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BlackChakram
07-11-2014, 05:04 PM
Long time forum browser, first time poster :)

I've made tons of maps for various projects in the past, but this one is the first where I've been ambitious enough to want to share the process with others (and gladly listen to advice!).

I'm making this world both as a campaign setting for tabletop gaming, but also as a setting for a novel I have semi-planned. (And I suppose also because I'm addicted to map-making! :))

Anyways, I put together a basic map with a layout that I really love. I feel this map has everything I could ever want in terms of features. I ran through a simple climate setup after setting up tectonic plates and got a very rough second map showing forests, deserts, plains, jungles, and chaparral. I'm pretty happy with the result. Ran histograms on the desert and forest and they closely match the same percentage as the real world.

This is a sizeable section of the world - 4,000 mi x 4,000 mi. For reference, the farthest-north island on the right edge is almost exactly the size of Germany.

I intend to go very specific with this world (main raw file is 10,000px by 10,000 px) and want to make sure my basics are solid before I move forward. Any comments? Anyone see anything I'm missing that I should take care of now? Thanks, all!

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Pixie
07-12-2014, 12:02 PM
Hi

I'm a fan of folks who "intend to get very specific" with their con-world, as they are surely like-minded to myself. So, welcome and take a like ;)

I am curious about the rest of the map, as well as how did you go about running a quick climate setup. Being specific about climate is the task in hands for me, so I am very interested in hearing from you about this stuff.

BlackChakram
07-12-2014, 06:09 PM
The interesting thing about the rest of the map is that there isn't any. It took me a long time to realize that when I made full world maps, something in the magic of designing the world vanished for me. I like the thought of the unknown. That man (or any other sentient race) has yet to conquer the planet. (I realized this after my wife noticed that I stopped every game of Civ 5 once the whole world had been explored :))

To keep that believable, the mountains in the NE are formed from 2 tectonic plates heading dead into each other. The mountains - for all intents and purposes - are impassable. The continent in the SW has monsters and creatures that become more and more deadly the farther south you go, until passage is impossible. A bit hokey, but it serves my purposes. And is that what creating worlds is about, anyways?

Anyway, the climate stuff I got from a thread here at the Guild. I can't for the life of me find the thread, but I did find the page it links to:
The Climate Cookbook (http://jc.tech-galaxy.com/bricka/climate_cookbook.html)
It's a pretty simple walkthrough, but it does the job. Plus, I feel its adding a ton of character to the world since now I know where it makes sense for monsoons to occur.. stuff like that.

Diamond
07-13-2014, 11:35 AM
It took me a long time to realize that when I made full world maps, something in the magic of designing the world vanished for me.
Y'know, that may be one of the most profound things I've read on here. I don't know why I never thought that myself, because now that I see it, I know it holds true for me as well.

Azelor
07-13-2014, 11:42 AM
I agree.

For different reasons, it's a lot harder to make a complete world than to make just one continent.

Don't need to worry about map projection, oceanic currents, filling the empty spots because they need to be filled, etc...

Chashio
07-13-2014, 12:19 PM
That is a rather nice layout of spaces... and the square format is interesting. Do you have a style in mind for the finished map or would you prefer not to say? Totally fine... I'm just very curious is all. :)

BlackChakram
07-13-2014, 12:31 PM
I've been tossing ideas around in my mind, but no decision on final format yet. I'm leaning towards hand-drawn elements imported using GIMP. But we'll see how that goes. Is there a gallery or list here on the site of different styles? Perhaps something like that could help.

BlackChakram
07-13-2014, 01:09 PM
=== RESOURCE MAP AND PANTHEON ===

I finished putting together a map of resources given some climate notes. (For anyone interested in how I decided to place what where, I made a thread over in the resource section after doing a lot of research). I wanted to specifically make sure that the continent on the SW had a unique resource. This will make it a very valuable commodity.

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I also put together my pantheon. I don't know about everyone else, but I have a hard time putting together a pantheon because I don't like just having a bunch of "random" gods. I need to know that there's some sense of completeness to the list. Given the importance the gods will have to the novel, I really needed to nail this. I think I came up with a pretty solid schema. I have 2 sets of axes which generate my 8 gods.

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Any comments or suggestions are more than welcome!

