View Full Version : Mapping from the ground up

07-03-2013, 02:52 AM
I came across this website a little while ago when making some maps for an rpg campaign. After browsing for a while and trying out some tutorials I thought it might be fun give it an honest shot. Here's the beginning of my world. I made the landforms then roughed in some tectonic plates to place mountains and sketched some wind patterns to figure out wind shadows. From there I used the diagram to rough in the biomes. No serious work yet so it's all subject to change. I'd love to get thoughts on any of it.


07-05-2013, 07:22 PM
I worked on the ocean and the mountains/hills over the past few days. I think the underwater landforms need some work and I'm not totally sure of the shape of the large southern mountain range.


07-05-2013, 10:21 PM
Looks promising so far! I always like when people star a map looking at the geological factors from the very start like this. I like your complex chart too. I would say allow your rivers to be less curvy and have tighter turns and curves. Considering letting some of the islands in that chain in the west half to have more size variation in them. Four of the islands look very similar and you could have some smaller ones in between too or try breaking them up into pieces a bit. I would just try to avoid regularity. For mountain shadows I would set a single light direction and stick with it. Some of the islands with shadow right next to the shore look like they are concave forms instead of convex like you'd want because they conflict with each other. Keep it up! I look forward to more. Don't like my critiques and suggestions make you think I am not fond of how this map is going so far. :)

07-08-2013, 04:45 PM
This map is well thought out, and so far your making very nice use of the Saedran tutorial. Looking forward to watching the map progress.


Relic Kimah
07-17-2013, 09:35 AM
Does this role-play have tunnels, so it would be a true dungeon crawl? I drew a set of tunnels for a campaign taking up about fifteen square feet once. It was epic.

07-17-2013, 01:15 PM
Here's my latest progress. I sharpened up the mountains a bit and did a rough pass on the vegetation. I'll probably spend more time on the details like getting the forests to interact with the mountains better, adding interest to the ice caps, maybe adding some color variation to indicate tropical vs. temperate forests.


Viking: I appreciate your critiques. Messing with the landforms and rivers is a bit more than I'm game for right now but will keep in mind for the future. The mountains were a good call, however, and I did go back and edit those.

arsheesh: That tutorial is really great. Hopefully by the end of this map I'll be able to use the techniques to create something in my own style.

07-17-2013, 03:44 PM
I like your visual style. but the desertification along the bay/penisular of your central continent seams strange. You don't usually see a green continent with a coastal desert. Or an inner sea like that with green forests to the west and desert to the east.
Me ... not good ... with words. So let me show you what I'd rather expect:
I know, the primary wind as your diagram shows should be hot dry wind from the desert but often enough the wind blowing down the inner sea's cosat could turn a little east and rain down there. And also, the strong ocean winds should blow over the small land toungue often enough each year and mix the weather up around there, too. But I can't really argue from meteorology, my main point is, that for me, it "feels" better, somehow.

07-17-2013, 03:55 PM
Well there's no visible mountain range near the coast, but if you did, there are many deserts along the sea - the Mediterranean sea side of the Sahara, the west coast of South America, including Peru and Chile is practically all desert, even down to Patagonia. The west coast of the US, especially in Southern California is pretty much desert to the sea. Look at Baja, all desert there too. So there are plenty of deserts along the sea, mostly if there's a coastal range, however.

07-17-2013, 04:22 PM
Yes, I might have explained the point to short up there. And for example for the southern part of the continent it works. Just in the detail part I scribbled over it does not work. And I guess, you are also right, that a few additional mountains might solve the problem as good as bending around the vegetation level.

07-17-2013, 10:21 PM
I like your update so far. The mountains look great now and the vegetation really is starting to make it feel nice!

08-16-2013, 06:41 PM
I've been busy at work the last month so not much time for map making. I do have some time off now, though, so hopefully I'll be able to finish a couple.

Maraxus_ I see your point about that bit of desert. I'll noodle it some more in the coming days.

Viking Thanks. I'm still figuring out mountains. I experimented with the smudge tool in a different file and got some interesting results that I might try out on the next map.

**latest WIP**

Coming back from a long break I didn't want to mess around with the word I'd already done until I remembered what exactly I had going on. This update is mostly adjustment layers and some decorations. Now I need to come up with some names for things.

08-17-2013, 08:16 PM
Names are one of the best parts :P

08-23-2013, 07:51 PM
Ok, I'm tentatively done with this map. I'm a little iffy on the border but I couldn't really come up with anything that fit the map style better. The compasses are supposed to look like undersea landforms so I tried to make all the labels reminiscent of clouds.

**latest WIP**

Relic Kimah
10-04-2013, 10:57 AM
I would be curious to see ruins reused by later civilizations.