View Full Version : Fantasy World Map

09-01-2012, 02:22 PM
So I found this forum about a week ago and decided to try my hand at following some of the tutorials on the site. I've been writing a book for a while now, and I decided it needed a map. These are still WIP and are likely to change as my skill improves and new ideas suit me. In the meantime I'm looking for criticism and suggestions for improvements.

I took two blank slate maps provided by other forum users and ported their layers (and enlarged them) into my own PSD. I would like to thank youtube user ILoveMyMatty for the world map template and the video instructions, and forum user rpgmapmaker for the regional map style I imported and the videos showing their use. Both of them have made this effort possible.

My largest problem seems to be resolution with the regional map. I believe this cannot be solved without redrawing the map, as my attempts to transform and enlarge it have failed miserably, even where I maintained the same ratio, it simply looks disastrous. But I think it could also use some better dirt/sand/grass/rock/water textures. If anyone knows a good tutorial for making them or has free templates for those textures for PS I would appreciate being pointed in the right direction.

Thanks in advance for any helpful criticism you can give,


09-01-2012, 02:42 PM
Argh, I feel your pain! Resolution is my bane. My laptop can only do so much so I basically push the highest resolution possible. I'm no good at these atlas style maps - having never really tried - but I can say that I have had the same problem...It's hit or miss with your first few attempts and you just end up starting from scratch once you nail down the basics. I'm a bit of a technophobe so learning to use image editing software is like pulling teeth, for me. Basically my way around this problem is to start with the highest resolution you can, make invisible the layers that slow down the software so your brush doesn't jitter around, make plenty of backups and resist the urge to flatten layers for the sake of performance. You can always export to a lower resolution but you can never go to a higher one without some form of distortion.

09-01-2012, 02:59 PM
What is a good resolution to use?

I'm comfortable with an 8.5x11 map, but 200 pixels per inch didn't turn out as well as I would have liked, and its hard to get an impression of what is good without putting a lot of effort into it. The higher the resolution, the more time required for detail work as well, such as the coastlines, which I hand detailed in both maps.

09-02-2012, 03:10 PM
Usually, for print, 300 ppi is the standard minimum and gets good results. You'd also want to make sure that any textures you grab from elsewhere are the same quality. This thread ( http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?2596-Award-Winner-Bitmapped-Images-The-technical-side-of-things-explained ) has a ton of technical info if you really want to understand things; the 4th post down is about resolution.

Cunning Cartographer
09-02-2012, 04:34 PM
Yeh, scaling up (when it's not vector base, but I wont go into that and complicate things) just wont work.

Basically if you have designed a 1" x 1" image and designed it at 100dpi (dots per inch, ie. there are 100x100 dots/pixels for that 1" x 1" square) then if you try to increase the size to 2"x2" using that image by resizing then suddenly photoshop has to invent another 100x100pixels that weren't originally thereas the image is still 100dpi but is twice the size for the same image. Now the reality is that it's pretty impressive that PS can just invent the pixels it thinks you want, but it really doesn't look good (as you yourself have seen).

So where Chashio has said above about grabbing textures of the same quality he means over a similar size/dpi as the image/map you are throwing them onto. If your map is 1000x1000px and you find a nice parchment texture but it is 500x500px and you try to stretch it to fit the map then once again you are going forcing PS to invent pixels that weren't there before. So either you want to:

1) As Chashio says: get a texture of the right quality/dpi
2) Learn how to make an image tileable (so when you "paste" a repeating tile pattern the edges all meet up correctly). This means that if you find an image with the right dpi it doesn't matter if it isn't the right size as your tiling will fill up all the space you need and more.

There are times where you can get away with textures being stretched a little and losing their quality if you are playing with the texture, blurring, changing its opacity, etc. so the pixilization isn't noticeable, but any other time your base texture image quality really matters.

09-05-2012, 08:44 AM
Thanks a bunch guys. The Redrobes guide was especially awesome. I'll start messing around with about 600 dpi and if that seems like too much work maybe drop back to 450 or so. Appreciate all the help.

As far as tileable textures are concerned, the tutorials I looked up on that seem a little too complicated for me. I'll probably have to rely on free premade textures.

But does anyone know how to make the textures blend smoothly one into the other? I found lots of guides on google, but they all have the whole image altered. I only want to blend where the textures meet, and even there only slightly.

As always, any assistance is appreciated, and many thanks,


Cunning Cartographer
09-05-2012, 10:18 AM
But does anyone know how to make the textures blend smoothly one into the other? I found lots of guides on google, but they all have the whole image altered. I only want to blend where the textures meet, and even there only slightly.

Was going to try and explain it, instead I decided to make a tutorial for you :)


Any questions feel free to pose them in the other thread as it might help other people who have the same issue.

09-05-2012, 06:58 PM
That did it for me, and on my first try, thank you. Never knew what that little camera icon did!