BlackChakram
07-17-2014, 06:54 PM
It's taken me forever, but I've finally settled at least on a basic idea for the style I want. I took a little time to whip up a rough idea of one of the mountain ranges. (In the final map, I'll definitely redo this, but for now, it totally works)

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I kind of like it with the thicker line. What do people think? Is thinner better for this style?

Pixie
07-17-2014, 07:47 PM
It's pretty cool. It's a sort of comics-style. Fits your Super Mario avatar just fine :)

RazielKilsenhoek
07-17-2014, 07:47 PM
Looks very nice to me. The colors are pretty intense but that's fine if that's the style you're going for. The linework looks very good, good job on that! I don't know what it looked/looks like thinner. The only thing I'd suggest is that you use a brush with a softer edge for the coloring itself, so the brown of the mountain kind of fades away instead of having such a sharp edge.

BlackChakram
07-17-2014, 08:02 PM
Thanks :) I'm leaning towards making this look like a parchment or vellum map (possibly faded). Need to mess around with color palettes. I may end up not filling in the mountains either. Although I'm fairly sure I'll at least keep the style, tone, and angle of how I've done the lines. I really want to go for a clean iso with the map elements.

Chashio
07-17-2014, 08:43 PM
Is there a gallery or list here on the site of different styles?

Not as such. At least, not that I know of. There are tutorials for some various styles in the tutorials section. There's also a gallery you can get to through the main navigation bar at the top of the site... not everyone puts their finished pictures there, though many do. But I usually just go to google or pinterest or map collection sites for style inspiration. deviantArt also has some large group galleries that hold lots of goodies. There are some pretty nice map books out there as well.

BlackChakram
07-17-2014, 08:51 PM
There are some pretty nice map books out there as well.

You know.... it says something about our modern era that I didn't even think about actual books. And I was alive before the Internet. Just... wow. Any you'd particularly recommend? (I assume you're speaking from experience!)

Chashio
07-18-2014, 11:48 AM
You know.... it says something about our modern era that I didn't even think about actual books. And I was alive before the Internet. Just... wow. Any you'd particularly recommend? (I assume you're speaking from experience!)

hahaha... well, the internet is rather big. As for map books, I know two from personal experience. Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations (http://www.amazon.com/Cartographia-Mapping-Civilizations-Vincent-Virga/dp/0316997668#) is excellent. The other is The Men Who Mapped the World: The Treasures of Cartography (http://www.amazon.com/Men-Who-Mapped-World-Cartography/dp/1847328776/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405697307&sr=1-1&keywords=the+men+who+mapped+the+world), which also includes some pockets containing larger folded map prints which I've enjoyed immensely for being able to see minute details. There is a small amount of overlap between the two, regarding particular maps shown and facts, but the texts are very different in style and aim and fascinating if you're interested in reading them.

BlackChakram
07-18-2014, 08:30 PM
Thanks, Chashio. I'll definitely look into those.

In the meantime, I've nailed down the style I'm going to go for. I'm quite happy with the look, color palette and feel. (except for maybe the river. It feels like it needs something else, but I'm not sure what.) Like always, comments or advice are always welcome. Thanks, folks!

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Diamond
07-19-2014, 12:29 AM
I like that style! Has the potential to be pretty awesome looking. I agree, the river is... meh. That deep bevel could probably be scaled back a bit, and it could use some more zigs and zags; your mountains are fairly detailed, while the river seems very simplistic in comparison. Also, is there a reason it takes that abrupt western turn when the ocean is right there? Rivers generally seek the path of least resistance as they flow from higher to lower elevations, and unless you've got some unmarked mountains between the coast and the river, it makes more sense for the river to empty pretty much straight south into the ocean.

Chashio
07-19-2014, 02:08 PM
Those are beautiful mountains! And the color scheme is very nice as well. I'd wish that the lines of the coast and river outlines matched the mountains better, but that's a small thing, and personal preference. The river is very simple compared to the detailed range and foothills. It could use more feeders, which would help it match the level of detail with your mountains, and, as Diamond suggested, more zigs and zags would be good. Its general course doesn't bother me much. You could divert it south. Or you could draw some more hills below it, maybe some cliff-like terrain, or low, flat hills to indicate a slight rise in lowlands.

