.
* Some more work on snow caps.
* A little more texture work on/around some mountains.
* Re-sized Ocean Names
* Added World Name plate, Compass and Scale

Klaus van der Kroft
06-26-2012, 01:59 PM
The map is turning out very nice!

Seraphine_Harmonium
06-26-2012, 03:04 PM
Yeah, I think that is much better.

Lyandra
06-27-2012, 06:18 PM
The map looks way better now, especially the lines and the snow caps. This is going to be an awesome piece when finished. It looks so great, that for now I have no new advice to give. ;)

arsheesh
06-27-2012, 06:25 PM
Lovely work. I agree with the above comments. I also really dig the font.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Khaalis
06-28-2012, 12:40 PM
Another update. I had to do a lot of ocean work after expanding the width of the image. Added names to the latitudes, changed order/color of ocean names and added the continental divider line on the main continent. I'm not sure how the border looks or the other changes. I've looked at it for too long. I'd appreciate some thoughts.

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Khaalis
07-03-2012, 05:11 AM
Ok, so now that I've played with the basics of the process, I now need to refine the process. I'd like to make the map at a proper 2:1 aspect ratio (likely 4000x2000 at 300dpi). I want to address the fact that the people pointed out that main land mass ended up looking too much like N. America. I also noticed that the scale of terrain on the map is way off. For instance most of the volcanic mountains are more than 1,000 miles in diameter. Also, the mountain ranges are simply too large. The Rockies are only 3,000 miles long and only up to about 300 miles wide, yet this map has multiple ranges that size or larger (much larger in width). This map might work well for a smaller scaled continent or island, but overall I don't think it works as well at the full world scale it was meant to be, so back to the drawing board. I'll post as I have updates with the new map.

Khaalis
07-04-2012, 09:33 AM
Here is the base land for the 2nd go-round.

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Khaalis
07-05-2012, 12:32 PM
Here is the next stage. How are the elevation, hill and mountains looking on the large continent? Thanks!

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Khaalis
07-06-2012, 09:37 AM
Ok. I could use some input at this stage. I've done a lot of land topography detail, coloring and shading and I'd like to get others' opinions on how its looking. I've stared at it so long its hard for me to tell anymore. Thanks in advance.

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Seraphine_Harmonium
07-06-2012, 11:28 PM
To me, the hills and mountains all look fine. You've got some wonkiness with lakes outletting into rivers to nowhere. Rivers go to the sea. They don't stop halfway there. Otherwise it looks good.

Khaalis
07-09-2012, 05:51 AM
To me, the hills and mountains all look fine. You've got some wonkiness with lakes outletting into rivers to nowhere. Rivers go to the sea. They don't stop halfway there. Otherwise it looks good.
Most of what I think you are referring to are meant to be (at this scale) only major rivers outletting into the small seas/lakes from elevation. Can you give a specific example?

adampjr
07-09-2012, 06:29 AM
Most of what I think you are referring to are meant to be (at this scale) only major rivers outletting into the small seas/lakes from elevation. Can you give a specific example?

I interpreted all of those as going from the mountains to the inland seas.

Khaalis
07-11-2012, 11:59 AM
Hey all. I've been working away on the 2nd version of the map and would like to run it by people for their opinion on how it's coming out. Anything catch the eye as disconcerting or that needs to be changed? I've been adding smaller bodies of water names, but know that I can't really fit all of the detail that will need to go in once regional maps are done. How is looking so far? I appreciate the comments.

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jtougas
07-11-2012, 12:08 PM
WOW... :) It looks great. I especially like the colors. Repped !!

Schwarzkreuz
07-12-2012, 06:23 AM
Turned out very nicely. Keep on.

Khaalis
07-13-2012, 12:51 PM
Ok, thank you for the comments so far. Now I really could use some critical opinions and thoughts. How does this look with empire borders and name plates? Again, I've stared at it so long I've lost objectivity. Any help/comments/opinions would be appreciated.

