View Full Version : Very first map attempt!

08-23-2013, 03:46 AM
I decided I'd post pictures as I experiment and move further along here. So far I've finished just the base of the map (landmass & major bodies of water). Put in some border and coastal wave details - but still have yet to do any terrain, landmarks, cities, rivers, roadways, etc. This will be the surface version of the map - there will also be an underworld version of it after I finish this one. Hope you enjoy. Any tips, tricks, advice or even general comments would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!


That's how far I made it in my first night (about 6 hours worth of work). It's tedious, but it's coming along. Trying to find the right brush sets for terrain that will match the style (likely be making most of them from scratch).

08-23-2013, 12:07 PM
The background look nice, what technique did you used ?

I think you used cloud by difference to make the water. The high contrast and difference in color make it look a bit strange.

It is in Europe and written in Hebrew, is it an alternative map or an historic one ?

08-23-2013, 01:37 PM
I see Spain, the Black Sea and the Brest area of France, maybe even the English Channel. If I can recognize this, I guess you are doing a good job!

08-23-2013, 03:35 PM
@Azelor: You are correct on your guesses. Since the ocean is supposed to be a very dangerous and dark place, I want it to have that strange/eerie feel. The large mideastern lake is not supposed to have that feel - and I plan on masking it off and using a couple different effects to make it feel more friendly, but at the same time still match the other water for the most part. For the parchment paper I used clouds, difference clouds, emboss, hue/sat mask. Im going to apply probably two Levels masks - one with some mask brushwork to give the edges a slightly different feel to the center. Then Ill just tweek the heck out of my two levels settings to get the look I want. I'll post an update when I get that part done.

@Galendae: Awesome! That's exactly what I'm going for. This fictional world is set in the time before the global floods described in Genesis, the epic of Gilgamesh, and other mythical global floods. The Mediterranean is essentially going to serve as the cradle of civilization as a giant fertile valley with lush plains forests and jungle inside it. There will also be a pair of river that flow down through it I have yet to draw in. I've got yo study the topographical of the Med. a bit more to get the placement right. The good thing is that a global flood would drastically change the terrain, so I don't have to kill myself trying to get it perfectly accurate - though that is my goal.

Its alternative I suppose though with the intent of having a mythical history of actual earth - at least from an allegorical standpoint.

08-23-2013, 09:54 PM
Here is an update of the map from what I was able to add today. Basically I just tweaked a few things that were already in place. Added a world compass. Also added a planning layer that's got red dots for mountain peaks, teal lines for small rivers, and blue lines for massive rivers. The red lines are cliff faces and the orange lines are just temporary boundary lines to help me keep track of where the Mediterranean Sea used to border.


Probably tomorrow I'll start up my actual terrain layer (may actually consist of several layers, separated by regions). Once the mountains and major terrain fixtures are set, then I'll start cutting in the water systems.

08-23-2013, 10:21 PM
Here is another update without the planning layer visible. All I have is a greyscale overlay of the Mediterranean I lined up to give viewers a better scope of the alignment for the Soaring Sea (black sea) and Barren Sea (gulf between Egypt/Saudi Arabia).


I added some noisy glow to the world title, as well as added in names for the other bodies of water. Its very slowly coming together. Can't wait to start on terrain - which I think will be the hardest part for me. Don't have much experience with painting in terrain. Wish me luck!

08-24-2013, 12:00 AM
river problem !

the Danube and Oder rivers cannot meet. Rivers ussualy meet when they flow downhill otherwise it's an island and it's better not to sepperate them with rivers. It's the same with the area north of Crimea.

The Nay'Yeul label don't fit the rest of the map. Maybe it's just the blue effect.

08-24-2013, 12:34 AM
Ive got to agree with Azelor. You seem to have a few river problems. The only river I can figure out which way its going, is the one that flows southwest out of the Soaring Sea. Seas/Lakes will only have one river which water flows out of the lake, the rest of the rivers will be feeding water into the sea/lake from higher ground. By this logic, I would assume that the north western river is flowing into the Soaring Sea, and out of the body of water at the top of the map. This isn't likely, as the body of water at the north side is very close to the ocean, and would likely have a short river path leading to the ocean (unless that body of water is part of the ocean, in which case there would be no outflowing rivers).

As for the southeastern river, judging by your small streams, it seems like it is outflowing from the Soaring Sea, which again there is only going to be one river flowing out, and you already have one going southwest.

