View Full Version : Isolden (my 1st world map)

11-25-2013, 12:58 AM
After admiring other people's world/regional maps for a very long time, I finally decided to take the plunge and give it a try myself. :)

I'm working on the mountain ranges and rivers/lakes first, then onto the hills and forests next. The rivers/lakes are just roughly painted placeholders at the moment. Once they're all done and I'm happy with the placement, I'll redraw them properly.

11-25-2013, 01:40 AM
It's about time! :D

Looking forward to seeing this take shape; already looks pretty good...

11-25-2013, 01:55 AM
Thanks very much Diamond! :)

11-25-2013, 02:32 AM
This looks great. I love the colors so far. I'm looking forward to watching this develop. :)

11-25-2013, 04:05 AM
Thanks jtougas! :)

One more update before I call it a night. Added more mountains (I think I'm done with those now), a few more rivers, and the lava-lake/rivers up north. Looking at that again...I'm thinking I might get rid of the smaller lava-lakes and just have a spiderweb network of small/thin rivers branching off from the main body of lava around the mountain.

11-25-2013, 10:14 AM
Testing out the trees/forests and an initial colour overlay for the terrain.

11-25-2013, 10:15 AM
This looks awesome! Fantastic color choices! Though the idea to reduce the lava is good – it's way too dominant right now, even if you'd mute the color.

11-25-2013, 10:31 AM
Thanks so much Lingon! :)

The lava (and rivers/lakes) are only placeholders atm! I just randomly picked a red and blue so you guys can see what will be water and what will be lava. The final results won't look anything like that! :P

11-25-2013, 01:59 PM
Revised the lava-rivers and did some texture work on the terrain. Now on to the hills! :)

11-25-2013, 11:49 PM
Worked on this some more today:

* Darkened the background a bit.
* Had some mirrored terrain that I'd missed before, so I erased an island on the eastern coast. Hopefully that makes it less noticeable.
* Bumped up the darkness/contrast of the mountains a bit, and darkened the northern mountain range considerably.
* Did a few minor edits to the terrain textures.
* Added more rivers (down south) and revised the lake in the center.
* Added some hills.

EDIT: I'm wondering if I should get rid of the rivers on the top-right? And possibly the middle-right as well?

11-26-2013, 06:09 PM
I still have a lot to do on the land/terrain, but I wanted to start figuring out how I'm going to do my roads, where they'll go, and where all the different places will be. The squares and circles are just placeholders until I can find actual icons. Squares are cities, towns, and villages. Circles are adventure areas with special points of interest.

I also got rid of the rivers at the top right.

I really wanted to work on this some more today, but it's so cold here right now that my hands and fingers are stiff and frozen. Makes it really hard to work, so I guess I'll just go curl up by the fireplace and watch TV instead. :P

11-27-2013, 11:25 AM
Those roads and towns actually added a lot I think, they tie the map together really nicely. Will be even better if you find some icons :)

Don't forget the tea in the cold!

11-27-2013, 03:39 PM
Looks great, I love the dark atmosphere, colors and textures! You could try brightening the ocean up a bit though and darkening the rivers so they matched up :) Secondly, you could add some randomness and variation to your tree brush, now the trees look a tad too identical and cloned. Otherwise it's a gorgeous map and I definitely envy your skills!


- Max -
11-27-2013, 04:40 PM
Hey Neyjour you might want to check some splitting rivers issues on this map ;)

11-27-2013, 06:23 PM
Indeed, watch out for the river police.

11-27-2013, 08:14 PM
Lingon - Thanks! Yeah, hopefully I can find what I'm looking for with the icons. Tea? No, no...it's all about the coffee! :P

AleksiHietanen - Thanks very much! Once the actual continent is finished, I'll start playing around with the ocean colour. Also, the rivers are just placeholders right now. Once the terrain is completely finished, those will be completely redrawn and recoloured. :) I've found some tree brushes that might look better. I'll give them a whirl and try to get some more diversity in size!

