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ManOfSteel
09-29-2012, 05:46 PM
Long ago, when I was very ill and in a daze, and my recovery not so certain, a story came to me. When I recovered, it took on a life of its own. The clarity of vision and the ability to draw was one of the good things that happened when I was ill, but those faded with time. But not the wish to see the places I’d envisioned. It became a lifelong quest, first with paper and pencil, and finally computer art programs.

This is the planet Eben, a near twin of Earth, and the home now of, not one, but many races of alien beings who choose a young man from Earth to further a noble and remarkable cause. Like many other places, much of Eben’s history is dictated by geology and astronomy. The cradle of Ebenese civilization lies in what is now the desert country of Kemesh. Walled in by the mighty Androgon Mountains, the inhabitants who lived there thousands of years ago had no choice but to fight, explore, and expand to the east. However, one day, a party of refugees did manage to cross the mountains, and from there an empire grew. After thousands of years, the resulting 135 countries of Eben merged into the 36 of today with each country preserving some of its language and ways while at the same time joining the global and interplanetary order. Each country’s capital city took the name of the country itself. One country has a particular tie to Earth.

My first attempt at a map was done years ago by using Photoshop to cut apart a map of the world and reassemble it to make a few pictures of one side of their globe and the continent which surrounds the inland sea. Only one image survives. Sadly, the master Photoshop document is gone. And so, upon discovering this site, I was inspired to start again, this time aiming to do the entire planet and, with the help of the 3D computer art program, Bryce 7, to take advantage of the new ability to project the map onto shapes and, for the first time, see the planet and its moons from all sides…outside of my mind.

I’m not really looking to change much. The challenge was to construct it as I saw it with a modicum of scientific accuracy while at the same time purposely allowing room for the unexpected. A handful of the names I borrowed from science fiction novels/movies that just sound wonderful to me.

jtougas
09-29-2012, 05:56 PM
This is great !! What a great story and some great looking maps !! repped. :)

Mateus090985
09-29-2012, 06:03 PM
Excelent work. I am really impressed.

ManOfSteel
09-29-2012, 07:37 PM
Thank you very much. Tomorrow I will post the tectonic plates, bathymetric, and climate zone maps.

Carbus
09-29-2012, 07:53 PM
Those are great maps. I really love the planet an the cleanliness of the second map. Fantastic map.
ps: How have you made the planet and the atmosphere with the clouds? Its perfect.

ManOfSteel
09-29-2012, 08:05 PM
The planet (and moon) models were made in Bryce. Eben consists of 10 spheres, each one a tiny, tiny bit bigger than the one within it. The innermost sphere is nothing but the oceans. Then, in order to minimize distortion, each continent was centered onto its own map, projected onto its own sphere and rolled into place. The outer four spheres make up the atmosphere. They consist of a cloud map and a storm map with hurricanes. Both of those I found online. Finally a bluish haze sphere went over everything and the outermost sphere is the atmosphere. I used Bryce's material adjustments to make it soft, fuzzy, and slightly glowing.

ManOfSteel
09-30-2012, 03:13 AM
I added the tectonic plates, bathymetric, and climate zone maps today. I did my best with the climate zones but would like to know if you see any glaring errors. Tomorrow I'll upload the final maps: the river systems, the height map, and a 3D mesh image based on the height map done in Bryce.

arsheesh
09-30-2012, 09:49 PM
Really wonderful job ManOfSteel! You have really nailed the photo-realistic look.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

ManOfSteel
10-01-2012, 03:26 AM
The final maps for Planet Eben are a map of its river systems, a black and white height map, and a 3D terrain generated by the height map. I hope you all enjoy them.

randigpanzrall
10-02-2012, 08:35 AM
impressive and solid work, you did a great job. The only thing are the continents which are spreaded a little too "draggy" on the planet and which are too similar in dimension and form in my oppinion, but this doesn´t reduce the good work and your excellent skills. Especially the political map and the satellite map are georgous.