And the northeastern river, where the river splits. Again, this river shouldn't be flowing out because you already have a river flowing out to the southwest, and even if this river was flowing out, it wouldn't flow out in 2 spots.
If this river is meant to be flowing into the sea from higher ground, chances are the river wouldn't fork, especially so close to the sea.

Other than the river issues, I really like the style of this map! I for one like the refreshing glowing blue of the ocean, I think it just just a style preference. I also really like the border text and the idea of the dried up Mediterranian is really cool aswell. Cant wait to see this develop!

08-24-2013, 01:26 AM
Thank you both for the input on the river system. I'll need to go back and readjust a few things to get those right.

The part that makes it tricky is that without the mountains and highlands/lowlands defined it's not going to make a whole lot of sense. Since this map is meant to be Europe and the Mediterranean area before the advent of a global flood, I intend on making the landscape drastically different. I'll explain some terrain details I theorized so you've got a better scope of what I'm trying to accomplish.

The highest mountain range on the map will be the Soaring Peaks (which is a massive circular mountain range surrounding the Soaring Sea). This is the highest point of this fictional world. During the global deluge, the weight of the water above the Soaring Sea causes it to collapse in on a massive network of caves and caverns that exist below it, causing the whole region to drop in elevation by several thousand feet. But before that, the soaring sea is actually about seven thousand feet above sea level, held in by the taller mountain range surrounding it (most peaks are well above 10 thousand feet).

The Soaring Sea is actually fed supernaturally from another realm (the Plane of Ęther Mist - which is also how the giant canopy of water over the earth is being suspended). The Soaring Sea then feeds the rest of the known world via four outlet rivers. Only the Southwest river flows from the brim of the Sea down a series of waterfalls to the lake and valley below. The other three rivers come from underground sources (where the Sea is leaking out from the bottom - this erosion eventually causes the entire Sea to break free from the mountain range... which occurs when the water canopy falls and the Sea is extremely overfed).

I hope that explains why the Soaring Sea appears on my map as some ridiculous source of water.

But your comments were not lost on me. I do believe I'm going to route the Northwestern river above the present day Carpathian Mts. Just to make it look a bit more clear. All of it should look better when my Mountains, Highlands, and Lowlands are visibly defined. Also without knowing the terrain and the mythological/supernatural parts about the story it involves - its definitely looks weird. Especially if it's compared to our present day topography - which will be vastly different than the fictional pre-flood topography I'm envisioning.

Thank you both very much for the advice and suggestions. I'll be extra careful to make the downward, one-outlet liquid dynamics visibly clear on the map. (I had a feeling I was going to get some questions about the changes I made to the present-day water network; but that's good. Need to flesh these things out.) I appreciate the feedback!

08-24-2013, 06:27 AM
So...... I decided to scrap the last map (not in style or theory, just a change in design for landmass and waterways). I thought it would be better if I utilized the Great Hungarian Plain as a holding tank for the Soaring Sea - instead of the Black Sea, which is low lying and not completely surrounded by Mountains. The Hungarian Plain, however, pretty much is exactly what I was looking for. I went through and did a redesign on the main bodies of water - including adding a few massive lakes where the Mediterranean Sea has it's lowest points. I then went in and temporarily mapped in the rivers (they won't look that way when it's done). Anyhow, here is what Nah'Veyl v2.0 looks like:


I also added in a few region names to give a hint at the terrain that is going to come. Let me know if you like the revision!

EDIT: Just realized I need to resize my distance chart - so ignore that little detail for now.

08-24-2013, 11:36 AM

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Good that you have an explaination as of why there is so many rivers in the mediterranean seabed because it would normally be a very dry place with no water flowing from Gibraltar strait.

08-24-2013, 05:47 PM
Huh. It worked fine for me last night - but yet, now I'm getting that error message now to. Guess we'll try again. I added in the coastal highlights since the last version (the one with the error).


We'll see if that does the trick. And thanks for following this project Azelor. As a new member it's greatly appreciated! I can use all the feedback I can possibly get, so if you know anyone interested in this style of map, feel free to share it with them. ^.^

As usual - the river lines are just planned, not permanent. If you're wondering what the black lines are for, those are just temporary guidelines for me (the present-day Mediterranean Sealevel).

EDIT: Upon closer inspection after posting it here, I decided to get rid of that noisy glow along the coast - which makes it look much cleaner. So you'll see that change when I post the next update (after I do a few more things today - like adding a planning layer for ground terrain). Ignore that crazy pixelated crap around the bodies of water. I scrapped it.