The river police found me?! Eeek!! *hangs head in shame* Okay, but seriously...I've never done rivers before (and I'm fairly clueless about that) so if you guys could point out exactly where I've gone wrong with that, I'd really appreciate it. I want to make sure I don't have any glaring mistakes before I start the final redraw. :)

11-27-2013, 11:20 PM
Nice map Neyjour, great colors. My advice is that the rivers and Lava are such an intense color compared to the rest of the map. I think they would look better if they were a softer color with a little texture to them. Then they would blend in nicer. ( I'm not an artist so I'm not sure if I put that in the right terminology )

Funny that it is warmer here in Maine than it is for you in Texas. I was a crappy rainy day, but it still hit 52 degrees, a heat wave compared to the 17 degrees it was yesterday.

11-27-2013, 11:27 PM
Neyjour - http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/3822-how-get-your-rivers-right-place.html

Page 10, in particular, is a good one as it has a .pdf that sums up the information nicely. Short and skinny - Once rivers join up they very rarely split and if they do only for a very short period.

11-28-2013, 12:10 AM
This is really great and to be honest if you like the rivers and you can make sense of them then leave them. I appreciate the effort people put into creating truly accurate rivers ans if you need (or just want) them to be strictly "earth-like" then go for it. :)

11-28-2013, 12:18 AM
Bogie - Thanks! The rivers and lava are just placeholders right now. Once the terrain is done, I'm going to merge all the layers and actually cut the rivers out, then re-apply the drop shadows (like you see around the continent now). So the background paper texture of the ocean will run right up into the rivers/lakes, and then I might use a transparent layer of blue on top of that, just to brighten the rivers/lakes up a bit. I'll see how it goes when I get to that point. :) Same thing for the lava too, except I'm planning to use an actual lava texture for that portion. I bought a really nice one on deviantART that I'm hoping will work for it. If not, I might just do some transparent layers of red/orange/yellow on top of the ocean texture for that as well. We had a cold front go through, so it's been pretty miserable for the past few days. Constant drizzling rain and really chilly temperatures. :( But today was a little bit warmer. :)

Psylence - Thanks very much! Going to download that now and give it a read-through! :)

jtougas - Thank you! I'll see how badly I've messed up and decide how much I want/need to change. But yeah, I'm not overly concerned with making them completely accurate, but I would like to avoid any glaring/obvious errors if possible. :)

11-28-2013, 02:01 AM
jtougas is on the money. It's all about you and your take on things. Let's face it, when it comes to mapmaking there's always the question of how realistic you plan on making it. Often people want to put in an element of realism, but there's also ways around it. The easiest explanation is magic, but you could also create an artificial split in a river because of a town. If they go out of their way to split it, it could theoretically happen for a while. It's also interesting to just look through that thread because, sometimes, even our living world does things that make us scratch are heads and want to call foul(or fowl since Turkey Day and all). Either way, I know I haven't spoken too much on the map, but it's coming along quite nicely.

11-28-2013, 08:11 PM
Thanks Psylence! Yeah, since this is a Fantasy world, I'm not going to worry over it too much! Now, if I was making a real world map, that would be different...I'd probably be kind of OCD about getting everything exactly right. :P

I should have another update tomorrow. Been working on the sand dunes in the desert area, and adding more trees. I tried a few other options for the trees but couldn't get any good results, so I may have to just stick with my cloned trees. :P

11-29-2013, 12:23 AM
Have you tried the option from: Fantasy Cartography with Adobe Photoshop 3 - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m4pDmxvnPU)

It's not a bad way to do forests so long as the map fits for it. :)

11-29-2013, 02:53 AM
I don't want to discourage you on what is a really nice map. Like others note: if it is for just you, and it makes you happy - no problemo.

But glaring is in the eye of the beholder. For a wider audience than one, some folks may have enough realistic hydrology internalized, for implausible channels to grate like fingernails on a chalkboard. 'Tis the same for other features - when one is sensitive to the effects of different projections, implausible grids and graticlules are unnerving. For those who have studied climate and biospheres, unlikely placement of deserts, forests, and such can ruin an otherwise pleasing experience.

