View Full Version : WIP Selvarin - Fantasy map

- Max -
02-22-2013, 04:05 PM
Time to post a new WIP here. The current project is a fantasy continent named Selvarin. The map is 26"x36" ( 7795x10866px) - uploaded WIp is 50% sized. There's nothing that much done but the land mass (colors are temporary, to delimit the sea/land) so this first post is rather to start the thread than show an advanced start. I'm currently working on compass, borders and a fresh new set of hand-drawn mountains.


02-22-2013, 05:53 PM
how long would you say it takes you to get a set of mountains finished for a map this size?

- Max -
02-22-2013, 07:54 PM
Hmm..hard to say. I already started to draw last week, I did it when I had some spare time and I didn't really check the total time I spent on it. So far I have 400ish mountains (hills includes) but it still needs a bit of work and I'll probably add more

02-23-2013, 08:07 AM
*Gets popcorn*

Work your magic Maxie!

- Max -
02-24-2013, 11:43 AM
:D ok so let's go ;) Started the first mountains ranges and rivers in southern region and also started to work on the heraldry and tested out map's main icons.

02-24-2013, 12:42 PM
That heraldry is mouth-watering. I see you like circular symmetry like I do. And those map symbols are excellent.

mystic badger
02-24-2013, 12:57 PM
That heraldry is mouth-watering.
+1 ;) Any tips on how you've done them ?

02-24-2013, 01:11 PM
Love the heralds. Great work. I really like the color palettes. Rustic.

02-24-2013, 01:22 PM
I agree, the shields are awesome! Not such a big fan of the mountains. It will be interesting to see how this will turn out. Keep it coming, Max.

- Max -
02-24-2013, 01:39 PM
Thank you guys :) Still have a few more shields to do.

+1 ;) Any tips on how you've done them ?

Sure : draw the basic shape of the shield in PS, duplicate it to make and inner outline, first one set to normal, second one set to luminosity at 40% opacity. Add a textured layer/adjust color behind them (each shield has a specific textured layer(s) ), add distressed/aged touch all around the shield with one or two layers brushed with several brushes. Then add symbols ( a mix of vectors/PS drawing work) and you're done :)

@Eilathen : Personal tastes or something bothers you about the mountains? Most of the time, I use to draw a new set for each map I make and I needed a lot of them for this map so I went with more classical ones for it since I want to focus more on some other things on this map ( heraldry,territories borders, labels...) but I'm pretty satisfied of how they turn for now.

02-24-2013, 04:18 PM
I love this map. The mountains are very basic and simplistic, but seen on the map the whole of it is so much greater than the sum of its parts.

From what I've seen so far I think the heraldry will be what tips this map from good to awesome. As some have stated before me those shields are truly beautiful. I'll be googling tutorials for how to get that aged/weathered look, but the raw talent behind the symbols is what I fear I lack :)

- Max -
02-24-2013, 05:25 PM
Thanks Maquesh, I'm glad you like it. For the aged/weathered look, basically I applied some several grunge/ditressed brushes (light colors on medium/dark shields colors, and dark colors on light medium shield colours). On some shields, I adjusted blending modes of the aged touch layers to fit better.

- Max -
02-24-2013, 08:43 PM
Very first try with icons/roads/labels on southern region. A few colors will probably be added later on terrains and mountains


02-24-2013, 09:36 PM


02-25-2013, 07:45 AM
@Eilathen : Personal tastes or something bothers you about the mountains? Most of the time, I use to draw a new set for each map I make and I needed a lot of them for this map so I went with more classical ones for it since I want to focus more on some other things on this map ( heraldry,territories borders, labels...) but I'm pretty satisfied of how they turn for now.

Let me try: 1) they're a bit too pointy for me. 2) The style is not as organic and natural as i'd wish...they look very much like singular mountains put beside each other...they don't form a real mountain-range.
Does that make sense? It's the best explanation i can come up with :-/

- Max -
02-25-2013, 09:12 AM
That makes sense. Don't really know what to think about it though. I didn't want to go with such a realistic style but rather makes suggestives one, since it's a map and not a " real" drawing :/ Any other thoughts about it, anyone?

- Max -
02-25-2013, 01:12 PM
I thought about your mountain range comment Eilathen : I think part of the problem may come from the way the mountains don't stick together on certain parts. Here's what I tried to fix quickly (with some examples of what I tried to explain).



02-25-2013, 02:06 PM
I thought about your mountain range comment Eilathen : I think part of the problem may come from the way the mountains don't stick together on certain parts. Here's what I tried to fix quickly (with some examples of what I tried to explain).



