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Lyrillies
01-28-2014, 06:03 PM
Hi everyone,

I only joined this amazing community yesterday and today I spent all day trying out a few things and applying them to one of my continents - Leend.
This is what I've come up with so far (all done in Photoshop):
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Now while I am absolutely happy to have come this far at all (this style is amazing thanks for the tutorial!) there are a few things still bothering me and I thought maybe you guys can help.

The mountains, for example, look just a little off to me, weird somehow, but I can't really place my finger on it and don't know how to fix it. Did I use the wrong brush size? Or is it the shape of the mountain ranges? Or something completely different?
Maybe the entire map is just lacking detail, but then I have the problem of what to do with the desert? If I add tons of detail on the mountains, islands, forests etc the desert in the middle will look unfinished and blank...

I am also a complete noob when it comes to rivers. I never managed to place them in a way that looked natural so I started to not place any on my maps at all. It can't stay that way of course, so if anyone has a suggestion as to where some natural rivers could flow in this extremely dry region, I'd be really grateful!

Any other comments and critique is very welcome, too, of course! I am a complete beginner after all...

rgcalsaverini
01-28-2014, 06:12 PM
This looks exceedingly good! Very nice map!
I don't see anything wrong with the mountains, maybe you're not found of the particular shape, or style, but they seem alright to me.

If I may nitpick, the island formations to the left seems a bit artificially shaped, like the shape you get after you use the eraser continuously. Also I think that your map lack a bit of contrast, maybe an adjustment of the histogram levels could fix that.

About rivers, Wilbur (http://www.ridgenet.net/~jslayton/wilbur.html)will be of great help if you have a heightmap, and on either case this is a good thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/3822-how-get-your-rivers-right-place.html) about rivers.

Welcome and good mapping!

rgcalsaverini
01-28-2014, 06:17 PM
After you read the river tutorial, follow these simple steps and you should have decent enough rivers:
- Pick the places where it rain the most (Is the mapped area big enough so that you have a significant rainfall gradient?)
- See where your basins would be located (read the tutorial)
- Make your rivers seek the ocean (or in some rarer cases lake) following the terrain (never climbing)
- Do not split your rivers. It may be tempting, but stay strong.
- Nearby rivers tend to merge.
- Consider deltas.

Pixie
01-28-2014, 06:36 PM
Hmm.. a scale would be helpful. You call it a continent. Is it fair to assume something the size of India, or more in the lines of the size of Africa. Either way, I think the problem you find with the mountains is the small number of peaks.
The map looks more like a small/medium island.

As for rivers, once again it depends on scale. But, for pointers, why not looking for similar regions on Earth. Try centering google earth on Asmara (Eritrea), or Ta'izz (Iemen). Those are very dry areas with close mountain ranges.

Lyrillies
01-28-2014, 06:58 PM
Thanks, you two! :)

@rgcalsaverini: haha thank you, it might also be that I just stared at the mountains for too long now and that's why they seem weird to me.

As for the islands on the left, yes I agree they look relatively artificial. However some of those shapes have a rather significant function for the world, so they will probably stay that way. But maybe I'll find a way to make them look more natural and still get what I want from the shape.

Hmm I thought so too, about the lack of contrast, but it was part of the tutorial so I just followed the directions… Maybe it does look better without, I will try it when I work on the rivers next!

And thanks for the suggestion to use Wilbur! Unfortunately that only seems to run on windows and I have a mac… is there anything similar for macs? But the thread about rivers was very helpful. I did know some of the basics but there's a lot of great new info in there, too (like not splitting rivers, though that made me very sad I love splitting rivers :D ) oh and deltas are a great suggestion, too! I will definitely include some!

@Pixie: I don't exactly know how big the area is, that's why there is no scale but it should be about 1.5x the size of Africa. So adding more peaks you say… I'll try that, thanks! Do you maybe have more suggestions on how to add them? That part was the only part of the tutorial that I found hard to follow, since there were no suggested brush sizes…

And thanks a lot for the suggestion of those regions, that helped very much! Seems like in these areas there are more lakes than big rivers or if there are, they are so small they would probably not be visible on my map.

rgcalsaverini
01-29-2014, 12:07 AM
Hey, don't let your hatred towards rivers make you avoid them, it would be hard to explain a very dense demographics without the supporting fresh water :)
Yeah, I know, everybody loves to do some river-splitting. There must be something deep inside the human soul that makes us hunger for it... I bet that even Larb, GP, Arsheesh and all of those big guys split a river or two when no one's looking, just to satiate the craving. But don't get caught doing it, some people will respond to it as if you had just farted on an elevator.

