View Full Version : valahn, a beginner's attempt

01-02-2009, 11:01 AM
I've been a lurker here for a very very long time finally scraped up enough knowledge from this forum to try making my own map from a book I'm currently working on.

I used Photoshop cs3
along with my own tweaked/Mod versions of mapmaker actions

then used a few layer modes to get the beginning look was after.

rivers, streams etc is not final I'm currently just mapping where they go the finalized rivers i should have looking far better when finished.
http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/1686/valmap111ke3.jpg (http://img511.imageshack.us/my.php?image=valmap111ke3.jpg)
http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/valmap111ke3.jpg/1/w1048.png (http://g.imageshack.us/img511/valmap111ke3.jpg/1/)

anywho, I thank the many members of this site for the valuable info I've been able to gather here.

01-02-2009, 11:08 AM
You call this a beginner's attempt? LOL. Your map is awesome and I repped you for it :)
Man, I love the way you did your cliffs and the Valahn label! Very cool style.

Some criticism:
- the two forks in the river in the northeast don't look fully natural to me. It looks like the rivers fork on low ground?
- Both your places and labels are all in black. You might want to do something to them. Like give the places icon a white edge. Or give the text a glow. Don't change other labels, like the Soulless sea. Those look great!

So how many hours did you put into this map? And what kind of book are you working on?

01-02-2009, 11:15 AM
not to many about 1 hour in making the land and sea mass and texture (I'm very well trained in photoshop and gimp). Really it is easy, I was just thinking on making a vid tutorial for making land masses.

river placement though (as you note) is where I'm slowing down as well as going over my story outlines and placing the areas accordingly.

01-02-2009, 11:17 AM
Only 1 hour? Sheesh! Give us a tutorial already :)
A video sounds really good...

01-02-2009, 11:18 AM
Also, what kind of book are you working on?

01-02-2009, 11:24 AM
A dark fantasy novel. A map is not really needed I i don't need to tell you guys that it is catchy and a lot of fun, and not to mention it really adds inspiration.
It is slow going at the moment I spread myself very thin with several art and music projects between my normal day job.

Steel General
01-02-2009, 11:40 AM
This is really nice! Reminds me a bit of the maps in the Wheel of Time series.

Just a few minor critiques;

1) Turn off the grid, it doesn't really add anything. Now if its there for a specific reason then just ignore this.

2) Gandwarf already pointed out some of the river anomalies, and you stated that they were still WIP so no biggie there.

3) The labels for the cities, etc. need something to set them off some they tend to blend in to the background a bit, either a stroke, glow, whatever.

Great job, looking forward to seeing where you take this.

01-02-2009, 12:08 PM
I didn't even see the grid. I am curious how it looks without it. Somehow I think it does add something, but I will only know for sure when its turned off.

01-02-2009, 01:02 PM
Very nice map! Well done!

My only comment is that the sea could use a little less texture. It stands out too much, almost as does the land.

01-02-2009, 01:47 PM
I agree with the comments about the grid. Also, are the white highlights intended to be cloud cover? I'd like to see it without that as well. Those two elements almost give it a self-conscious look, as though there are flaws you're trying to cover up with effects. From what I can see of the underlying map, though, that's completely unnecessary. This is a beautiful style, and I'd really like to see it unobstructed.

Regarding the rivers, before you get too attached to their locations, remember that rivers rarely fork into two flows as they go downstream. Rather, they join together. So you'll have many rivers in the highlands, and as they fall toward the sea, they'll join together to make larger rivers. You're not going to see a place where a river shoots off a branch to the sea but still continues on to a lake.

Also, there are places where two rivers join where the junction is inverted. Specifically, take a look at the tributary that joins the main river just southwest of the "a" in the aldian plains label. The water looks like it's flowing out of the tributary headed due northward, then immediately changes direction to the southwest. That turn should probably happen prior to the confluence, unless there's a waterfall there or some other unusual landform.

01-03-2009, 07:48 PM
First off, this is an awesome map! I have no other critiques that haven't been stated.

Second, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do the tutorial. And if you could do one in print vs. video, I would love to read it, because I'm not in an area where I can actually do video too much, but this is exactly the kind of thing I've been worrying over on my WIP: elevation and texture.

If I could rep you, you'd be repped.

01-04-2009, 06:53 AM
Nice job.
I like the look of it as it is, with a grid, but would like to see it without for comparison.
I'm not the river police, my beef with the rivers are the color, it doesn't quite tie in with the sea.
I must say the style reminds me a bit about a Games Workshops map.

I second the req for a text/pic tut. I like to go over the steps a few times in my own pace, testing different ways to do them.


01-10-2009, 02:01 AM
http://img58.imageshack.us/img58/3262/valmap112vs8.th.jpg (http://img58.imageshack.us/my.php?image=valmap112vs8.jpg)

I'm working my way slowly, I been busy trying to develop my own style. I still need to study the tutorials here on river placement. But I did take in as much advice as i could from my first attempt.
something I notice that helps me a lot is to visualize some areas of my word and then create some artistic rendering of that area. example:

http://img74.imageshack.us/img74/758/amootcopyim5.th.jpg (http://img74.imageshack.us/my.php?image=amootcopyim5.jpg)
The arid lands north of Amoot.

Vast fertile grounds north west of Moorow.

The cold scrub lands just north of Kins Port (road to the barren wastes).

I was just wondering if any one else approaches map making in a similar way?

01-10-2009, 02:30 AM
Nope, I've never done anything like that. I've entertained the notion of doing a "bird's eye" view as a map, but that's as close as I've gotten.

This new map is even cooler looking than the last one; I'm not sure what you're trying to develop style-wise, because these look pretty unique and stylish already. I can't recall having seen anything quite like them yet, although your color choices do put me in mind of TheRedEpic. The only thing I might change if this were my map would be to use a narrower stroke on the text. I generally feel that the fill should account for at least 75% of the letterform. That's purely a personal preference, though.

There are still some river issues. Those loops should not occur, for one thing. Try drawing some arrows on your map to indicate which direction the water is flowing at as many points as you can. I suspect you'll find at least two places where the arrows will indicate that the river is running in both directions. It's hard to tell, though, which end is the source(s) on that central river. On the other hand, they look pretty good for road networks.

And just one more thing: Would you mind uploading the images to the forum rather than linking from ImageShack? Use the little paperclip icon at the top of the message box--you can give it the ImageShack url, and the forum will transfer the file to its own server. That way, if you ever decide to clean out your ImageShack account, or IS goes under or something, we'll still be able to see the maps.

01-10-2009, 04:33 AM
Nice one. I like the style, it's original and looks good. The edge trace can be a bit much in some places, especially in the shallows.
Take a look over the rivers, then I think you might be done :)

01-10-2009, 06:06 AM
Really cool map and I think you shouldn't tinker too much with it anymore. The only thing you might want to look at are indeed the rivers.

01-10-2009, 07:03 AM
thanks for the great advice,
in that last map those are not rivers as i have been afraid to place them yet. those lines are trade routes (roads) I kept them light. for rivers I have yet to decide how to make them look much less where to place them, though I am raiding the fantastic resources in the tutorial sections of this forum.

01-10-2009, 11:28 AM
Aha! Well, then never mind--they are perfect if they're trade routes.

Steel General
01-10-2009, 11:40 AM
Very nice...since they are trade routes than you might want to consider a different color to lessen the chance of the folks here thinking they are rivers, that's what I thought until I read the last post.

Looking forward to see where you take this.