View Full Version : CloudFangs First ATTEMPT!

03-07-2014, 01:39 PM
here we go.... would LOVE advice and recommendations on the work here.... i can take the criticism and wont go personal... even if you bash this...

for what its worth this is a completely made up world...

hmmmm.... whats the best way or recommended way to post pics? - lol... oops.

03-07-2014, 02:01 PM
hmmmm.... whats the best way or recommended way to post pics? - lol... oops.

by inserting a jpeg image with the maximum size around 4.67 mb

- Max -
03-07-2014, 02:10 PM
Use the "go advanced" button (bottom right of the post screen) then select your pic and upload it.

03-07-2014, 02:40 PM
ok lets try this for original sketch...


alright roughed out the big blocks of land


this is my first attempt so if theres any methods that im doing that are utterly wrong or if its better to go about this differently i would love to hear it...

some contrast color just to see better for now..


03-07-2014, 02:53 PM
shading added... for a little depth:

some texture:


starting to add mountains next...


- Max -
03-07-2014, 02:55 PM
Cloud, since your images doesn't seem that big, you can use the edit button to post several maps in one post if you need it (just uplaod attchements several attachmentsat the same time). I merged the posts for you.

03-07-2014, 03:03 PM
thanks max your stuff is sick... i definitely printed out a zoomed in version of some of your mountains while ive been sketching these... i hope its flattery and not theft...

03-07-2014, 03:10 PM
don't worry I did the same thing =D he has really pretty mountains. And trees.

This is looking pretty good so far! Not really enough to comment on critically yet but the mountains are really nice =)

- Max -
03-07-2014, 03:15 PM
I would have prefered you asked me before using them but since you give me credits for that that's cool, go ahead :) (make sure to remove them from the map when you'll be done with yoursthough ;) )

03-07-2014, 03:21 PM
oh no... i just printed some out on paper and had them in front of me while im sketching onto the computer im not tracing or anything just reference.. theyre my own drawings... i wouldnt copy like that... i just had nothing to really go by..

- Max -
03-07-2014, 03:23 PM
Ooh, ah well that's even better! Keep up the good job :)

03-18-2014, 07:15 AM
finished the main mountains on the first continent:


had some issues with trees. i tried to do a some small tree drawings and copy/paste clone stamp but it didnt look right so i ended up starting to draw them in:


that wasnt working so now im here:


added a ruined citadel next to that mountain... unsure if im going to draw places... or create flat icons? this looks nice but im not sure if it blends in too much. maybe i want something that sticks out clearly?

As always, comments criticisms and straight up trash talk is always welcome!? :P

03-18-2014, 09:07 AM
The drawn in forests are much better, I really like your citadel if you want it to stand out more you could color it in a muddy white. Great job so far!

03-18-2014, 10:30 AM
I don't think it will blend too much at all, especially as domino points out with a bit of coloring. My eye is always drawn to the areas of higher detail. I like your paths through the forest as well, pleasingly detailed. The clobby over all texture you have on it doesn't do much for me, a grunge or parchment texture would be nicer. This is looking excellent over all.

03-18-2014, 10:55 AM
thanks guys...! yeap... a grungier white seems better? thanks domino..


couple things im having trouble with, size... this map is 2' x 3' and running in at 450ppi... im zoomed way in for the close up in this post.. which is why its a little pixelated.. but also gives me TONs of room to map out a bunch of stuff...

the textures are very oversampled so they are totally clobby... i will definitely work on that but i may need to scan in some textures of my own... not sure if i can find anything this large!?

another problem im having trouble with is cleaning my stuff up... when i draw with my photoshop i usually have opacity turned down some and soft brushes... how do people go from this to finished and cleaned line work? do you just go over them? is there a tool to use that cleans things up?

03-20-2014, 02:35 PM
not too much more but i keep plugging along:



03-20-2014, 03:00 PM
Excellent work on cities and castle! I'm gonna keep on eye on this thread!
The orange land is a bit strange imo, it feels a bit "martian".

03-20-2014, 03:59 PM
yea, dont think i will keep it... i was messing with textures and contrasting colors just so i could see the land mass from the ocean well, but it does look really weird like red sand over everything... not sure exactly how i will deal with this.

03-24-2014, 03:22 PM
Sketching in more locations! little by little....


03-25-2014, 04:05 PM
finished up town sketches only one left for now...? then i can go back to finishing forests..