I took the liberty of adjusting the colors a bit, so you can see the difference:
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waldronate
01-29-2014, 12:55 AM
The mountains likely look a bit odd because that style of mountains is most representative for local or regional maps. A continent would likely have narrower and/or more complex shapes for mountains (see South America).

Lyrillies
01-29-2014, 07:52 AM
Hey thanks! That does look a lot better!

Ok so what happens to people whose worlds run on different physics and laws of nature? Do they get the elevator reaction, too? Cause I'm pretty sure I could find reasons to split rivers in that world… ;) Just kidding though, I think my rivers would work the same as they do on earth. But I realized I really do have to redo the mountains before I can try to add rivers to that map…

Thanks Pixie and waldronate for making me realize that that was indeed the problem - the land simply looks way too small! I'm already working on changing that and will post the progress once I've gotten anywhere. And after I finished my university work, I have neglected that for the past two days now… :)

Lyrillies
01-29-2014, 05:07 PM
Ok so here's what I was able to do on my own. :)

I tried a few ideas for the mountains and overall I think it works better than the first one. What do you guys say? Does it look like a bigger place now? I would like to add more gray in the background color around the mountains so that it locks more rocky and less like sand, but didn't find a way to do that - yet. Still trying.

As for the rivers, I actually like the two on the right side, the one on the upper left side looks a bit weird to me, but as always I don't low why. Btw if you look closely you'll see the faint remains of two previous rivers on the right side - I tried getting rid of them but I have seriously no clue how to do that! I deleted the paths, but that doesn't undo the strokes… Help?

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edit: whoops sorry, I forgot to readjust the colors…

Jalyha
01-29-2014, 05:14 PM
Um pretty sure you just have to erase them manually...you do have them on a seperate layer, right? :?

Lyrillies
01-29-2014, 05:42 PM
actually I didn't - but I figured out how it works! :) the rivers are basically a subtraction from the very basic land-shape layer, so I just have to edit that layer again and it works. No harm done, since that layer is not visible anyway, it only functions as the general area to which all other layers are restricted.
I guess those are the dangers of blindly following a tutorial without understanding what exactly is happening there...

I edited the rivers a little bit again, so that even the top one looks more natural and also adjusted the colors.
Anyhow, the most important question for me is now: How big does that land look to you? Does it seem big enough to be a continent?

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Zach
01-29-2014, 05:45 PM
And thanks for the suggestion to use Wilbur! Unfortunately that only seems to run on windows and I have a mac… is there anything similar for macs?

Yeah, I'm sad that Wilbur isn't available for other platforms, or at least its source code for generating terrain - from all I know the software appears to be free.
Developing a fractal terrain generator is one of my long term projects. I already wrote the terrain generation part, but it doesn't make rivers.

Jalyha
01-29-2014, 05:53 PM
Honestly? No... :(

It looks beautiful, but it looks like an island. Maybe a large island, but still an island.

Obviously it would depend on your scale... if you made a single inch or pixel represent a vast space.. but then the mountains would look off, and...idk. I suppose there's a way to make it look like a continent, but to *me* it looks like an island right now.

Lyrillies
01-29-2014, 06:24 PM
Zach, if it's free that might just be the reason why there's no mac version… But your project sounds extremely interesting! is that a generator for random terrain or would that include a function where you can set a certain general shape for the terrain which is then converted into fractals?

Jalyha: thanks! :) Well then I'll just have to work more! I already found one more element that makes it look small, I think - the detail in the water. The lower water areas look as if they surround an island. If I adjust the detail and the scope of the lower areas that should help a bit. Doesn't help with the general impression of course. But your comment about the pixels made me think - what if I change the image size? Do you think a higher resolution could impact the impression of looking at an island?

Jalyha
01-29-2014, 06:47 PM
Oh, I wish I could help with that... the whole image size/resolution thing still totally baffles me :(

I'm not very bright with that sort of thing... I'm 150% visual :D

I think the detail in the water might be part of it... If it were a continent, where the water hits the land... the whiter parts at the shorelines, it would seem narrower by comparison.

Mostly, though, I think it's something with the mountains :?

