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RazielKilsenhoek
06-19-2014, 06:13 AM
Hey guys!

I only joined yesterday and posted one map I had done. At that time, however, I was already working on a second one. It is on that second one that I seem to have struck a bit of a dead end. I will explain, but here's the picture before anything:

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Before anything, I will admit that I've never done anything at this resolution before. After reading several tutorials on various things, looking at what I have so far is somewhat worrying. Of course, everything is on its own layer so any changes are easily made. However, I read that most people here make maps at 300 DPI/PPI. Mine is at the standard 72. I know DPI/PPI is used in printing but I'm wondering if there's some upside to having it at 300 that I'm not aware of.

On top of that, I'm starting to think that it's too big simply because I'm not sure how to fill it all. I don't want to fill the whole thing in with mountains/trees but the wide open white areas look too dull now. I'm not worried about color/textures too much yet, as I already have several possibilities lined up for all that. If you guys have any advice/comments to give, I'd really appreciate it. I think this one could turn out really nice but I'm starting to think I'm a bit out of my league here.

Raziel

RazielKilsenhoek
06-19-2014, 11:34 AM
Have done some work since my previous post, though it's still very much WIP.

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The texture is a placeholder for now, though I may integrate it a bit more. It needs some variation, which is why I've added some more trees, rivers and a large lake/ocean. I will be adding roads and towns/cities so that will fill a lot of the blank spaces, but I still think it needs something extra. The sea will likely get some work done on it as well, though it is highly probable it won't be much more than a cloud-generated overlay texture. PSD file is reaching 800MB, I may have to do the cities and such on a seperate file that holds just the landmass and geography assets. Any comments more than welcome!

groovey
06-23-2014, 04:00 AM
I say this a lot, but only when it's true, because it's important to me: I like the land masses.

Thing is even though I've almost 80 posts in my back, I'm a noob and hardly know nothing, so I'm not the best person to give critique or advice to other guild members.

That said, what I personally could tell you, based mostly on visuals, is that it looks really cool to me. I wish I knew how to do the terrain like that. Did you use any tutorial as a guideline or you did it experimenting on your own?

Perhaps the only thing I can think of is that if the scale of the land masses is very big, perhaps the terrain would need more variety to show climatic differences. I mean, if the big one it's supposed to be as big has the whole north America, and depending on the latitude, there wouldn't be so much intense vegetation everywhere and such, but if the scale it's not too big then homogeneous dense vegetation would make more sense.

So I'm sorry I can't really be more helpful, but I like what I see, so keep working.

Scarce
06-24-2014, 03:12 AM
I personally work on the bigger end of the scale spectrum, and I think it opens doors to fill those blank spots with cities, emblems, roads, and swanky info. You might be able to put a few more rivers and lakes, especially towards the center of your leftmost continent. Now is also a great time to think about where to put in you fantastical map locations (if any) for a fantasy world. Are there any floating islands? Immense chasms? Ancient civilization landmarks? Those might be able to fill your space just fine.

RazielKilsenhoek
06-24-2014, 05:55 PM
That said, what I personally could tell you, based mostly on visuals, is that it looks really cool to me. I wish I knew how to do the terrain like that. Did you use any tutorial as a guideline or you did it experimenting on your own?

Perhaps the only thing I can think of is that if the scale of the land masses is very big, perhaps the terrain would need more variety to show climatic differences. I mean, if the big one it's supposed to be as big has the whole north America, and depending on the latitude, there wouldn't be so much intense vegetation everywhere and such, but if the scale it's not too big then homogeneous dense vegetation would make more sense.

Thanks a lot for replying! I didn't use any tutorials on the land masses, if by that you mean the shape of the continents. I just start with a very large brush and make blobs, then use an eraser that's about 3 pixels wide to go along the borders of the blobs. The end result is the land mass you see here. It's tedious but I don't really know any other way to do it.

As for your suggestion, you're probably right. It is supposed to be a very large land mass, so putting in smaller, more varied climatic differences would be the way to go to give it a natural look. I will definitely go in that direction now, and post results when they are ready. Thanks!

EDIT: I saved some .png shots of the first stages that show how I did it. It makes it look really simple (which I guess it is). Took a long time to go from the first picture to the second one though, let me tell you.

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I personally work on the bigger end of the scale spectrum, and I think it opens doors to fill those blank spots with cities, emblems, roads, and swanky info. You might be able to put a few more rivers and lakes, especially towards the center of your leftmost continent. Now is also a great time to think about where to put in you fantastical map locations (if any) for a fantasy world. Are there any floating islands? Immense chasms? Ancient civilization landmarks? Those might be able to fill your space just fine.

There won't be any floating islands, but chasms and landmarks are definitely good ideas. I've never really made detailed maps before, they've always been very basic. But those are good ideas that I will definitely try. Since posting that most recent WIP screenshot, I have added some more rivers and lakes and it most definitely helped. Struggling on ideas for emblems, though. I wish I had a tablet or at least a scanner so I could implement some hand drawn doodles. In any case, many thanks for your input!

