View Full Version : And now for something a lil bit different

09-28-2008, 07:21 PM
Trying out something a bit more traditional and not so satellite-ish since my usual stuff is such a yawner. I'm kinda liking this except maybe I should keep my old mountain style instead of this new one but I have one more idea to try on the mountains...just haven't done it yet but I wanted to put this up and see if it gets any responses. The first pic is the basic topography and the second is a lil more developed with borders n such. It's also smaller than what I normally do 'cuz this is more of an experiment with a new style to see if I can develop it further before going into my normal scale/size. It's also much lighter than what I usually do so maybe folks will like this better. Took about 6 hours this morning then I had to watch football so I was done before noon :)

09-28-2008, 07:27 PM
oooooooooo.... i likey! ....

Excelent feeling of color and ambiance. and a fresh looking map... I like this style very much :D

09-28-2008, 07:35 PM
Thanks man :) I appreciate it. BTW, the lil city icons are just pics of various castles I found on the web and applied some filters, and they're named accordingly except for Ennui 'cuz I got it from Wikimedia so I don't know which castle it is so I just named it the first French word that popped into my head -- ie. boredom. Wow that was a run-on sentence wasn't it, heh?

09-28-2008, 09:23 PM
A big part of the appeal in a map comes from the choices of colors. The choices you made with this one are very good. It's very pleasing to look at.



Steel General
09-28-2008, 09:45 PM
Liking this very much...

09-29-2008, 12:07 AM
okay, those rivers are just plain badass. I love the color gradient that you are using on them. It looks very similar to to shaded relief "biome" maps that Nat'l Geo put out. I really like the subtlety of the political boundaries as well. I think you might have a style that works very well.

Suggestion: Change the landform outline from that raw umber/chocolaty color to a medium blue from your rivers, I think it will soften up the transition from land to sea.

09-29-2008, 12:24 AM
I really like this style over your past work! I especially like the city symbols, reminds of the Archean League in that way. :P

Keep up with this, I think you're really on to something. I'm dishing out "Rep" like crazy today! :lol:


09-29-2008, 12:40 AM
Thanks guys! :) Glad to know I'm on a right path now. I had debated the stroke on the landforms (2-pixel black in the second image and reduced opacity in the first) but I'm sort of shooting for that "old elementary school geography class wall poster" effect but more modern. I may remove it but I'll give a blue a go...this will change the interior borders to blue as well though since I have the 2-pixel black lines on the same layer. I might change the whole kit n kaboodle back to a 1-pixel stroke but that's barely noticeable. As for the rivers I just draw lightning bolts on a new layer with a 1-pixel and 2-pixel brush then make a selection of this layer and copy the ocean layer and put it on top in order to get the color variations.

Here's some more work done, mostly labeling but I added a really cheesy banner and scale. Need to do still: frame, compass, label the rivers, rework the banner, lots of labeling for mountains and islands and such, and a few other bits that I'm not sure how I want to do them yet but will experiment tomorrow.

GP -- Yeah, me too, these new AH guys have some skillz.

09-29-2008, 01:09 AM
Ascension, I think you could really be onto something here. I love the style. Its unique and very artistic. Cool map, great fonts and city iucons too. BUt I agree with other posters. i think the colours are where you really nail it.


09-29-2008, 04:18 AM
Ok... so how did you get those mountains done? ... you must tell me! I want to know the secret too!! :D

If the 1pix line isn't noticeable try it with a slight blur.... or even with the 2 px to tone it down. I like the one you got there personally, but you seemed to want to make it not so bold....

09-29-2008, 08:48 AM
The mountains are very similar to how I usually do 'em. Render some clouds (Photoshop) then with white as the active color: Select > color range > fuzziness = 128 (or as much as 192)...this then selects the lightest half, copy this onto a new layer. Image > adjustments > gradient map = black to white. This puts some black into what was previously white and light gray but adds more white to the lightest pixels, put a black layer under it then merge the 2 layers then run the lighting effects filter. Delete the blackest bits, hide the layer, then repeat the whole process but with the fuzziness set to 64 or 32. So what I'm doing is to actually make mountains 2 parts, like stackable blocks...the first part creates the lower half, sort of like a flat mesa and the second part creates the peaks. Then some layer styles and colors to finish off.

09-29-2008, 09:09 AM
Gotcha... I'm gonna have to play around with maybe get me some mountains that look decent :D

09-29-2008, 09:41 AM
Just a minor nitpcik I only just noticed (because I was trying to work out how to do the very same effect myself) but is the numbering on the longitude and latitude lines wrong?

ie, shouldn't the numbers on the left of the map match the numbers on the same line on the right, rather than having the axis reversed?

09-29-2008, 04:44 PM
I don't really know if there is a correct way. The first way I did it has all of the numbers on 1 layer then I just copy it 3 times and rotate them. I did it this way so that the 200 on the horizontal would be near the 200 on the vertical instead of 1800. Ideally these numbers should actually be degrees in latitude and longitude but since I'm not smart enough to do the math I just made it into miles. If anyone knows how many degrees are in 2000 earth miles then I could fix that quite easily and the whole problem goes away :)

09-30-2008, 09:46 AM
It's a beautiful looking map! I love the style!

I particularly like your subtle and interesting borders.