I use a "good enough/ minimum effort" doctrine -- go for all the plausibility that doesn't take overmuch effort, and which doesn't get in the way of your storytelling. If your tale calls for a fifty-mile-wide waterfall, then make one.... if you need rain forest abutting desert, draw that... heck, if you need water flowing uphill, do that -- just be willing to blame it on handwaving, big deposits of implausiblite, or a backstory with drunken gods creating willy-nilly.

What you have drawn has a number of issues, but none of which look hard to correct, *assuming* you don't mind the more likely configurations. It's also REALLY nicely done otherwise, and it deserves a bucketload of rep already, unfinished and regardless of rivers!

The "how to get your rivers in the right place" tutorial (most excellent reading!) boils down to "water flows downhill. at any one point, only one direction is 'most down', so rivers tend to join, not split". Lakes are a special case of this principle - it's not impossible for two or more points on the periphery of a lake to both be lowest outlet and exactly the same height - only unlikely and temporary.

Your southwestern lake has this problem - the two circled outlets. The yellow line is a shore all the same level. "Think" the dirt and rock a little higher at either one, and you get no flow there - call it erasing a bit of the outflowing river. A very few feet of difference is enough. The new "upper end" of the cut off river can even be pretty near the lake - say a ridge separates the two.


This northern lake is fine - if you assume the yellow marks a shore all at the same level, you have one outlet and many inlets.


Down from the eastern outlet of that SW lake you have a major split going on. Realistically all the flow would go one way or the other -- a midway break in one channel as drawn, down from the split, would technically fix things. But that middle view shows what looks like a wrong-way join. The way dirt and water behave, one will usually see joins at an angle that in effect points a bit downriver. Not always, but usually. So maybe a situation like the third view would be better -


This split likewise you could improve with one little erasure.


Having that shorter river arise not *quite* so close to the longer one where I broke it (least effort :-) ), would maybe be even more readily believable, but that's your design decision. For that matter, maybe the southern bit is the one that needs disconnecting instead <shrug>.

Water flows based mostly on three things - the level & slope of the top of the water, the level & slope of the bottom of the water (i.e. the bare terrain), and the capacity of the channel. The second is the most obvious - that leads to the "only downhill" maxim. But take it further - because at any point only one direction is likely to be "most down", it is in that one direction that water will flow. But nothing stops any one point from being thus downhill from two other spots. These add up to create the generality that rivers join as they proceed downhill, but don't split. You can get that by observation too - from looking at the behavior of most watercourses.

The lake-outlet thing is not just the odds against multiple lowest outlets, but the mechanics of erosion. Say two separate spots do happen to be both lowest. One will have a larger flow, or will be in softer terrain. That one will cut just a bit lower outlet - which will then capture more and more of the flow, grow faster, and will wind up the lowest outlet, with all the flow. The timescale might be days, or years. Even if it is thousands of years, on a geologic scale, that's small potatoes, and thus temporary. So a map representing any random time in the history of a land, is most likely not to have such transient situations - or not many of them. Our fantasy maps can either exist of and for themselves, or they can be in support of something - being a background, a setting, a set of stage furniture for whatever events you wish to portray. If the former, then whatever looks good will suffice. If the latter, then maybe we want the map to be almost "invisible" - not to call attention to itself too much. The latter can be beautiful, clever, fascinating all by itself - of course it can for us map geeks :-). We'll peruse any map, and the more interesting the better. :-) But a viewer (watcher, reader, what-have-you) has only so much attention to give. If the point of a map is to help tell a story, the details that pull one's attention away from the focus of the narrative are counterproductive. If he's puzzling out just what is going on in the picture that bugs him, he may miss important bits of plot. Or may not buy the book :-b. In the same way a writer doesn't make his characters or setting *too* strange, we may not want too much jarring in our depiction. Artist James Gurney (of Dinotopia) has a term - imaginative realism. So in all respects possible maybe we ought to keep things at least plausible. Again the audience matters - among folks who don't much know or care how the real world works, discrepancies from "realism" won't matter. More folks know how rivers work than how plate tectonics work, so being sketchy on tectonics is less of a problem. More folks understand gross climate situations than orbital mechanics, so moon placement might not be as essential to get "right" as whether a desert on the downwind side of a mountain range makes sense just *there*.

