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Timo
08-04-2013, 07:23 PM
hello folks, first of all I’d like to thank everyone here for being so awesome, and secondly I’d like to submit my first map to the scrutiny of this community!

I followed pasis’s tutorial for the mountains and trees and ascension’s antique style tutorial for the overall look, so thanks to those guys for making that available. I am quite happy with how it turned out!

I find myself in need of several points of advice from the knowledgeable on many things I think. The map is a depiction of a land that is behind a story I’ve been developing for hundreds of years – almost! There are locations that exist in my mind and on paper but have no geographic place as of yet. they’re vague which is fine on paper and “in theory” but now I have something to look at I am becoming quite obsessive about the logic of placements and trade routes.

The basic idea here is the sea level has risen and broken the continent into islands, I wanted them close so that they could be linked by great bridges that were constructed by a more advanced civilisation that came from the east from a land that is only assumed to exist because these folk must have come from somewhere!
The first settlers came from the west, so their movement across the islands eastward would have some effect on where major locations would be(?)
Then later when the second settlers came from the east, their movements westward would also have more of a drastic effect because they came to dominate(?)

1. I would like any comments as to where you guys would logically think capitols and major ports and trade routes would crop up
2. I don’t want to add deserts simply for regional variance, my understanding is that many things are responsible for the formation of deserts and landmass is one of them(?) I’m not sure if deserts would form because none of the landmasses are big enough

Any river comments will be acted upon straight away, if it means changing a river entirely I would appreciate any advice as to where great rivers could go – I like ‘em long!

The UK is there for scale as well as actual geological position, this came about by overlaying the map on the earth and lining the UK up, if I move the UK down any further then the northern islands go too far north and they’re supposed to be Scandinavian in climate and if I move the UK up then the southern portion ends up even further into north Africa!

Please graffiti on it and say anything you want – even if you hate it, I’m going for realistic here and if a complete change is necessary then I will change it – to a degree, I still want it to be a series of islands that are almost touching!

There is one more thing! On the eastern most island there is a small collection of high lakes – these are plot related and I would like any advice on natural circumstances that would facilitate their existence, they’re not mountain top lakes, just lakes in mountains!

ps: i wasn't sure about image size, read that there was a 4.7mb limit on uploads so i just shrunk the amount of pixels and made the rivers red so they all stood out better - the original is 6k by 6k 300px/inch

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can anyone tell me how to make the image clearer or larger to view, i suck at compression stuff!

Jaxilon
08-05-2013, 01:18 PM
Wow, cool looking formations, I really like it.

As for rivers just remember that water flows downhill and combines with other rivers to become one on it's way to the sea. It seldom if ever branches and if it does it soon comes back together. There is a link around here on "How to put rivers where they belong". The only thing I noticed and at the level I can zoom in I can't really tell it seems in some areas you have rivers running from one side of the continent to the other and then vice verse which could happen if the land actually slopes in opposite directions. I go by feel on these things but others here really get into the math.

Hubs of activity will be based on ease of transportation in most cases. It sounds like you have Seafarers so I would say your main cities will be coastal with decent harbor areas to keep ships safe from storms and so on. Just remember what people need to live and you should do alright with anything else. (ie, source of fresh water, fertile land, defensible locations when possible).

You don't have to have deserts but it's worth keeping in mind that mountains create their own weather so it's typical to find one side of a range greener than the other. Obviously if there is enough rainfall both sides can be lush. If you have strong winds from the Sea the trees can also be a bit wind battered and that might change the look of the forest from other places.

If you are using Photoshop the easiest way to upload a large image is to save as.. <.jpg> and lower the quality which does a pretty good job of keeping your details while shrinking the file size. Once you are inside of that 4.7mb limit go for it. I know I would like to be able to zoom in on this a tad more.

Great job!

Lingon
08-05-2013, 04:28 PM
That's awesome! Fantastic formations, and great landscape textures. The map really gives me a feel of what it'd be like to visit the place.

