View Full Version : My first world map - Feedback wanted

08-30-2013, 01:09 PM
It is just a black/white image so you can't say much about it but I would like to receive some feedback on it already so obvious flaws can be easy corrected. This is my first serious attempt at creating a world map and I am personally satisfied with the result so far. If this is good enough to continue then I will post a more final looking version in the future. This may or may not take me a life time.

Black is land mass, white is water.

http://i.imgur.com/vTD6eHqs.jpg (http://imgur.com/vTD6eHq)

Direct link (http://i.imgur.com/vTD6eHq.jpg)

I will add a scale later to indicate it's massive size.

08-30-2013, 01:29 PM
Looking good so far, but as you say, "early stages". I am just wondering (because it can go either way) which is land and water. I assume black land.

08-30-2013, 01:32 PM
Silly me, black is land mass, white is water. Should have pointed that out.

Oh, I noticed that coast lines look inconsistent. Some look smooth, other sections look more crenate/rugged.

08-30-2013, 02:29 PM
Looks cool.

If I was going to change something I'd vary the size of the islands. There are groups of two three and four and all the islands in the group are the same size. In real life it seems most island chains are varied sizes. Hawaii has islands in descending size pretty much from East to West, Indonesia has two big islands, two medium islands, and tons of smaller ones, you get the idea.

Also, continents 'should' look like they used to fit together Pangea style (http://geology.com/pangea-continental-drift.gif).
57349 57350
Those two grabs from the Eastern Hemisphere (?) give me that sort of feeling, but the other half of the map feels like it is lacking that coherency.

By the way, asking for C&C early is a really good idea. Nice work so far. Please keep us updated.

08-30-2013, 02:48 PM
I'm currently at war with the brush I use to paint the land mass, I can't get it to paint 100% it paints transparent shapes. Once I have that sorted out I'll see what I can do about the islands. And yes, thanks for the feedback so far.

Right, I got my solid brush back. Shift + 0 sets it to solid. (http://www.elementsvillage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60064) Now, about them islands...........

Edit 2 - Son of edit;
I changed the size of the islands;
http://i.imgur.com/gS2SpY0s.jpg (http://imgur.com/gS2SpY0)

Direct link (http://i.imgur.com/gS2SpY0.jpg)

I'll try to do something with the Pangea style tomorrow.

Oh, remember that one of those islands isn't exactly an island.

08-30-2013, 03:31 PM
Good start (because any start is better than stasis :-) ).

Inconsistent = good. Look at Earth (our best and only example set of coastlines) ... there's plenty of smooth, plenty of ruggedly indented, and everything in between. If anything you may not have *enough* inconsistency. There's an awful lot of very finely notched shore going on. THink about what produces various shore forms. Where is there a strong current washing past? What shape is your land AWAY from the shore? After all, that range of mountains that's all jaggy and new is WHY there's scads of fjords indenting the coast. Vs. the vast plain of sloping dirt that intersects sea level as a series of swooping beachlines and barrier islands. Vs. the volcanoes pushing up from the seafloor.... all sorts of reasons for different interesting shapes. Take a look at Wikipedia's Category:Landforms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Landforms) for ideas. A flaw of some automated fractal map generation routines is when only one *degree* of fractal is employed worldwide. You already improve on that by some variety - now go forth and even further varietize your variety :-).

Btw, flat coastal land/ shallow seafloor doesn't mean *all* low-relief shorelines are smooth and swoopy - look around the periphery of the USA's eastern coast and Florida - sand spits can wind up pointy, they just don't look a lot like your crenellated jagginess - I like that term.

You're getting close to the "I must fill up this rectangular space" sickness. To my eye, those selfsame landforms would look more plausible if more randomly scattered. But they are random, you say? Noooo.... they're somewhat irregular but that's not random. Random can easily include clumpiness. Look at some characteristics like island-separation. If you took a randomly wrinkled dry globe and ran a prospective sea level up and down, you'd probably get at any one time some widely separated landmasses and some that are very close. Indeed, instead of thinking (subconsciously ?) that you have to avoid the coincidences of super-near masses with skinny straits and skinny isthmuses, perhaps think upon the unlikelihood of there being NO such.

At least think about what projection you're going to work with, and why. One apropos thread would be http://www.cartographersguild.com/general-discussion/23098-map-projections.html if only because it introduces two of our most eloquent spokespersons on the issues of representing a globe as a flat thing (paper, 2D bit map, what-have-you). Rummage among Hai Etlik's responses to a couple of dozen WIP threads, and you can get a good overview of why one might choose one over another.