And this is art supported by science, not plain science - if it pleases you, draw it. It just pleases some of us to not only be pretty but to also try and figure where the winds would blow, how the ice caps spread, and what lies beneath the volcanoes. :-)

Okay, now that I've strayed SERIOUSLY into the Too Long; Didn't Read territory, I might as well get more complex. For one, I noted carrying capacity of a channel matters. This is most clear in an underground watercourse - there the rivers are also pipes. If a tunnel can only pass 100 gallons a minute, then that's all that flows, and some other tube carries other water out of the Lost Sea Beneath. Thus multiple outlets. You get that situation on the surface temporarily during floods - a normal channel maybe can't let past an increased flow, so it backs up and water also flows elsewhere. That delightful (?!) circumstance gets 50% of Bangladesh underwater once in a while. It lets the Mississippi grow to a hundred fifty miles across for a time.

The exceptions to the no-splitting generality mostly equate to flatness, hence water "not caring much" which direction it wanders. Like a lake with islands, even if the passages between are narrow - it's all the same to this bucket of water as it is to that one. In a delta, that goes on in spades. Flow slows, and silt drops. Now the silted bottom right there is shallower, and that direction over there looks lower, and a bit more flow moseys *there*. And back and forth, and all at once. Thus if it's what you want, a marshy swampy bayous situation, say like the south end of Florida (before Man's modifications), I'll buy your tangled situation below near the coast. Depending on your scale, maybe the breadth of connection to the sea I left in place is appropriate , or maybe it ought to neck down more. Swampy land/water can also be explicitly shown with something like the little marsh-grass tufts I stuck in. The other (farther away) tangled many-exits-to-sea bits are not so plausible, but could be bettered with something like the three shown deletions. Can you imagine how it now shows one-way down for each raindrop? Watercourses by themselves imply the shape of terrain beneath. Call the areas where I broke rivers now ridges - whether sharp or gradual.


Now, that northern delta is troubling mostly in its size.

Am I guessing right that it's hundreds of miles across? Simply smaller and closer to the shore would help. Do you intend that to be dead-flat delta mud and marsh? Some of your river mouths "read" as being more hilly surroundings - note a delta like that of the Mississippi has some channels that actually run out to the end of peninsulas. The same hydrology that has river-joins "pointing" downstream, make contour lines of a valley "point" upstream, along a river. And a shoreline is just the zero contour. In terrain that's at all slanted, one expects a mouth like the one I circled to maybe be a bit of a slot between two ridges, or at least rises. If that's the terrain you want near this coast, then it's back to the earlier examples, where you wouldn't want the downstream splitting behavior at all.

It might help if you figure a delta more as what happens when a silty river hits ocean, than what the onshore end of a long river does. They build out, not inward - except for the case of land so flat that you have a swamp more than a delta. If a river dumps much sediment into an ocean or lake, but currents wash it all away, no delta builds up. Thus only some coastal configurations would tend to let a delta form.

What I said about the TOP of the water mattering can get odd. The Tonle Sap in Cambodia is a really low-slope river. Where it flows into the Mekong, normally, the path from there to the sea is just that little bit lower, and flow proceeds as you might expect. But when the Mekong floods (yearly!) its surface becomes several feet higher. Now all of a sudden the surface of the Mekong would be higher than that of the whole lower Tonle Sap, and the latter accepts flow from the Mekong and flows *backward*, backing up into a huge lake. Weird. I dare you to symbolize THAT on a map :-). So "plausible" can have a wide range... but that level of oddness does call for explanation. One or two such special situations would be plenty for a normal map.

A micro-case of the multiple-outlets situation : think of a broad waterfall like Victoria. It flows over a pretty dang level shelf of hard rock. There's still bits that have eroded more, so those spots gush more - and more constantly. Bit of a drought, and the 'higher' spots dry up. Bit of a flood, and a more complete curtain of falling water is seen. A waterfall is a pretty restricted example - Victoria is only a bit over a mile wide. That's accentuated by the natural tendency of the rock to erode away - only there, erode-and-a-chunk-falls gets you a bit wider channel, and moves the edge back to unslotted rock. An interesting counterexample, a rare one, is where minerals are at an almost saturated solution in the water. You can get constant buildup instead of constant erosion. Accidental rifts tend to heal.