I wasn't going to mention it because fixing it would be Too Damn Much work, but here we are. The mountains are shaped like triangles, while they would fit better together if they were shaped like diamonds and had depth that way.

- Max -
02-25-2013, 02:14 PM
I guess you're right. I use to hatch a bit at the moutain's base, which make them blend better but for some reason I didn't do it on this ones. Hmm, I guess I'll go on and fix it with the flow :D I'll post an update soon with colours touch, we'll see if it comes up right.

- Max -
02-25-2013, 03:28 PM
Alright, here's a new update : mostly added colours, changed minor things on labels and added harbors icons. Comments are welcome...


- Max -
02-26-2013, 06:16 PM
New update: slowly mapping further north, did a slight overall color change, added rivers labels.


02-27-2013, 03:09 AM
Great work ... I really like the use of icons and text... Its something I am struggling with on my own WIP map. I also like the muted colours... I think I may have to revert to using less bright shades on my own map - makes it seem somehow more authentic.

02-27-2013, 04:11 AM
im noticing a lot of maps with heraldry popping up lately :)

very nice. I like the land/sea textures, though if you can stomach it I think Naeddyr is right about the hatching around the mountain base, which will make a huge difference.

- Max -
02-27-2013, 04:56 AM
Thanks guys. Yes heraldry is funny and interesting to use. It also helps to play with labels sometimes since you can put some of them in a key and not on the map. About the moutains, I'll try to find out the way to fix it though without re-drawing the brushes... Maybe draw some hatching brushes that i can put on moutains bases, don't know yet.

02-27-2013, 09:30 AM
Beautfull map. I will mark this thread =)

02-27-2013, 11:19 AM
Yes, it looks very good. The mountains are a bit better now, Max. Still not my favourite style but definitely an improvment. What really makes the map work for me are the colors. I love the soft green and the red icons and i also think the forests look very good. The heraldry is also top notch. Looking forward to the finished map.

- Max -
02-27-2013, 11:48 AM
Thanks :) I still trying to figure out how to improve moutains base in a satisfying way. Hopefully this will come soon but for now I need to progress more on the map to see how it turns with more areas done.
But well, I guess it won't be finished before a while though :D, I still have a lot to do on it and at the moment I'm just working on a tricky way I want to put some major points of interest.

02-27-2013, 02:29 PM
This is lovely as per usual Max.


- Max -
02-27-2013, 03:14 PM
Thank you Arsheesh. At the moment I'm just mad : my computer just re-booted for no reason, closing all my stuff without asking me to save it and I lost 2 solid hours of work on this map :((

02-27-2013, 03:42 PM
Thank you Arsheesh. At the moment I'm just mad : my computer just re-booted for no reason, closing all my stuff without asking me to save it and I lost 2 solid hours of work on this map :((

Oh, Max. Save early, save often.

- Max -
02-27-2013, 03:52 PM
Saving on a 2,5 GB PS file is kind of slow so I don't do it as often as I'd do on smaller file...

02-27-2013, 04:09 PM
Saving on a 2,5 GB PS file is kind of slow so I don't do it as often as I'd do on smaller file...

i feel your pain - i've lost as much as 18 solid hours because my not-so-good laptop suddenly crashes. i really need a super computer for the types of maps i work with... hopefully you can restore the lost stuff and make it better

- Max -
02-27-2013, 04:18 PM
i feel your pain - i've lost as much as 18 solid hours because my not-so-good laptop suddenly crashes. i really need a super computer for the types of maps i work with... hopefully you can restore the lost stuff and make it better

18 hours omg!
I guess I need a super computer aswell...And it seems that I can't restore the lost file but well it's ok, I'll deal with anger and frustration. I'm probably just done with mapping for today. Thanks for the support

02-27-2013, 04:21 PM
Yikes! Sorry to here that, what a drag. I've lost work this way as well, but never more than an hour or two at a time.

02-27-2013, 06:11 PM
Lovely! I love the Heraldry, something i would love to use in my next map. keep up the amazing work!

02-28-2013, 01:34 AM
Wow, another absolutely kick-@ss piece of art. Don't get so frustrated with the lost work that you give up altogether!

- Max -
02-28-2013, 05:00 AM
Thanks much guys! That's cool Diamond, I decided to go ahead on another part of the map (what I started to do a bit last night) and I'll redo what I lost later ;)

02-28-2013, 05:14 AM
This is looking great as usual, Max. You sure can knock them out quickly.

Sorry to hear about your crash - I feel your pain there. It's happened to me in the past so I got into the habit of saving often but I know the habit is starting to slip again so this is a timely wake-up call.

