PDA

View Full Version : Draesina: My First Attempt at Creating a Map :D



okami
12-09-2012, 08:50 PM
So, this is eventually going to be a world map for my fantasy world, Draesina. I'm just starting out, as you can see, and would just like some opinions. I have the basic continent outlines, the plate tectonics and their movement, and the continents overlayed onto a world map to show relative sizes. I'm keeping the world similar to Earth, to make it easier for me.

I'm mainly looking for insight on my plate tectonics. What landforms would be created where, mainly, or if there's anything that just looks wonky and needs to be changed. Any and all help is appreciated! ^.^

Continent Outline
50450

Plate Tectonics
50449

Reference
50448

FiahOwl
12-09-2012, 10:15 PM
Looks pretty good! ^_^ I'm no expert on tectonic plates but I think they need a little work IMO, I'll see if anybody else wants to explain.

I like the coastlines they're pretty believable and pretty :D (did that make sense?)

okami
12-09-2012, 11:30 PM
lol yes! I actually grabbed some premade continent patterns from deviant art.

In fact, I hunted down the page again: Fantasy Map Resources (http://calthyechild.deviantart.com/art/Fantasy-Map-TutorialxResources-258559867)

Basically what I did was cut open up the vairous premades in gimp, cut put pieces I liked, and mashed them together, editing a little here and there so it would fit correctly. (I had to get some rough measurements down for it to work in my story.) Then I took the entire blob of continent and selected it, then shrank the selection to create an outline. That was the easiest way I found to do it, as the thought of hand drawing (even on the computer!) coastlines made my head spin. Also, I only had a rough idea what I wanted my continents to look like, and so this helped me give them some variety and believability.

ManOfSteel
12-10-2012, 12:55 AM
Very nice, but just a few things I'd like to point out.
First, your larger continents are cut in half. That can happen, especially when the continent splits as in Africa's Great Rift Valley. But generally, continents float on their own plates. Thus, you end up with two kinds of tectonic plates: ones that have a continent on them, and ones that are nothing but a big piece of ocean floor. It's the collision of the land ones that creates mountain ranges, the splitting of land ones that create rift valleys, and the subduction of ocean plates beneath land plates that creates trenches, volcanic ranges, and island arcs and archipelagos.
You might try looking at your world then as a collection of continents riding their own plates (with the occasional merge or rift) and ocean plates. The western continent might be two that have joined at the narrow area just north of the equator.
Secondly, you do realize that there's not a lot of great real estate on the world as you can see from the overlay of the map of our world, right?. Depending on the terrain, the place most people are going to want to go is the southern half of the western continent and the islands to the east of it. Because of the latitude, everything in the north half is going to be taiga and tundra....think upper Canada and the arctic. The southern continent in the east could be problematic. Depending on the terrain, there's a good chance it could be mainly desert or tropical rain forest, both livable of course, but with difficulty. You could manipulate the terrain so that there's a good amount of grassland at a higher altitude though. That's your perogative. It's your world. The northern continent in the east is almost unlivable except for the southern coast...think Greenland, Iceland, and Siberia.
Now, ,I am a big fan of not manipulating continents and rivers. I like to deal the cards and force myself to play with what I'm dealt, just like in the real world. So if you want lots of frozen wilderness, that's what you're going to have probably. Again, there's a lot of other factors to consider that only you know, for instance the axial tilt of the planet and the extent of it's tropical zones...the altitude of different places, etc. But making these maps can be deceiving. Realize that once you place this map on a sphere, all that land you think you have at the top and bottom is going to pinched severely at the poles.
I made your map wider and spread the continents a bit so that it would be at a proper 2:1 ratio for a better projection on a sphere.

50451 50452

jbgibson
12-10-2012, 12:57 AM
The outlines you assembled do look nice. Remember how severely distorted that northernmost landmass is, thanks to the projection.

The fractal degree of all your coastlines is similar -- about the same jagginess. You might get enhanced plausibility - and some more types of coastal terrain like marshes, barrier islands, smooth beaches, if you mix it up. Take a look at whole continents worth of earthly maps; there's a wider variety than you currently show. Your stuff isn't bad at all, just might be made even better! :-)

The plates imply some stuff about your landmasses - the mid continent collision at NE would maybe be piling up a Himalayan range, the diverging boundary at SE would maybe ba a rift valley like in east-central Africa or an Icelandic volcanic profusion. Places where you show converging boundaries at sea, if I understand tectonics right, would maybe have shoved the upper plate above water, and/or generated a volcanic arc of islands - see ring of fire, other similar spots on earth. You have several major boundaries that are same direction both sides - no idea what that does. Have you specifically looked that up?

