View Full Version : WIP Needing Help

07-27-2013, 10:42 AM
Howdy folks. I'm working on a project map and need some help with how to represent some elements of topography (elevation) as well as how to identify a feature within the map

Ok, so here's a small version of the map that I'm playing with:


The area that's shaded (below) is lower than the surrounding region. Low enough that there's a huge waterfall (but not stupidly huge) from the river over the cliffs into the region.

I'm having problems trying to show that A) either the surrounding region is higher in elevation than the shaded area or B) showing that the shaded area is somehow lower.

I thought about trying to use the grey 'cliffs' that wrap around the area and use elevation lines to suggest that they are cliffs but they just look wonky to me.

Any suggestion on this would be helpful.

Additionally, I'm trying to find a good way to represent on the map the falls (see below). I can't put the name 'The Great Falls' over the area because it blocks it out. Putting the name to the side is sort of odd because you have to look back to where the falls 'would' be. I thought about an arrow or a line or something but they just make the map look cluttered.

I even thought about putting some white 'clouds' where the falls are to help draw your eye to it but again - it just ends up looking cluttered.





- Max -
07-27-2013, 10:56 AM
On which style are you going on this map?

07-27-2013, 11:11 AM

Here is the 'elevation lines' that I was talking about earlier. They look fine for the lower mountain range - as you can get the idea that there's two sides of the cliffs - forming a natural spine and the like. Once I leave that area and try and represent more of a sheer drop it gets messy.

As for a style - I'm just trying to show the basics. As you can see - this is not an ISO or Illustrative map. I'm not that good...yet.


07-27-2013, 11:31 AM

The idea is to show some variation of the above elevations. In areas where the range is wider - you'd have the 'peek' and then the cliff. In areas where the range is more narrow it would just be a sheer drop off.

Am I over-thinking this?


07-28-2013, 11:22 AM
*bump* *Bump*

07-28-2013, 11:51 AM
I'm having difficulty discerning what your question or goals are. From what I gather you have flat land that is at two different elevations separated by a sort of mountain range of cliffs. I'd guess that without using some sort of coloured height representation your best bet would to be using shading and shadows in order to visually lift one side above the other. Around the higher territory separate it out and put a shadow border around it, and then make the lower part a shade darker by overlaying some sort of grey transparency layer. That's would be what I would try anyways.

07-28-2013, 12:48 PM
I agree with Falconius; I think you'll need to key color to elevation. I seem to be referencing it a lot the past few weeks, but my Wheel of Time map has some tasteful and rough hypsometric tinting that may serve as inspiration: http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/3685-robert-jordans-wheel-time.html#post41091

Once you've done that, though, you'll need a new way of indicating terrain. On a simplified map like this one, I'd say terrain symbols are the way to go, with perhaps just some slight variation in hue to indicate boundaries. It's tricky to manipulate the colors without confusing the elevation, though.

For the falls, part of it will be taken care of by the hypsometry, and I think if you add a small label just downstream that should take care of it. You may need a less decorative font, though; the blackletter doesn't do so well at very small sizes. Maybe something like Belwe, which keeps a sort of medieval look but isn't so detailed. I took a look at how Fenlon depicted Middle Earth's Rauros in one of his maps at about this scale. He has hachure lines to either side and a sort of oval bulge in the river at the base of the falls, with "Rauros" in small type near the falls. This image is unfortunately fairly low-resolution, but the original isn't gigantic, anyway. It also has someone else's handwritten notes on it (barbarian): http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-J38cJ5WWAV4/UTWCA1KCR7I/AAAAAAAACMU/AbW6-6PRAqg/s640/img011.jpg

07-28-2013, 07:03 PM

The Wheel of Time map is sort of where I'm going with the concept for this map that I'm working on. Since It's not isometic - I'm just going to be using symbols and color variations to indicate terrain.

07-28-2013, 07:09 PM
I plan to add more detail to the map as I go on - but for now I'm just blocking out various regions to know what is next to what and some basic understanding of terrain.

Anyone have a link for terrain icons? I.e. Grasslands, Bamboo, Forest?