Ah, well - if all that makes sense, you can tweak things a bit and improve your believability. If it doesn't make sense, then draw on and still give us some more of the very nice work I see!

11-29-2013, 03:01 AM
I wouldn't expect the lava to flow all over creation either - more of a few channels than a finely divided mesh. I *would* figure it to be temporary enough for the multiple outlets bit not to matter. Check your scale, and think of how fast lava cools -- if the volcano area is one mile across or twenty, I could buy it easier than if it is 150 or 200 miles across.

11-29-2013, 06:55 AM
I wouldn't expect the lava to flow all over creation either - more of a few channels than a finely divided mesh. I *would* figure it to be temporary enough for the multiple outlets bit not to matter. Check your scale, and think of how fast lava cools -- if the volcano area is one mile across or twenty, I could buy it easier than if it is 150 or 200 miles across.
I'd imagine real lava behaves in relatively the same manner as water just with quicker pattern changes since it cools quickly and ends up blocking it's self. That said for a lake of lava or anything of that nature as depicted here I think it's pretty safe to say the rules don't apply. On Earth that would have cooled and formed new land pretty much immediately. The way I take this representation is that surface area of the crust is extremely thin and or extremely hot through some means. To me it appears as if it is a cooling surface on a huge lake of lava, like when you see a lake dry up and you get that wonderful cracked pattern on top with mud underneath with maybe some freestanding water in the middle.

11-29-2013, 01:42 PM
@jbgibson: You deserve a 3rd River Police award for that. :D

12-02-2013, 10:04 AM
Psylence - Thanks for the YouTube tutorial link! Unfortunately, I don't know how to translate that to PSP. Although, I did find some brushes that looked sort of similar, but they just didn't look quite right on my map.

jbgibson - Wow...thank you so much for taking the time to post all of that! I really appreciate it! :D I've started making some changes to my rivers based on what you've shown me. :)

Alright, here's the latest update:

* Edited the rivers (still a WIP)
* Did some more texture work to the terrain
* Added some more trees
* Added more texture to the background (+ changed the colour)
* Added a border, compass rose, rhumb lines, cartouche, and text

12-02-2013, 11:42 AM
I love that desert! This is coming together beautifully :)

12-02-2013, 09:05 PM
Thanks so much Lingon. :)

Klaus van der Kroft
12-03-2013, 07:54 AM
Break my legs and drag me by the beard; I love this piece! The mountains and the desert are awesome! I love the colours!

12-03-2013, 08:20 AM
I do agree with the people above, however I feel the desert is a tad too saturated and/or bright for the rest of the map. Of course that depends on what you plan to do with the seas: if you're planning on giving them a less subdued/dark colour, I don't think the brightness and saturation of the desert would be a problem per se.

All in all a very good job, I absolutely love the dunes!

12-03-2013, 11:22 AM
Klaus van der Kroft - Thanks very much! :)

Caenwyr - Thank you! I doubt I'll be changing the sea/background, so I'll play with the desert some more and see how it looks with a darker, less saturated colour. :)

12-03-2013, 01:16 PM
I like the map, I think you did a very good job so far. The desert is particularly well done and goes well with your dark mountains.
The only thing that disturbs me is your rivers (too flashy for me), but I see it's still a WIP, so I assume it will be better in the end!

12-04-2013, 05:20 AM
Thanks Ilanthar. Yes, the rivers are just placeholders, and still a WIP. :)

* Edited the border and title. I'm not liking the title very much, so I'll probably completely redo that later.
* Added a bit of colour to the compass.
* Did a little bit more texture work on the terrain (mostly in the top & upper-left regions)
* Added a Legend box

I've been playing with the desert colour, but I just don't know which I like best, so I'm attaching 3 versions:
WIP-08 = original
WIP-09 = darkened
WIP-10 = darkened & desaturated

Not much of an update, but I've been sick with the flu and haven't felt well enough to concentrate on more than just a few minor tweaks and additions. I'll try to post a more significant update next time, once I'm feeling better and can spend some more time working on it.