okami
12-10-2012, 06:35 PM
Very nice, but just a few things I'd like to point out.
First, your larger continents are cut in half. That can happen, especially when the continent splits as in Africa's Great Rift Valley. But generally, continents float on their own plates. Thus, you end up with two kinds of tectonic plates: ones that have a continent on them, and ones that are nothing but a big piece of ocean floor. It's the collision of the land ones that creates mountain ranges, the splitting of land ones that create rift valleys, and the subduction of ocean plates beneath land plates that creates trenches, volcanic ranges, and island arcs and archipelagos.
You might try looking at your world then as a collection of continents riding their own plates (with the occasional merge or rift) and ocean plates. The western continent might be two that have joined at the narrow area just north of the equator.

Alright, neat. For the northeastern continent, I intended it that way, as there is a (important) mountain range in that area. So it would be similar to the Indian plate converging with the Eurasian plate, creating Himilayan-sized mountains (!) as jbgibson says. And I was thinking of playing around with a large rift on the more southern continent, but I'll take your advice on the other two and move that one around, and the one on the western continent.


Secondly, you do realize that there's not a lot of great real estate on the world as you can see from the overlay of the map of our world, right?. Depending on the terrain, the place most people are going to want to go is the southern half of the western continent and the islands to the east of it. Because of the latitude, everything in the north half is going to be taiga and tundra....think upper Canada and the arctic.

Oops. I didn't realize that.


The southern continent in the east could be problematic. Depending on the terrain, there's a good chance it could be mainly desert or tropical rain forest, both livable of course, but with difficulty. You could manipulate the terrain so that there's a good amount of grassland at a higher altitude though.

Good. I actually want it that way. I have a desert-based culture that I plan on using (it's where the main villain comes from.) Speaking of that particular area, the small island just north of it, would that be included in the jungle-type terrain?


That's your perogative. It's your world. The northern continent in the east is almost unlivable except for the southern coast...think Greenland, Iceland, and Siberia.

Oops again. I knew part of it would be pretty cold, but I didn't realize most of it. I need it to be a bit more habitable. I'll move that down.


Now,I am a big fan of not manipulating continents and rivers. I like to deal the cards and force myself to play with what I'm dealt, just like in the real world. So if you want lots of frozen wilderness, that's what you're going to have probably. Again, there's a lot of other factors to consider that only you know, for instance the axial tilt of the planet and the extent of it's tropical zones...the altitude of different places, etc.

I like that idea. I'll probably tweak the one or two little things from above, but I do like the challenges it presents me in its current state. And it also gives me something to work with, now that I know what the general climate will be like.


But making these maps can be deceiving. Realize that once you place this map on a sphere, all that land you think you have at the top and bottom is going to pinched severely at the poles.
I made your map wider and spread the continents a bit so that it would be at a proper 2:1 ratio for a better projection on a sphere.

That's pretty nifty. What did you use to create this? It would be an immense help to me! :D



The outlines you assembled do look nice. Remember how severely distorted that northernmost landmass is, thanks to the projection.

The fractal degree of all your coastlines is similar -- about the same jagginess. You might get enhanced plausibility - and some more types of coastal terrain like marshes, barrier islands, smooth beaches, if you mix it up. Take a look at whole continents worth of earthly maps; there's a wider variety than you currently show. Your stuff isn't bad at all, just might be made even better! :-)

Thanks! I had no idea. Do you know where I could look up different types of terrain, so I can get a feel for how they look?


The plates imply some stuff about your landmasses - the mid continent collision at NE would maybe be piling up a Himalayan range, the diverging boundary at SE would maybe ba a rift valley like in east-central Africa or an Icelandic volcanic profusion. Places where you show converging boundaries at sea, if I understand tectonics right, would maybe have shoved the upper plate above water, and/or generated a volcanic arc of islands - see ring of fire, other similar spots on earth. You have several major boundaries that are same direction both sides - no idea what that does. Have you specifically looked that up?

Himalayan-sized mountains, you say? All the better to hide lost civilizations and dragons in, my dear. :3

As for the tectonic plates moving in the same direction, I couldn't find much with a few Google searches. But from what I did gather, they would probably not be going at the same speed. Which would put them in the same category as transform movement, creating mostly earthquakes, probably similar to those along the San Andreas fault.