Lyrillies
01-29-2014, 09:54 PM
hmm okay, I know I'm uploading new versions like crazy here and I'm sorry for that - I just hate going to bed feeling like I didn't accomplish anything :P

So I changed quite a bit here, obviously, mainly the water - and the mountains again. I think those need at least to be a bit darker, but at least the water looks better now, right? This is really difficult…

And thanks for all your help, Jalyha, I'm very grateful for that! :)

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Jalyha
01-29-2014, 10:00 PM
I think so :) And it looks a little bigger, I think?! :P

I'm really not the best one to help, lol. I'm just getting used to looking at things from a bird's eye point of view. :blush:

Ilanthar
01-30-2014, 07:04 AM
In my opion, one of the main reason that makes your continent looking like an island is its form. You have a "teardrop" form globally, and it's a classic form of those islands made of sand/crumbly rock shaped by the current of a river. A quick sketch for exemple :

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I would change (just a little) this by breaking a little bit the form. But I think you've already began with your last one. Like the general idea and the colors btw.

Lyrillies
01-30-2014, 12:32 PM
oh that makes a lot of sense, thanks for that information Ilanthar! I never knew that this shape was typical for small islands, so I would've never thought of it as a potential problem…
Hmm unfortunately I've grown rather fond of it during the past ten years of working on this world. So either I'll add a few islands in the south or need to find a way to make it work despite its shape. Islands probably wouldn't hurt, that's just more space to invent interesting things :)

Maybe I also need to rethink the vegetation on the continent. Originally it was planned to be (almost) completely covered by desert. I already changed that in favor of having some green areas cause I think that also helps in making it look bigger. Now if there was even more variation it would probably help with my problem, but then how do I explain that with the backstory?
I guess I'll have to think about that. Probably need to figure out first just how exactly climate, climate zones and wind work in my world...

Jalyha
01-30-2014, 01:47 PM
What if it was just... a *little* less like a perfect tear?

That could help, but it shouldn't affect your story/world *too* much. I mean you don't describe every single feature of the land, right?

Like, say... (Beware my elite MSPaint skillz!)

Here, red would be the land outline, green is where your SAME mountain range(s) would end up That would mean the same green/foresty areas you have could be bigger, but you'd gain space for desert too:

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Also, "desert" is an area without a lot of rain. It can still be green, if there's water from elsewhere... like a gigantic river flowing from somewhere that *does* have rain.

A place can also be hot and dry (or hot and humid) even with plenty of precipitation, if there's stuff sopping up that water.

I don't know what you've written so I can't tell how much that will help (or not ... )

Anyway... okbye

Ilanthar
01-30-2014, 02:06 PM
By the way, I found a really better example to illustrate my speech!

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It's one of the many things that tends to indicate that water flowed on Mars in the far past :)

Zach
01-30-2014, 06:01 PM
Zach, if it's free that might just be the reason why there's no mac version… But your project sounds extremely interesting! is that a generator for random terrain or would that include a function where you can set a certain general shape for the terrain which is then converted into fractals?


The images it produces are simple heightmaps that look very much like...well, ARE...fractal noise. I won't go into detail with the algorithm, but it basically interpolates between points a bunch of times with some controlled randomness. You can read more about it here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond-square_algorithm), but I get better results from my program than the Wikipedia images show (sample below). To get a coastline, take the sample image and do a basic threshold operation on it. I also have programs that create an island surrounded by water and add an ocean to an existing heightmap.
I kind of want to post the code on this site, but it is not in any way a finished product. You would have to be able to compile and run it on your system.
As for the rivers...actually, after my earlier post, I created a new program that hopefully will be the groundwork of later river functionality. It can trace multiple rivers across the terrain the way real rivers would go. It's still a long way from being integrated into the main program, though.
You can't set a general shape for the terrain and then have it fractalized (though that would be a useful extension to add), you just take the initial shape and add oceans, lakes, whatever. My Edelu map's coastline was generated like that; then I just added in landforms according to my liking.

Lyrillies
01-31-2014, 11:13 PM
Thanks a lot for your input everyone! It's really helpful and I appreciate it a lot! :)

Concerning the shape of the continent there's a few things I thought about over the past day:
First of all, thanks a lot for that sketch Jalyha! Your suggestions make a lot of sense, and yes it does help.
Despite the fact that all of you are absolutely right and the shape is a problem, I think you won't be seeing any changes on that in this map. It is difficult for me to part with something I've been looking at almost daily for more than ten years… Basically I just need more time to think about what I'm gonna do with the shape. So I will think, and try some stuff and think some more and hopefully come up with a solution for the future. For this mapping project however I'll ignore the issue for now, because this is first and foremost for me to get some experience of how to make a map at all.
But I'll let you know what happens to the shape as soon as I know (if you're interested, that is :P)

So I started to think about how to continue this little project and I'm stuck. I want to add some border outline but I have seriously no idea what kind of border would fit - something artistic? something useful? the normal black/white checkered grid-based border? I have absolutely no idea!
Or should I do something else first and worry about the borders at the very end? But then how do I continue now? Help please… :?