The only suggestion I have is to remove (or decrease the opacity and number of) the woodcut lines around the coasts; with such complex coastlines and so many islands almost touching, they become rather confusing. The land and sea colors are different enough to clearly show where the coasts are without the extra lines.

As for where the cities would be, I imagine those huge bridges would be the starting point of quite a few. River mouths and protected fjords are always good places too, and smaller villages tend to form at distances from each other of one or a half day of travel.

Azelor
08-05-2013, 04:40 PM
You did an amazing job for the landscape. But I have to admit that I don't like your background. Maybe it's the color of the fact that there seems to be a repeating pattern, not sure.

Timo
08-06-2013, 02:10 PM
yeah, i was just going to leave the background until everything else was done and finished!


Wow, cool looking formations, I really like it.

As for rivers just remember that water flows downhill and combines with other rivers to become one on it's way to the sea. It seldom if ever branches and if it does it soon comes back together. There is a link around here on "How to put rivers where they belong". The only thing I noticed and at the level I can zoom in I can't really tell it seems in some areas you have rivers running from one side of the continent to the other and then vice verse which could happen if the land actually slopes in opposite directions. I go by feel on these things but others here really get into the math.

Hubs of activity will be based on ease of transportation in most cases. It sounds like you have Seafarers so I would say your main cities will be coastal with decent harbor areas to keep ships safe from storms and so on. Just remember what people need to live and you should do alright with anything else. (ie, source of fresh water, fertile land, defensible locations when possible).

You don't have to have deserts but it's worth keeping in mind that mountains create their own weather so it's typical to find one side of a range greener than the other. Obviously if there is enough rainfall both sides can be lush. If you have strong winds from the Sea the trees can also be a bit wind battered and that might change the look of the forest from other places.


Great job!

Here's the best i could i do for full size!

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This i think is one of the more offending rivers, I hadn't put any thought into rivers before making the map, i just kind of knew that "this place is on a river" and "this place is at the mouth of a massive river" - things like that, so i looked at other maps for river ideas and ended up deciding that Westeros' Trident was may favourite, so this one is inspired by that - it does kind of give me a headache trying to figure out how it curves like it does! the branches are supposed to flow down from coastal mountains where the coast kind of leaps out of the sea, but now i think about it they're probably not really necessary and maybe they do reach too close to the edge of the land

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the other two rivers in the image i think are ok(?)

the river on the right of this image looks a bit dumb now too, and maybe should carry on down to the inlet like the one next to it

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I think the rivers here are ok too, but taking into account the high mountains there is a potential for some dry arid land? if oceanic weather comes in from the west the mountains will potentially buffer it, does that mean it could go back to being greener again to the south of the range - kind of like a low angle of light making a shadow? and also could that mean the branches coming off the mountains would actually be on the other side?

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And finally, here's where i imagine the hub of trade and commerce to be as the main islands pretty much converge into this body of water making it easy for everyone to have access to everyone else, but saving the eastern and western outer coasts for trading with foreigners!

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@Lingon; i took the lines away and you were right, it did look better! here's something i trouble over about inland villages and such, how do they get their water? do they have to buy it? do people collect it from rivers or springs and take it to them (like mail)? if they have to collect it themselves, how much would they have to carry back each day? or would they simply rely on collecting rain water?


thanks again for all the feedback and advice

- Max -
08-06-2013, 02:26 PM
Very nice job so far, nice landscapes and shapes. Though I like the texture you put on the map, I think it's a bit too strong. I'd suggest to lower its opacity a bit.

Lingon
08-06-2013, 03:56 PM
@Lingon; i took the lines away and you were right, it did look better! here's something i trouble over about inland villages and such, how do they get their water? do they have to buy it? do people collect it from rivers or springs and take it to them (like mail)? if they have to collect it themselves, how much would they have to carry back each day? or would they simply rely on collecting rain water?


