View Full Version : Caleena WIP using Ascension's awsome atlas tutorial!

07-20-2012, 07:59 AM
So I've bee making a map for a game I'm running soon using Ascension's atlas style tutorial, here's were I'm at :


Now.. I want to add a layer of forest that are better defined than just leaving it to the general colour variations in this tutorial.
I've been messing about with drawing a layer with dark green blobs for my forest then adding some noise and lighting, but though I've got some ok'ish results I'm sure there must be a better way!

...any ideas guys? :)

07-20-2012, 02:22 PM
Those colors are striking! I like the shapes of your coastlines, too. =)
Not sure what to do with the forests on this style map, but I think you may be on the right track. I would try some blobs and then mess around with the various filters and layer styles. See what happens.

07-20-2012, 02:27 PM
That looks great !!. As for forests, at this scale it's really more about "suggesting" forests than actually "planting" them. I think your on the right track with the blob way find a good texture use it as a fill and play with opacity and layer style until you find something you like. a little shadowing and a light blur and viola !! you'll have forests. :)

07-20-2012, 04:17 PM
thanks for the comments guys! :)

Yeah I reckon I can get something OK with a blob layer and some lighting, just playing around with this stuff is really useful for a newb like me!
I'll post some updates when I've got em and get your opinions. :)

07-21-2012, 06:26 PM
K, so here's latest effort:


layer with some rough blobs of darkish green where I wanted my foresty bits to be, then added some noise (2% gaussian m/c) and used directional light x2 and diffuse darken only.

just as an aside, my intention is for the scale of the map to be around 150 - 200 miles across the lat-long squares, so the country should be a bit bigger than say France.

The red borders are going to denote province edges (each ruled by a particular scheming noble family), so I put my forests mostly in the low lands and near rivers etc, then "cut them back" away from province centers and the larger rivers where I'm going to position towns and cities etc..

I'll probably play around with the locations and densities as I start to flesh out the population centers but I'm reasonably happy with the look of the forest itself. :)

..what do you guys think, does it work?

07-21-2012, 07:44 PM
I really like it! The detail that you've applied to the shape of the land in relation to the water really makes it "pop" I would say. :) I'm a novice cartographer (I just started several days ago) so my opinion probably doesn't count for much, but I'd like to give some suggestions that you might want to try out that you might enjoy. Feel free to take these with a grain of salt.

Perhaps you could apply a slightly darker brown to the flat land areas that aren't green? You could use the colors>levels tool to add more of this color into the flat land, and then use a slight Gaussian blur to blend the color a bit better? This may or may not make it look nicer. Just something to play to see if you like. :D

Something about the red borders doesn't seem to fit for some reason. Maybe switch it to a black color? And play around with the opacity of that layer? That might look better.

Overall, this is really a lovely map. :D I like to forest texture. Did you use a bump map for that? Kudos from a fellow novice.

07-31-2012, 05:15 PM
Thanks Shadownox :) (been away on hols for a couple of weeks hence the slow response).

All comments appreciated so I'll certainly have a play with some darker brown on the flat land and see what it turns out like.. and yeah I'm not sure about the borders either. I want them to be visible, but without standing out or covering the regular map detail if you get me? - so anyway I'll try for some sort of muted colour and see how I go.. I'll post an update soonish :)

08-01-2012, 07:41 PM
Latest WIP:
..after Shadownox's comments I had a play and settled for changing the red province borders to a yellowy colour. Also added province names, roads, and city/town symbols.

The country is going to be a sort of 17c french type place, so I used some fleur-de-lys symbols to denote province capitals, major towns, and chateaus, did the roads too but a lot of this placement may change when i sit down to consider how the country is going to shape up economically.

I'm not entirely sure that the scale of my town symbols is right for the map, but any smaller and they just become blobs...

08-02-2012, 06:57 PM
So bit more done:

tweaked the borders and stuff (..again!!), and added a load of place names and such (still going for my pseudo-french feel).

So I think it's looking OK and should be usable for my game, probably going to add river, lakes, bays and mountain range names and then try to call it done! :D

08-02-2012, 07:18 PM
Looking pretty good . Rivers could use some tapering especially at their sources.

08-03-2012, 02:56 AM
Nice. You might want increase or change the glow on the icons, they kinda blend into the background as they are. Just my thought.


08-05-2012, 06:36 PM
This is coming along nicely. I actually like the more subdued glow of the icons myself, so I guess this might just boil down to personal preference. The rivers look a bit thick, and I'm not particularly fond of the fade affect on them. My own preference for rivers is to make them small and tapered. My 2c.


08-06-2012, 09:38 AM
Bit more done:

Thanks for the input LonewandererD :) I have played with the glow on the icons a little to bring em out more, but I sort of agree with Arsheesh, I think I'm trying to let the map terrain stand forward and let all the twiddly info stay second to that. Although after comments from one of my players I did add a bit of glow to the place names to make them a bit more legible for game use!

And thanks too Lostatsea - I've also tried to thin out and taper the rivers better, the ahem 'stubby' look before is probably mostly down to me learning how to use my new Bamboo tablet properly rather than a deliberate intent for that look :D ...anyway, I think they look better now? (oh and tablets rock btw!! :D )

Still got to add some feature names (forests, mountain ranges, etc...) but I think it getting there. I do have one question though.. I've a swamp/marsh land bit in the lower left (the dark bit with the two rivers skirting it) but I was thinking should I have rivers running into it, then disappearing, to restart again on the far side of the marsh... or will that look daft? ...how have others dealt with it?

08-10-2012, 08:24 AM
Almost Finished! :)

Put in all the names for stuff that I want to, slightly dropped the province borders back a bit and lightened a strip of forest to insinuate the ridge of higher land underneath.
I'm not happy with the two borders for the title and map key, cause they were low res freebies of of the web, so I'll probably have a look for something a bit better yet.
Oh and I decided to add a colour overlay to the rivers that enter the swamp to black em down whist they make their passage through it. What do you guys think?

08-13-2012, 08:37 AM


..sorted the title/key borders and tweaked the overall brightness and I think that's it!

Thanks again to Ascension's tut, and you guys for critique and encouragement along the way! :)
... Now I need a couple of building maps, so back to the tutorial thread for me!! ;)

(p.s. if anyone does spot anything I've missed or got glaringly wrong please let me know so I can revisit)

08-13-2012, 09:06 AM
very striking colours on this one!

08-13-2012, 04:23 PM
Thanks vorropohaiah :)

btw am i supposed to do another post in the 'finished maps' forum for this?

08-13-2012, 04:30 PM
very striking colours on this one!

"Vibrant" is the term that would be most fitting. ;)

Wonderfull map, fifty!

08-13-2012, 04:52 PM
Thanks Freodin ...maybe I should put a warning about wearing shades before looking;)

08-13-2012, 05:35 PM
btw am i supposed to do another post in the 'finished maps' forum for this?

Well if you do we can rate it :p

08-13-2012, 05:59 PM
Well if you do we can rate it :p

..ahh! OK - told you I was a newb! :)