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@Ilanthar: That's an awesome picture! In another life I would probably do it all differently and become an astronaut… I'll probably dream about that tonight:D

@Zach: Sounds like a great project! Though it's sad that there's no option of fractalizing custom terrain shapes… I would buy your program immediately if it could do that! The search for something like that was what actually brought me to this forum in the first place *g*


btw: the main lesson I learned from this project so far is that mountains suck! :D :P

Ilanthar
02-01-2014, 09:23 AM
The colors are really better now. And for the shape, you could still imagine a giant planet with a powerful sea stream that shapes your continent ;)

Jalyha
02-01-2014, 11:15 AM
I only suggested the land-shape thing because you said you wouldn't know how to make it fit, or some such :)


I like it as it is, I was just offering. :D

I do love the new colors, like Ilanthar said :D

Lyrillies
02-01-2014, 11:23 AM
Thanks Ilanthar! :)
sea streams are a great idea! I have no idea how they form or anything really, but do you think something like this would be possible?
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@Jalyha: Oh nono, don't get me wrong, I really meant that I appreciate it!! I will still have to think about whether to change the form or not, and I'll definitely take your outline as the basis for that process. :) I just know myself well enough to realize that thinking about this will probably take another 2-3 years - I'm not very good with making decisions…


Oh and sleep apparently helps in solving problems… probably should have tried that earlier instead of staying up until 6am, but anyway here is what I came up with after some rest:
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I quite like the border, but really this is the absolutely first one I ever did in my life so I guess there's about a hundred things wrong with it.
As for the labels: Don't pay them any attention! They're just there because I was impatient. I found a great paper on how to label maps here in the forum and I'll read that later and then redo them. :)

Oh and yes, the number on the scale is right. ;) I know that this is horribly big, but well, that's the size of the continent… which makes the distance from top to bottom roughly four times bigger than the circumference of the earth.

Jalyha
02-01-2014, 11:31 AM
I'm the same way. It takes till lunch to decide what to have for breakfast :P

I think the border looks great.

And the scale... well it certainly makes the continent seem bigger. o.o :o

Zach
02-01-2014, 03:41 PM
@Zach: Sounds like a great project! Though it's sad that there's no option of fractalizing custom terrain shapes… I would buy your program immediately if it could do that! The search for something like that was what actually brought me to this forum in the first place

You appear to be my muse for these programming endeavors, because when I woke up this morning I had an idea for a way to fractalize a shape defined by the user. I'm just getting started on it now, so it'll still be some time in development, but...for the past week or so I have spent all my non-mapping free time on writing various mapping programs. The results will be interesting.

I think the sea streams, if you decide to make them part of the world, should be more massive than are shown in that diagram. Like a giant ocean current flowing from the top of the map to the bottom, and curling a little to the left in the process. Of course, continents aren't primarily formed by erosion...but this is a fantasy map; the current could overwhelm any tectonic activity in forming continents.

Lyrillies
02-01-2014, 04:59 PM
Awesome! :D You absolutely have to keep me posted on that project! I really want a program that can do this sort of thing… What platform would your program run on?

As for the sea streams - well to be completely honest this world isn't a planet. The shape is that of a cone and this continent is a little bit, well, big - therefore this giant stream running from top to bottom is a bit hard to do… I think it's best if I show you, it's always so hard to explain:
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Ok so this is the general shape of my world and very roughly the size of the continent in comparison. The other continents are a lot, lot smaller this one is special. The balls are temperature-suns and sit half-way inside the hollow cone. Anyway, you see why a stream that strong from top to bottom would pose a problem?
So the part about erosion, well to be honest the whole shape problem, is really up to me. I could just go and say "the gods wanted it like this!" but that's not the way I build my world. It does not run on normal physics or laws of nature or anything, but it does have internal logic and its own physics and laws - and it just so happens that this equivalent to water I have on my world works similar to real water.
So. yeah.
What was I actually talking about?

Zach
02-01-2014, 09:18 PM
After some more coding today, the results are promising. It works with SVGs, not raster images, so you can have perfect scalability and do the fractal-y stuff down to whatever level you want. There's still one big problem; I have to find out what's causing it.
As to platforms...well, the code is in C++ and very portable. I'm developing this on a Mac (which I know you have). The main problem, however, is that I am not at all familiar with how to put a graphical user interface on it...either I have to learn how to use those or you would have to run it from the terminal. This is a one-guy operation, so I can't build it for Windows, Linux, or any other version of OS X. If you actually KNOW how to compile/build C++ code, that's a different matter.

