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Llannagh
08-26-2013, 04:13 PM
Hi all!
First, let me say how glad I am to have found this place! Amazing stuff on here!

So, this is my WIP-thread.
Iím going to give you some info on my gear, mapping background, why Iím making maps, what kind of maps I want to do and show you some previous work.

1. ďGearĒ
Software: PS 6, Hardware: Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch
At the moment I use Photoshop CS 6, but I also have Gimp, Illustrator (the whole CS6, actually) and CC3 with DD3.
I use PS because I a) have it and b) my new Wacom seems to work better with it than with Gimp.
Although I like CC3, it seemed to not match my expectations. Plus I found it a bit too laboriously to get the outcome I was looking for.
2. Mapping background
I have always loved maps, and still do. One of my favorite ďtoysĒ is Google Earth.
Being a fantasy and, to a certain degree, science-fiction nerd quickly led me to RPG and then, of course, to making up my own worlds/scenarios.
Even since before playing RPGs I wanted to write a novel. A fantasy one, naturally. Over the years I have written bits and pieces in different settings. One of the first worlds I came up with is also the one I kept coming back to.
I started drawing maps on paper. The basic shape evolved more and more, as did itís background story (donít ask for it, itís still pretty fuzzy and by no means complete! ;)).
Now I moved to digital mapmaking, because:
3. What kind of maps do I want to make?

Alright, let me break up the column here.

As it says in the threadís topic, I want to create an atlas like world map. From that map, IĎd like to copy sections for regional maps, so the coastlines stay the same.
Iím aware that I need a pretty detailed and probably HUGE world map to achieve this. Also, I forgot to mention that I have never worked with Photoshop before! My drawing skills outside of maps are almost nonexistent, too.
Is this insane? Honest answers welcome.

I havenít settled on a style yet. Yesterday I found the map of the High Empire Of Korachan by vorropohaiah. I really like that map, and itís style. Plus it seems to be a very, very large map that could suit my needs.

Following is the first map I created in Photoshop, of the continent Skahria, and itís subcontinents Kanotraea and the home of the crumbled empire of the Hen, the mountain people.
It was create in an all-nighter I pulled in a frenzy following Kindariís Tut. I saved an early step, so I could copy segments just as coastlines.
In the third image I tinkered around a bit with various lightings, layer effects etc.

Any input and critique is welcome!

Cheers,
LLannagh
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Llannagh
08-28-2013, 07:26 PM
Okay, Update!

I finished outlining the worldmap. It's all hand-drawn digitally with my tablet. Originally I planned on drawing a huge map on A3 papers (420 X 297 mm), 3 sheets wide and 5 sheets high. I transformed that to photoshop and created a document with the appropiate measures. Overdid the resolution though (200 px/cm).
Went ahaed anyways and divided the thing in 15 units. Then drew 14 single sheets and inserted them as layers into the big one.

So now I have an outline of my world, almost exactly as I want it to be. Looks like this:

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I named the continents, just so it doesnt look too barren. ;)

I will add details in the future, and concentrate on the single segments.

Llannagh
08-31-2013, 12:19 PM
And another Update.

I still need to find a style for my maps(s), but this is a first tryout. I'm trying a perspective thingy here, but I'm not that good at it.

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What do you guys think?

Llannagh
08-31-2013, 06:51 PM
Another try, this time without the perspective. I worked the outline with a brush, to set off:

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Tried out some mountains, too. It's a start, but although I like the texture the brush gives, I'm looking more for a stylized style, top down view.

Freodin
09-01-2013, 02:56 AM
Nice artistic tryouts. It will be interesting to see what kind of style you settle for.

Llannagh
09-01-2013, 07:01 AM
Thanks Freodin.

Here's another tryout I did on a little Island. I think I will work on that particular image until I have found a style that suits me.

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I used the smudge tool on the mountains and the coastline.

The Problem is, the more I try things, the more it progresses to a style that is fun, but not one that I'm aiming for. As mentioned above, I really dig vorropohaiah's style in his Korachan (http://www.cartographersguild.com/cartographers-choice/20147-high-empire-korachan-inner-sea-vorropohaiah.html) maps.

Is there a WIP for this? I can't seem to find one.

Anyway, have fun, space cowboys.

jbgibson
09-01-2013, 08:07 AM
Though you've been here a week I haven't said it so: Welcome!

About size: if you want to maximize the size of your world map to be able later to zoom in and retain a lot of pixels, try using a simpler style for the overall world map. The more layers and gradients and details, the fatter your file will be for a given set of dimensions. One solution might be to generate a raw world map at an insanely high resolution, without detailing it. save that as a master that you can clip put regions from, and finish doing your world detailing on a reduced-side copy. For instance do put cities on the biggest world map- at least main ones -- just leave them as simple dots. Only make pretty icons for then ( if your style calls for that) with a somewhat cut-down version destined to be your detailed world map. Do indicate rivers on the biggest, but maybe not stroked with a nice taper. Do put borders on the biggest version, just not symbolized or color-rimmed.