Well, most villages form on rivers, so it's rarely a problem ;) Wells can of course also supply a small settlement with enough water, but hardly a big one. I'm not very into the math stuff of world-building, mostly I just paint/write what feels right, so someone else will surely be able to give a much better answer! But if a village has to be far from a water source, then I suppose the inhabitants would be forced to do those things you suggest. There are villages in the real world located in very dry areas, so the people have to walk miles every day to fetch water and carry it home, so it's not implausible, but in what essentially is a huge archipelago, I don't think anyone would do that rather than just move to someplace where they have closer to the water :P

On another note, I agree with max about the texture. It's so heavy it distracts from the beautiful map!

Midgardsormr
08-06-2013, 04:41 PM
You might be surprised at how much a well can supply. There aren't many rivers to speak of across Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, but most of those states are well-irrigated from the massive aquifer underneath the Great Plains. A little too well-irrigated, really. That aquifer isn't recharging as quickly as the water is removed.

Also, just because a river isn't shown on the map doesn't mean it isn't there. A map of an area this size is only likely to show the most major watercourses, specifically those that are navigable or are wide/deep enough to serve as barriers.

Inhabitants of very arid areas can get moisture in nontraditional ways, too. There is a nomadic pastoralist culture in North Africa somewhere that gets moisture for drinking from bleeding their cattle. And they wash their hands in the cows' urine. Of course, they don't form settlements, so that's of limited usefulness for this particular question, but the point is not to underestimate peoples' ability to get what they need from environments that seem inhospitable.

Timo
08-12-2013, 11:49 AM
That's interesting stuff, i love hearing about little things like that - and it can definitely be put to use for peripheral peoples, although this is the only land i have put any work into so far there is still a continent on the left edge that i would like to add at some point

so here's the map with the overbearing texture toned down! i was worried initially because it started to look like painted plastic - all shiny and weird!

i've also added desert, i was thinking it was pretty unavoidable!

something else i've started doing as i work on it is trying to figure out how the rivers got to the sea before it rose! is this a normal level of pedantic-ness?!

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Osprey
08-12-2013, 01:34 PM
I think it's very well-crafted, and I personally like all the detail and the natural-looking proportions. The close-up regional maps sort of remind me of the Middle east as it transitions into the Mediterranean.

If you want to be picky about geology, I'm wondering about the formation of the dense, fjord-shaped inlets in the north-central "latitudes" [for lack of a better word] on the eastern and western coasts of your continent. You have 2 others which look more or less similar, too, and they are located on the north side of your southernmost landmass. I would say the latter example (the sawtooth fjord-like coasts on the southern landmass) look more natural, just because they're closer together, which suggests similar geological processes (glaciation maybe?). And the offending river system looks a lot better now that you cropped off some edges. As for desertification and greenery, I'd keep in mind that rivers tend to "green up" adjacent land due to erosion and groundwater absorption, especially mature rivers which have formed their own valleys. I understand it doesn't always happen that way, though. I really like the northwestern archipelago, too :) Hopefully this all makes sense, I can't post images yet!

Oh, yeah- and I agree about the riverside villages. A single, medium-sized river is usually good enough to sustain a small town; that is, if there aren't too many issues with drought. And if you want, you could always put an aquifer in a particularly dry region; like the Ogallala in the Great Plains.

Great work, overall :)

Timo
08-12-2013, 03:13 PM
thanks for getting into it, the main reason i posted it was to get a feeling for whether people would accept the set up - i have questioned certain things about it a lot myself, but that's a common thing and why second opinions are so important!

the fjord-like areas were originally supposed to show where rising sea levels had the least impact or drowned out river valleys, i was toying with the idea of these areas having land bridges subject to tides but pretty soon felt that going into that might be more complicated than just simply stating it - and given the analytical power of some people out there (those who attempted to work out how westeros' seasons were related to how it orbited its sun for example) i thought some would be able to figure out how tides would be different at different times and different locations and pretty much pull it apart and debunk it! at the moment they are simply "shallower areas" that "may be" subject to tides!

i'm still kind of in practice mode with this map, it is the first attempt to visualise a land that has only ever existed in written form until now and may change quite a bit if i start over!

i have an aquifer in the middle of the southern-middle landmass, it's supposed to be a kind of garden expanse sandwiched between dry, grassy land north of it and encroaching desert south!