Lukc
10-02-2012, 10:35 AM
This is absolutely lovely. I can't say that often enough. I am inspired. :)

ManOfSteel
10-02-2012, 02:55 PM
Thank you very much Lukc! I'm glad you're enjoying it.


impressive and solid work, you did a great job. The only thing are the continents which are spreaded a little too "draggy" on the planet and which are too similar in dimension and form in my oppinion, but this doesn´t reduce the good work and your excellent skills. Especially the political map and the satellite map are georgous.

randigpanzrall,

Thank you too for the compliments! You bring up an interesting point and that is how much control should a fantasy/science fiction cartographer exercise when dealing with sometimes random forces in geology and astronomy that take millions of years to play out? I don't know whether it is my imagination, but I oftentimes would decide to move a river or even a continent and it just looked wrong. Even though the original placement seemed awkward or the opposite, too even or symmetrical...it just felt right to leave it where it was. Therefore, once they were placed, I made a rule for myself...no moving of continents or rivers. It was more true to life to me. I even wanted to include other features, but as I said, they didn't "feel" right. If you'll notice, Eben has no great lakes like we do in North America. It has no major isthmi. It has no polar land masses, although that doesn't mean there weren't any in the past. It has few large peninsulas. Earth is extremely top heavy when it comes to the distribution of land, and with Eben, after placing the continents where I felt they should be, I found that it too was slightly top heavy, but not nearly to the extent that Earth is. I had the choice of making it assymetrical, or even perfectly even, but I left it that way. That's just the way it turned out. I wouldn't feel right changing things.

To tell you the truth, it was kind of fun and challenging to deal with the shapes and placements that resulted, just like we have to do in real life. I've often looked at Earth and thought that, if it were in my power, I'd get rid of Baja California. It looks weird. I'd move Antarctica and put it to good use. Canada has way too many islands. The straight of Gibraltar almost seems contrived. As I said, there's WAY too much land in the northern hemisphere. And Europe has way too many peninsulas compared with the other continents...I think I'd get rid of Scandinavia.

But there they are.:D

randigpanzrall
10-03-2012, 03:06 PM
yes, you are not wrong at all. Your Planet formed in your head and so The result is the truth. And yes, even our earth would look Kind of unreal for someone who was Not born here. For example europe seems too small compared to the US ;) Just keep on with your excellent work and I look forward For your works to come.

ManOfSteel
10-13-2012, 03:40 PM
Someone asked me how many cities there were on the political map. Here is the breakdown.

COUNTRIES
36

CITIES
513

BAYS
105

LAKES
94

NAMED RIVERS
139

CAPES/POINTS
18

ISLANDS
237

OCEANS, SEAS, GULFS, & COASTS
35

DESERTS
14

INDIVIDUAL MOUNTAINS
19

MOUNTAIN RANGES (EXCLUDING HIGHLANDS, PLATEAUS, ETC.)
43

MAJOR WATERFALLS
8

Tattimatonen
11-06-2012, 10:38 AM
Absolutely wonderful. I love how you actually took the time to do tectonic plates and all that jazz. I especially love the political map, and let's face it - I'm a sucker for inland seas. I'd also be very interested in information about the plants, animals and peoples of this world if you're willing to share.

ManOfSteel
11-07-2012, 01:26 AM
Thank you for the compliments Tattimatonen!
I will see what I can do about making a few images and writing a bit of history.

Rhotherian
11-15-2012, 09:09 AM
This is indeed very nice. :) The only thing that irks me it the poles of your tectonic map. Its a common mistake, but a lot of people seem to forget that planets are spherical when it comes to tectonic maps - plate boundaries should never go off the northern or southern edges of a world map (you will only ever see that on world maps of Earth where either the North Pole is cut out or the tectonographer was an idiot). Here's what I mean:
49921

Nathalem
11-16-2012, 06:58 AM
Realy nice work ManofSteel :)
Go on with this kind of work....

ManOfSteel
11-16-2012, 08:56 PM
Thanks for the observation Rhotherian. However the plate shapes are correct according to my design. I actually worked from a rough model and tried my best to transfer them to an equirectangular map. Most continents, plates, et al should indeed span the top or bottom of such a map, but because the plates had to fit and move in specific spaces and directions they were purposely truncated on the map to form specific shapes in 3D. It's virtually impossible for me to visualize from the map to a 3D object, so I drew those parts of the map from the 3D object. Below you'll see a shot of the 3D model I used to check the plates' size and orientation. Ideally I would have used a 3D program that allows you to paint directly onto an object and then generates a UV map.


What's really misleading is that the text and arrows get very distorted, but they're just there for reference on the 2D map. Interesting...my model's top resembles yours, but the bottom looks somewhat different.

ManOfSteel
11-16-2012, 08:57 PM
Thank you Nathalem! I will.

gbsilverio
11-16-2012, 09:04 PM
That's awesome! I love to see this kind of planning and dedication behind something. Keep up the good work!

Cheers!

ManOfSteel
11-16-2012, 09:13 PM
Thank you gbsilverio! I'll try my best.

EAA VOLAN
11-17-2012, 02:18 AM
looks good

ManOfSteel
11-18-2012, 01:04 AM
Thank you Eaa Volan!

