View Full Version : Howdy! First post and a map.

Elvish Presley
01-26-2009, 04:00 PM
Hello all,

Not quite sure what to say, but anyway....

As an eager roleplayer (I mostly DM), I have made quite a few hand drawn maps of various places my players have explored over the years (our campaign started back in 1998....). I decided to make a mostly homebrew world - and one fateful day 11 years ago, I made a rough sketch of the known world on a piece of A4 grid paper. Deciding to make a fairly manageable world, I set the scale to 1 grid=10 kilometres.

Then, during a session some time after, I glued some 3-4 sheets together and drew a quick map of the starting area and surroundings. And to my horror, I later realized that I had messed up the scaling. My world map was no longer 10 km pr. grid, but 50! :?:

Fast forward to last week. For about 5 years or so now (ever since they stumbled upon an atlas) , I have been promising my players to hand them a decent map of the whole world. But all I had was piles and piles of sheets and not enough motivation to try to piece it all into something coherent (I actually started to draw a large world map some time ago, but after getting half way there, I lost motivation and it collected dust and wrinkles ever since). But now I could feel it in my bones - this time I was going to finish the task.

So I scanned everything I had, pieced the bits together in photoshop and used my old A4 scetch as a guideline for the areas I hadn't even drawn by hand yet. But a bunch of grid paper mish mash wasn't what I was aiming for, so then it was time to find out what you can do with photoshop anyhow....

......it's been days of gritting teeth now, a true uphill journey. But finding this site helped lots both in ways of inspiration (inspiration also means using colours others have used on their maps - I'm nearly colour blind myself and decided it was time to "borrow" some colours after my partner asked me "why are your mountains green?") and help. By looking at some of the stuff people here have made, I both discovered what I would like to accomplish and what I simply can't seem to be able to grasp at all - yes, they're usually the same...oh, and I need to get myself a tablet. I spent approximately 8 hours or so drawing the outline of the world with my mouse.....argh.

But, I've come to the point where I feel I can let my players look at the map and also come here and ask for some critique and advice. So, here goes (links to the maps will be at the bottom of this post):

Forests. I just can't seem to be able to find/make a pattern/texture/whatever for my forest. It also needs to suit the "theme" of the map. Anyone got any pointers?

Tablet. I know. I need a tablet. Then I can slowly replace the grid paper sketches....

Mountains. I tried to make "3D" mountains and failed horribly. I'll stick to the ones I have until I learn how to make terrain textures in photoshop. I promise you, I've read the tutorials, and I've tried and tried, but it all turned out horrible. Let's pretend I want to make a 3D-ish version of the map. Doable in photoshop? How? :(

That's more or less it, I reckon. I feel I have come as far as my "abilites" and my mouse will take me. To improve the map, I need a tablet and some skills. Anyway, please look at it and give me some feedback. Don't be afraid to let me know what's horrible and what might be good work, too. I thrive on both.

Here are the links:

Northern part, 2.4 MB (http://www.elvishproductions.com/maps/north.jpg)

Southern part, 2.6 MB (http://www.elvishproductions.com/maps/south.jpg)

The whole world in one map, 4.6 MB (http://www.elvishproductions.com/maps/verden.jpg)

01-26-2009, 04:15 PM
Welcome aboard.
You have a nice style going there. I think you should try CC3, it should match your style quite good.
Forests seem to be a problem for everyone...

Steel General
01-26-2009, 05:29 PM
Welcome Aboard!

First off let me bonk you with my Cudgel of Reputation *bonk*

Always like to see someone post a map in their introduction post. You have a wonderful start there and I am looking forward to seeing it finished regardless of what software you decide to do it in.

There are a bunch of really good tutorials here on various styles of mapping - be sure to check them out.

01-26-2009, 05:34 PM
I couldn't wait around for the full images to load as they are quite large (in terms of megabytes) but they look pretty good to me.

01-26-2009, 05:36 PM
Don't do yourself down - those mountains are actually pretty good. Good work so far. I'd certainly invest in a tablet at this stage (I know you know) but that must have taken forever with a mouse - and most of the 3D mountain stuff really needs something pressure sensitive.

Anyway, for this many mountains I would suggest getting hold of a nice mountain brush (there must be one floating around) and using that to block in your mountains.

As for the forest, well it depends on the style you are going for. At this scale, this forest is most likely going to look like a rough texture without any resolution for the trees itself. I'd go for a dark green and try to find a rough texture (or a generated noise pattern) that works for you.

So far, a great effort - both in achievement and the scope of the project! Definitely keep posting progress shots (though perhaps slightly smaller files than those - wow they were a bit enormous. Odds are you can drop the jpg quality settings to get the file size way down below the multiple MB you have here without compromising your quality too badly).

And of course, a little rep to get you started.

01-26-2009, 05:40 PM
Ah, now I see. The mountains that look so good are the scanned pencil maps. Well if you can do that with a pencil, you can do the same thing with a tablet. Buy a tablet (small A6 Wacom won't set you back too much, around ~$80 if I remember correctly) and this will allow you to do on the computer what you can clearly already do with a pencil.

01-26-2009, 06:16 PM
Like the name and the maps pretty good too and your hosting them - all good signs methinks... so have some more starter rep and we look forward to more.

01-26-2009, 06:30 PM
I got to agree with torstan. Those mountains are a darn site better than what I have been able to produce by hand. And like you, my world is also on graph paper. So far I have 14 sheets of it. And also like you I NEED a tablet, but certain things have a higher priority, like food and the mortgage. ;)

Elvish Presley
01-27-2009, 03:33 AM
Thank you all for the warm welcome!

I've uploaded new and much smaller versions of the maps now. The maps are just as large, but the filesize is a lot smaller :D

But the ocean bothers me a bit. When I look at the maps on my PC, they are ok, but the water looks horrible on my laptop....it just looks "white"?!?

Feel free to comment on the colour palette as well. You're more than probably seeing other colours than me (since I'm "colour challenged"), and some of them might need replacing?

I'll post updates later once I make some progress on the maps :)

01-27-2009, 05:30 AM
Welcome to the Guild! Gotta love that nick ;)

But the ocean bothers me a bit. When I look at the maps on my PC, they are ok, but the water looks horrible on my laptop....it just looks "white"?!?

Laptops then to be tricky like that as I can reproduce what you describe by simply lifting and lowering the laptop's screen. My advice would be to darken the ocean color.

Feel free to comment on the colour palette as well. You're more than probably seeing other colours than me (since I'm "colour challenged"), and some of them might need replacing?

Looks good to me (shades of yellow, orange and brown if that helps) as there's nothing that clashes.
I don't mean to sound disparaging, but you could lessen your worries if you did this in grayscale. Going that way could indeed be interesting but it's your call :)

joćo paulo
01-27-2009, 02:05 PM
Welcome back Elvish Presley.