Thanks for all that!! I will (hopefully soon) make those changes and post them here! Please, feel free to keep giving your insight. ^.^

ManOfSteel
12-11-2012, 04:20 AM
It's really late, but I wanted to check in. I'm glad you liked my insights, but I just realized something. It looks like you're using a Mercator projection of the Earth underneath the map of your world. That doesn't project onto a sphere properly using the software I used. See if you can find an equirectangular projection and slide that underneath and that will give you a better comparison of where your land masses would be when projected on a sphere.
More tomorrow.

okami
12-11-2012, 09:48 AM
oh, thanks! I'll get right on that!

ManOfSteel
12-11-2012, 11:16 PM
Greetings! Attached are two versions of your world; one superimposed over a equirectangular map of the Earth, and another superimposed over the climate guide I used for my world map. I used Bryce 7.1 (still available for free at DAZ3D.com I think) to project your map onto the spheres you see above. Now you can get a better understanding of comparative climates. So it turns out it's not as bad as we (I) thought it would be regarding land usage on your world. You have lots more than we previously thought. Note where the northern cities like Toronto, New York, Oslo, Stockholm, Moscow, and Vancouver would be. That's about as far north as you'd get a lot of people to go.
Note the temperate cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Rome, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, and Sydney. Sometimes gets hot, but never snows.
Note the tropical and near tropical cities like Miami, Bangkok, Mumbai, and Taiwan. Possible jungle depending on the altitude. And look...your island is indeed in the tropical zone.
And note how the main deserts are in two bands...The Mojave, the Sahara, the Arabian, the Gobi, the Sonoran, the Kalihari, the Namibian, the Great Australian...all slightly or well inland along those two latitudes. So:

Green= tropical. Centered around the equator and extending to the tropics (of Cancer and Capricorn on Earth)
Red= the main desert zones
Yellow= the temperate zones. Best weather on the planet.
Blue= You've got to like cold weather if you live here. Summer is usually brief and mild, but never hot.
White= Polar. The lands of ice and snow.

Of course, much of this depends on the axial tilt of your world.

50478 50479

okami
12-11-2012, 11:23 PM
Since this is my first world, I'm going to keep things like axial tilt similar to Earth. 23.4 degrees if I remember correctly. Also, your links lead me to an invalid attachment. :(

ManOfSteel
12-11-2012, 11:34 PM
Odd. The thumbnails are gone but the links still work for me. Could you try again, let me know what error message you get, if any, and I'll try to figure out what's going on.

okami
12-12-2012, 12:02 AM
It shows me two hyperlinks that say Attachment 50478 and Attachment 50479. When I click on them they take me to a page that says "Invalid Attachment specified. If you followed a valid link, please notify the administrator."

ManOfSteel
12-13-2012, 12:22 AM
That's odd. Now I get the error messages too. Oh well. I'll try again. Here goes:

5050150502

okami
12-13-2012, 11:32 AM
Thanks! These are really useful. :) I'm working on the coastlines per jbgibson's adivce at the moment. Is there anything I need to know that would affect the way a coastline would look?

jbgibson
12-13-2012, 10:24 PM
Rising sea levels would generate more 'drowned coast' effects - Chesapeake Bay, fjords, maybe marshes. Eddies of surface currents might get you spots of sand sticking out, swoops of beachy inlets. Additional beach can get deposited on the downstream side of islands or headlands. Falling sea level (or up thrust land) could expose sediment dropped while continental shelf was under water, or bare rock not yet sculpted by tides. Water level going up and down gradually over long periods in the right latitudes can get you coral atolls and barrier reefs. Land or sea floor downstream of subduction zones can have extra volcanic activity, as can random hot spots (Yellowstone, Hawaii). I forget just what generates strings of barrier islands like the Gulf of Mexico USA coast, USA's Atlantic coast, the Netherlands.

Spend some time with Wikipedia's Coastal Geography and Coastal Landforms articles, and you'll be itching to find places for dozens more!

okami
12-13-2012, 10:42 PM
That's great. :) I wasn't sure what exact terms to look up. So this means I should have a general idea of how the currents flow, what kind of rock my coast is made of, and where my rivers are, yes?

jbgibson
12-14-2012, 01:47 AM
Helps if you can, but not everybody does.

okami
12-16-2012, 06:42 PM
Alrighty. I think I'm going to start with the terrain, then add rivers, and then do climate and currents. Then I'll mess with the coastlines. It makes sense in my head to do it that way, at least. Lol

I changed the size of my map to the 1000x500 you've been using, ManofSteel. I like it better, and now I can use that program to get a different perspective as I roll along.