02-28-2013, 05:24 PM
Great looking map Max! I had gotten away from symbolic mountain ranges in favor of a more top down appearance but dang those look nice. Love the heraldry too. Keep up the good work.

- Max -
02-28-2013, 05:59 PM
Thanks Ramah and Nolgroth. I was planning to post an update tonight but it seems that I'm slower than expected :| well let's back to map

- Max -
02-28-2013, 08:03 PM
New update. I didn't go as farther as I wished but still had some progress on it.


- Max -
03-01-2013, 02:22 PM
I decided to design enhanced points of interests on the map: (I probably won't put more than 1 or 2/major country.)




03-01-2013, 02:44 PM
Cool idea, and I like the design for these points of interest. This map is really coming along nicely.


03-01-2013, 03:09 PM
love those labels/insets! nice crisp detail

- Max -
03-01-2013, 03:14 PM
:) Thanks I'm glad you like it! Well, time to go back building next regions.

03-02-2013, 10:13 AM
The map might get a little crowded like this.

But i like the idea and it looks very good in the little examples we see.
Now if only you could make this map in english instead of french :P :D

- Max -
03-02-2013, 10:29 AM
As for the enhanced locations, It will be ok, there will only be 1 or 2 points of interest like this on each main countries.

- Max -
03-02-2013, 09:32 PM
A few more progress...


03-03-2013, 03:16 AM
looking nice,

oh, and desolation de haresk? :)

- Max -
03-03-2013, 09:32 AM
;) Diamond gives me some idea when he put a Gulf Of Lorn on his map. I decided to go on some names related to some Guild's cartographers of whom I like the works. This one was easy to spot :D

03-04-2013, 08:49 AM
I really like this map. It feels friendly and fresh somehow. I like the clear labels and the places of interest.
It's nice that you use the symbols of the heraldry to mark the borders with watermarks.

I'm jealous of you because of the pretty symbols for cities and castles.;)
Seen them, I'm trying to invent some for my own map.

Where are the many names of forests, cities and landscapes from? Do you create them while mapping or is there already an existing world you take them from?

- Max -
03-04-2013, 11:46 AM
Thanks Eld :)

I already had the main areas/regions labels done, related with a main written setting. It's not that much detailed so I created other names while mapping which may help me to go farther in setting details if I need to.

03-04-2013, 12:24 PM
I feel ehm... humbled. This is a great map with nothing to nitpick right now. Looking foreward to the finished piece!

03-04-2013, 02:35 PM
This map is evolving beautifully. The two islands in the the large lake look like they have a different glow around them. Is that on purpose?

What do the symbols by Sapril, Dinorias, Arkanil and Mysdelil mean? Are they symbols for capitol cities?

- Max -
03-04-2013, 02:59 PM
Thanks much guys :)
@Maquesh : the waterlines will be the same as the other coasts on the two islands you were talking about. I haven't worked yet on that small inner sea. And yes, the symbols are for capitol cities, this will be clearly explained later in a map key, along the other symbols, roads, borders and heraldry ;)

03-05-2013, 12:47 AM
Wow this map is awesome so far! I LOVE the cliffs :D

Can't wait to see more :)

- Max -
03-05-2013, 06:54 AM
Thanks much Bookhowl! I'm a little busy this week so updates will probably be slower but well still working on it a bit...

03-05-2013, 07:15 AM
Wow. Just wow. The inspiration I got from just checking out this post is just immense. Really makes me happy that i found this forum!

- Max -
03-05-2013, 08:53 AM
Glad to know you find some inspiration here Cain :-) after all this is one of the purpose of CG: learn some things, share the works, get inspired by others to improve own maps. A lot of maps inspired me in the forums ;-)

03-05-2013, 10:49 AM
Yeah I instantly noticed how supportive the community is! "CG is the fuel, my mind the engine". Just thought of that and I don't think it's a bad metaphor. ;P

03-05-2013, 01:43 PM
Your maps are awesome! And those coats of arms... So beautiful!

03-05-2013, 02:03 PM
I agree on BookOwl, the cliffs are just amazing.

Your symbols for cities, castles and religious sites are also very cool. That inspired me to create some for my own map as brushes, but they are far more simple as big symbols seem to occupy too much space on the map. I can't wait to see the map key for further information.

- Max -
03-05-2013, 07:10 PM
thanks for the support guys :)
Map key will be done in the final rush ;) And for the cliffs lovers, stay tuned, there will be a few more to come :D

03-05-2013, 08:48 PM
Your map is turning out great! I like the heraldry and the icons very much. The fonts used for labelling are pretty cool too and the points of interests are a good idea to give some crispy details on the map. Good job!