My only critique: I count at least 5 distinct fonts used in different capacities in the map, and that's a little busy, typographically. In particularly, some fonts are easier to decipher than others on this map. (The fonts that look like medieval black/gothic calligraphy are the most difficult to discern. For instance, the title of the map looks like "The Bands of [something]yarthein"... I have no idea what the first letter of "-yarthein" is supposed to be; maybe an "N", maybe an "A", maybe something else. This comes up a lot with the ornate capitals of black/gothic calligraphy. The same problem is repeated in some of the regional country names; I can't quite read several of them.)

I think I read a rule of thumb once (possibly even somewhere on this site) to restrict the number of distinct fonts used in something like this to around 3, with variations on those (size, boldness, etc.) for any additional subheadings needed.

09-30-2008, 04:59 PM
Oy, I had no idea about that font stuff, I just wanted each different type of label (city, country, ocean, etc) to have its own font as well as its own color or opacity. I guess I just wasted a whole night last night adding in more labels so I'll redo that tonight. As fas as that N goes, it bugged me as well so I changed the font and the spelling last night. I'll put up a wip once I get the re-fonting done as well as some other new additions.

09-30-2008, 08:03 PM
Ok here are some updates. Added in more labels, then fixed/refonted them, redid the title banner, made some lil icons for interesting places (like towns, villages, forts, towers, temples, and shrines), added minor trade routes, added the compass, changed the mile markings into degrees of lat/long, added a frame and some other stuff I can't remember right now.

I didn't label everything because I didn't want the map to be overwhelmed with text at this smaller size, when I move on to making my normal larger maps everything gets a label. Not sure I'm happy with the icons yet but there is only so much info you can put into a 20 X 20 pixel brush. On larger maps I might hijack some of the symbols from CC3 (I have a contact sheet jpg).

Fonts used: Agincourt for the main title and country names, AL Afternoon Delight for cites and stuff, and Aramis for everything else (roads, rivers, oceans, etc.).

--PS: If some things are hard to read then zoom in to 200%.

Steel General
10-01-2008, 07:26 AM
Honestly, I think this is one of, if not the best, work I've seen of yours on the site. This is really fantastic!

'Nuff Said!! :D

I bonk thee with my Cudgel of Reputation *BONK*

10-01-2008, 02:02 PM
Honestly, I think this is one of, if not the best, work I've seen of yours on the site. This is really fantastic!

'Nuff Said!! :D

I bonk thee with my Cudgel of Reputation *BONK*


It's hot. I really love the country divisions.

10-01-2008, 02:13 PM
this is a mighty powerful map. I like it a bunch

repped here as well

10-01-2008, 05:19 PM
Wow, thanks guys, I really appreciate the feedback. It's good to know that people like this as much as I do. It's pretty much the way I make all of my maps after I have the topography done. Putting my usual satellite style into a more standard style at least means I don't have to worry about it being too dark ;) I had envisioned putting other elements onto this, sort of like a book cover with heroes and heroines and such so I'll dig thru some of my old drawings and if something fits then I might color em up in PS and finish it off the way I had planned.

10-01-2008, 11:00 PM
OK so this doesn't actually have anything to do with mapping but shows how I plan to use the map in a book cover. Spent most of the night photoshopping some color into an old drawing of one of my mages named Serge. The coloring is fairly simplistic...lay down some basic colors then use dodge and burn for highlights and shadows. The drawing itself might not blend too well stylistically since I drew this during a lecture back in grad school but it's all I got that isn't garbed in armour or swinging big ole weapons. Still have lots more to do but I'm gonna chill out and read a book for the rest of the night.

Steel General
10-02-2008, 07:20 AM
Spent most of the night photoshopping some color into an old drawing of one of my mages named Serge.

I read that and I had to chuckle, the first thing that came to mind was Bronson Pinchot in Beverly Hills Cop (I think), picturing him dressed as wizard cracked me up (but I'm strange like that sometimes).

The wizard looks like he stepped right out of a comic book. Quite a contrast with the map.

10-02-2008, 08:17 AM
SG -- Yeah, since high school I had dreams of being a comic book illustrator. What I need to do is throw out the lines and make it look more painterly so I'll probably do that tonight.

Steel General
10-02-2008, 02:45 PM
What I need to do is throw out the lines and make it look more painterly so I'll probably do that tonight.

Ahhh...kind of like the Samurai Jack cartoon - no black outlines that are typical in most animation.

10-02-2008, 05:11 PM
Oh, man, I love Jack (and the Scotsman)...I hadn't even thought about that but no I was referring to the standard type of fantasy cover painting :) Not sure I'll finish this post work stuff anyway since this map is too small for my liking and I can't put in all of the detail that I would like to. I dunno, haven't decided. If I could cartoon like whoever did Jack then I wouldn't have to shred my hands everyday on glass...think I lost about 1/2 a cup worth of red bubbly today (bad day). So with my fingers all bandaged up I'll probably just play a game tonight that doesn't require me to mouse anything. Oh wait there's that debate happening about 25 miles away, maybe I should go and sit in the audience so that I can see the trainwreck in person.

10-03-2008, 04:25 AM
#Well even if you have to redo this, I think you have definetely found a very nice style to work in.