Midgardsormr
08-12-2013, 04:59 PM
I think the fjord-like structures work when the backstory is taken into consideration. They'll erode away quite rapidly now that they're subject to tides, but in the short-term they make sense to me.

Speaking of that aquifer, I wonder how it will be affected by a sudden inrush of seawater? Obviously the freshwater will lay over the top of the salt, so after the seas begin to rise, it's entirely possible that the wells will start to overflow. Areas that were once semi-arid might suddenly become fruitful when the water table is temporarily supercharged by the saltwater being injected to the lowest levels. A bit like an oil well—pump water into the oil sands, and the lighter petroleum will be pushed upward.

I have no idea what the long-term effects of saltwater in an aquifer would be. For that matter, this entire post is purely speculative. I have no particular expertise in geology. But maybe it gives a place to start asking questions of people who do know something about it.

Timo
08-12-2013, 05:50 PM
Uh oh! now we're talking! how rapidly is quite rapidly? because we're talking roughly 2000+ years ago that the sea rose!! the first settlers don't know that the land was ever once one (maybe two) chunk(s)!

maybe flooded aquifers could also be used to help explain some areas of land loss(?)

Midgardsormr
08-12-2013, 06:44 PM
Ah... Yeah, I'd think 2000 years would be ample time for the rough coasts to erode to something more closely resembling the kinds of coast we're used to seeing and turning a lot of those peninsulas into archipelagos.

I suppose if you're talking about a lot of rocky canyons, that time scale could work. I'm not really sure how long it would take for the ocean to break up something like the Colorado River basin, which is the sort of canyon I have in my mind: File:Lake Powell - Arizona.JPG - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lake_Powell_-_Arizona.JPG)

Timo
08-15-2013, 08:33 PM
Nice! that was the kind of terrain i had come to envision for the south of the middle island, but you got me thinking of erosion and i'm contemplating filling in the fjord-y bits somewhat when i get time!

i also find myself second guessing a lot of what i have done so far...so maybe a tabula rasa moment is immanent!

the story behind the map takes place over nine islands - there are more scattered around, but nine main ones which are singled out as kingdoms for religious resonance (the number nine is quite important and ten is bad!) In my mind i had always envisioned a collection of islands each roughly the size of the UK or slightly larger with an obvious "main" island and a chain of smaller islands that are just left wild and full of fugitives! this seemed fine to me! now though the sheer scale and distance seems a bit of a reach...i dunno, i'm slightly boggled and tired!

Timo
08-18-2013, 03:36 PM
So i decreased some of the fjords slightly, except for the ones in the south - it'll be fine! and started plotting my locations!

My place, region and island names are constantly changing (thank god word has a find and replace feature!) the island names have a caveat in that the names must also be applicable to ruling powers, so "the something isle" also goes into things like "the something king" and "the king of the something"!

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i think there might be something to be said about my labelling, it gets quite tricky especially when there are many close together

"Court Vestige" - HATE this name, i can't describe how much! the place has given me nothing but trouble since its birth! it was essentially established by the eastern invaders, once they took the east isle they went straight to the heart of things, built a fort and from there tore through everything else and it became their seat of power. It was later seized at the end of a (very) long and bloody rebellion and then became the centre of a maturing religion (think Rome, vatican, throne of st peter's), but was seized once more at the end of another rebellion after religious naughtiness occured and the centre of religion was moved back to First Resting (where it's argued it should've always been anyway) and it passed into the hands of a normal everyday king. The place is prone to metaphores of liberty, gain and victory (it briefly had the current times name of Third Victory but i kind of realised that going with this tradition by the end of the story it would called Fifth Victory and i can't keep chaning the gagnabbin name!!!) as well as names with a ring of oldness, overlordy historical-ness!

another hinderence is the naming of a smaller city that has sprung up at the end of a bridge that crosses the river that i'm hoping to name after the capitol!

i am open to suggestions, or maybe even just a list of words i may not have considered yet!