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jtougas
07-13-2012, 12:55 PM
The red and purple "glow" (for lack of a better word) is the division line? It seems a little subdued to me. Also I think the large size of the empire names are a bit distracting. Even so as I said earlier this is a beautiful map. :)

Khaalis
07-13-2012, 01:19 PM
I can easily upgrade the border glow. I had intentionally turned it down to go more "safe and subdued" but honestly wasn't sure. Originally I had it about 20% darker. As for the empire name plates... how large would you go? Would your opinion be different if they were the only names to be on the map? I haven't decided if I am doing each province in the empires on this map or if that will wait for continent specific maps. I was thinking to just keep the world map at higher level and do just the empire names. I want them visible and readable but not distracting. Is it the size or the color that is distracting?

Again, thank you for the input. Any comments are greatly appreciated.

Depassage
07-13-2012, 01:55 PM
The final result is really good. Color borders glow are clear enough to understand it's about borders when you read the country names of the same colors...

I think you achieved a good result in this 2nd round map! Good work!

jtougas
07-13-2012, 02:02 PM
I can easily upgrade the border glow. I had intentionally turned it down to go more "safe and subdued" but honestly wasn't sure. Originally I had it about 20% darker. As for the empire name plates... how large would you go? Would your opinion be different if they were the only names to be on the map? I haven't decided if I am doing each province in the empires on this map or if that will wait for continent specific maps. I was thinking to just keep the world map at higher level and do just the empire names. I want them visible and readable but not distracting. Is it the size or the color that is distracting?

Again, thank you for the input. Any comments are greatly appreciated.

I think darker might be better for what you are trying to achieve. Also if your planning on labeling this map the empire names being that large might be a good thing. It will differentiate between regions and cities.

daemaree
07-16-2012, 08:27 PM
Just my opinion... I think you should go a tad bit brighter with the borders. The purple, especially, on the west coast, seems to disappear. The country names seem a little too bright and large, and I think it takes attention away from the actual art you've done on the map, but if you are going to add more labels and city names, I think they could be okay. Beautiful map! I can't wait to see more of this.

Khaalis
07-17-2012, 06:59 AM
Thank you for the comments. I have decided NOT to add any further empire data on the map for fear of defeating the purpose of the topographic style. I'll use a different style to map each nation and its divisions, cities, etc. With that said, I have made changes to the borders to make them stand out more and to empire name plates to make them stand out less. How do these changes work?

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Khaalis
07-17-2012, 12:34 PM
Also , here is the first shot at a region map for one of the empires. Thoughts?

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jtougas
07-17-2012, 01:04 PM
I think you've got it with the empire borders and labels now. and your region map looks good as well although the color of the labels and the "hard" shadow feel a little out of place. All in all (and I'm repeating myself here :) ) This is a great piece. :)

Khaalis
07-18-2012, 01:53 AM
Thanks jtougas. Do you have any specific recommendations for tweaking the name plates? Is the red too bright? Should I drop the shadowing altogether?

Also, do you have any recommendations on how to take a region from this map to use as the base for a new map? For instance, say I want to take a specific region to make it an entire map. Should I just drop a new layer, fill it with white, magic wand it and copy it into a new project?

Thanks again for all your support in this. Its made my first experience here much better than I expected it to be.

jtougas
07-18-2012, 01:50 PM
Thanks jtougas. Do you have any specific recommendations for tweaking the name plates? Is the red too bright? Should I drop the shadowing altogether?

Also, do you have any recommendations on how to take a region from this map to use as the base for a new map? For instance, say I want to take a specific region to make it an entire map. Should I just drop a new layer, fill it with white, magic wand it and copy it into a new project?

Thanks again for all your support in this. Its made my first experience here much better than I expected it to be.

I think that the red name plates are fine but you might want to lower the opacity on the shadowing (or add a blur to the shadows to "soften" them a bit) If you can grab a chunk of the map with the "magic wand" tool that's how I would do it (it doesn't always like the anti-aliasing however) if you can do that and then re-size the new image you'd be well on your way. :)

Hai-Etlik
07-18-2012, 04:20 PM
A few notes:

Based on the dimensions and placement of the tropical and arctic circles, this is in Plate Carree projection (The Tangent, Normal aspect of the Equidistant Cylindrical/Equirectangular). But the features don't show the appropriate distortion toward the poles, and rhumb lines and a compass rose are inappropriate for such a projection over this extent as it distorts compass bearings.

