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Eilathen
04-07-2013, 11:46 AM
Hi CG-lers,

After another try to draw a world map that satisfies me (mostly my eyes ;) ) and horribly failing, i turn to you gals and guys.

How do you come up with your landshapes? Are there any cool tricks to get random coastlines for a region or a whole continent?

Some of you guys just nail it almost every time...and i am envious (i am especially looking at Diamond and torstan).

How do you do this? Drawing by hand and scanning it in? Drawing with a mouse or tablet? Something entirely different (like random generation of continents)?

Please, tell me. CG, you're my last hope [/Star Wars pastiche] :D


Thanks in advance
E.

P.S.: Pointing me to a Tutorial is also fine.

Eilathen
04-08-2013, 08:11 AM
No one?

Maybe it's a "too easy" question? Unfortunately, for me, it seems not to be. And i'm looking for some different ways of coming up with landforms...especially random ones.

ravells
04-08-2013, 08:34 AM
Hi Eilathen,

I have to say, I just fake it and add smooth & wiggly bits until it seems about right. One way you can do it also is to take real world coastline silhouettes and invert, resize, stretch, cut up and stick together until you have something new, but the coastline should have the right amount of 'wiggliness' since you have used real coastlines to start with.

In terms of overall shapes there are a few tutorials out there on world building, you could look at those. Or you could use a generator like 'Fractal Terrains' . Regional shapes are often defined by natural barriers like rivers and mountains and following those gives them a more natural look.

- Max -
04-08-2013, 08:35 AM
I lately tested this one: I draw the area very quickly painting with a large round brush in PS to set the general shape then I just grab the select tool and select all around the mass the areas I want to erase, which build the coastline at the same time.

vorropohaiah
04-08-2013, 09:07 AM
i just draw lines with my tablet until something looks good. most often i feel i get it right the first time. other times it takes a few passes.

having said that i find i when i used to draw coastlines by hand and scan them in i used to be more pleased with the results...

baamenabar
04-19-2013, 11:41 AM
Several times I've found chipped paint or deteriorated in walls to be very inspiring, I snap a picture, trace it, and play arround joining splitting untill it looks fine.
Like these: 53768

Chashio
04-19-2013, 02:07 PM
Several times I've found chipped paint or deteriorated in walls to be very inspiring, I snap a picture, trace it, and play arround joining splitting untill it looks fine.

I do that too. :) It works with coffee, rocks, clouds, moss clumps, broken glass, etc. Ink blots are a good source too. Etc etc... You can combine random objects until you have something you like. Get some paper with a random grain such as handmade paper (big art/craft stores like Michael's and AC Moore usually have this in the scrapbook aisle) or find a sketchbook with a subtle variation (it's very subtle--think watermark--but it can help with drawing coastlines). Buying a lot of special paper can get expensive though, so you might want to pick up a pad of tracing paper and draw on that so you can use your special inspiration paper more than once.

Also:
- Pull out a world atlas and flip through til you find a shape you like, grab a sheet of paper and a pencil and visually copy it (draw on the paper while following the atlas coastlines with your eyes). You'll get something similar but not a direct match. It also improves your hand-eye coordination with a lot of practice ;) Also good to just study the shapes in the atlas (or google maps) to build up an eye for natural-looking coast with different terrain types.

- Hand-drawn masking: draw the general shape you want, on paper with a good dark pen with lots of flow, then 'chew' into your shape to refine the landmass (the interior white space is your landmass). You can leave some white space for islands as you work in, or build them up on the outside of your original line. Scan it--or take a photo--then select and mask it off. Or if you're working on paper, trace it onto your mapping paper with a graphite transfer sheet. Or if you have a tablet you could just do it on the computer... but be sure to bump up your resolution so that the brush doesn't snag on the horizontal and vertical lines so easily.

su_liam
04-19-2013, 04:30 PM
Coffee spills make excellent archipelagos!

Carbus
04-19-2013, 05:30 PM
What I used to do before getting a little better, was to generate clouds, and them with the threshold i started molding the continents (all of this in PS, and also saw this technique in Tear's tutorial!).
But one day brownsing CG Textures, I saw this textures of painted metal, and never really worked on something, but I think it has a lot of potential, with the landmass and oceans
[CG Textures] - Textures for 3D, graphic design and Photoshop! (http://www.cgtextures.com/) go to Textures - Metal - Painted

Example: MetalPainted0101 (http://www.cgtextures.com/texview.php?id=41649&PHPSESSID=2gqjqgrgqapl1ae6m0bits82p1)

foremost
04-23-2013, 08:16 AM
I don't think there's a surefire way to make a cool-looking continent shape, if that's what you're aiming for, but I know there are some ways to avoid the boring and unrealistic.