About this world map you're showing us early stages of... Where does that fit on a globe? Most projections are going to be wider than they are tall. Decide on a reasonable projection for your main world map - based on the arrangement of land masses one might suffer less distortion than another-- or at least less awkwardly placed distortion. When you do generate a reasonable world, don't clip the view so close to the land masses. Some small-scale maps you're going to want plenty of ocean shown, whether to focus on ocean characteristics, or just as a convenient no interfering place to put legend info. Just search go the word "projection" and read the first 25 threads that mention it. Some will have good tips - particularly commentary by Hai Etlik, who is one of our resident advocates for plausible geodesy and projection choice.

You *could* call what you already have a world map, if that world is mostly water that you aren't showing; also if what is shown only goes to mid-latitudes. Hmmm - in other words if it isn't a comprehensive world map but essentially a regional one ;-).

Llannagh
09-01-2013, 10:22 AM
Though you've been here a week I haven't said it so: Welcome!

About size: if you want to maximize the size of your world map to be able later to zoom in and retain a lot of pixels, try using a simpler style for the overall world map. The more layers and gradients and details, the fatter your file will be for a given set of dimensions. One solution might be to generate a raw world map at an insanely high resolution, without detailing it. save that as a master that you can clip put regions from, and finish doing your world detailing on a reduced-side copy. For instance do put cities on the biggest world map- at least main ones -- just leave them as simple dots. Only make pretty icons for then ( if your style calls for that) with a somewhat cut-down version destined to be your detailed world map. Do indicate rivers on the biggest, but maybe not stroked with a nice taper. Do put borders on the biggest version, just not symbolized or color-rimmed.

Thanks for the welcome, jbgibson!

I kinda did what you suggested already. The 14 coastline sheets were merged into one big, hi-res document. That was when I found out that I was aiming too high with the resolution and had a conversation with friend. He's a filmmaker and knows his way around a little regarding ppi and that stuff. He asked me if I wanted to plaster a wall. :)

I created a new document, size A0 (9933 x 14043 px at 300 ppi) and pasted the original outline into it and rescaled it. Much better now.

Once I have general idea of how it will look like, I'll finish a worldmap first, so I have a good overview. After that I'll be doing regional maps.


About this world map you're showing us early stages of... Where does that fit on a globe? Most projections are going to be wider than they are tall. Decide on a reasonable projection for your main world map - based on the arrangement of land masses one might suffer less distortion than another-- or at least less awkwardly placed distortion. When you do generate a reasonable world, don't clip the view so close to the land masses. Some small-scale maps you're going to want plenty of ocean shown, whether to focus on ocean characteristics, or just as a convenient no interfering place to put legend info. Just search go the word "projection" and read the first 25 threads that mention it. Some will have good tips - particularly commentary by Hai Etlik, who is one of our resident advocates for plausible geodesy and projection choice.

You *could* call what you already have a world map, if that world is mostly water that you aren't showing; also if what is shown only goes to mid-latitudes. Hmmm - in other words if it isn't a comprehensive world map but essentially a regional one ;-).

Well, the size of this world is roughly Europe including the Middle East. So about 5000 miles from north to south, the top regions being almost arctic.

Thanks for the tip on projection, but I don't know if I'm going to need that. It's a flat world, with no curvature.
And it IS a comprehensive world map, at least for this one! ;)

Llannagh
09-01-2013, 11:38 AM
I came up with this:

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Gonna work on Hills and Forests next.

Llannagh
09-05-2013, 01:01 PM
High time for another update.

I struggled with trees and mountains for the last week. Let me show you what I came up with.

First, trees. We all love em and hate em, right?
I started by making custom brushes and had the old transparency problem. You know, where the one brush shows through the other when they overlap? Hated that. I read all (well, many) of the very helpful tutorials, but found nothing to my satisfaction.
In the end I made up a custom brush that was just a black, filled shape of a tree. Then I activated the color dynamics in the tool menu and tried that. That way the shapes don’t show through and have a variety in color aswell. You have to be careful to draw from top to bottom though.
Though that wasn’t what I originally looked for, I quite like it. Plus if you don’t want it in black and white, you can just change the fore-/background colors and have a nice green forest.
Would that be worth a short tutorial? I haven’t seen my solution anywhere, but I don’t want to spam the forum with ANOTHER forest tut… ;)
Looks like this:

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Which brings us to number two: Mountains. We all love em and hate em, right? ;)
I encountered the same problems as with the trees, read many a tutorial, but again found nothing to my satisfaction (no offense to the great tutorials out there, great jobs from the authors).
The clone stamp solution isn’t to my liking, so I just hand-drew the mountains from scratch.
I know they probably don’t match the scale yet and have a few problems with perspective, but I’m learning Photoshop AND drawing/painting from scratch at the same time here. Considering that I’m already quite pleased. :)
The mountains basically have three layers: one is just a slight grey background, the second is the details and the third for snow.
I drew the outlines first, using a thin, hard pen tool, and then, after putting in the details and the snow, hid that layer. For the finishing touch I used the smudge tool on both the detail and snow layer.
As you can see, I also outlined the coast with a light brush, as in an earlier try.
Gonna move on to rivers and general landshaping (hills and such) next, I’ve had enough of mountains and trees for now! ;)

Would be glad for some feedback on everything!

