View Full Version : Campaign World Map / Advice Wanted

10-28-2012, 12:56 AM
This is my current project, a world map for a rpg campaign. I'll be posting updates, but I would appreciate some advice / critique.

I'm using photoshop based on a hand drawn and scanned image, and I'm trying to get an attractive map for a poster sized print out, with a combination atlas / "satellite view" feel.

Thanks for any help.


10-28-2012, 01:54 AM
The rivers look ok at screen size, but at poster size the blunt ends will bug you. I don't use Photoshop, but I bet there's a way to taper them. For that matter, on several square feet of paper you may wish you had a more finely branched river network.

What size are you building this at?

The mountains that are midway between rust and crumpled tinfoil look pretty good, but the really smooth flatlands are way devoid of interest by comparison. Maybe they could stand a little bit of texture too? If the final product will have the flatlands filled with symbols and labels, that might suffice.

10-28-2012, 02:27 AM
full poster is 24x36 @ 300 px/inch
map portion is 15x30 @ 300 p/i

Rivers hate me, and I can never figure out how much river detail to include. I toggle between not enough (hmm, a blue line) and too much (aww, poor guy. somebody used his map to clean up spiderwebs). I was trying not to overload it because I will be adding all the labels, and wanted it to be readable, but i appreciate the input. I feel better about adding some branches. Any advice / recommended tutorials?
The flatlands will be pretty full of labels (roads, cities, fortresses, ruins, other sites of interest, political boundries, etc), but I can hit it with a little more texture.

Thanks, I'll get another update in as soon as I can.

10-28-2012, 05:12 AM
I like the overall layout - nice little nooks and crannies and islands to explore. I agree with JB about the rivers - those blunt ends are bothersome. I'd suggest using the fade function in your brush palette. You can set the length of the taper, the minimum width, and it'll work no matter if you drew the rivers using a brush or carved them out with an eraser.

One other thing that's bugging me is what looks like artifacts from your mountain creation out in the water. Is that intentional, or do you plan to clean that away?

10-28-2012, 08:43 AM
That is intentional, and I keep turning that layer on and off deciding if I like it or not. "Not" is starting to win, but I like the idea of undersea mountains, so perhaps that needs more fiddling.

10-30-2012, 12:34 AM
Okay, despite a hurricane, I managed to get some work done. I have cleaned up the rivers and given them some branching (thanks jbgibson!) and tried to get them flowing out of the mountains a bit better. Next I will fade the sources and add a little more fine detail. They still are not finished, but at least they look a bit better.

Added some texture to the actual landscape, with thanks to Ascension for his atlas tutorial (awesome stuff, btw). I don't like the way the mountains rendered, but I think that is due to my rectangular format, instead of the square map, so I stuck with my own method. Maybe I just like being in control of my random. ;)

I played with the mountain ranges under the ocean a bit more, and found a simpler method worked better for them. I think it is quite a bit better, but I am still tweaking it.

I rendered at 100px/inch so I wouldn't have to compress it, but my final I will go full resolution.

What do you guys think?


11-01-2012, 01:36 PM
I think you should use softer brushes where textures are concerned. Around the edges, the change is too sharp and drastic in most cases. I think particularly where it comes to the edges of mountains, and the sort of underwater 'continents'. For my personal taste, I might add some brown around the bases of the mountains or something like that. Going straight to solid grey/black is a little too stark for me. But again, that's personal taste.

I like the detail in your rivers - you did a great job expanding that, though it looks like you changed the color of them? Anyway, I like the overall map. There's plenty to explore, for sure.

11-01-2012, 04:12 PM
The islands are really cool, and the northern continent has a nice shape. I like you're textures, but my one comment is the southern continent looks a bit boxy and awkward.

11-09-2012, 12:11 AM
Got the forests layers finished up, and the geographic labels placed. Working on the political labels now.

Anyone have any tips for reducing file sizes? I lose a lot of quality/detail saving to a file size I can upload.

11-09-2012, 12:22 AM
That is really looking good !! The only suggestion I have is that your labels are difficult to read. The font is fine but the colors really blend in with the terrain. Keep up the good work :)

Commander Freddy
11-09-2012, 02:59 AM
This map is coming along excellently! I love the colours and textures, but I do agree with jtougas, the labels are blending into the environment.

Brian Michaluk
11-09-2012, 09:24 AM
For the labels. I like to put a contrasting glow around letting to make it show up easier.

Working poster size in that program the files will be titanic for sure.