Assuming that is that you are representing a globe. Flatlands and the interior surfaces of ringworlds have different rules (?) and depart wildly from what we're used to on Earth and most fiction. By the way, for what purpose is this map? Different reasons bend your cartography in different ways. Hint - what you have looks like no reasonable projection, *unless* it is a large scale map (large scale = small area, remember) of but a small part of a globe. I.e. if it's a locally - a near-flat approximation, with little attendant distortion.

rdbeales brings up another issue you can tackle - how detailed do you want to go, in simulating a "realistic" background for your landforms? He refers to plate tectonics - even sketching in such history mentally, or being aware of the kinds of effects tectonics generate, can generate some realistic shapes. But you don't *have* to go to those lengths to be plausible or pretty. I've fooled around with trying to devise realistic climate and weather patterns - those affect everything from landforms to human activity. But I do that because it's fun for me - one can ignore such obsessiveness and get some reasonable results with a half-dozen climate rules of thumb. If a given arrangement pleases YOU then it is fine on your map; it's when you intend it for others as well that plausibility gets a vote. Stick a map in front of me that has water apparently flowing uphill and I just won't be able to suspend disbelief enough to enjoy your story or movie or game or what-have-you.

08-30-2013, 03:38 PM
When I'm playing a strategy games and when I'm at war, the soil normally paint itself without too much effort but there is only one color. I have never fought these Brushes before but you say that they are transparent? Just use the pencil tool, it does'nt have transparency.

It look ok but how much do you want your world to be realistic? Just saying because 50% of the world is landmass. Well it might be ok if you used mercator.

08-31-2013, 04:15 AM
I knew it was a good idea to post this before continuing. Let's see, from the the posts above the comment involves;

- Islands do not look random. Small issue.
- World map projection. Big issue. Current map doesn't simply seem to have one. I was going for flat land at first then I thought a globe world might be better. I searched through Hai-Etlik's topics, found out about Flex Projector (http://www.flexprojector.com/), QGIS (http://www.qgis.org/), and G.Projector (http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/gprojector/download_win.html). I need to do more research on this subject. The map so far has been made in Photoshop but these aforementioned tools might be better considering the world map projection type. Unless I can find a good Photoshop tutorial on creating a (more or less) believable world map.

The map is purely for reference, to tell you where something is.

I also just added isthmuses to my vocabulary.

I found the PS plug in Flexify 2 (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/23609-map-projections-using-flexify.html) for map projections giving me these results after changing the map to a 2:1 ratio;

Gilbert globe (http://i.imgur.com/9lokbaE.jpg)

Mollweide projection (http://i.imgur.com/L3yX7kH.jpg)

After some reading on the different map projections I think I'll use Winkel tripel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winkel_tripel_projection).

Edit 2;
Redesigned the map, here it is in Winkel Tripel;

http://i.imgur.com/KYX5bnxs.jpg (http://imgur.com/KYX5bnx)

Flat version (http://i.imgur.com/92yzrPr.jpg)

10-07-2013, 12:23 PM
Painted new land and started to paint it using the popular Sanderan tutorial by Tear. My current result is below;

http://i.imgur.com/mac0O5Ws.jpg (http://imgur.com/mac0O5W)

Direct link (http://i.imgur.com/mac0O5W.jpg)

The actual map is 6000 x 3000 pixels, imgur.com resized it to 3600 x 1800.

Let me start by addressing the map-o-phant in the room. There is one particular island that will look off when you at the map. The map is to be used in my fantasy novel, it's split into a ice frosted part and a volcanic part. I want to make the mountain on the latter part to look like a volcano but I don't know how yet. There might be more of such oddities later on. I am also not done with painting the land, the ocean looks not good enough for me too. Rivers and roads are not present because of the small scale of the map.

Any way, feel free to take pot shots, I mean, post critics.

10-09-2013, 11:39 PM
It's not a matter of having a "flat map" which you then "put in a projection". That's a common misunderstanding.

