View Full Version : First timer here, with my first finished world/overland map! (Photoshop)

Alexandre Lavigne
12-25-2013, 09:40 PM
Hey dudes/dudettes, this is my very first post and it contains my very first serious attempt at mapmaking for my D&D campaign.

I made all kinds of newbie mistakes, namely starting too small and realizing too late; would have been really nice to be working at twice or three times the resolution I ended up with instead of struggling to make things legible and decent looking.

I painted everything pretty much 100% from scratch with my crappy second-hand Graphire tablet, excluding the trees (created with the INSANELY helpful "TreeThing" program by Ramah) and the compass rose (from Peter Rempel) as well as a few miscellaneous texture overlays found on the interwebs.

Anyway, enjoy and lemme know what you guys think! Any feedback is appreciated and will be kept in mind for the next inevitable revision!

Also, if you wanna check out the campaign this is for, peep the page at https://ancientechoes.obsidianportal.com/wikis/main-page !


12-27-2013, 04:56 AM
Firstly, dude is a gender-neutral word, as explained in the third paragraph here (http://dudeism.com/whatisdudeism/).

Secondly, and more seriously, that's a really good first map! You've got great colors and textures, an interesting land shape, and some quite interesting place names. There are some things you could keep in mind if you make the revision though.
The rivers I'm afraid make no sense at all :P There's a great thread about rivers in the tutorial section that helped me and lots of others with understanding how water flows. I do like how you've drawn them though.
With the mountains, I don't quite think the perspective comes across. There's too much of the far side visible. The lines are also too thin compared to the rest of the map. A good exercise (that I've done) could be to look at photos of real mountain ranges and draw them simplified. Keep the shadows in mind to give them a 3-dimensional feel.
Lastly, I think you are using too many fonts. And too many font effects. Keeping it very, very simple is the best way to go here, in my opinion. Using bold and italic variants, and also different sizes, of one font gives clarity but keeps coherence. Sans-serif fonts look very modern. Pure black and white looks out-of-place in a map with the lovely subtle colors of yours.

I hope any of that might be helpful! It is a great start though, and it deserves some rep (the green little boxes below your name that shows how much we like you ;))

12-27-2013, 09:23 AM
The male noun can be inclusive, but does not negate a female noun to refer to a female subject. Such as "actor" which can refer to both genders or "actress" which refers to a female practitioner of that art. Or "guys", which can refer to a mixed group of people including females, or "ladies" which can only politely be used to address a group of females. It is the same way in many other languages. :P Personally I prefer the specificity of differentiating female nouns.

OT: That is a good looking map. Lingon is right about the rivers however, They are doing some super strange things there.

12-27-2013, 09:46 AM
Welcome to the Guild and congratulations for posting your first map!

It is indeed a great map. Wonderful style and execution - I personally like the way you did the mountains.

The river... yes, it is weird. The style is very nice, but no self-respecting river would ever behave in that way.
The fonts... also a problem. I can see what you tried to do here, but the multitude of different styles just gives the map a very noisy feel.

12-27-2013, 10:04 AM
I pretty much agree with what the others are said. The rivers aren't realistic - this is usually one of the first things people pick up on by the way because it's one of the easiest things to see at first glance. And the large variety of fonts leads to a lack of cohesive typography.

But the map itself looks really really good.

Alexandre Lavigne
12-27-2013, 02:12 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys! The night I posted this I actually saved a copy of the PSD and started tweaking the text to be simple black with a lil subtle white glow behind it for contrast--no garish stroke outlines or anything. Font-wise, I agree and will prolly fix that too next.

I started reading forum threads here/learned about river behavior AFTER I had already started the lion's share of the work on this, but the good news is I have the rivers all on a completely seperate layer and can remove/edit them non-destructively whenever I want! The only issue will be tweaking the contour marks/shadowing/elevation on the land around it...but those are all ALSO on seperate layers, so it won't be a huge pain in the ass! :D

Any particular resources I should check out as for river rules? I know the basics (rivers flow downhill, rivers converge when heading towards coastlines, etc etc) but any guidance would be super helpful!

Thanks again for the critique and the kind words. :)

12-28-2013, 07:45 PM

12-29-2013, 01:14 AM
What everyone else said :-). To neaten up your river setup, once you've read up on that tutorial, you may only need to break some implausible stretches, not do wholesale rerouting.

I like how you're effectively suggesting mountains with only sketched linework. Maybe going back over them with a real light coming from the highlight direction would suggest where you could slap in some more shadows. Try splat, splat, splash; messy as need be, and then dial them back to a light percentage opacity, and the sloppiness won't matter.

As far as fonts - variation is fine, to designate different feature types. Trick is, one uses variants on just one or two typefaces. Plenty of possibility between size and variations like caps, small caps, italics, cap italics, s p r e a d o u t, normal... For some reason, family variations are more harmonious than bunches of distinct typefaces, no matter how pretty each is by itself.