03-06-2013, 08:45 AM
Wow, im really looking forward to see this develope. Everything is just the way i like it, and ofc, those shields are out of this world. Keep updating please!

- Max -
03-06-2013, 09:11 AM
Thanks much guys.
No worry Jockvonmockn I'll keep updating the thing ;) It's just kind of a slow week for me (though I'm still working on the map but I'll post a new update when I'll have some more advanced stuff)

- Max -
03-09-2013, 10:35 PM
Finally an update with some progress : a bit more than half of the lands is done. Probably a few things to fix but I'll do it at the end when checking the whole map.


03-10-2013, 06:30 AM
Looking better and better. :)

- Max -
03-10-2013, 09:42 AM
Thank you Lyandra and Jtougas :)
I'm planning to finish the lands first then I'll work on seas ( colors and labelling) and next steps will be compass/rhumb lines/border/key/some graphic design...Still a lot of job to do!

03-10-2013, 02:37 PM
Stunning. So inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

- Max -
03-10-2013, 03:27 PM
No problem captive, glad you like it :)

03-10-2013, 09:32 PM
I can't wait to see it finished! That really turns great, I really appreciate the level of details you put on this map (the great wall is lovely :) )

03-10-2013, 09:41 PM
Reading through this thread, it astounds me how you just started in a corner and just filled in the details - and wonderful details, might I add. I need to figure out this rep thing, and give some.

03-10-2013, 09:44 PM
Holy Jesus! This map is amazing, I really want to see it finished.

- Max -
03-10-2013, 10:06 PM
Thanks you much guys, for your kind comments appreciated. Glad you like the WIP
@ N8ey, yes I often use to start in a corner and then fill up or down the whole map. That's how I really feel building up the map ;) For the rep, you need at least to have 30 posts before being able to spread some reputation around :)

03-11-2013, 04:20 AM
the pale red icons - like the crossed swords or the circular thingies; are they just decoration (i doubt it) or do they represent battles, and um, other stuff? and if so will they be included in the key later on?

the trees - are the a pattern or a brush?

looking very pretty, as always :)

- Max -
03-11-2013, 04:52 AM
Thanks Vorropaiah :) the pale red symbols are supposed to remind the several boundaries between the territories. I was planning to put it in the key along the borders itselves.
The trees are hand drawn turned into pattern yes.

03-12-2013, 11:47 AM
I'm not sure to understand how you're doing forests with a pattern

- Max -
03-12-2013, 12:06 PM
first I scan individual hand drawn trees, add colors and build some little blocks of trees by selecting and stamping individual trees with the clone tool. On my map file I import the tree blocks on a small size colored background. Then I use the clone tool to build larger forests on the map buy selecting and stamping the tree blocks on my forest layer ( from top to bottom). Schwartzkreuz did post some tut about it with mountains in the tutorial section.

- Max -
03-12-2013, 05:30 PM
Here's a quick tut to explain it better (at least I hope):


Hope it helps.

03-12-2013, 07:23 PM
Thanks for this tutorial! I understand better now :)

- Max -
03-12-2013, 08:00 PM
No problem Aredhel, glad it helps :)

03-13-2013, 05:07 AM
pretty much the same way i make my mountains

- Max -
03-13-2013, 05:23 AM
For the mountains I use to stick with brushes. More time consuming but with sets with a lot of mountains I wouldn't feel comfortable with some huge mountains patterns layer on my map while working.

03-14-2013, 10:13 PM
two questions:

1 - how u do this cliffs? you draw it in the map or create a brush for it?

2 - you said that not use clone to make the mountains, i cant understand how it overlap not using the clone, coz brushes have a transparent background.
I asked it long time ago and the only solution to overlap was using the clone.

btw, i liked the name of the Muraille :P:P

- Max -
03-14-2013, 10:28 PM
I draw cliffs on the map. That's very simple. Here's a quick tut I made some weeks ago for The Hoarse Whisperere to explain it (from the map of Kerngard) :


I do not use clone tool for mountains because I have like 500 mountains/hills for this map and having a layer with this number of elements doesn't make sense. To use the clone tool properly, I should draw mountains ranges before building the map which I'm not comfortable with. I prefer buildings the mountains directly on the map.

03-14-2013, 10:41 PM
OHHHH you do it in your finishing work!!!
It make the things much more clear! I was working in everything in a base file before put it in a other with template, lines, labels everything. Just work with a few details in the finishing template *dang

and, i was talking about the "Gorges de Sylin", but guess you do the same :)

- Max -
03-14-2013, 11:28 PM
Not sure to understand. I'm working in only one photoshop file with all my layers.