03-27-2014, 12:36 PM
how do people go from this to finished and cleaned line work? do you just go over them? is there a tool to use that cleans things up?
I've yet to find an efficient way to do this. Depending on the size of the drawing, I either use the pen tool to trace the lines then stroke it with a round brush with the size jitter set to pen pressure and the "simulate pressure" box checked. OR I use the round brush at full opacity and the eraser and ctrl+z. OR you can duplicate the layer 3-5 times which makes the most prominent lines really prominent and then erase the straggling lines.

If you find a better way id love to know:)

03-28-2014, 03:20 PM
will let you know if i figure something out... i keep hoping someone will be like.. oh yea, select all then apply this filter.. lol yea right!?

anyway heres updates...


03-28-2014, 03:42 PM
It keeps looking better and better!

03-28-2014, 03:53 PM
Agreed, this is looking great! The line surrounding the land seems far too thick however - but perhaps its only meant as a placeholder?


03-12-2015, 04:47 PM
Man, been away from this for some time!!!??? lolz. Anyway, I set out trying to figure out how to create a much more interactive map. I started learning flash and figured out how to bring the map in and make it scrollable and zoomable to where your mouse is located! Win for me i think. The problem then became as I zoomed WAY in things got very blurry. Making the image larger than 450 ppi seemed crazy so I took the map to illustrator. Now the map is becoming a vector creation. I still want the feel of the raster textures so Ive been playing with transperancy overlays and stuff... But the map is much better in terms of scale.. Its still obviously not real world accurate but the size of a single peak is no longer equivalent to an entire country.. haha. Anyway since im blasting ahead with full steam now i figured i would post some images up for critique. Please dont feel like you need to be nice, i can take it. Heh.

So first up are some photoshop images of the "feel" im trying to create.

http://i1301.photobucket.com/albums/ag118/dmcloudfang/legendsofessea_zps69xmyvja.jpg (http://s1301.photobucket.com/user/dmcloudfang/media/legendsofessea_zps69xmyvja.jpg.html)

http://i1301.photobucket.com/albums/ag118/dmcloudfang/legendsofesseamap_zps1ktt83iu.jpg (http://s1301.photobucket.com/user/dmcloudfang/media/legendsofesseamap_zps1ktt83iu.jpg.html)

Next up is the map in vector. Along with a close up to show my new approach to mountains.. I made a ton of vector mountains and am now pasting them in to the areas (green) that ive decided will be the mt ranges... So far so good..

http://i1301.photobucket.com/albums/ag118/dmcloudfang/Screen%20Shot%202015-03-12%20at%204.17.51%20PM_zps9pojd8vp.png (http://s1301.photobucket.com/user/dmcloudfang/media/Screen%20Shot%202015-03-12%20at%204.17.51%20PM_zps9pojd8vp.png.html)

http://i1301.photobucket.com/albums/ag118/dmcloudfang/Screen%20Shot%202015-03-12%20at%204.17.38%20PM_zpsyxzkdynx.png (http://s1301.photobucket.com/user/dmcloudfang/media/Screen%20Shot%202015-03-12%20at%204.17.38%20PM_zpsyxzkdynx.png.html)

Finally, these are some of the icons im playing around with using to pin point cities and towns.

http://i1301.photobucket.com/albums/ag118/dmcloudfang/Screen%20Shot%202015-02-20%20at%2012.53.33%20PM_zpsdpls3h9h.png (http://s1301.photobucket.com/user/dmcloudfang/media/Screen%20Shot%202015-02-20%20at%2012.53.33%20PM_zpsdpls3h9h.png.html)

The idea, is for things to become more and more visible as you zoom in. I.e. Only the most populated cities will be visible at full view but as you zoom in more and more of the towns/villages will become available based on zoom % in the code. Also, I plan to create buttons for density overlays and have the cities and towns eventually show city maps as you roll the mouse over them! A pretty ambitious project but my test code seems to be working so far?! So im excited.

After the MTs. are finished I plan to re-vector the lakes/rivers to be a bit more detailed. I did it on one of them and it looks much better. Then the coast line will get cleaned up and re-worked to match the level of detail..

Let me know what you guys think!

03-16-2015, 07:47 AM
Getting a bunch more of the mountains pasted in and its looking good, but i figured i would ask for any critique and corrections or advice particularly on mountain range placement before i finish the mountains and move on? The green circled areas are the proposed mountain ranges... Any suggestions or does this seem somewhat believable?