Anyway. Didn't mean to hijack the thread there.

So your world is...conical? That's awesome! It does raise a lot of questions about days/seasons/tectonics/what happens to the ocean at the edge of the world. But I'm sure you will provide us with these answers in due time.
And just because your continent has the general shape of an island doesn't mean that continents can't look like that. It is completely plausible for a teardrop-shaped continent to form without any sort of (significant) eroding forces at work.

Jalyha
02-01-2014, 09:22 PM
Agreed, Zach. Africa is kinda like one without the point :P

Lyrillies
02-01-2014, 10:52 PM
Zach that sounds amazing, I can't wait for the beta :P
But you'll have to explain to me what SVGs are, I don't know the topic that well actually - I never worked with fractal images or terrains before I came here. But high scalability sounds seriously awesome! So what is the problem?
As for developing it on mac: YAY! :D I was worried it would be for windows, cause while I do have a virtual machine i don't really like running things on it, especially not stuff for art or graphics.
The program does sound a bit complex though to run it solely from the terminal… How do you know what part of the terrain you're working on then? or does it have a visual output and just not a user interface with buttons and stuff to click on?

Also, don't worry about hijacking the thread, I am really interested and as far as I know there's no other place do discuss software development in this forum, right?

@world: It is, and yes it does :D seasons are easy as in they don't really exist as such. The balls you saw in the picture above emit temperature streams -cold and warm- which are relatively stable in their strength and intensity. The effect is that the further south you go, the warmer it gets. Of course there is variation and there are temperature storms but they are mostly irregular.
I could say a lot about the other stuff as well, but beware: I've been working on this stuff for over ten years, still don't have all the answers and this is not a world building forum so I kinda don't want to give book-long explanations that don't really belong here…
But I'm always happy to explain more in PMs or something like that if you really want to hear it. :)

As for the shape: Does anyone actually know why Africa is shaped that way? :D Would be interesting in light of this problem!

Oh and as for the map in general: I'll have to cut back the time I spend on this for the next week, I have to write five papers and as good as I am at denial, I probably should get something done. I'll be in trouble as it is already. So I apologize in advance for not updating as frequently next week

edit: One last thing that I just can't keep to myself right now: i just bought a graphic tablet! :D I'm very excited about this, wanted one since I was 13 or so but then I turned to oil painting and forgot about it - but the past few days here really got me back to drawing, especially stuff from my world… The website has way too few illustrations and scanning them and then reworking them into usable digital images is just a real pain. Sooo I'm SO excited right now! :D

waldronate
02-01-2014, 11:32 PM
Africa is shaped how it is due to the way that rifts carried the continent around. Rifts have a nasty habit of splitting into three lines roughly 120 degrees apart (it's a low energy configuration for dynamics on a sphere) and the Atlantic side shows a few of those from when the Atlantic rifted apart Africa and the Americas. On the west side of Africa is a lovely triple junction that's still active. The Red Sea is one arm, the Great Rift valley is another, and the third has more or less failed (which is very common during rifting because once two of them break, it takes more energy to make the third one break further than to just have it stop).

There is software out there that can fractalize a shape. Old Guy's better coastlines tutorial gives a nice monofractal result. Using any of the fairly recent Wilbur tutorials and a little bit of image editor work might get you a result like the one shown below (pardon the artifacts; it was a quick job). Wilbur is a Windows program, but that's the way life turns out sometimes.

One of the problems with a huge landmass like that is that physics will just give you a desert in the interior starting at less than a few thousand kilometers. Water just won't make it in that far. The deep interior of Pangea, for example (a continent a tenth the size shown here), seemed to be one of the worst deserts ever recorded with much of the rainfall that did penetrate much into the interior coming back as huge floods. It made a good proving ground for harsh-condition life forms, though.

Software development discussions usually end up in the "Software Discussions" or "General Discussions" main areas. But they do regularly turn up in the oddest places...

Jalyha
02-01-2014, 11:44 PM
One of the problems with a huge landmass like that is that physics will just give you a desert in the interior starting at less than a few thousand kilometers. Water just won't make it in that far. The deep interior of Pangea, for example (a continent a tenth the size shown here), seemed to be one of the worst deserts ever recorded with much of the rainfall that did penetrate much into the interior coming back as huge floods. It made a good proving ground for harsh-condition life forms, though.


Maybe the entire map is just lacking detail, but then I have the problem of what to do with the desert? If I add tons of detail on the mountains, islands, forests etc the desert in the middle will look unfinished and blank...