I have a new question now: How should I go about editing terrain? As in, what program is good for that? Are there any tutorials to make the process easier/less daunting?

Oh! I also fixed the tectonic plates. And added some islands, Canadian style, to the northern part of the northeastern continent.

50552

Hai-Etlik
12-16-2012, 09:24 PM
You can't just change the aspect ratio and call it a different projection like that. (There are situations where it can be pulled off though) Map projections cause distortion, and you have to get the right distortion for the right projection.

The distortion caused by Mercator is relatively easy to draw into your map by hand and looks OK aesthetically. Just draw things bigger as you near the poles. Since coastlines tend to have a self similar "factal" shape, you can generally draw without worrying, and get something that looks OK. So you were reasonably OK the way you had it before.

The distortion in Plate Carree (Normal tangent equidistant cylindrical, equirectangular, whatever) is just an east-west stretching, which likewise increases as you near the poles. This is much less attractive than the all directions stretching of Mercator and much more noticeable and much harder to draw into the map. If you draw features without considering this distortion, it means the features themselves will be distorted (looking "pinched" toward the poles) to compensate. For instance, that archipelago north of the "Eurasialike" continent is extremely distorted on the globe the way you've got it on that map.

Here are stereographic projections of the north and south poles to demonstrate.
5055350554

Both projections are generally avoided for making reference maps these days. Mercator was used extensively in the past, but it was ill suited to the task (it's designed for use in a particular kind of nautical chart). It is well suited to modern "zoomable" web maps though. Plate Carree is good for textures to be put on a UV sphere in computer graphics applications, and it makes it simple to reproject. You should generally avoid it for designing worlds and certainly for making finished maps.

You also have a triple junction exactly at the south pole, and a quadruple junction (Something that just doesn't happen) exactly at the north pole.

Remember that the north and south edges of that map are each just one point. That projection also significantly distorts direction which makes it rather difficult to work out whether boundaries are converging, diverging, or transverse. (No projection is going to let you do this in a simple euclidean way but Equidistant projections are particularly bad.)

okami
12-17-2012, 09:42 PM
Ok. Let me break this down and summarize it a bit so I can understand it a little better.

Projections:
So, Mercator and Equirectangular projections both cause distortion at the poles, however Equirectangular is worse. For creating worlds (as I am doing) I should go for Mercator? Or is there a better projection I should look at? And to compensate for the pinching distortion, I just need to draw bigger towards the poles. Would the perspective tool in Gimp (which I'm using to create this map) be suitable for such things?

Plate junctions:
I forgot to take that into account, the top and bottom being essentially one point. Thanks for showing me that! How would I correct it? Something similar to this?

50578

I did attempt to use the perspective tool on the lower islands and the northern parts of both continents, but only to a small extent, as I wasn't sure what I was doing.

ManOfSteel
12-18-2012, 01:50 AM
All projections cause distortion. In my opinion, equirectangular is the most straightforward to make, especially for a beginner, and it can easily be converted to other projections by a free software program.
NASA GISS: G.Projector — Global Map Projector (http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/gprojector/)
With this, you don't have to estimate the enlargements at the poles or the distortion of the continents. It will convert a map that is in a 2:1 ratio to many well known projections.
Now, how technical do we want to get? If we just want to show the continents and the relative distances between them, you don't have to do much else. Just be aware, as I said earlier, that the areas at the poles will not be 100% accurate. That's not too bad if you don't have much in those areas.
If you want to be totally accurate, there are ways to correct those polar regions. I use Photoshop. I'm not sure if Gimp has the same function, but here's what you do.
1) Take your equirectangular map and use Photoshop's polar coordinates filter to make your rectangular map into circular ones with the poles at the center, just as you see above.
2) Use whatever tools you're comfortable with to blend textures, move lines, and adjust things at the poles so that they don't have that pinched centerpoint.
3) Now run the filter again, but in reverse, from polar back to equirectangular.
4) Your new equirectangular map now shows the areas at the poles properly stretched so that when you apply the map as a texture onto a sphere in a 3D program, everything will look correct. The continents will narrow as they get closer to the poles, but at least things won't converge in a point.

okami
12-18-2012, 01:04 PM
Awesome. I kind of thought all projections would have distortion. Its really strange to convert a 3D sphere to a 2D rectangle. However, that is an awesome idea. And I KNOW I saw a similar Gimp tutorial somewhere around the internet. Off to that now, will return later with my attempt and more questions for my next step. *walks off, mumbling to self and digging through hoarded tutorials*

Hai-Etlik
12-18-2012, 05:34 PM
Probably the most robust way to handle this would be to use a GIS like QGIS, and block in roughly where you want things. Then create appropriate regional projections for each region and work on the details of each region separately. This would be dramatic overkill but it is the "best" solution as it uses the real world tools used for managing geographic data.