And yes, I do lands cliffs the same as coastal cliffs :)

- Max -
03-16-2013, 01:09 PM
Updated : Finished two more territories and added the geographic elements on most of the northern part of Selvarin. Still have to label it, work on 4 minor coats of arms and finish 2 minor territories. After that I'll be done with the land, hopefully this week-end. Next step will be sea labeling (and maybe colours change on it)


- Max -
03-17-2013, 12:59 PM
Finally lands are done :) I also increased the shields size a bit and slightly adjusted the sea colour. Full map uploaded version is around 50% size and northern/southern parts of the maps are around 2/3 size (all with resolution decreased :( to fit the standards uploads sizes)




03-17-2013, 01:47 PM
that's ok, i guess ;)

gorgeous stuff as always. i really love the small inset information and the symbols and forests and coastlaines and...

- Max -
03-17-2013, 01:54 PM
:D :D Thanks much Vorropohaiah! Well now I have to merge some more layers, the file is 2,70go (with already merged layers) to work more comfortable with sea labels and compass and borders and key and...Damn still a lof of job to do :D

03-17-2013, 05:51 PM
It is like a Arabic place? And are you thinking in ad nation borders?




so coll the stuff but cant understand anything :((

- Max -
03-17-2013, 06:22 PM
Well it's not like an arabic area ( though one nation is related to some egyptian/orient style in some ways - not geographic ones). Nation borders are already on the map. Maybe it's not enough readable? :( I hope key will solve it. By the way I think it's a map you have to take a look close to see the details on it.
And for the english version...well, I guess it won't happens! :D But you can still let your imagination work, take a long journey in Selvarin and enjoy what you see/meet. Be careful though, there's some dangerous places here. Oh s*** you can't read french to avoid them :p

03-17-2013, 07:22 PM
Orient style :)

Ok, found it, the red lines. Hard to define that the circles are the borders. Maybe a bit closer and some transparency, dunno :P honestly i just found the borders cause u said that have, i have this map here with me coz i was trying to translate some of the details

- Max -
03-17-2013, 07:58 PM
Circles? Hmm not sure we're talking about the same thing. The borders are the red dot lines like this:


I also put the nations symbols (in pale red) that you can find on the heraldic shields around the borders to remind the territories

03-17-2013, 08:26 PM
yes, dots :D circles 8)

- Max -
03-19-2013, 05:46 AM
Alright, added heraldic key, icons key, border, compass and rhumb lines, useless ornaments and did a slight colour change on seas. I just to add sea label and fix a few issues. Finished map should come soon...

03-19-2013, 06:38 AM
Truly impressive map; the amount of detail is fantastic, and definitely encourages a wander through the world. The colors and textures work really well together, and all those heraldic shields are a great touch!

- kes

- Max -
03-19-2013, 07:53 AM
Thanks much Kes I'm glad you like it. Hopefully I'll be done tonight...

03-19-2013, 09:12 AM
I love everything about this map. Don't know what else to say right now :)

- Max -
03-19-2013, 10:12 AM
Well just keep some words for the finished thread ;) Thanks Maquesh!

03-19-2013, 02:24 PM
I'm just waiting for the finished version to read the key and enjoy it. And I hope that there'll be an upload with 100% of the original size. Maybe you could put it in three or four parts?

- Max -
03-19-2013, 02:37 PM
Yes that's what I was planning because obviously the map is too big to fit the upload limits. Don't know how these parts will turn though. I'm going to think about it ;)

03-19-2013, 04:01 PM
I'm waiting aswell :D Can't wait to see it finished!

- Max -
03-20-2013, 10:54 AM
And...I'm done. Finished thread here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/22689-selvarin-fantasy-map.html#post210769) Feel free to comment it :)
Thanks to all of you for your comments and your support :)

10-27-2013, 04:05 AM
Hey folks, I am just starting off on learning how to create my fantasy maps. I am looking to learn how to make the ocean rippling effects used on this map. I have created an outline, similar to this map but not on the same scale. I like this style, so I am trying to follow the same method. Can someone assist?


10-27-2013, 04:25 AM
Personally, I learned how to do it using a Tutorial by Ascension (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/3806-%5Baward-winner%5D-antique-style-maps-photoshop.html).

There's also this one as well (www.fantasticmaps.com/2013/04/drawing-old-fashioned-coastal-waters/)(I believe that this guy also goes by torstan around here).

10-27-2013, 01:36 PM

Thank you for the guide in the right direction. Now, I have to see if Gimp does the same thing.



12-08-2013, 12:32 AM
Awesome work, dude! Great stuff.