Problem solved!! Yay :)


It's exactly what you needed ... you already had it and didn't even know it ^.^

Ilanthar
02-02-2014, 09:31 AM
By Lyrillies
sea streams are a great idea! I have no idea how they form or anything really, but do you think something like this would be possible?

Thanks, but I'm not such an expert at this point ;)! I just rely on university memories...

Zach
02-02-2014, 11:06 AM
Zach that sounds amazing, I can't wait for the beta :P
But you'll have to explain to me what SVGs are, I don't know the topic that well actually - I never worked with fractal images or terrains before I came here. But high scalability sounds seriously awesome! So what is the problem?
As for developing it on mac: YAY! :D I was worried it would be for windows, cause while I do have a virtual machine i don't really like running things on it, especially not stuff for art or graphics.
The program does sound a bit complex though to run it solely from the terminal… How do you know what part of the terrain you're working on then? or does it have a visual output and just not a user interface with buttons and stuff to click on?


SVG stands for "Scalable Vector Graphics." All objects in an SVG file (except embedded raster images) are defined by mathematical formulae, so they not only have high scalability, they have INFINITE scalability. Most modern browsers can display, but not edit, SVG files. Probably the two best-known SVG editors out there are Adobe Illustrator (price seems to be a few hundred dollars) and Inkscape (freeware). There are some others as well.
The drawback of the software is that it does not generate "terrain" which will give you elevations. It will take a coastline you define and fractalize that. You have to come up with the elevations yourself.
The program really isn't that complex. You just need to give it an SVG file to take data from, set how much randomness will be applied per iteration, and the number of iterations. It works really fast. In the sample image, the bold black line is my initial shape and the red shape is what it is after being passed through the program. I am working on fixing the bug of paths crossing themselves.
At the time of writing, the program works only for an SVG with one path. I don't know what you mean by "what part of the terrain you're working on". It fractalizes the whole shape. Later I expect that you will be able to fractalize multiple paths or select which ones you want fractalized, but that's some way down the road. I should probably teach myself how to put a user interface on the program; it will be much better.

@waldronate: The main reason that I am creating my own fractalization software that I am not satisfied with what is available to me. I used OldGuy's tutorial for a couple of maps, but I didn't like the results enough to be happy with them. By all accounts, Wilbur (and Fractal Terrains, among others) are amazing programs but I can't use them because I don't use Windows. I don't really want to pay money for a terrain generator either, not when I think I can make something of equal quality and suitable for my own use.
I am developing the software for my own personal map creation. I am not trying to profit from it in any way. If others think that it is worthy enough for them to use as well, I will do all I can to make it available to them.

Lyrillies
02-02-2014, 02:35 PM
Thank you very much, Waldronate, for that explanation! That is some highly interesting information and explains a lot. Makes me realize (again) that whatever we choose to do with our lives, it is all very limiting and leaves so little room to learn all the amazing stuff out there.

As for the fractalisation software: well, to be honest right ow it is too much hassle for me to install windows programs on the VM. if I had more time would probably try it, but the way it is now there's other things that need too much of my attention. I will have a look at the tutorial though, thanks for pointing that out. There are so many great tutorials here that it's difficult to find the ones that are useful in a particular situation.
As for your example: Thanks for showing me what it would look like. I think a little fractalisation would probably do that content some good, but I guess I'll just change the coastline by hand. For one, I lack the software, ad the other point is that I like having control over these things.

And then there's the desert.
So originally this continent is almost completely covered by desert, just like you said it would be (although this really has nothing to do with physics in this case, but I'm glad to hear it would work out similar!). I changed it when I felt that I couldn't make the landmass look big enough.

And then theres the other thing that Jalyha referred to: First of all, Jalyha, I don't really understand how that solves my problem? Maybe it's a language problem and I just didn't understand it all correctly. Didn't Waldronate basically confirm that there would be nothing but desert in the middle and the other elements only near the coast? And my problem was that if there is only desert, it will look unfinished because that's basically a great big yellow-orange blob in the middle of it all.
I guess I just need to learn to draw deserts better. Is there maybe a standard go-to tutorial for this that anyone knows about?

Secondly, and apart from what I just wrote, the effects you described Waldronate are exactly what I want on this continent. The idea was always to have this impenetrable desert continent with extreme conditions. I just don't know how to put it on a map and still make the land look like an enormous continent…

Oh and I must be blind, I didn't even see that there was a software discussions forum O.o


@ Ilanthar: Oh well, thanks anyway for the idea! That probably already solves the biggest part of the problem and I'm sure I'll find a way to get the rest done as well.