Thanks as always!


03-16-2015, 08:45 AM
CloudFang, I'm intrigued by your idea to make the map more interactive. I too have been considering this ever since I saw someone manage to get Google Earth to work with maps they had made with Campaign cartographer (and such) and each time you zoomed in on that map it went into a more detailed look just like Google Maps/Earth does. I'm not trying to do a Google Earth thing necessarily, but I would be interested in collaborating on a project like this (for the sake of me learning something new), if you would like some assistance. I have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, so I have access to the tools. I can't say that I have that much experience with all the apps, but I figure things out pretty fast (and I have a lynda.com subscription to teach me along the way). I think Anna Meyer did some kind of vector/Illustrator work with her absolutely amazing Greyhawk maps. You can find her page here (http://ghmaps.net/blog/). Maybe you could contact her and get some input.

I know most of this thread is about a year old, but I agree with Slylok about getting rid of the rough line work. Put the sketchy stuff on one layer and trace over it on a new layer, modifying brush and blending setting as needed. Also, you might get some "smoothing" by adding a gaussian (sp?) blur to a duplicated sketch layer and then duplicate the blurred layer a few times then merge all the duplicates together and see how that turns out. Since that post was so long ago when you asked that question, I'm sure you've found what works for you since then.

Keep up the good work!

03-16-2015, 08:50 AM
At the northern end of the eastern coastal mountains, you have two ranges at right angles to each other. Normally, mountain ranges do not meet at angles like that.

Also, if you could use the CG image posting rather than photobucket, it would be much easier to see your images and be able to help with them. Photobucket is a pain. For example, I can't see your rivers in enough detail to comment on them.

If you want zoomable clarity, you should probably use resolution in the 1200 ppi range. When you save it to post, reduce the size and use a low jpg quality, and the clarity will still be reasonably good.

03-16-2015, 10:51 AM
@ wthr - hey man, thanks for that link! AWESOME. I have only seen a westeros map that is slightly interactive so this is an awesome resource for me... One thing i got to work for me was zooming in to mouse position which is more effective than a central type zoom like on this map. Her work is beautiful but it stops zooming long before i want mine to go. And already I see some pixelation, which is the problem I was having and why I chose to switch to a vector type map, the scaling and imagery stays really clean and sharp even when i zoom in to 1 single mountain on my screen! Doesnt quite look as nice, but im working on ways around that too... Would love to collaborate and work things out... pm me and i will send my email.

@ chick - perfect thanks! what do you suggest? get rid of the west/east smaller portions and continue going up/down with those ranges?

03-16-2015, 11:45 AM
I'm always happy to see people using Illustrator for maps, mostly because I like to do it! Although I have to admit that I've never used Photoshop with a tablet, so partly I'm just scared of new things... I have one question. Where did your cities go? They were absolutely incredible, so detailed. I love the one on the water. I'll be looking forward to seeing your vector progress!


03-16-2015, 02:42 PM
@Meshon - Yo Meshon! thanks for the illustrator love! Ha... Where did the cities go!? thats a long story. at the end of the third age when... oh wait. Nah, actually im unsure how to handle them. Basically its part of what put me off the original map.. I live in Connecticut and well, basically the size of the continent vs the size of the cities was really bumming me out. That citadel would have been almost the size of the whole state i live in! Now i know there is gonna be a large bit of exaggeration and not real scale going on in a fantasy map but i just couldnt live with that level of off. If a city icon takes up an entire small country then you cant map in the rest. Also photoshop got very pixelated when i zoomed in with the scripting im working on. So i kind of scrapped the icons...

May or may not bring them back in the format they were in on the original map. I may just re-create them in vector at a much better scale or, what my plan is: is to have small icons that when selected or rolled over show you a town map, where there would be a nice illustration and then a top down street view map with locations. In other words the small points on my vector map would be selectable.

Let me know what you think? Also, any good vector icons/images you wanna trade? I just made a ton of mountains!? lol.

@ chick - What do you think about the redo? also is this a better way to handle photos?



03-16-2015, 04:52 PM
Something more like this????


03-17-2015, 12:26 PM
Nice mountains!

03-17-2015, 04:20 PM
thanks, should i add more?

03-18-2015, 07:49 AM
heres my rough out for major forested areas: let me know if anything is terribly wrong or if i should re-work anything.. thanks as always!