Scarce
06-26-2014, 04:25 AM
Struggling on ideas for emblems, though.

Will this (http://www.cartographersguild.com/mapping-elements/346-free-symbols-sets.html) help? It's a sticky on the mapping elements forum.

RazielKilsenhoek
06-26-2014, 03:24 PM
I've glanced through those and haven't been able to find any that I liked. There was a tutorial on how to make your own, though. I will be giving that a shot, just to make sure however many I come up with, they will all be in the same style. Thanks a lot for linking me though!

RazielKilsenhoek
07-15-2014, 06:32 PM
Quick update!

I haven't had much time to work on it these past few weeks, but the past 2 days provided me with some opportunities. I decided to get rid of the texture overlays I had, because they popped out far too much, adding detail that didn't work at all with this type of map. Photorealistic textures don't belong in a cartoony style map, in my opinion. I played around with some various brush sizes, strengths and colors, and combining them on multiple layers. The current look is extremely close to what I had in my mind when I started.

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As you can see, most of what I did went into the border. I'm quite happy with it. I used arsheesh's [Award Winner] Making Map Borders in GIMP (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/15037-%5Baward-winner%5D-making-map-borders-gimp.html) to get it started. It was very informative on how to do the checkered pattern, even though I don't use GIMP. Very easy to understand and I'm extremely pleased with how that turned out, so major thanks to arsheesh for that.

The bottom left box will have the legend for the infrastructure I will add next, and the bottom right box will have information on who made the map, what year it was in, who ordered it, and so on. The bottom center box will have the name/title of the world displayed.

I thought the paper texture overlay I used was a bit much, but after desaturating it in the center (leaving only the paper border with a thick paper color) I'm satisfied with it. Might still need some cleaning up, however.

As always, any comments will be appreciated! Can no longer save in .png format and upload to imgur, so they will be uploaded in 9/12 quality .jpg files from now on.

RazielKilsenhoek
07-19-2014, 11:34 PM
Finally got around to doing the shields. I'm trying not to overthink it, because that will just result in me tossing the whole set out of the window. The main thing I'm focusing on now is that I didn't think I'd get even 2 of them done, and here I am with 8 of them. Good enough for me! Will be using them in the final product, but I'd still like to get some opinions. I save everything in seperate psd files with a lot of layers, so any changes can be made without too much effort.

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Diamond
07-20-2014, 12:24 AM
I like the heraldry on those, but if you plan to use them on your map (which is turning out pretty good, BTW), I would tone down the colors a little so they don't clash so much with the map itself. Less vivid, more subdued, more pastels instead of bright reds and greens.

RazielKilsenhoek
07-20-2014, 12:30 AM
Good point, they could probably do with a fair bit of desaturating. Honestly, I was just trying to make them pretty, I didn't even consider the point you brought up. Plus, I'm not overly creative so I was focusing mostly on making sure the colors I used were different from eachother. Will definitely put them in the map as a preview and desaturate a bit, thanks for the suggestion!

RazielKilsenhoek
07-20-2014, 12:58 AM
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Here they are on the map, desaturated by -25%. They won't be nearly as big in the final product, but this is what the colors would look like in their adjusted form.

RazielKilsenhoek
10-27-2014, 01:12 PM
Three months later, I figured I would try and make a bit of progress again. The biggest thing that was keeping me from doing anything was the issue of map icons for towns and cities. I found several nice ones (right here on this website (http://www.cartographersguild.com/mapping-elements/8095-hand-drawn-map-elements.html), thanks Ramah!), but I really wanted to see if I could make my own. But no matter how simple I tried to make them, it seems I simply do not have the skill for hand drawing. Luckily ProCreate was not too expensive, so it's not a big loss.

I decided to only give the really big cities (such as capitals) a detailed icon, whereas everything else would just get a dot on the map. I think it turned out alright. Added some roads, made the heraldry shields smaller. It should be clear now which family reigns in which country, what the capital of each country is and what the most common trade routes are.

I would like some opinions on what the map looks like now, though it has been such a long work in progress that I'm eager to just wrap it up. I think I shouldn't have made the resolution so big. I do feel it needs a little more detail in certain areas, such as big open grassy areas or the empty ocean areas. Not in the shape of landmarks, necessarily, but just some small thing to fill up the emptiness. Maybe farm field icons for the grassy bits, I don't know. Anyway, here is what I have so far! Thanks in advance for any and all feedback given, it has already on more than one occasion helped me sort something that was blocking progress.

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I apologize for any strain this put on the server. It is kind of a big file and took a few attempts to upload. It would not let me upload directly from my computer, so I had to upload to Imgur first in 11/12 quality JPG, which then got a nice shot of quality loss from Imgur itself. It should still be clear enough to see what I have, though. In any case, I hope to hear feedback from you guys soon! Hopefully this one will be 100% done in the next week or two.