Zach, wouldn't it be possible though to create a fractal height map or elevation map with this? The reason I'm asking is because I was searching for a way to make fractalized height maps for my mountains, in order to convert them to realistic 3D images in Terragen 3.
So couldn't I just take the general area of my mountain range, fractalize it like you have shown with the coastline in your post, do that several times in separate images and then stack these several images? Wouldn't that give me a fractalized elevation map?

Jalyha
02-02-2014, 02:50 PM
So... if the desert is so vast... (and don't get me wrong ... "desert" doesn't mean "big sandy waste"... there's ways to liven it up) then everything else would seem MUCH smaller in comparison. So your trees (not just the forests, but the trees in them) would be 1/4 the size. Same for your mountains.

Is there a way to just shrink them? You can make more mountains to make the ranges cover more/less area... but the individual peaks would be smaller. You're talking about a continent the size of the earth (and then some). Fine, look at a globe of the earth, see how small the mountains look, and plan from there. THAT is how you make your continent bigger... you make your features smaller. Everything but the desert. :P

If you want, you can do insets of important areas in your mountain ranges or forests, but... Honestly I think you should just go global (well, earth global) scale, and if you need to, you can map the other areas separately. Otherwise, it won't be very accurate, and it will always probably look like an island. :?

Lyrillies
02-03-2014, 09:44 AM
Oooh now I get it! Thanks! :D

My desert on this continent definitely is standard "sandy waste" or "rocky waste" - but from how I understood it that's the kind of desert that would form on such a continent anyway.

I did what you suggested and had a look at the entire earth from google, but honestly most mountains then look like some weird brownish slobber. I think the problem is that that's not exactly the style I want to use for my map.

Ok so for making the features smaller: your suggestion is a possible solution but I think I would then have to go to a resolution of about 8000x11000 pixels in order to paint the peaks as small as they would have to be in the final image. That's a bit much for my little laptop and the reason why I basically skipped having any great detail and individual peaks at all in the last version. Partly because you wouldn't be able to see it anymore anyway.

Anyhow, this is still an option I'm willing to try (will have to split up the map for that but that's fine) but I'll have to wait for my graphic tablet to arrive before I can do that.
But in preparation for this I went and tried to find maps of how pangea possibly could have looked like and found this:
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(it's from wikipedia so there should be no copyright issues with posting it here)
So what I see here is the following: The mountains are depicted mostly by very fine scrapes and a change in color. This I can do, but I kind of tried it before and it didn't really work in terms of making the land seem bigger. One of the reasons why pangea here looks so big is probably because it's projected onto that flat globe.

Ok long story short: my conclusion is that while that may help and I will definitely try your suggestion when my tablet comes on friday, Jalyha, I doubt it's gonna resolve the issue entirely. Another aspect is the coastline, I will rework that so that it seems more fractalised and therefore the individual features on the coastline will look smaller, making it seem like they are shown from greater distance -> ergo the continent seems bigger in total.
And that's everything I have. So if that doesn't work I'm truly stuck.

Uhm anyway... I can't do any of this before friday. which sucks. I wanna try this now.

Zach
02-05-2014, 03:39 PM
So couldn't I just take the general area of my mountain range, fractalize it like you have shown with the coastline in your post, do that several times in separate images and then stack these several images? Wouldn't that give me a fractalized elevation map?

Not sure what you mean here. Which of these is closest?
- Just repeatedly shrinking the initial shape and fractalizing it each time until it gets sufficiently small.
- Generating several different shapes from the same base image and merging them somehow.
- Making a complex net of polygons out of the base image and then fractalizing it in three dimensions.

Lyrillies
02-05-2014, 03:58 PM
Oh sorry, I meant the first one :)

Zach
02-07-2014, 09:46 AM
Then, yes...but it would not be able to generate individual peaks without you re-defining new shapes for them.

Lyrillies
02-08-2014, 08:01 AM
ah okay! Still, it's interesting!
(One day I'll find out how to make custom height maps for terragen…)

as for my map: tablet is here now, but I'm still getting used to it. I will probably post an update in a few days when I feel more comfortable with it :)

Lyrillies
02-17-2014, 01:46 PM
Just to give you guys an idea of what's going on (Since I've been silent for a while), here's what I have so far of the new general shape of the continent.
I suggest opening the attached image in full resolution since there is some very small detail in some parts that changes the whole image quite a bit, at least in my eyes. But it is of course by no means done - there are several islands missing on the left and in the south, and quite a bit of detail on the main coast in general. But I do think it's looking a bit better. The right one is just for comparison how it looked before the changes.
Once I'm done with the outline I'll probably redo most of the map in order to find a better style for the mountains.

