View Full Version : My first attempt at worldbuilding

01-25-2014, 07:47 PM
Doing worldbuilding for the first time as a writer for my own ebook series. I've done a lot of research into this topic and plan to write a series of article on how to do this for other writers that could use this information. I have picked up a few techniques from this site so far and below is my first real attempt at worldbuilding. It is a proof of concept for now, not my final design, but wouldn't mind some feedback. I used Paint.net. I used 3 cloud renderings to make this. The first one was for the land masses, and the other two were the placement of everything else. Sorry if the colour is a bit off...I'm not really an artist.


02-03-2014, 12:03 AM
As much as I liked that map, it didn't fit my needs, plus I discovered a few new techniques to try out and I am very satisfied with this map. Would love a critque or suggestion of other ways to enhance.

New techniques:

Better colour scheme for high mountains
Better land texture
Added texture for the sea
Better view of shallow water
Dark Forests (and added in the Black Forest)


If you are interested in how I did this, I will am doing a Worldbuilding series on my blog (http://writing.chrisvotey.com) for writers

02-03-2014, 12:16 AM
Very nice first maps! :) I do think the second is a vast improvement.

I think the land and the water look like they were made in different styles? I'm not sure how paint.net works, so I can't tell if that is typical.

Are you building this world solely for your blog, or for use in a novel/setting of your own? :)

02-03-2014, 12:52 AM
I used cloud rendering for both land and sea. There are a total of 5 cloud renderings in that map. 1 for the way the continents are laid out, 2 for the way the ocean looks, and 2 for how the landmasses look (after creating the continents). This has nothing to do with how pdn does things, it's just how I did it.

This particular map will be for my personal use for a book I am writing this year called Night Paladin. While I designed the world, only the main continent (the really big one) will be included with the book. I do plan to add cities and roads to the map once I am satisfied with how the geography looks. What I do for my blog will be a different map all together to show step by step how to recreate what I've done.

Thank you for your compliment.

02-03-2014, 01:12 AM
:) i meant different like... the water looks... I don't know.. softer, somehow (second picture) maybe it's just a color thing... I see things differently than most people :)

I was trying to find a paint.net tutorial, but they seem to be pretty rare :o

Anyway, it sounds like a big project!

02-03-2014, 01:22 AM
The Paint.net tutorial I found on here helped me out a lot, but then I knew how to use paint.net to begin with. My tutorial will go over basics of paint.net and also give step-by-step instructions in paint.net on how I did what I did. So check it out if you like. My next article comes out on the 4th, which takes a look at our planet and what we can learn about it when we design our own world. A week or two later, I will over the tools needed for the tutorial. After that, then the fun begins with worldbuilding.

02-03-2014, 01:24 AM
As far as the water...I added noise to the water then did a motion blur to create that effect. I actually did the same thing to the land, but it is so cluttered, you can't tell.

02-03-2014, 12:50 PM

I won't keep posting pictures of my new developments as I'm sure that will get annoying fast (unless that is encouraged).

New development: I have transformed a continent map into a world. I have added stars as background, I have given the planet a glow around the rim, added a dark side of the planet, and lastly have given the illusion of city lights on that dark side.

The last one I'm most proud of because it is not just random noise, rather it is based on the geography of continents.

02-03-2014, 12:54 PM
Wow I'd like to see that update :)

(And I'm annoying, and everyone's been pretty encouraging about it so far, lol! :) )

02-03-2014, 02:21 PM
Here is the globe of my map. Still trying to fine tune the city lights, but it is far more impressive than many tutorials I've seen.


02-03-2014, 04:43 PM
The globe is pretty cool but I think the lights should be white and more diffuse like a halo of light maybe ? Not sure about that, it's just a suggestion.

02-03-2014, 05:24 PM
I appreciate the suggestion. I initially had white (as the technique I start off with a white background) and thought if this was a medieval world, most light would come from fire. Then again, if it were, you wouldn't be able to see it from space.

I'm curious as to what you mean by halo of light. Can you give more information or perhaps an example?

02-05-2014, 12:49 AM
Article 1 (http://authorvotey.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/worldbuilding-1-earth/) of my worldbuilding article is now available.

It is a look at Earth, and what we can learn about it to add to your design of the world. Stop by and check it out, please let me know what you think.

02-05-2014, 10:49 AM
I just read your text and it covers a lot of aspects of worldbuiding but it does it without getting in details. There are a lot of missing information about the climates and the formation of deserts form example.

02-05-2014, 03:43 PM
You are correct, it is lacking details. But this is the first of what I estimate to be between 10 - 15 articles. I intend to fill in the missing information as they become relevant in later articles, so I didn't want to be bogged down with too much information in the first article. The goal was to get people to start thinking about what they want.

I appreciate the comment and suggestion.

02-16-2014, 01:09 PM
Going back to a flat map, I made some updates

Used TreeThing (http://www.cartographersguild.com/mapping-elements/11361-treething.html) to improve my tree graphic
Expirimenting with snow caps (still a WIP)
Added cities - I used Magic wand and a number of other tools to place
Added Volcanos
Added Snow tops


02-16-2014, 01:09 PM
Very soon I will be posting my next article for worldbuilding, going over the tools.