Some ideas... (too many, and most of it is horribly awful, I admit, but something might do for your intentions).
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RazielKilsenhoek
07-19-2014, 02:21 PM
I think the rivers you suggested go extremely well with the mountains he made. When they're that thin and detailed, it makes the mountains (and the map itself) feel that much larger. Very nice.

BlackChakram
07-19-2014, 02:41 PM
Oooh. Thanks, Chashio. That's definitely the right direction to be going for the rivers. I'll toy around with a few sketches and do another upload later today.

And Raziel, I'm glad you feel the thin rivers make the map feel that much larger, because this IS a map that covers a pretty vast area. Anything I can do to enhance that feel is a plus!

Thanks again, everyone. All the positive comments are great fuel to keep me pushing to make this not just good, but great. :)

BlackChakram
07-19-2014, 06:12 PM
Alright. I've taken Chashio's sketch and moved in that direction. Fairly happy with the result. Made the rivers both slightly wider and darker with each convergence to draw emphasis on the "main" course. I also gave the rivers a horizontal preference to heighten the isometric perspective. I feel like the rivers don't quite fit with the rest of the style of the map, but it could just be me from staring at it too long.

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RazielKilsenhoek
07-19-2014, 06:28 PM
Good job! I think the style for the rivers does go well with the style of the map (as far as the overall style can be determined from this zoomed in bit). The big, main river heading north does seem a little out of place, though. I don't know why, but it pops a bit much. This could be due to lack of stuff surrounding it, though (like trees, or towns/roads/etc.) I hope it's not rude for me to say all this. Overall, I think you're making great progress.

BlackChakram
07-19-2014, 06:43 PM
It's cool :)

The area is going to be a temperate rainforest (like you'd find on the american northern pacific coast, or canadian pacific coast). So I'm waiting to see how the addition of all those trees makes the river look. For scale, this section is about 1,500 miles on a side. its about 1/9 of the world maps I made in the first few posts.

BlackChakram
07-22-2014, 12:08 AM
Alright. Here's the region with forest. I have another version with the forest washed out a bit with tan. Not sure which I prefer. I like how these forests look, but I'm worried they detract from the rivers.

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ascanius
07-22-2014, 02:07 AM
I like what you have so far, it looks like you have too much forest though. But then again it works seeing you have no towns or cities to thin the forest. I like it.

BlackChakram
07-22-2014, 08:47 AM
Thanks! I thought it looked like too much forest at first, too, but then I remembered the scale. The forest is about 400 miles at the widest. If you look at a similar area on Earth (the Canadian pacific coast) 400 miles of forest is actually fairly reasonable. But you're totally right. Adding towns and labels and roads etc will definitely make it look and feel different. :)

Chashio
07-22-2014, 01:09 PM
The forest goes well with the terrain style. The blue-ish outline around the edge of the forest is a little confusing with the darker sections of river where they appear close together, so you might make it a little more green, or do something to differentiate it from those sections of river (lighten the river, for instance).

Also, one thing to keep in mind with rivers in this perspective... you don't want to draw them on top of things. In some places you have them overlapping mountain ridges and hillsides, which is not something water does naturally and makes the drawing feel a little off where that is the case. It's okay if the rivers/streams that run out of the mountains disappear behind them (and behind treetops in the forest where the rivers run east-west). In places with valleys aligned north to south, if you make the river more closely follow the shadow line and flow around the tips of terrain outlines it will clarify the lowest point of elevation between the ridges and make it appear more natural.

BlackChakram
07-22-2014, 05:06 PM
Also, one thing to keep in mind with rivers in this perspective... you don't want to draw them on top of things. In some places you have them overlapping mountain ridges and hillsides, which is not something water does naturally and makes the drawing feel a little off where that is the case. It's okay if the rivers/streams that run out of the mountains disappear behind them (and behind treetops in the forest where the rivers run east-west). In places with valleys aligned north to south, if you make the river more closely follow the shadow line and flow around the tips of terrain outlines it will clarify the lowest point of elevation between the ridges and make it appear more natural.

Haa. yeah. This was a case of being lazy trumping being meticulous. Now that I have a much better handle on my styles, I definitely should go back and redo them. Thanks for pointing that out. I had kind of forgotten I had done that.