First, it's common to see mistakes where people draw square continent shapes or sharp edges. Nature doesn't often involve any perfect shapes, and a continent that looks like it's a bunch of squares isn't generally realistic. It may help to focus on the practicality of a shape - rivers usually run from mountains to the coast, and bays may exist where the river meets the ocean.

Keep your coastlines interesting not only with pleasing shapes, but maybe some activity too. If you know you'e going to have a coastal village somewhere, for example, instead of drawing the coastline to fit the village, you might draw the coastline naturally and determine where the village would most likely be built. Obviously, this isn't just for coastlines and villages.

If you still aren't satisfied, maybe your coastline needs a point of interest - one thing that holds attention over everything else. Go dramatic, I guess, and maybe you'll be happier with the final result. Good luck!

-FM

Meshon
04-26-2013, 03:51 PM
I have made a couple of pretty satisfying maps using a vector map of the world (like, the Earth world). I found one somewhere that had each country as a separate shape so I opened it in Illustrator and just starting moving stuff around, overlapping and inverting. The only problem with this method is that some savvy observer may say, "Hey, this Pirate Kingdom is totally the south coast of France!"

cheers,
Meshon

AtmoGuy
04-29-2013, 12:11 PM
One way to avoid recognizable coastlines when using real-life maps is to overlay one on top of another, and where the coastlines intersect randomly choose which one to follow. That way your "fictional" coast includes random features from two different real world ones.

Eilathen
05-03-2013, 06:11 AM
Cool, i didn't visit this thread for a while...some activity in it during that time ^^

Thanks guys, some interesting ideas. Will have to experiment with them.
I started to just not being that picky anymore :D In other words, i handdraw something and then just go with it. Maybe revising some parts etc. etc. . It is hard at the moment (damn my perfectionism ... lol) but i guess, as said in another thread, if i try often enough, some day i will hit a perfect shape ;)

WillP
05-11-2013, 05:54 PM
I was on my deck a couple of days ago looking at clouds pass by, and I realized they would be the perfect template for continent shapes. Didn't have my camera with me to snap a picture.

lostatsea
05-12-2013, 10:28 AM
Interesting inspiration comes from all around . I either slop a bunch of digital paint on the screen then cut into it with the eraser tool using some cutters made from cloud brushes. Varying the size / orientation / brush keep picking at it till you are satisfied. Alternately if you don't have something specific in mind let nature do the hard work. Use spills paint splashes / peeling paint broken rock patterns or my personal favorites CLOUDS ! :D

From this To This
54509 54510

Korash
05-12-2013, 01:35 PM
Very Nice oh Lost one. :)

Which progs and techniques did you use?

Scot Harvest
05-12-2013, 01:48 PM
Freaking Genius!!!



Interesting inspiration comes from all around . I either slop a bunch of digital paint on the screen then cut into it with the eraser tool using some cutters made from cloud brushes. Varying the size / orientation / brush keep picking at it till you are satisfied. Alternately if you don't have something specific in mind let nature do the hard work. Use spills paint splashes / peeling paint broken rock patterns or my personal favorites CLOUDS ! :D

From this To This
54509 54510

jbgibson
05-12-2013, 02:16 PM
During and after our start-with-clouds competition I spent weeks snapping pictures of the sky. I now have a collection such that I'll never have to use a program's "generate clouds" for randomness :-).

lostatsea
05-12-2013, 02:38 PM
OH where were you guys last July when I needed the Votes !! :P Ha Ha. I will be revisiting the "City state of Etheria " In the near future . (Hopefully) I didn't have time to do it justice for the challenge. Too much new techniques to learn and not enough time. It has way too much potential to let fade into obscurity !

I used Photoshop to adjust the contrast and convert to grey-scale PNG. I also used the magic wand tool set at increasing tolerances to create elevation masks to use in Wilber. I opened the greyscale in Wilber as a greyscale surface. I used the masks to to elevate the different areas using mathematical -offset. Then I ran Erosion-Precipiton filter to taste (Don't remember how many scans) to roughen it up. Saved it as a PNg. Took it once again to photoshop . Ran the lighting filter to add shadowing , to make it pop some more. Word of warning Wilber is a chunk to chew on. I stayed only to the above mentioned filters. Waldronate is the goto guy for Wilber seeing as how he created it ! Any how that was the basics. I thought seeing as how the cloud photo already had so much texture I had to use it as a bump atleast instead of just a shape. But just using it for shape gives one more leeway if you have something specific in mind !

vorropohaiah
05-12-2013, 03:31 PM
that cloud map is great!

Schwarzkreuz
05-12-2013, 05:08 PM
i agree, I totally like the shapes.