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View Full Version : WIP-- Anguem-- From Tectonic Plates Up (hopefully, first map here)



rvgriffiths
02-24-2014, 01:59 AM
Hi all,

I'm descending upon your lovely forum, where I've only lurked in the past, to try and build a map for my WIP novel. I'm calling this world Anguem, from the latin for snake, as serpent-like creatures feature heavily in the story.

I know that I need a cold-ish, cut-off area, and a place where an empire could flourish, but beyond that I'm going where the rules of physics take me as much as possible, starting with the amazing tutorials on these forums, like this one (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/2238-%5Baward-winner%5D-using-tectonic-plates-draw-world-map.html).

This should be a fun ride as the only technology I have access to at the moment is a touch tablet. We'll see how this goes... :?

seredemia
02-24-2014, 02:02 AM
That sounds great! Can't wait to see what you come up with then :)

rvgriffiths
02-24-2014, 02:20 AM
So first step, I scribbled out some "tectonic plates" and chose their directions of movement:

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Then I tried to figure out the kind of plate interactions (blue for divergent, orange for convergent, green for transform, and giant yellow loops standing in for this expression: :?:)

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Tomorrow's my day off, so I'm hoping to get my continents roughed out and maybe some mountains laid down as well.

Raptori
02-24-2014, 05:11 AM
Makes sense to start with tectonic plates - for my world I added them after the continents, wish I'd done them first!

Looks like you've made a good start :)

rvgriffiths
02-24-2014, 01:29 PM
All right, took a stab at continents. I really don't like what I have so far. I think I need to rework it drastically. It feels small and random, and I want the world to feel large, expansive, and real.

I'm considering flipping the pole continent to the top, and I'm wondering if I need something in the Plate 5 area to provide some balance, but I don't know. I'll have to see what's where when I revamp, I guess.

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Raptori
02-24-2014, 02:18 PM
If you want to project it on to a globe later on it might be worth changing the aspect ratio at this point - stuff like G.Projector and Google Earth work with the map scaled to a 2:1 ratio. That might help make it easier to balance the continents too, since I think the main problem at the moment is that the map feels a bit cramped - adding more space could help with that.

rvgriffiths
02-24-2014, 03:57 PM
stuff like G.Projector and Google Earth work with the map scaled to a 2:1 ratio. That might help make it easier to balance the continents too

Is that something I could do/use on an ipad? I'm using a sketching program to work on it right now. Hopefully I can get my laptop limping along enough to run GIMP soon.

2:1... Am I right in guessing that's width to height? 2 pixels/inches/whatever in width for every one in height? (That's probably something that should be basic knowledge, I'm sure, but I'm the sort of person to whom anything remotely useful is endlessly baffling. How I survive the world without a keeper is a wonder in itself.)

I would like to map it to a globe eventually, I'm a visual person and seeing things in a more realistic format is useful to me. I'm definitely all for it if it will help with my continent placement.

Raptori
02-24-2014, 04:39 PM
Is that something I could do/use on an ipad? I'm using a sketching program to work on it right now. Hopefully I can get my laptop limping along enough to run GIMP soon.

2:1... Am I right in guessing that's width to height? 2 pixels/inches/whatever in width for every one in height? (That's probably something that should be basic knowledge, I'm sure, but I'm the sort of person to whom anything remotely useful is endlessly baffling. How I survive the world without a keeper is a wonder in itself.)

I would like to map it to a globe eventually, I'm a visual person and seeing things in a more realistic format is useful to me. I'm definitely all for it if it will help with my continent placement.

I'm not sure, but I think Google Earth is available for the iPad. I don't know whether the iPad version would allow you to add your own image overlay to it like the windows version does, but it's worth a look I think.

Yeah exactly, just an image twice as wide as it is tall at any size. I've made mine huge - 10,000px by 5,000px, but anything in that ratio fits perfectly on that kind of projection :)

I'm the same, and the distortion at the poles makes it really hard to judge how big things are there on a normal flat map. I made a rough guess at what I'd want the continents to look like, then put it on Google Earth since it makes it much easier to see where it's going wrong.

seredemia
02-24-2014, 04:52 PM
Nice. I like the detail you're putting in so far, like the tectonic plates and stuff. Plus, am I right in saying that you've done all this on your iPad so far? I commend you; I always find it find to draw on touchscreen things.

rvgriffiths
02-27-2014, 06:36 PM
Nice. I like the detail you're putting in so far, like the tectonic plates and stuff. Plus, am I right in saying that you've done all this on your iPad so far? I commend you; I always find it find to draw on touchscreen things.

Yep, so far! I'm using a stylus, which helps. I think I just played so much Draw Something that I'm used to it by now :) Having a bigger screen and stylus feels almost luxurious.


Status Update!

Went to work on the map on the iPad... discovered I'd accidentally merged the layers. And then I managed to delete the image entirely :shock:

I cried for a few hours and then went to clean up the spare room, locating my laptop, netbook, and the external drive with literally everything digital thing I have tucked on it. (Several people have been in and out of here, most of them being, um... "helpful," so to speak, so I had no idea where anything was for ages.) :)

Oh... but no laptop cord. No one has any idea where it might be. None of the other sixteen laptop cords fit (my house is like a graveyard for electronics. They all come here to die.) Tragedy strikes again. Well, I won't let mere lack of processing power stop me! Time to see if the NetBook... the notoriously slow NetBook I use only for typing and the occasional game of solitaire... will run GIMP.