If you don't need to do a full globe, restricting yourself to a smaller extent will make things a lot easier, particularly if you stay away from the higher latitudes.

If you want relatively easy compatibility with G.Projector (which is a lot easier for people with only a graphics background than a full on GIS) then you can get a regional projection that you can still feed into it. Pick a bounding box in latitude and longitude. Then cut out that portion of your plate carree map. Then scale the image horizontally by cos(latitude) for a latitude in the box.

For instance, the cosine of 45 degrees is 1/sqrt(2) So if the 45th parallel runs through the middle of your map, you can squash it by 1/sqrt(2) to get something that is less distorted within that box. Edit to add your details, then you can stretch it back out by sqrt(2) to get back to the plate carree projection again and put it into your world map. Then you can use G.Projector to put it into a projection suitable for a finished world or regional map. (Don't do any fancy styling or graphical work until it is in the final projection.) Obviously, the taller the box, the less well this works.

okami
12-19-2012, 04:41 PM
So I downloaded G.Projector and QGIS. At first glance and toying around with it, G.Projector is great, and QGIS is...well, @_@. Lol, it looks like a great tool, but I'm not sure how to achieve what you're describing, Hai-Etlik. So I'm basically just trying to re-proportion the more northern parts of my landmasses, yes? I guess I just need direction as to where to start (importing my map to QGIS, or choosing the best projection from G.Projector and going from there). I think once I get the basics down, I can get something reasonable and come back here, though it may take some time.

And so, once I get the landmasses in order, I'll get that up here and work from there on the next step. Hopefully. lol

Hai-Etlik
12-19-2012, 05:46 PM
So I downloaded G.Projector and QGIS. At first glance and toying around with it, G.Projector is great, and QGIS is...well, @_@. Lol, it looks like a great tool, but I'm not sure how to achieve what you're describing, Hai-Etlik. So I'm basically just trying to re-proportion the more northern parts of my landmasses, yes? I guess I just need direction as to where to start (importing my map to QGIS, or choosing the best projection from G.Projector and going from there). I think once I get the basics down, I can get something reasonable and come back here, though it may take some time.

And so, once I get the landmasses in order, I'll get that up here and work from there on the next step. Hopefully. lol

Yeah I only mentioned QGIS for completeness. I should have been more clear that I didn't really expect you to use it, just that that was the kind of tool you'd need if you really wanted to be really precise about this. Trying to draw the correct distortion into an equidistant cylindrical map by eye is probably your best bet. Draw your shapes, load the map into G.Projector, and take a view of the poles. I'd recommend using the Stereographic projection and setting the latitude to 90, or -90 (depending on which pole you want). See if it looks wrong, and if so, go back to the original equidistant cylindrical map and try to correct it, then load it back into G.Projector to see if it worked.

okami
12-19-2012, 06:41 PM
Ah, I see! Do I make the changes to the the map in a different program then? I'll start getting on that. :) Thanks!

Hai-Etlik
12-19-2012, 07:38 PM
The workflow would be similar to software development or web design. Edit, then run it through a process to see what you get, and then go beck to edit the original.

Edit the map in your graphics editor, then load into G.Projector, pick Stereographic and set the latitude to +/- 90. Look at the polar aspect maps that result and decide what changes you need to make to correct any problems. Then you have to go back to editing the original map in your graphics editor and make the corrections. Try to make small incremental changes rather than adding a lot of detail at once and then trying to fix it.

okami
01-13-2013, 07:46 PM
Sorry I haven't been here lately! Spending time with family for the holidays and getting into school for the past few weeks, but I'm back again.


Anyway, I made some tweaks to the map and the plate boundaries.

New Map
51225

North and South Poles
5122651227

New Map with Plates
51228

North and South Poles
5122951230

ManOfSteel
01-13-2013, 11:52 PM
Oh I like the tectonic plate changes you've made. There's a clearer view of oceanic plates and continental plates. Remember that oceanic plates tend to subduct, or slide under any land plates they collide with thereby generating your island arcs or volcanic mountain ranges.

okami
01-14-2013, 10:23 AM
Yay!! Thanks so much for you and Hai-Etlik's help. :D After I nudge some lines off the edge of two of my continents (which I just noticed and now it's bothering me. >_<), I believe my next step will be terrain height and climate.