Azelor
09-05-2013, 04:08 PM
To make the forest, you could use the dupplication tool once you have a tree with color and either select "behind" in the option to paint it "behind" or use it normally when you want it to be in front of it. But it need to be opaque to do that.

In my opinion, the change of color is great if you have a decidious forest in autumn, else not so much. Here, I think the effect is too strong.

Great mountains by the way.

Llannagh
09-06-2013, 05:41 AM
But it need to be opaque to do that.

That would be the problem. I don't want my trees to be opaque AND use a brush, so the greyscale technique PS uses will always make them transparent that way. Or did I misunderstand you?


In my opinion, the change of color is great if you have a decidious forest in autumn, else not so much. Here, I think the effect is too strong.

You're right. It looks pretty strong. I will lessen the color dynamics and see how it turns out. I didn't think about the autumn colors, that's a great idea!


Great mountains by the way.

Thanks! I spoke to a friend though and she said, although she thought I did a great job, I shouldn't have used the "smudgy-smudgy". ;) She showed me different pictures with and without smudge and I have to agree with her. It looks better with lots of penstrokes and multiple layers.

So I came up with this:

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I messed up the northern part, but apart from that I'm much more satisfied with the outcome. I used a soft brush on two layers to work out the shadows but I'm not sure if it's too much. This is the same image without the brush (and the trees).

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Thanks for your opinions and input, by the way!

Freodin
09-06-2013, 10:10 AM
While the upper / darker version looks rather fine, I'd say these mountains will be to heavy on a whole map. (Though of course that will depend on the rest of the map. ;))

If you want to continue in this style, I would advise to do the forests in a similar line-art style, for consistency's sake.

Llannagh
09-09-2013, 12:56 PM
Sometimes, it just takes one good day :)

I think I came up with something that could progress into a style. It's not nearly perfect yet, but I will start a "real" WIP thread now, and start working on a local map from my world. So there probably won't be any updates to this thread anymore.

This is what I have right now:

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Right, thanks for your input!

Llannagh
12-09-2013, 09:29 AM
Did anyone expect this thread being dusted off again? ;)

Well, I worked on my world map again to get a better idea not only where all my other WIP maps are, but also to help me write. And I thought before I give birth to yet another WIP thread, I just post it in here, though the title isn't up to date anymore.

Anyway, this is a completely redone version of my world:

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The continents on the bottom are still quite rough, I'll give those coastlines a make over soon.

Generally the plan is to turn this into a detailed political map, with topography mostly left out.

Have a nice day everyone!

WillyWombat
12-09-2013, 09:54 AM
I like the fiddly-bits in the top right corner.

Lingon
12-09-2013, 11:53 AM
Looking good, it just suffers a little from the "must fill the corners with land"-syndrome… I love the two continents on the right, but maybe the one on the left could be tweaked into a less rectangular shape? Would decrease the corner-filling feel, I think.

Llannagh
12-11-2013, 05:12 AM
Looking good, it just suffers a little from the "must fill the corners with land"-syndrome… I love the two continents on the right, but maybe the one on the left could be tweaked into a less rectangular shape? Would decrease the corner-filling feel, I think.

Yeah, I noticed me doing that while I drew it! ;)

I redid the two bottom continents and now I'm working on a political map without any geophysical information. I'm playing around with shading and several effects atm to show the different emoires an dkingdoms and such. Not much there yet (apart from the new continentversions), but this is the current state of the map:

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Unfortunately I'll have to work quite a lot until Christmas, but I still hope to make some progress.

Azelor
12-11-2013, 11:40 AM
The continent in the south-west remind me of a dog with a cloak. I'm sorry I see weird things sometime. Anyone else ?

I know I'm redrawing my old map too and this step is harder than it seems.

Llannagh
12-11-2013, 12:32 PM
It's not just a dog, it's a poodle.

Damn, Azelor. You ruined my mind!! ;) I see weird things, too, now!

Ah well, it's still changeable.

Azelor
12-11-2013, 12:47 PM
Welcome to the club then ! rat : http://www.cartographersguild.com/mapping-challenge-archive/24372-***-august-september-2013-challenge-attack-blobs-***.html

Llannagh
12-13-2013, 06:25 AM
Okay. I had to erase the poodle and rework the continent on the left. much better now.

This is the current version, including shadings for the various countries. I might add a few more countries, since for a map of this scale they seem a little big. They can't all be empires...

The striped areas represent "uncivilized", avoided or unknown stretches of land. It's all in the backstory...

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And please, don't screw with my brain for pointing out shapes that could be something more than a landmass!! :)