All maps are flat, and they are representing a curved surface; this means you have to distort the curved surface by stretching, squashing, or tearing. The particular way you distort it, is a projection. So all maps are flat, all maps have a projection, and all maps have distortion. (Unless the world is flat)

The tricky part is that in order for everything to work out, you have to draw whatever distortion is appropriate for whichever projection you are starting from. If you don't, it means you've effectively given the land itself the opposite distortion of that caused by the projection. You appear to be using Plate Carree which stretches everything out east-west as you approach the poles. You haven't drawn the features that way though, which means you've drawn land that is 'pinched', as you approach the poles, and the projection then stretches it out so it doesn't look pinched. When you switch to another projection, you'll get that backward distortion combined with the distortion of the new projection.

Also, you shouldn't symbolize your map until it's in the final projection otherwise the symbols will get distorted. If you want to make this Winkel Tripel, you should stick to just the raw geometry of the features (solid colours, lines, etc) until you project it into Winkel Tripel, and only then do you try to make it pretty, otherwise you're just wasting effort you'll have to redo later.

God job picking up on what "small scale" means though, a lot of people new to cartography/geography get that backward.

08-09-2014, 02:34 PM
It's been a bit more than a year since I've posted but my little project has not ceased at all. The current version of the world map looks like this;

http://i.imgur.com/8EQhstvl.jpg (http://imgur.com/8EQhstv)

Couple of things I need to mention;
- We're talking about a high fantasy world that is close to earth in several key points, the central world in my novel nonsense.
- I realize the mountain range surrounding the lake in the centre of the right landmass on the right hemisphere is not quite realistic but it will stay the way it is for I have a certain purpose in mind for it (key role in the main story).
- The style I use is a combination of my observations of JonPin's Omadra map (http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/27636-world-omandra.html) with the "Sketch style worldmap in Photoshop CS" written by Moe and posted somewhere in the tutorial section (I don't have a link at the moment).
- I leave details such as mountains, rivers, forests and the like away and save them for regional maps, save for when they influence borders.
- I'm not fully happy with the landmasses but whatever the comments, the big green landmass and the blue one on the right hemisphere are not going to change. I need them they way they are right now.
- The proper projection distortion has not been properly drawn and that might be the map's greatest flaw and it is something I may never truly get right.
- I have tried to make the lands more natural and I think I have scored at least mildly in this endeavour.
- Names of kingdoms and the like have been left out because they don't matter right now.

08-09-2014, 07:46 PM
Well, one thing is that the compass rose shouldn't be included on this map as it doesn't preserve bearings.

08-10-2014, 08:07 AM
All right, the compass is gone. I also just noticed something really stupid, two landmasses are identical to each other, one being smaller than the other. I'll replace the smaller one now.

Second updated version;
http://i.imgur.com/qAfIUC0l.jpg (http://imgur.com/qAfIUC0)
I uploaded it at the original resolution of 11,000 x 5486 pixels but imgur keeps shrinking it down.

08-24-2014, 05:00 AM
Another update to post, this time I have made a brave attempt at tectonic plates. I had doubts whether or not I should do them but maybe I can pull it off properly. After doing some study using "A Magical Society: Ecology and Culture (http://www.yourgamesnow.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=11)", "World Builder's Guide Book (http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/0786904348/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)" and an awesome atlas (http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/1405329858/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) I bought from Amazon I felt an immense surge of mild confidence of drawing the tectonic plates of my world and here is the first result;

http://i.imgur.com/CbP9Zxil.jpg (http://imgur.com/CbP9Zxi)

Please ignore the circular mountain region. Only the right hemisphere is done with most of the mountains drawn on it. I think it makes somewhat sense but what do other think of it?

08-24-2014, 05:59 AM
Keep in mind that there is also rotational movment in tectonic plates so one edge could have sections that are moving two directions. Also keep in mind divergent plates also form features, such as a sea trench or the Jordan Rift Valley. A second note is that from my reading of the tectonic plate map of earth land seems most likely to form directly on the edge (if not from volcanic activity).

08-24-2014, 06:35 AM
All right, I changed some of the plates and added arrows to some to indicate their rotation movement. I also started on the left hemisphere, that one is almost done.

http://i.imgur.com/Jy9wUwsl.jpg (http://imgur.com/Jy9wUws)

Stephen Koch
08-25-2014, 05:22 PM
Looking at your tectonics diagram I've noted a few things you should think about iggy. First, using earth ring of fire as an example, you should try to make all of your island chains on the edge of two plates. The reason for this is that island chains are formed predominately by volcanoes. Active volcanoes are mostly found along plate edges, rather than deeper inside a plate. Also chains always go from smallest (youngest) island to largest (oldest) island. This happens because as the island forms the plates are still drifting, which pulls the older islands away from the fault line where volcanoes form. As that island drifts away a new volcanoe forms, which will eventually rise above sea level creating a new island. The Hawaiian islands, Indonesia are perfect examples.