61494 61496

Ilanthar
02-28-2014, 01:37 PM
It is indeed better and more "continental" with all this little details in the coastline imho. I would have kept some parts less rugged, though (as are some parts of Africa or America).

madcowchef
02-28-2014, 03:34 PM
Nicely improved. You might want to clean up the tiniest of the speck like islands as they tend to look more like artifacts than islands, though this depends on how high of resolution your map is.

Lyrillies
03-10-2014, 05:51 AM
thanks you two! :)

and thanks Ilanthar, that is a good suggestion, I will see whether I can smoothen some parts again.

@ madcowchef: The resolution should be high enough for those islands - also every single one of them is drawn by hand so they are all intentional. In fact, there are even more of them now :D

62213

But I must admit other than that I am completely stuck now. I am not sure about the style of the map anymore, the one I used before is beautiful and I will find a map where I can try it one day, but the problem with the mountains makes it pretty impossible to use it on this one. But then what do I want? What would fit? I'm at a loss on how to continue.

edit: I would of course be very grateful for any comments by you experienced people on what style might fit a continent of that size and how to go about it.

Lyrillies
03-15-2014, 10:14 AM
Ok so I decided to basically just start with something -anything really- and see where it would take me instead of deciding beforehand what kind of style I want to have for this map.
So far, the approach looks relatively similar to the old one, but I think in the end it will look very different from what I had before. The attachment shows my experiments so far, lots of them will later be replaced when I find out what suits this map best.

62315

I might actually stick with the mountain-style that I tried out in the north-east, but it has to be refined. Right now it is still a bit rough. What do you think?

Keep in mind, I am at the very very beginning here and it will probably look completely different in the end.

Lingon
03-15-2014, 12:56 PM
Nice! Really good colors! Pretty interesting mountains… As you say, some refinements, but it has potential :)

Lyrillies
03-15-2014, 05:12 PM
Thanks Lingon! :)
yeah I guess the mountains are special… But so far I'm still happy with them. They are not too fantasy, not too comic-y, not too realistic and still show general elevation of the whole mountainous area instead of just one single mountain range. Which I think fits with the way the colors in the desert overlap. Plus, I already have an idea on how to refine them!
But then again, let's see how they look to me tomorrow.

And I'd be very interested in additional opinions, guys! :) I've seen this map so much, I have no idea how it looks anymore.

Ilanthar
03-16-2014, 10:30 AM
Yep, really good colors! Am I weird if I say that the shape makes me think of a kind of kindjal now :P? Anyway, it's quite good now, I'm waiting for labels and other additions.... and your test on the mountains which are a bit too color-based imo.

Lyrillies
03-16-2014, 01:41 PM
Haha a Kindjal? You mean like this?
62359
Dunno if it's weird, but it is definitely better than saying it looks like Africa :D

But I'm definitely not at a point where I can label it yet xD There is still so much to do before that stage…
Anyway, I'm not sure I fully understand what you mean by color based, but I did go and try to enhance their very simple color-layering style. Is it better now? :)
edit: I'm still talking about the north-eastern mountain range only, the others are obviously not done at all and just waiting till I find the style

62364

Other problems that still need to be addressed:
- the desert looks to plain, it's lacking movement somehow. there needs to be more something.
- the ocean needs more variation, especially more shallow water near the coast.
- cliffs or no cliffs? You can see the cliff experiment best in the very south. Not sure whether that's too comic-y or not.
- of course once I'm set on the style I need to actually paint the other mountain ranges, the islands, etc.
- political borders, towns, trade routes, …
- labels.
- I'm toying with the idea of including a city map of the most important city there, but that's so far off in the future I should probably stop thinking about it. Or start the city map project separately. hm...
Did I forget anything? :D

And also, of course: thank you very, very much for all of your help and patience with me and this project! :)

Ilanthar
03-17-2014, 07:48 AM
:D Yep, exactly!


By Lyrillies
Anyway, I'm not sure I fully understand what you mean by color based, but I did go and try to enhance their very simple color-layering style. Is it better now?

Yes, it is! It's kinda hard to get a sense of embossed with a color graduation and a top view... but your bright ridge lines and summits works pretty well.

I agree with you for the desert and the ocean. For the desert, I would think about the lot of differences you could find in a big one like the Sahara : sand dunes, rocky zones, mud regions that welcome a temporary lake/river in a short part of the year, oasis...

I didn't know how to improve the cliff, but right now, it's hard to notice it.