*sets hat firmly on head and strides into the distance*

ETA: The answer is yes. ...very, very slowly.

rvgriffiths
02-27-2014, 08:38 PM
Woohoo, progress!

I snagged the tectonic map from my original post, resized it per Raptori's suggestion, and started slapping some sweet continental crust for Anguem.

I completely hated every continent I tried to do to "current" (story-time) size, so I'm just throwing some smaller shapes onto the plates where it feels right, and then I'm going to touch it up with the paintbrush tool.

Here's the so-far. Not sure about that northern pole continent. Will that warm up my north too much? I could always put my closed-off cold area in the south, I suppose, if it is. Hmmm.

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Feedback and crit is, of course, ecstatically and gratefully welcomed.

rvgriffiths
02-28-2014, 01:09 AM
All right, got some work done on my continents. I'm following the Not-So-Random-Coastline tutorial at the moment. Because the photo is so big I'm copying the continents and the large islands, pasting into their own documents, running the process, and pasting the result back in as a layer. This way I can focus on the details as well as saving each continent and island for future detail work.

Not done with the continents, but alas, this little cartographer has to go to bed.

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I just noticed the detail isn't showing up at all, but they do in the expanded picture. The completed areas have a white outline. Still needs a lot of cleanup... oh well.

Pixie
02-28-2014, 09:16 AM
Sorry to bring this up when you are already tuning details on the coast but...

You've got several places where tectonic plates are subducting and new oceanic plate is being created at the same time.. this simply doesn't happen. It's the case of the triple junction between plates 2, 4 and 10 (I'd make plate 10 move NE instead) and between 1, 5 an 7 (I'd create a couple of microplates there).

Also, for increased complexity/realism, consider adding islands. Both volcanic mid-ocean islands and island-arcs.

And as a last piece of "do with it whatever you like" kind of advice: a real planet takes millions of years to create, don't rush yours.

Just a few 2cents worth ideas. Enjoy your creative pursuit, that's the whole point.

rvgriffiths
02-28-2014, 01:54 PM
Sorry to bring this up when you are already tuning details on the coast but...

That's ok. I'd rather have it be right (or at least reasonable).


It's the case of the triple junction between plates 2, 4 and 10 (I'd make plate 10 move NE instead)

That seems straightforward enough. That should leave it pulling away from 2 and 11 and with a transform boundary against 4, I think?


and between 1, 5 an 7 (I'd create a couple of microplates there).

I'm not sure what you mean here. I mean, I see the problem, and I understand what microplates are, I'm just not sure where to put them so it fixes the problem. Halp? :(


Also, for increased complexity/realism, consider adding islands. Both volcanic mid-ocean islands and island-arcs.

I will be doing that, I'm just hitting up the big chunks first. I figured once I got the continents and supersized islands out of the way, I could zoom in and work on some island chains. Not sure what you mean on the mid-ocean islands. I thought islands were the result of volcanos.... don't they have to be along a tectonic boundry (or where one was)? Or am I misunderstanding that?


And as a last piece of "do with it whatever you like" kind of advice: a real planet takes millions of years to create, don't rush yours.

Good point :) It's sort of a balance between "I want to do this right" and "I need a certain amount of this done to finish my novel." I want to do it proper, but I need at least a rough idea of what's where.

I appreciate the advice, thank you!

Pixie
02-28-2014, 02:53 PM
(quick reply then I am away on hols... ;) )

Microplates can behave in basically anyway. Check Caroline Plate, Fiji Plate or Cocos Plate for ideas.

Hawaii is an example of volcanic islands that aren't formed in a tectonic boundary. Tectonic boundaries force rock material to sink, melt and resurface in volcanoes, sure. But magma may also rise in hotspots and these more or less stay in the same location as a given plate passes above. Check an image of the Pacific floor west and north-west of Hawaii, you will see remnants of the spot activity (islands that have been eroded below the ocean level with time).
Sometimes hotspots occur in divergent boundaries (some geologists think the two are related), Azores, Kerguelen and Iceland are pretty good examples. The Ontong-Java plateau is an example of a very ancient hotspot, which slowed down. The cooled lava was then carried away from its original position by the moving pacific.
(whoa, 6 lines of geology rambling.. sorry)

rvgriffiths
03-03-2014, 11:26 PM
After some more work and endless fiddling, the continents of Anguem:

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It's probably not as accurate as it could be, but I was reaching the point of messing with it to no fruitful end, so I decided it was good enough to move on.

Mountains are roughly blocked out in red. I'm not sure I like the placement yet, aside from the ones directly along tectonic lines. I think I need a little more research before laying them out for good.

rvgriffiths
03-06-2014, 12:54 AM
:(

Man, mountains are hard.

Raptori
03-06-2014, 03:35 AM
:(

Man, mountains are hard.

Keep at it, you'll get there! :D

Looking good so far :)