08-24-2013, 08:20 PM
Here's a shot with the added border text.


It was tough to cut up that script and get it all aligned right where it looked halfway decent. I couldn't do it as text (because the script wouldn't copy and paste properly), so I had to screen capture the images, blow them up, then multiply them to hide the white. Then I merged all the pieces and ran a hue/sat adjustment on them to get them to blend in a nice dark teal color. The black script is kind of like the title of the passage - which is why it is bigger and a different color. Then it reads from there, right to left around the border. ^.^ I'm loving this stuff. I'm so addicted to map making!

08-24-2013, 11:48 PM
Beautiful concept if I maybe so bold to suggest the shape dynamic fade for rivers it would make it even more spectacular in my opinion.

08-25-2013, 12:26 AM
Beautiful concept if I maybe so bold to suggest the shape dynamic fade for rivers it would make it even more spectacular in my opinion.

I am TOTALLY brand new to this whole deal. Do you have a tutorial for that effect you can point me to, or perhaps an example I can see with a few pointers? I'm using photoshop (very familiar with the program - despite never making maps with it before). I'm always up for trying new things - especially bold new things!

08-25-2013, 08:48 PM
I just sent you a PM with the brush description. I hope it works.

08-25-2013, 11:57 PM
I just sent you a PM with the brush description. I hope it works.

Yep. Got it. I unfortunately don't have a wacom yet, but I will toy around with the settings to see if I can make it work and look good with the mouse. I agree though that the fade looks awesome on rivers. I've seen a few maps where the narrow down slowly to the source and it looks just awesome. I'll attempt to get that look if possible. Thanks for the suggestion!

09-07-2013, 05:50 PM
Okay so I got the rivers in mostly how I want them. Not sure if I'm loving the texture effect or not - but I really won't be able to tell until I start getting in the terrain details. Here is an update of the map (minus the region text, border accent, and other aesthetic details that will be on the final map). It's mostly just a focused view of the setup for the water network: ocean, sea, lakes, rivers, etc.


And here is the same view, but with an overlay of a Mediterranean Topographic map - so you can get an idea of how and why I chose my river network:


Keep in mind that the large inland sea is fed supernaturally from another dimension (an semi-ethereal plain of water high in the atmosphere). Once I start getting mountains and elevations defined I'll better be able to define the river sources (as some of the major rivers coming out of the primary inland sea are spring sourced, rather than overland flowing).

I gave that fade dynamic a try and with a little experimentation I really came to love it! Anyone have advice for mountain brush styles? This map is a large portion of the world - so I'm debating on just using color/texture/lighting, or actually defining mountain ranges symbolically with calligraphic style brushwork that's not actually to scale.

Feedback would be lovely!

09-08-2013, 10:51 AM
There is a couple of mountain brushes if you search on deviant art or here in the guild. Ramah and Schwarzkreuz among other, did some nice brushes. That is good if you want to add symbols but since you map is already folded you could increase it's intensity where the mountains are. Maybe it would fit better.

A question though, in wich direction does the water flow at Gibraltar? The topography suggest that it flows inland but it might be otherwise. Right now it might be a little confusing, so have you tought of a way to indicate in wich direction the water flow? It might be useful sinci it seems to play an important part in the world.

09-08-2013, 02:33 PM
I'll have to figure out a way to illustrate which direction it flows in. I may redraw it with a stronger fade. I'm also contemplating having it not actually source all the way out to the ocean, but rather just starting in the valley there.

09-08-2013, 08:51 PM
Okay, so I decided to nix the whole idea of the Soaring Sea actually flowing out completely to the ocean through the Valley, because it's just not realistic unless I totally alter the coastlines. So I decided to make the valley more of a settling point for lots of water - which makes more sense anyways with the massive lakes it contains. So here is the revised river setup. Not a whole lot changed - but I think it makes a huge difference. The map itself even looks more appealing to me for some reason (maybe because it agrees with the laws of liquid dynamics in my mind finally!) So here it is:


And here's a version with the topo overlay - it really helps illustrate how much more authentic the water system feels:


Thanks everyone for all the input so far. It's been very helpful. I still don't feel quite ready to tackle the terrain yet, but that is definitely the next portion on my radar. Based on the current look I have going, any advice on what terrain styling I should go with? I still can't decide on anything in that regard. Hopefully it will be something that is mouse-drawn friendly.

09-17-2013, 09:58 PM
I like it. lots of colors is much better.