I noticed that most of your island chains are of uniform size from one end to the other and that a few are no where near fault lines. Also think most plates are only going to have islands (volcanic) on one edge, that being the edge rising up from the mantel. Most other islands will be small, coastal and barrier islands. These particular islands will typically be long and thin with very rough, jagged and rocky shores facing the open sea and very smooth straight, sandy shores facing the mainland. Other large islands on you're map that would be synonyms to England, Iceland, Madagascar, or Sri Lanka are going to be island that either formed from dead or long dormant super volcanoes, or would have broken of from the mainland, along a fault line, due to earthquakes over hundreds of thousands or millions of years

Also note that you have a tectonic diagram use this to determine where you will have mountain ranges. Where two ( or more if working with an intersection) plates collide head on you will have above ground mountains; the Rockies, Himalayas. This will also be a volcanic mountain range. Where two plates pull apart you will have an underwater trench (Marianas trench) and where you have two plate edges moving in the same direction it all be more or less geologically stable sith nothing really interesting going on, save maybe some minor volcanic activity or earthquakes (given the leading plate is moving faster). If the plate in the rear is moving faster then it will slide under the leading plate, pushing it above sea level causing the formation of an underwater mountain range, and eventually a continent.

I would suggest that you go back and re-evaluate some of your island chains and maybe reposition some of your landmass with these things in mind. Also keep in mind that there is a lot more to the geology and that I have only skimmed the surface. There many more situations in which islands can be formed and in which geological formations can exist and arise, but these are the basics that you would learn in any geo101 class.

Hope that this helps you with your works map and any of your future projects. And I also hope that it want to dry and lecture-y.


08-25-2014, 11:12 PM
Looking at your tectonics diagram I've noted a few things you should think about iggy. First, using earth ring of fire as an example, you should try to make all of your island chains on the edge of two plates. The reason for this is that island chains are formed predominately by volcanoes. Active volcanoes are mostly found along plate edges, rather than deeper inside a plate. Also chains always go from smallest (youngest) island to largest (oldest) island. This happens because as the island forms the plates are still drifting, which pulls the older islands away from the fault line where volcanoes form. As that island drifts away a new volcanoe forms, which will eventually rise above sea level creating a new island. The Hawaiian islands, Indonesia are perfect examples.

You're confusing two different phenomena. Hawaii is formed by a "hot spot" and is far from any plate boundaries, one spot is active with the plate moving over it. Probably the simplest example of islands formed by vulcanism induced by subduction at a plate boundary would be the Aleutian islands which have activity along the full length of the arc at the same time. The Indonesian archipelago is quite complicated and resulted from a mix of different processes over a long period of time and it's not so much on a plate boundary as covering a medium sized plate (the Sunda Plate) with the east end of the archipelago running off onto some smaller plates and the Indo-Australian plate.

08-26-2014, 02:58 PM
Thanks for the feedback! I'm currently having PC issues and I will most likely be reinstalling Windows in the coming days before I can take a closer look at the two posts above and make adjustments to my map. But updates will be posted for sure.

Stephen Koch
08-26-2014, 03:52 PM
Yes, hai you are correct. Sorry that I got it wrong. Iggy listen to him xD. Though, while Hawaii is a hot spot rather than along a plate edge, the point still stands that the island chain hours from largest tosmallest, with the smallst island being the youngest. The mechanisms for this is still the same; as the plate drifts it pulls the older islands with it away from the hot spot.

08-30-2014, 10:24 AM
I've reinstalled Win7 and took a subscription to Photoshop CC 2014. I have also updated my map and changed the island chains. Now I don't know how useful this is but I got the idea of using colours to indicate the pressure level spreading rate of each continental plate. Here's the result;

http://i.imgur.com/mWET3Xil.jpg (http://imgur.com/mWET3Xi)

After the plates have their direction arrows I will mark areas with earthquakes, volcanoes and sea trenches.

After looking at this map (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b4/Plate_tectonics_map.gif) I will be replacing "pressure" with "spreading rate" at the Tectonic legend.

Oh and for those who care I found this interesting webpage (http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/evolving_earth/evolving_earth.html) on tectonics.