- Max -
12-04-2013, 06:51 AM
I'm assuming you're using brushes for the desert?

12-04-2013, 07:46 AM
No, I couldn't find brushes that worked for what I wanted, so I used a stock texture of actual sand dunes.

- Max -
12-04-2013, 07:47 AM
hehe works pretty good ;)

12-04-2013, 07:57 AM
Thanks. :) Yep, I was lucky enough to find a good one that was shot at the right angle. :)

12-04-2013, 08:03 AM
This is great I like the dunes a lot and the background/ border.

12-04-2013, 08:24 AM
Thanks very much KenG. :)

12-04-2013, 11:50 AM
I think I like the last one the most, it looks more coherent. The border is really nice too!

And… feel better, Ney :)

12-04-2013, 11:51 PM
Thanks Lingon. :) Been dosing up on DayQuil and vitamins, so hopefully I'll be able to kick this soon...

I've been flipping back and forth through the different versions of the desert and I was leaning more towards the desaturated version, but still wasn't 100% sure. Thanks for letting me know which one you like best. I think that's decided then...desaturated it is! :D

12-05-2013, 03:09 AM
Good choice! I love how this is coming along!

- Max -
12-05-2013, 05:23 AM
Th last version (dark/desaturated) fits the map dark feeling better imho. Also I would work on the too saturated blue of the rivers aswell. As for the borders they're nice but I would work the cartouche with some similar elemnts for the sake of consistency.

12-05-2013, 06:48 AM
Caenwyr - Thanks so much! And thanks for the suggestion to change the desert! :)

Max - Thanks for the advice on the cartouche! You're right, it doesn't fit with the border at all. I'll change that! :) The rivers are just placeholders right now...they'll look completely different when I do the final, proper version, and they definitely won't be a bright blue like what you see now. I think I'm pretty close to finishing the terrain, so the rivers will be coming up soon. :)

12-05-2013, 11:09 AM
Okay, latest update:

* Edited the border a bit
* Changed the title text and cartouche
* Added icons and a Legend
* Finished all the roads and paths
* Did a little bit more texture work on the terrain (upper-left barren region, and the southern swampy region)

I'm sure I'll make some more minor edits/changes before it's all completely done, but I think I'm going to call the terrain finished now, so I can move on to the rivers and lava next. :)

EDIT: This version is slightly larger (50% resolution) than what I've been previously posting.

12-05-2013, 11:43 AM
I like your cartouches & borders on this last one!

12-05-2013, 12:08 PM
Thanks Ilanthar! :)

12-05-2013, 06:13 PM
Here's the rivers/lakes done. Still not entirely sure how I want to do the lava...

EDIT: Just realized I forgot to do the rivers at the bottom. Urgh! I need to get some sleep...I always make stupid mistakes when I'm tired. :P

12-05-2013, 07:36 PM
I don't know what you want to do with the lava either, but I can tell you I miss that cracked earth effect that was going on up there. The whole map is looking very good though. The rivers and lakes appear like they belong perfectly now.

12-05-2013, 08:20 PM
fantastic. the color scheme is much darker than what I usually see, and I think it works very well for your map. Great level of detail too! Keep up the awesome work.

12-06-2013, 10:21 AM
I need to try and make a dark map.
This is beautiful!

12-06-2013, 01:32 PM
Falconius - Thanks! I think I'm going to stick with the cracked earth effect (I really liked that too!). Just not sure how I want to do it, though. Maybe just 1 or 2 main rivers flowing out to the sea (with plumes of steam where they hit the water), with lots of cracks over the rest of the terrain. Or just the cracks with nothing actually flowing out to the sea. Hmmm... :?:

Endyr - Thanks very much! I was really trying to aim for a "dark" look and feel to this one, so I'm glad you think it worked out well! :)

WillyWombat - Thank you! :)

12-06-2013, 03:47 PM
Looks really good! But you still have two outlets from that large SW lake.