Consider what would happen if you travelled northwest and kept going northwest. (assume a magical, perfect compass) You would spiral in toward the pole but never quite reach it however many times you spiral around. If you travel "upper-left" on your map, you will eventually reach the top edge of the map, which is the north pole stretched out. This is why the Mercator projection (which does preserve compass bearings) projects the poles infinitely far from the equator and has to cut off the arctic and antarctic to fit on a finite sheet of paper (the polar regions are often covered by insets in another projection)

A universal linear scale is inappropriate for any uninterrupted map covering such a large extent regardless of projection. Again, consider that the poles are single points, the distance "along a pole" is 0, but in this projection the poles are as big as the equator. In any normal (aligned to the equator/axis) cylindrical (rectangular) projection like this, you approach infinite infinite distortion as you near the poles.

The regional map is also problematic in terms of projection. You can't just "zoom in" on a map by scaling it up. A projection suitable for a global extent isn't going to be suitable for a continent. You can sort of, vaguely pull it off if you are using Mercator (Which is why the web mapping services like Open Street Map and Google Maps use the Mercator projection) but otherwise, it doesn't work, you need a new projection for a new extent. The more zoomed in you get, the less of an issue this becomes (This is true of most of these problems). A map of a regional district and a municipality within it can share a projection just fine (I'd use UTM Zone 10 North for a general map of both the CVRD and North Cowichan for instance)

For your curved labels, it looks like you are warping the text rather than setting it on a path. You don't want to distort the individual letters; you just want them shifted and rotated. Yous should also try to adjust the letter spacing so they stretch across the area they label. (Don't just change the size or stretch it like an image, the first will make you text inconsistent, the latter will look inconsistent, and REALLY ugly)

Your terrain symbolization is also rather hard to interpret. It's a popular style in the guild, but it makes it rather hard to figure out what is a meaningful difference, and what is just decorative variation. It also makes it hard to figure out where the boundaries between terrain types are. That's acceptable for a base map that isn't really important, but if that's the case, I'd have either ditched the terrain entirely, or at least made it more subtle so the features that are important (presumably the political boundaries) is more prominent.

Khaalis
07-19-2012, 05:36 PM
Hello Hai-Etlik.

First, let me say thanks for taking the time to give me some notes. Its greatly appreciated. The more I look upon the map the less satisfied I am with it and this reinforces some of the issues I think I've been having with it. So... I have a few questions if you are willing to hand hold a newb. as such, please do keep in mind that I am an amateur at this and its only my second go at a digital map.

Assuming I am not really talented and this is the best basic world map I can come up with, what would you say are the things you would most change to make the make more "appealing" as just a basic world map? I assume removing the compass rose and rhumb lines? These had originally been added for "artistic" measure. I know the rhumb lines are not accurate, but I thought they might make a decent artistic touch. Would you reccomend "converting" the map to another projection such as Robinson? Or would it be better to simply start over with a different style of map, more appropriate to the planetary view?

As an aside, I did create a "globe" version I made from the map. Does this have any redeeming qualities?

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If not, is there any way to salvage the existing "land structure" and make it better fit a more accurate projection style? The world I am trying to build is specifically designed around the 2 large bodies of lad and the major island island "continent" chain. Its rather critical to the structure of the fluff of the world.

What would you recommend as a way for an amateur to begin making a cartography accurate world map? How do you begin with a proper projection and get the land mass to fit the proper curvature and distortion? Can this only be done with existing vector software that generates them (like Fractal Terrains)? Do you recommend any other styles/tutorials over this one? I have to agree that the more I look at this style, it might work well for small scale maps, but the scale seems drastically off for a planetary world map.

As for terrain, this map, to me has more detail than it should actually. When compared to a topographic map of the Earth, it shows far more detail. Again, appropriate to a much smaller scale, but not so much on the world scale. I was trying to use this style to mimic the very basic view seen in these style of maps (you can basically see water, mountains, sand, ice and green for pretty much everything else).