Rhotherian
11-18-2012, 01:59 PM
Thanks for the observation Rhotherian. However the plate shapes are correct according to my design. I actually worked from a rough model and tried my best to transfer them to an equirectangular map. Most continents, plates, et al should indeed span the top or bottom of such a map, but because the plates had to fit and move in specific spaces and directions they were purposely truncated on the map to form specific shapes in 3D. It's virtually impossible for me to visualize from the map to a 3D object, so I drew those parts of the map from the 3D object. Below you'll see a shot of the 3D model I used to check the plates' size and orientation. Ideally I would have used a 3D program that allows you to paint directly onto an object and then generates a UV map.


What's really misleading is that the text and arrows get very distorted, but they're just there for reference on the 2D map. Interesting...my model's top resembles yours, but the bottom looks somewhat different. My chief concern is that plate boundaries go off the north and south edges of your world map, which is very, highly, exceedingly unlikely to occur in nature. Take Earth, for example. There is a rift that runs through the North Pole, yet on the world map (NOT world maps that cut off the poles (very common)) the tectonic boundary curves around the top of the map instead of going off the edge. On your map, there's even a four-way junction directly on one of the poles, which is most very-highly-exceedingly unlikely to occur in nature.

50048
Specifically note the North Pole. (Oh, and I intended to post an equirectangular tectonic map of Earth, but all such maps I could find either had the poles cut off or weren't accurate (generally making your mistake with the poles.)

I hope you understand what I mean now. If not, I'll post the tectonic maps of my own world-building project which might further enlighten you. :)

ManOfSteel
11-19-2012, 12:08 AM
No need to post the maps, but thank you for the offer. I understand what you're saying, however what I'm saying is that I didn't want there to be a plate sitting on the north pole so I truncated the northern and southern plates purposely so that they would touch the poles (and thus each other) and not cover it. It's just one of the examples I referred to in my introduction when I said I purposely left room for the unexpected.
I experimented with moving the southern juncture of plates so that it was not exactly on the south pole, but the projection by the 3D program left a lot to be desired. It really stretched and warped the boundary lines and it looked awful, so I left it as is. What I'd like to do someday is get a 3D program whereby I can paint the lines directly onto the model, but I will still have multiple plates meet instead of one plate straddling the north pole and one on the south pole.

amberroberts09
11-19-2012, 05:08 AM
Finish it and show it here please.:)

Rhotherian
11-19-2012, 06:00 AM
My point still stands, but okay, I get your reason. Getting things right at the poles is normally incredibly tedious. A way to paint (and paste, for that matter) directly onto a 3D globe would be exceedingly wonderful, indeed.

ManOfSteel
11-19-2012, 10:00 PM
My point still stands, but okay, I get your reason. Getting things right at the poles is normally incredibly tedious. A way to paint (and paste, for that matter) directly onto a 3D globe would be exceedingly wonderful, indeed.

Wouldn't it though? And there are indeed programs out there that let you paint onto pretty complicated meshes, so painting onto a sphere would be very easy. I just can't justify spending the money right now just so I can paint a few lines. There might be another way I could do it which would be to draw a map of JUST the northern and southern plate junctions head on (centered on a map) rather than have them merged from the top and bottom of a map. I might do that later.

Rhotherian
11-20-2012, 03:12 AM
The trick is - with lines like that pretty much on the poles - to make them shallowly curve opposite to the north/south edge of the map. When orbed, the curve would be squeezed in, creating (in theory) a straight line on the world. That's what I did with my world (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/20957-novusvita-sci-fi-world-political-fantasy-esque-feel%3B-novel-series.html) (just look at the tectonic maps to notice how the plate boundaries curve at the poles. It's not perfect, but it'll do for now (oh, and maybe JUST look at the tectonic maps, because your maps are far superior to the rest of mine on that thread xD)).

ManOfSteel
11-22-2012, 11:51 PM
I love your maps!
Yes, I tried to bend and squish the lines, but as you can imagine, the scale is so exaggerated at the poles that narrowing the lines by just a few pixels made huge changes. And curves...you think just altering the start and stop points will adjust the curve correctly but the middle of the curve has to be changed too, and it's not a smooth curve. To get an adjusted arc, you have to draw a line that changes width and angle along the way. Finally, I just gave up and settled for them meeting at the right place, albeit in converging, narrowing lines. The software program I used has several mapping modes. One of them, the spherical one, did a fairly good job of making the lines curved, but that was after a ton of fiddling that I couldn't reproduce again. Plus, the lines were fat and the continents got really fat at the equator.
I think we will persevere though. I think part of the fun is remembering it's an ongoing work.