Timo
08-27-2013, 04:16 PM
been playing with textures and layer styles, trying to get to a point where i can predict what colours will be affected by which layer styles!

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someone had a nosebleed on it, just can't get the generals these days!

I'm hoping to create some "themed" renditions, kind of like posters that will reflect war and strife and kind of just angry lands!

Chashio
08-27-2013, 04:31 PM
The blood is a bit much, and the land, or at least the coastlines, could be a bit darker perhaps, but... I like it. And I like your choice of label names. :)

Timo
08-28-2013, 07:48 PM
I tried to make the stroke on the land stronger but for some reason it just wouldn't work, i duplicated the layer set it the stroke to multiply and all that, duplicated and duplicated, checked the opacity, nothing seemed to make it stand out! i didn't understand what was going on!!

AvuncularMontague
08-28-2013, 10:03 PM
Hey - I really like the shapes you drew - very evocative. Can I ask, was it all by hand/by eye, or was there some detail that was automatically generated somehow? The very many tiny specks of land in the north west look like a lot of trouble! I find the hint of 3D effect on all the coastlines very good - how is the bevelling done? And could you post a small portion of a coastline at full size/full quality?
One comment, I'm not sure it's still in the most recent version (I'm looking at "56995d1376853759-critique-advice-please-5text.jpg"), but there is a small island that has been cut and pasted and appears identically in two locations. I noticed it because it looks like a little man waving... it appears once to the south east of the Narrow Gate, and again south west of the Rift Waters.
Oh one other thing - at the mouths of rivers I'm pretty sure you should erase the dark line that is part of the coast line, crossing the mouth of the river. For example the two rivers that meet the sea at the inlets north of "The Rift Waters".
I enjoyed this map!

Chashio
08-28-2013, 11:11 PM
I tried to make the stroke on the land stronger but for some reason it just wouldn't work, i duplicated the layer set it the stroke to multiply and all that, duplicated and duplicated, checked the opacity, nothing seemed to make it stand out! i didn't understand what was going on!!

Try making the layer effect into a layer of its own... right-click on the layer effects for that layer in the layer panel and click: create layer... but do it with a duplicate, so if there are other effects on the layer you can delete them (it turns all of the effects for a layer into separate raster layers which you can then mess with like any other layer). ... That may work, anyway. Not quite sure what's happening.

Timo
08-29-2013, 12:39 AM
Hey - I really like the shapes you drew - very evocative. Can I ask, was it all by hand/by eye, or was there some detail that was automatically generated somehow? The very many tiny specks of land in the north west look like a lot of trouble! I find the hint of 3D effect on all the coastlines very good - how is the bevelling done? And could you post a small portion of a coastline at full size/full quality?
One comment, I'm not sure it's still in the most recent version (I'm looking at "56995d1376853759-critique-advice-please-5text.jpg"), but there is a small island that has been cut and pasted and appears identically in two locations. I noticed it because it looks like a little man waving... it appears once to the south east of the Narrow Gate, and again south west of the Rift Waters.
Oh one other thing - at the mouths of rivers I'm pretty sure you should erase the dark line that is part of the coast line, crossing the mouth of the river. For example the two rivers that meet the sea at the inlets north of "The Rift Waters".
I enjoyed this map!

i'm sure many noticed the kinds of things you've seen!

i basically ran a fractal noise effect in adobe after effects and looked for shapes that i knew i'd need and cut them out from that, then in photoshop i refined by hand the shapes into what i had in mind! the duplicate details are what's left over from bits that i chose but didn't notice because i was focusing on other parts at any one time! the little man waving is one of these bits, but there were many others that have now been redefined or removed! (although i have no idea how it ended up alongside parts that share no other features! so it was possibly left over from layers that were previously cut away!) so it was a mixture of by hand and by random process - but the most time was spent by hand!

the north west you mention was done by hand because i had a certain shape and "flow" in mind, but i don't think it may have been as troublesome as you imagine, once i had the shape down i attacked it with the eraser brush set from about 3 pixels to a maximum of 9, what you end up with is a kind of broken lands effect as you follow the coastlines and chisel away at it!

and also - yes, my river mouths are pretty sloppy!!