One way to justify a broad area of lava cracks if you still want that, is to assume a formerly solid stretch of land is being melted from below. Say, as if the hot spot plume beneath Hawaii was hundreds of miles wide, instead of just a few. That would even explain your mountain as depicted - in a lake of lava, without visible flow from its top like a simple volcano might have. If such heat ebbed and flowed rather quicker than earthly geology suggests possible, you would likely get a pretty barren wasteland - just what it looks like you intend.

12-06-2013, 05:14 PM
Thanks jbgibson! :)

Yeah, I know the rivers from the SW lake are wrong, but honestly...I just really like the way they look and don't want to change them. :P I like your explanation for the network of lava cracks! (I am still going with that). :)

Here's all the rivers now. Also, I upped the opacity of the water layer, so they're a little bit brighter and more saturated.

12-06-2013, 05:57 PM
Yes, that higher opacity on the water is better.

12-06-2013, 06:50 PM
The new Rivers are splendid. I have to try out similar effects, its realy matching the overall dark theme of the Map!

12-06-2013, 09:10 PM
Thanks guys! Glad you like the rivers/water. :)

12-06-2013, 11:34 PM
Put me down as another river admirer! The colors and texture of the water is great!

12-07-2013, 01:52 PM
Heh - like I prefaced my original RiverCop remarks - if it makes you happy and suits your needs, anything goes. Still, as I am the King of rationalization - what tech / society level are the people on this map? Can they do canals? A second outlet that is artificial is a whole 'nother kettle o' fish....

12-19-2013, 12:38 PM
Bogie - Thanks so much! :)

jbgibson - Honestly, I really haven't thought at all about tech/society level. :P

Here's an update on the lava region. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, although maybe the red highlights on the volcano are a bit too bright?

- Max -
12-19-2013, 01:13 PM
Looks good though the shadow on the edges (of the central lava lake) has some issues that makes it rather look a bit cambered.

12-19-2013, 01:22 PM
Thanks Max. :) I see what you mean about the shadows. I think erasing the dropshadow at the bottom should fix it...and it shouldn't be there anyway because of the perspective. Ooops! :P

12-19-2013, 01:51 PM
Okay, I erased all of the thicker dropshadow, so now it's even around the entire perimeter of the lake. I think that fixed the problem. :)

Also darkened the volcano a bit, reduced the red highlights, and did some minor editing to the lava texture.

12-19-2013, 02:42 PM
That's really nice work Neyjour, I especially like the lakes and the new lava effects.

12-19-2013, 03:31 PM
Great work Neyjour!!!

12-20-2013, 05:59 AM
The map looks already great. And I second PWKerns, your lava is truly excellent!

12-20-2013, 07:23 PM
Thanks very much, guys! :)

I think I'm pretty much done now. Just need to do the labeling. Curved text is extremely limited in PSP8, so I'm going to use Inkscape for that. Found a couple good tutorials on YouTube, and it looks like it should be fairly simple. *crosses fingers* I'll (hopefully) have another update to show after Christmas.

Thanks so much to everyone who has commented so far! I hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year! :D

- Max -
12-20-2013, 07:39 PM
A detail bothers me a bit (but some details makes better maps sometimes doesn't it?) I haven't noticed it before but it seems thet the shaded side of the trees is not the same than the mountains shaded side?

12-21-2013, 04:19 AM
You're right...dangit! :P But I really don't feel like re-doing all the trees, so I'll just have to keep that in mind for future maps. :)

- Max -
12-21-2013, 05:46 AM
:( sad to hear...

12-22-2013, 09:38 PM
It's a pleasant combination of features, Neyjour. All kinds of things, that could be argued against by themselves, can potentially work well together. You've found such a set - I find i just *like* this one.

What I'd suggest you file away for the next map is that the moderate-sized hills look a bit like lumps on top of the ground, rather than bumps *in* the ground. Maybe it's the shading at the bottom - could they use a little more gradual fade on the bottom-edge shadow? Everything I've done in that vein looks *very* dodgy, so I'm no expert in how to tweak hill symbols to blend in better.