Example: http://www.sciencephoto.com/image/83513/530wm/C0019126-Earth,_topographic_and_bathymetric_map-SPL.jpg

Any suggestions are welcome, and I have access to a number of programs currently and am looking at 2 others. It is rather daunting when trying to figure out how best to approach making such a map and how so many different tools interact.

-- Have: Photoshop, Gimp, Wilbur, Fractal Terrains, PaintShop
-- Looking at: Astrosynthesis & Fractal Mapper

The issue I am having is being able to blend this basic concept of the world into the typical "randomizer" programs. Would you recommend simply using a randomizer like Fractal Terrains and trying to make it work, or is there a decent way to use a Photoshop "cloud" layer to use as the basis in something like Fractal Terrain?

As for the labels, you are correct that I simply used the existing Text tool in Photoshop that lets you shape the words (Flag shape in this case). The letters are already spread by using the spacing option in the tool though, but I hadn't thought of stretching them over the entire area of the map fearing that their size would overcome any other details of the map. Also, is there a tutorial on how to set the text on a Path? I simply added them as individual text shape layers.

Again, thank for any and all input. I apologize if some of this is rather rambling, but its already well past time to be in bed before work tomorrow. :)

Hai-Etlik
07-19-2012, 07:00 PM
The problem is that you have essentially distorted the land itself in order to compensate for the distortion in the projection. Reprojecting it will retain that distortion and will only make it more obvious. For instance, here's a polar stereographic projection:

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You can also see the same pinching at the poles if you look carefully at your globe animation. If you want to fix this, you are going to have to redraw things.

If you want to avoid additional software, probably the simplest way to go would be to get one extra tool, G.Projector. It's a very simple tool for taking Normal Equidistant Cylindrical maps and lets you reproject them.

Then reproject the map to check for distortion (I'd recommend Polar Stereographic as I used above, Pick "Stereographic" from the list and set the latitude to 90 or -90) and then look at what's wrong. Then go back to the cylindrical version, and redraw the parts that need adjusting, save, reproject, and check. Keep at it until everything looks OK.

Then you can pick projections for your final maps, pump them out, and then do all the graphical stuff and labels (You need to do this after reprojecting because otherwise your symbols, textures, and text will all be distorted).

At the other extreme, you could do what I do and use a Geographic Information System. This is the software used for geography and much of map making in real life. It lets you work with raw "unstyled" data rather than graphics (The data can be raster or vector, but isn't necessarily graphical data). There is some commonality between GIS and graphics software but it's still very much its own thing. This has advantages in that you can do re-projection on vector data, You can reproject between different projections(Instead of having to start in Equidistant Cylindrical) it can do some of the styling and labelling work for you, and you have access to a bunch of additional tools but it's much more complex. http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?17469-Some-pointers-for-using-GIS

I'm afraid the only common point between us software wise is the GIMP, and I don't use it much so I can't offer much advice there, I was under the impression that Fractal Terrains used raster graphics though as I though it was essentially a DEM/Heightfield generator.

One last thing, you seem to have "large scale" and "small scale" backwards. In cartography jargon "scale " is the scale factor. so "small scale" means things are drawn small, and "large scale" means they aren't drawn as small. A map of a globe is "small scale" while a map of a city is "large scale". The area covered is the "extent", not the "scale"

Ourea
07-20-2012, 01:43 PM
Just popping in to say I really love how this is coming along :) When you re-drew the map I had to make sure I was still in the same thread, there was such a large difference! I like your labeling, though I'm personally a fan of more subtle and simple.

How did you do the globe? It's very interesting.

jtougas
07-20-2012, 01:48 PM
You seem to be in good hands. I have no idea what Hai-Etlik is talking about (although I am SO impressed by the knowledge) I can't really offer any suggestions with things like "projections" and such as all my maps assume the world is made of cheese or bubbles and can be stretched in any direction to fit my whim.... Keep up the great work and BTW the globe is cool !! :)