@Chashio - thanks, i'll give that a go - still getting to grips with how photoshop treats effects, i'm used to the forgiving nature of After Effects!!

joefrizzell
08-29-2013, 05:31 AM
The rivers in the middle are a bit dark compared to the coastline, maybe once you have the stroke issue figured out it will even itself out. Have you tried rasterizing the stroke before duplicating it? Sometimes photoshop handles vectors strangely. Good luck and great work!

Timo
09-06-2013, 02:12 PM
re: the stroke issue, i followed the suggestions but to no avail! i got around it by duplicating the layer, zeroed the fill and plonked it on the top of the layer stack! there was something acting on the opacity of the layers that i couldn't pinpoint, i know this because the background layers are now in a background template ps document and by dropping the land layers into this doc does not create the same faded look! this is quite confusing as the only layers above the land layers are text layers!?!

anyway

i took a look through my old "practice" map attempts and found one with an interesting shape! it was a continent, not islands, but it had a "british" influence and i thought i'd have a go at making islands out of it! i don't know why i turned away from it in the first place as it seems closer to what i ultimately had in mind, maybe i just didn't have a clear enough "vision" at the time!!

here it is:

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for some reason the file size is bigger, so the image quality is not the prettiest!

you can probably see the origin of many shapes that were used in the previous map, and i brought some shapes from that one (obviously)!

i am also a little happier with the scale of this one, using the same technique i used to scale the last one (putting it on an atlas = genius), this one stretches from the faroe islands to algeria, so about 2500 miles, much more acceptable than the shade off 4000 miles of the previous one!

i now have the problem of not knowing quite where to put mountains! lots of hints at river mouths though!

i did say that a redesign might be on the cards, there are quite a few possible arrangements and by the looks of things i'm not going to be happy until i've tried them all!!!! i was worried this would happen! curse my indecisiveness!

JSP
09-08-2013, 09:23 AM
Awesome texturing and design, this is the type of map that makes me have that same awe and curiosity of what the world is like. It does not happen too often that I can see a map alone and want there to be a few thousand pages of good writing to accompany it so I can see it from within.

JSP

Timo
09-11-2013, 12:05 AM
here's the newer attempt with texturing...

Chashio
09-11-2013, 03:22 AM
I prefer the 'paper version' from the previous update. The lighting on this new one is ... \: not a favorite kinda photoshoping. The land texture is interesting, tho. :) What would happen if you combined the land texturing with the paper version?

Timo
09-11-2013, 02:50 PM
At first i thought you meant plonk the textured map on a paper background, but then i thought you may have meant JUST the textured layers on a paper background! so i did both just in case!

i tried it on the "gloomy" background but that didn't go too well, plus i'm beginning to think that darker colours=lower quality when saving as a jpeg!

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i think it looks pretty cool, plus it may have solved the problem i was having with adding forest textures which were just turning everything black because of the layer blendings, i was at a point where i was thinking of changing the colour of the tree texture i was using from green to some other colour so it would not drown everything out!

Chashio
09-13-2013, 01:41 PM
That top one is pretty darn sweet, Timo! That contrast between the land and sea is luscious! I like the other too, had indeed originally meant that for my suggestion, but I think that just doing the textures as they are over paper (the bottom one) doesn't give enough definition to see details clearly, and the thumbnail tends toward blotchy.

Only other thought at the moment... wondering what the addition of a brushstroke or two of red paint/color on the logo behind The Nine would do for it as a whole. Mmm, but maybe not.