BlackChakram
07-22-2014, 09:16 PM
Ok. Latest revision. I changed the river to pop a bit more and match the style of the rest of the map better. I also added a green background behind the forest to help it seem more continuous. I also added in the tiaga forest in the north. I'm quite pleased with how this is looking so far!
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Edit: There are some perspective mistakes with the edges of the forests. Forgot to fix those before uploading.

BlackChakram
07-25-2014, 07:26 PM
Alright. I've finished the topography of this map. (The dark patch in the lower right is part of another mountain range that I'm going to create in the next section, since that's where most of it is.)

I obviously still need to add roads, cities, names, etc etc, but I want to do the entire topography first. I don't think I've missed anything. Comments and suggestions more than welcome!

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Chashio
07-26-2014, 12:46 AM
Nice! One suggestion, maybe. Try the rivers without any outline, or use a different approach than Stroke? The ones not in forest look a little choppy.

BlackChakram
08-05-2014, 04:00 PM
Finished the second section. Once again, quite pleased with the result, even if this is going to probably take a few months to complete. Couldn't think of another way of doing the rivers to reduce the slight choppiness, but I think it's minor enough I can live with it.

Having to reduce this quite a bit to get it under the 5 meg limit. Questions and comments always welcome!

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Chashio
08-05-2014, 04:46 PM
Very nice!

Sometimes using an Outer Glow in place of the Stroke effect will smooth outlines that are pixel-choppy. But no matter. If you're happy with it, it works.

BlackChakram
08-05-2014, 04:57 PM
Very nice!

Sometimes using an Outer Glow in place of the Stroke effect will smooth outlines that are pixel-choppy. But no matter. If you're happy with it, it works.

Eh. couldn't hurt to give it a shot. everything is still saved in layers, after all :)

Slorm
08-06-2014, 05:04 PM
Great map!

Congratulations

BlackChakram
08-10-2014, 03:33 PM
Getting faster at this as I go. Fully 1/3 done with the topography now. And thankfully, done with the most work-intensive part.

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Chashio, you can't tell it in this image, but in the full-scale one, I added an outer glow like effect under the rivers to smooth some lines and give them just a hint of fertile land on the banks. Looks better, thanks.

Falconius
08-10-2014, 04:56 PM
Wow this is really nice stuff. It's a shame we cant get the full resolution image.

Now I got to go read the thread from the beginning.

BlackChakram
08-10-2014, 05:48 PM
Here's a clip at full res.

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The entire map at full is going to be about 11k by 11k pixels. I want to get a 300 dpi print of the entire thing when I'm done. for digital stuff, I'll probably drop the final image to half the size. Get some nice anti-aliasing that way.

BlackChakram
08-18-2014, 11:14 PM
I've done another 2 sections. Things are coming along smoothly. Gonna have to decide soon how I'll do icons and my map title.66738

BlackChakram
08-24-2014, 04:50 PM
Whew. Ok. The main continent is pretty much done at this point. I think this'll be my last post before I finish the rest of the topography. Probably take a break after the topography so I can plan nations and trade routes. Thanks to everyone giving my map likes. You guys are awesome. :)

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RazielKilsenhoek
08-25-2014, 09:41 PM
It's been several weeks since I last logged on this site and you were still deciding what to do with rivers back then. Now I come back and I see this. Absolutely stunning progress! Not gonna lie, I'm pretty jealous of how this is turning out; my own map is currently in progress hell. Nonetheless, keep it up and keep us posted!

BlackChakram
08-25-2014, 09:54 PM
It's been several weeks since I last logged on this site and you were still deciding what to do with rivers back then. Now I come back and I see this. Absolutely stunning progress! Not gonna lie, I'm pretty jealous of how this is turning out; my own map is currently in progress hell. Nonetheless, keep it up and keep us posted!

Thanks! Not sure I'd want to go this detailed with another map for a while, though. This has taken a crazy amount of work.

BlackChakram
09-06-2014, 08:39 PM
Aaaaalright. Finally finished the geographical map. Took nearly 2 months of pretty solid work. I need to add the legend next, but after that, things are going to slow down as I need to create the nations.

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When I started this map, I was setting out to make the best map I've ever done. I think I've probably achieved that. Not done by a long shot, but I'm probably going to pause here for a breather for a bit.