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Nialas
02-07-2009, 12:33 PM
Relying heavily on tutorials from RobA and Ascension, I've come up with my first map. I wanted a map to represent the area surrounding a vast inland sea, and this isn't too bad for a first attempt. I could do a much better job of representing the hilly areas, but I really like the way the mountains turned out (except for the areas were the sea butts up against them - but I've got a plan for that).

I used GIMP to develop this map. I'm looking for suggestions on better ways to portray the hills (right now its just a little bit of noise and an emboss). I'm also unsure what scale the map represents, given the detail on the mountains.

Thanks for all the tips, tutorials and help here. I have no artistic talent, but I've amazed my friends with what I've been able to do so far.

bartmoss
02-07-2009, 12:38 PM
I like it, my only suggestion on style would be to tone down the contrast differences in the plasma cloud used for the "plains" texture. Also... since you focus on a large sea, adding some rivers may be a great way to "break up" the map and add realism.

Ascension
02-07-2009, 01:06 PM
I'm likin it; the colors are very nice and yummy and the mountains are very crisp and detailed. As for scale, my first thought was some few hundred miles, if you increase the scale of the mountain size then you could cut the scale of the image down to maybe a hundred. I agree about adding rivers. I'd also use the lasso tool to wrangle those mountains into a mountain chain instead of splotches here and there. Lastly, I'd add some kind of foothills around the mountains. Excellent start.

Steel General
02-07-2009, 03:15 PM
I agree with what the others have said - this is very nice so far.

Scale for me is one of the hardest things to decide on - especially in regional/overland maps. It might help to determine how big the sea is supposed to be, since it is the dominant feature.

Greason Wolfe
02-07-2009, 06:12 PM
I'm thinking it looks pretty good so far. The one thing that threw me (mostly because my depth perception sometimes goes in reverse) was that, at first, the mountains seemed more like valleys until I mentally oriented the shadowing. Further thought led me to think that, perhaps, a bit of texture to the non-mountainous areas might give a better idea of elevation. As for the scale of things . . . I suppose one way you could decide (and sometimes I use this trick) is to pick one mountain in particular and give it a counterpart in the real world, say something like Mount Baker. With that as a basis, it might give you a better perspective of how large everything else is.

GW

ravells
02-08-2009, 03:23 AM
I'm thinking it looks pretty good so far. The one thing that threw me (mostly because my depth perception sometimes goes in reverse) was that, at first, the mountains seemed more like valleys until I mentally oriented the shadowing. Further thought led me to think that, perhaps, a bit of texture to the non-mountainous areas might give a better idea of elevation. As for the scale of things . . . I suppose one way you could decide (and sometimes I use this trick) is to pick one mountain in particular and give it a counterpart in the real world, say something like Mount Baker. With that as a basis, it might give you a better perspective of how large everything else is.

GW

I had that perception problem too. I think it's because the light source is from the south east when it's usually from the NE or NW.

Ascension
02-08-2009, 09:58 AM
I always put my sun in the southeast as well so I didn't have the same problem that some are having...so you at least have me :)

Greason Wolfe
02-08-2009, 05:33 PM
I always put my sun in the southeast as well so I didn't have the same problem that some are having...so you at least have me :)

One would think that living in the northern hemisphere, such as I do, that I would be more acclimated to lighting sources from a more southerly position. Go figure. :lol:

GW

RobA
02-08-2009, 08:19 PM
You could search the forums. I know there was a discussion some time ago about this effect and what causes it. I think that even though people who live in the northern hemisphere "know" shadows should be to the north, it is rare for people to see the real world from such an aerial vantage point. The inclination is to picture it mentally as a "model world" hanging on the wall in front of you, rather than you looking down on a horizontal surface. In this vertical orientation, lighting would typically be from above, or "up" on a map :0

-Rob A>

bartmoss
02-09-2009, 03:16 AM
That sounds like a good, logical explanation, especially since your screen is actually a vertical surface in front of you. I interestingly enough didn't have a problem with this map's orientation, even though I am prone to it with photographs of the moon's or martian surface. Maybe a more asymetrical shadow, that is, one that is longer due to a lower angle of the sun, would help? That way, it should be easier to see that the shadows are on the surface, and not on an inside wall.

Greason Wolfe
02-09-2009, 04:21 AM
Oh heck. For me it is the whole Two Faces or a Vase thing. One second I see two faces, the next second I see a vase. My vision has slipped over the last few years, so it takes me a few seconds to focus. Not sure that extending the shadows would necessarily help me, but it might help others.

GW