Keep up the good work - and a Merry Christmas to you as well!

12-22-2013, 10:42 PM
Thanks so much, jbgibson. :)

The hills have a layer of colour underneath them. That's what was making them look so "lumpy" and smooth (texture-wise). I got rid of that altogether, so now the actual ground texture shows through. I also reduced the contrast of the lines a little bit. Do you think this looks better now?

12-23-2013, 02:32 AM
I love the dark look of the map. What are you making the map for?

12-23-2013, 06:56 AM
Thanks very much, Althaen. :) I don't have plans to use it myself...I just love making maps, and wanted to try making a world map rather than my usual battlemaps. When it's finished, I plan to offer the full-rez version as a free download, for others to use in their gaming. :)

12-23-2013, 02:06 PM
Yup, that blends better - nice!

12-24-2013, 01:04 AM
Great, thanks! :)

One last edit (or a question, really) before I start on the labels. I'm wondering if maybe the lava is a bit too bright? I prefer the bright version (when looking at it on its own), but combined with the rest of the map...I'm just not too sure. So...here's the original (bright) version, and a slightly darker one. I've included the northern lake in the crop, so you can compare the two together, since the lava and the water are the two elements of the map that are the most colourful.

EDIT: Or maybe bump up the level of brightness/saturation of the water to match the bright version of the lava?

12-24-2013, 01:10 AM
I think I prefer the second version of the lava. Although I am wondering if it might look better with a few subtle orangey-yellow highlights? It doesn't seem as "warm" as it could be if that makes sense.

12-24-2013, 02:24 AM
Yes, I understand what you mean! Thanks for the suggestion! :)

Here's a version with orangy/yellow highlights. I can't seem to get the results I want (and I'll probably fiddle with it some more) but hopefully this is a bit of an improvement. Of course, adding highlights bumped the brightness back up again. And I also darkened the terrain a bit more, which bumps the contrast up as well, but I think I like this dark/bright version. Gives it more of a dangerous, uninviting atmosphere, IMO.

I'm still not sure if the lava (and that zone in general) is a bit too overpowering compared to everything else. It seems to draw my eye away from the rest of the map...although, maybe that's not exactly a bad thing. Ugh! I dunno. Some opinions on that would be much appreciated!

12-24-2013, 02:33 AM
Yes, I understand what you mean! Thanks for the suggestion! :)

Here's a version with orangy/yellow highlights. I can't seem to get the results I want (and I'll probably fiddle with it some more) but hopefully this is a bit of an improvement. Of course, adding highlights bumped the brightness back up again. And I also darkened the terrain a bit more, which bumps the contrast up as well, but I think I like this dark/bright version. Gives it more of a dangerous, uninviting atmosphere, IMO.

I'm still not sure if the lava (and that zone in general) is a bit too overpowering compared to everything else. It seems to draw my eye away from the rest of the map...although, maybe that's not exactly a bad thing. Ugh! I dunno. Some opinions on that would be much appreciated!

Maybe make the lava a bit more subtle? Real lava doesn't pool as orange everywhere, there's always a black crust on top.


03-26-2014, 07:16 AM
The map is very good, and the colors are awesome. Wonderful work!

03-27-2014, 07:02 PM
Althaen - Sorry for the late reply! I meant to respond back then, but got sidetracked and then completely forgot... :? I decided to leave the lava as-is. Since this is a fantasy environment, I wasn't too worried about it not being "real life" correct, and I really, really liked the idea of a large lake of bright molten/liquid lava. :) Here are a couple artworks that inspired that: prison by SebastianWagner (http://sebastianwagner.deviantart.com/art/prison-354083510) / City of Dreams by Helga-Hertz (http://helga-hertz.deviantart.com/art/City-of-Dreams-399404525)

JefBT - Thanks very much! :)

I still have not labeled this (and don't know when I'll get the time to do it) so I went ahead and posted the unlabeled version in my deviantART gallery: Isolden [unlabeled] (http://neyjour.deviantart.com/art/Isolden-unlabeled-442852129)