Rhotherian
11-27-2012, 11:46 AM
Thanks. ^^

You see I don't go into much detail with the look of the plate boundaries themselves - they're literally just coloured lines - which made things a lot easier than I imagine they must've been for you.

And yeah, it is a WIP. I'm sure you'll figure out a way eventually. :)

Anomolix
12-12-2012, 01:54 AM
I would really love to bring this world to life with the usage of Minecraft, and World Painter. I have been on the hunt for a solid backbone of a perfect RPG world worthy of public eye. Your world seems to have a very perfect aspect to it, and I am very interested in allowing the world to be an explorable and fascinating world. I feel that with the colaboration of both myself and you, and this world will be more then just pictures. If interested, please email me at jesseemerick94@gmail.com, and I will show ou many examples of not putting this project idea to shame! ~ Anomolix ~

ManOfSteel
12-13-2012, 01:15 AM
Hi Anomolix!
Well I'm quite flattered that you're intrigued with Eben and would like bring it to life. But it already has a very extensive background...I just haven't written it down yet. I even started work on a major city in a 3D program, and when was that?
1997!
Alas, the software I use is not up to such a huge challenge. There are programs out there though that I'm sure could do it justice, but as usual, time and money are the obstacles.
So it already has a history, but that doesn't mean that you can't dream up your own adventures within it. It all begins with an evil tyrant, a giant library, impenetrable mountains, a lost kingdom, a vast empire, and an age of discovery...and that's just the beginning. Here's an excerpt from the story where a young man from earth is conversing with two of the aliens:

"And each of our states has a nickname. California is called the Golden State. Nevada is called the Silver State. New York is called the Empire State, Texas is called the Lone Star State, and New Mexico is called....um...wait. He held up one hand. "Don't tell me..."
They both looked at each other.
"...Oh! New Mexico is called the Land Of Enchantment."
They listened intently and he wondered again how much they already knew about his country. Finally, one of them said, "We have nicknames for our countries. Troyus is called The Land of Riches. Dimozh is called The Land Of Legends. Casca is called Land of Abundance. Alyosha is called The Roof Of The World. And Alexandria is called The Land Of High Places."
"Alexandria?" he asked. "You have a country called Alexandria?"
They both nodded.
"But...how? You mean like Alexandria, Virginia? Or Alexandria, Egypt?"
"Yes," said one.
And then the other broke in. "And the capital city is called Alexandria too."
"How did a city on your world get the name Alexandria?"
"I regret to say," said the formal one, "that the answer is not for us to tell."
"Why not?"
"That honor goes to someone else. Someone very important whom you will meet when we arrive on Eben."

Prior to this scene the Ebenites have almost 12,000 years of history...about 7,000 years of their own, and about 5.000 years inter astra, that is among the inhabitants of other worlds.
So you have a lot of room play. ;-)

Lyandra
12-17-2012, 08:43 PM
That is a great project!

pasis
12-18-2012, 01:49 AM
Great work, really great!

ManOfSteel
12-18-2012, 01:57 AM
Thank you Lyandra! Thank you pasis! I'm glad you both are enjoying it.

SupaDupaZombeeh
05-19-2013, 05:04 PM
Gorgeous set of maps, so detailed. Especially the addition of the tectonic plates map is very appealing.

ManOfSteel
05-20-2013, 12:32 AM
Thank you SupaDupaZombeeh! I'm glad you're enjoying them. Keep in touch.

JR Franks
09-19-2013, 01:23 PM
This is all very impressive, I'm simply blown away by the level of detail and craftsmanship you put into all this. I know you used Bryce to create the planet/moon images, but I'm curious as to what software you used for the others - notably, the political and continent/ocean maps? I'm sorry if this is already posted elsewhere, I tried to find it on this page but I'm relatively new to cartographers guild. Any help would be great! My email is franksjr@dukes.jmu.edu if anyone can assist me :)

Abeckman543
09-19-2013, 01:33 PM
Really great attention to details here. The Planet view is so informative and scientific that it really lends credibility to your overall design. The Political map is also impeccable.

ManOfSteel
09-19-2013, 11:29 PM
Hi JR!

I'm glad you're enjoying the maps. Thanks so much for commenting. Regarding the detail of the political map....it is an ongoing project and there have been updates to it. I will post a new version of it here at a later date. And as far as the method used to make the maps...they were done with Photoshop.

ManOfSteel
09-19-2013, 11:34 PM
Thanks Abeckman543,

The planet information was fun to research and calculate. In addition to Eben, I designed 9 other planets and recreated them all in 3D as well as an Astronomy program. None of the other planets have been mapped yet, and if I were to do maps, only 4 of the planets have solid surfaces, so that will save me a lot of time. But that's for another day.