02-20-2014, 03:15 PM
New article is up. (http://authorvotey.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/worldbuilding-2-tools/)

03-03-2014, 06:02 PM
Changed site, new links

Introduction (http://wp.me/p4mUnO-1U)
Worldbuilding #1 - Earth (http://wp.me/p4mUnO-20)
Worldbuilding #2 - Tools (http://wp.me/p4mUnO-2V)

Next article is due out on the 8th. Sorry for the delay. Curse of being a writer. I actually released a book on Amazon and have another coming out this month.

03-08-2014, 01:32 PM
Worldbuilding #3 - Continenets (http://wp.me/p4mUnO-3U)

Using a Fractal Map Generator and Paint.net net, I show you how to start making your map.

03-16-2014, 05:19 PM
Worldbuilding #4 — Ocean, Continents, Lakes, and Islands (http://www.chrisvotey.com/writing/advice/worldbuilding-4-ocean-continents-lakes-and-islands/)

Now adding some color to our map.

03-16-2014, 05:23 PM
Newest Map
Removed ice caps
added texture for mountains


03-28-2014, 05:31 PM
Worldbuilding #5 - Ocean Depth and Land Texture (http://www.chrisvotey.com/writing/blog/2014/03/28/worldbuilding-5-ocean-depth-and-land-texture/)

Shows you how to do the ocean dept effect and beginning of making you land have features.

03-31-2014, 11:18 AM
Worldbuild #5a - Sun (http://www.chrisvotey.com/writing/blog/2014/03/31/worldbuilding-5a-sun/)

How to make a yellow Sun.

04-20-2014, 11:36 AM

Added textures for rivers
New Technique for Shallow Water (appears more organic)
New Technique for Beaches (same method used as Shallow water)

04-20-2014, 11:50 AM
I forgot to put the desert back in, eep. I'll just say the world wobbled and the desert disappeared. Same phenomenon happens that turns the Sahara Desert into a jungle every 20,000 years.

05-08-2014, 09:06 AM
Working on my next article. Sorry for the delay. Working on Beaches and Shallow Water. First the Novice stuff, then another article for the advanced stuff.

I solved the problem of my shallow water appearing too bright and managed to find a way of blending it to match the texture of the ocean. Enjoy.


05-08-2014, 10:12 AM
Worldbuilding #6 - Beaches and Shallow Water (http://www.chrisvotey.com/writing/blog/2014/05/08/worldbuilding-6-beaches-and-shallow-water/)

05-30-2014, 01:07 AM
Worldbuilding #6a - Advanced Beaches (http://www.chrisvotey.com/writing/blog/2014/05/29/worldbuilding-6a-advanced-beaches/)

New technique I developed to make your beaches appear more organic, and completely customizable for your need.

05-30-2014, 01:22 AM
Worldbuilding #6a - Advanced Beaches (http://www.chrisvotey.com/writing/blog/2014/05/29/worldbuilding-6a-advanced-beaches/)

New technique I developed to make your beaches appear more organic, and completely customizable for your need.

05-31-2014, 04:26 AM
Worldbuilding #6b - Advanced Shallow Water (http://www.chrisvotey.com/writing/blog/2014/05/31/worldbuilding-6b-shallow-water-advanced/)

06-16-2014, 02:43 PM

I'm using a tool called Wilbur to give a more organic look to rivers. Still trying to master Wilbur.

06-18-2014, 12:28 AM
Worldbuilding #7 - Deserts (http://www.chrisvotey.com/writing/blog/2014/06/17/worldbuilding-7-deserts/)

06-21-2014, 09:58 AM

Updates to map

Tried to give more detail to mountains and have more natural snow.

Still need to work on rivers.

06-29-2014, 04:39 AM
Worldbuilding #8 - Mountains (http://www.chrisvotey.com/writing/blog/2014/06/29/worldbuilding-8-mountains/)

07-13-2014, 04:45 AM
Worldbuilding #8a - Advanced Mountains (http://www.chrisvotey.com/writing/blog/2014/07/13/worldbuilding-8a-advanced-mountains/)

08-08-2014, 09:28 AM
Worldbuilding #9a - Basic Forests (http://www.chrisvotey.com/writing/blog/2014/08/08/worldbuilding-9a-basic-forests/)

08-25-2014, 07:53 PM
Worldbuilding #9b - Advanced Forests (http://www.chrisvotey.com/writing/blog/2014/08/25/worldbuilding-9b-advanced-forests/)

09-05-2014, 07:49 PM
Worldbuilding #10a - Basic Rivers (http://www.chrisvotey.com/writing/blog/2014/09/05/worldbuilding-10a-basic-rivers/)

11-14-2014, 10:25 AM
I used cloud rendering for both land and sea. There are a total of 5 cloud renderings in that map. 1 for the way the continents are laid out, 2 for the way the ocean looks, and 2 for how the landmasses look (after creating the continents). This has nothing to do with how pdn does things, it's just how I did it.

I just wanted to chime in and say kudos to this technique: using clouds for land and sea, or in my world for terrains and for clouds too. I often find myself using some fractal noise or Plasma noise as a starting point before adding / paining to it, that looks like great clouds as a starting point for even greater mountains scenes, especially after adding erosion and sediments to it. Or I take a photo of the skies (real) and turn it into elevation maps. Mother nature serves up some really great free content. In this one for instance, the terrain was done from scratch and the skies also in the same tool (usually used for terrains), but flattened and tilted and rendered with fancy under-side lighting, and then composited into the background of the prior scene.