View Full Version : Making better coastlines.

12-12-2013, 12:39 PM
I've been looking for better ways to make coastlines. I have been following:

Old Guy Gaming - Realistic Coastlines Revisited (http://oldguygaming.com/realistic-coastlines-revisited)

This method really doesn't do it for me. I haven't had much success getting the coastlines I wanted with that method. Anyone have tips or an easier way to do it rather than just eroding it yourself with an eraser?

12-12-2013, 07:50 PM
I've tended to just draw them with my tablet lately, following a rough layer below as a guide. That allows me to change the coat styles as desired, from soft to jagged to silty points or sandbags, etc.

After that it can be vectorized and stroked as desired.

Another good technique is to get/ create a bunch of different scaled brushes made of actual cost outlines (I think there's a couple posted somewhere here) and use those to add and subtract to build up the coast.


12-13-2013, 06:09 AM
Hello Boloburn,

I think the tutorial is not too good and the resulting coastlines doesn´t look good quite good, so far you are right.

I alwasy draw the coastlines by hand so I can manage my countries as I want them to be. One first step might be to decide the scale of the map, whether it showa a region, a country, a continent or a whole world. It could help to decide, if you want to have a clear and smooth coastline like in Pommerania/Poland or a more diversified coast like the Fjord Coast in Norway. try to copy and modifie existing coasts of regions in a similar scale, maybe by underlaying a photo af a certain region...

12-18-2013, 09:58 PM
What I've been doing lately is getting my tablet, getting a small brush (hard 2px brush - for fill selection reasons) and then on a blank layer going ahead and drawing... what I do is I draw with my arm. Not with my fingers, not with my hand, with my arm. My hand holds the pen relatively consistent and I use my arm to actually do the drawing. This, I find, leads to a nice-looking somewhat jagged and erratic appearance without being too regular, as the arm is less accurate and also, since I hold it in the air, does tend to waver a bit, especially as it gets tired.

This is for world maps though so some of the finer details, like Norway's coast as randigpanzrall mentions, would not be present. Nonetheless I feel it works well.

12-31-2013, 07:54 AM
When I started getting into map making I thought, how hard could it be. Then I tried to draw up my first coastline. I was born on the east coast of the U.S. with ocean ten minutes south and 15 minuets north and 60 minuets west of ocean. I figured that I understand how the coast line works let me attempt to emulate it. Those words still haunt me every time I try to create a coastline. What I have done to help me, is to try to understand the type of coastline I want to create and then using an old world atlas I purchased at a used book store try to find one like the one I want t create and see how it looks and try to emulate it. It does not always work, however it has helped me over 70% of the time. I usually make the coastlines too heavy. Practice will help.


01-22-2014, 06:06 PM
I haven't been making digital maps for very long, but my current ones have all been generated from a fractal terrain program I wrote. Given some parameters, it outputs a greyscale PNG image that represents a heightmap of the terrain (which you can then add oceans to and get coastlines). It kind of looks like the "solid noise" filter in a lot of programs, but I believe the algorithm is different. It runs at about 5 megapixels per second.

I did several maps using the Realistic Coastlines Revisited tutorial for a while, but after I developed my program I switched to it because it gives better coastlines, in my opinion.

I'd be happy to make the program available to you, but only as source code. It's a small project and I can't build executables for other systems. Anyone know how to upload code files?

01-23-2014, 01:57 AM
I dunno how to upload code, but I'm definitely intrigued by the program and your kind offer. What's it written in?

01-23-2014, 02:10 AM
You should be able to zip the code and post it as an attachment (I think the guild still allows for .zip files). If it's not too many files, just use the "[code ]" and "[/code ]" tags to bracket the text of each file (no spaces before the closing "]"). Worst case is to use a PDF to contain the code.

01-24-2014, 01:33 PM
I dunno how to upload code, but I'm definitely intrigued by the program and your kind offer. What's it written in?

I know how to upload code now, it just needs to be zipped. I posted a couple GIMP .scm script-fu files the other day for contour mapping.

The source is in C and uses libpng. This is just me developing the code, though, so you'd have to compile it for your own computer.

01-24-2014, 09:53 PM
The source is in C and uses libpng. This is just me developing the code, though, so you'd have to compile it for your own computer.

If you're willing to share, it's always good to see new techniques. There are a fair few of us who have little fear of and a passing familiarity with both C and libpng.