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lisze
03-06-2009, 06:44 AM
This is my foray into map-making since high school. With the exception of the poles, all of the outlines were drawn and scanned in. Everything was later twisted 15 degrees and I had to start over. I've followed along with RobA's tutorial, with really minor alterations such as palette and using brown and green, rather than green and green/etc. The light water is his dirt layer reversed, more or less.

The latitude and longitude lines are marked off in degrees of ten and correspond with Earth. I'm still having difficulty visualizing how big that makes each land mass. For example, at its widest point, the continent on the equator bests the States.

The pink lines are where mountains are currently planned. Some may be moved because I very, very much want a savanna. I realize the desert I have on the equator is not horribly common, but I am hoping that a slight elevation (not too much, since hot is still necessary) and the rain shadow from the mountains will allow a small desert that grows when the savanna (yellow-green) is over-grazed.

Red=Rain Forest
Yellow=Desert
Blue=Maritime
Green=Mediterranean
White=Taiga/Tundra/Arctic
Yellow-Green=Savanna

I need help making sure that the climate zones make sense and what else I'm missing in my inability to appreciate the size of the land. (Any easy ways to make a fast and dirty globe so that I can see where places are and the more relative sizes?) Do I need more mountains?

My next steps are to add the actual mountains and then try to figure out the major rivers that would show up on the world map. I'm thinking about doing layers of bump maps for the mountains so that I can get elevation without making it seem like one peak covers miles.

Please let me know what to fix or what else I ought to be thinking about.

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(Note: Actual map is 3312x3024 (the numbers divided nicely for my long/lat). These are both scaled down.)

Here is my first attempt with the layered mountains. Not very satisfied.
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Steel General
03-06-2009, 08:04 AM
I think the mountains look pretty good.

There's a bunch of tutorials here for doing mountains, if you haven't already, be sure to take a look.

Ascension
03-06-2009, 08:06 AM
All I can say is maybe add a bit of brown to the mountains, but leave the snow caps. Real nice.

Greason Wolfe
03-06-2009, 08:32 AM
Hey, that's not bad for a "first attempt." Much better than my first attempt. My second, third and on up to about my twentieth attempts as well. :lol: Keep plugging away, I think you're doing just fine. And, as SG said, there are plenty of tutorials here to help you along when you get stuck.

GW

lisze
03-07-2009, 02:37 AM
Thank you, all. I have looked through the tutorials. Below is first a copy of the mountain you've already seen. I tried to increase the brown/green (continent) color, but now I think it is too dark.

The other image is 12 other ways I've tried of making up a mountain. Some are only slightly different in shading/etc. For one of them I tried to use a fractal since several of the overland and satellite shots of mountains I've looked at remind me of fractals. Is there a way to play more with a fractal than Gimp allows sans a special plug-in/etc?

I'm considering sub'ing one of the mountains from 10~12 in lieu of what I have now. Or, just giving up on this avenue altogether and go for something in the way of symbols/etc. Or drawing height circles on one of the plain bands of color mountains.

Anyway, enough rambling-- pictures:
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ETA: I've decided on some quick mountains for right now, like 10~12, but with less mucking about the color and the selection feathered so that they blend better. Anyway, onto rivers.

Ascension
03-07-2009, 08:12 AM
I like number 6 the best...it has a nice brown color (I think) and lots of crunchiness.

Steel General
03-07-2009, 08:40 AM
I'm with Ascension, I like #6 but #1-5 are also pretty good.

jfrazierjr
03-07-2009, 09:07 AM
Combine 6 and 10. 6 as the base layer and the put 10 above it and set the layer mode to overlay assuming the mountain is restricted to a small section of the map on an alpha layer. If it is not, create a new layer at 50% grey and then recreate the look of 10 and set it to overlay.

lisze
03-07-2009, 09:10 AM
Number 6 is the one I used the fractal on. If I can figure out how to use fractals better in gimp, that is likely the mountain style I'll replace my current mountains with. I'll play around with it more and see if I can't get something workable.

ETA: jfrazierjr-- Thanks. I'll try that.

Below is the latest version with lines for potential rivers. I would definitely like some feedback on them before I start making them.

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lisze
03-08-2009, 04:13 AM
I looked through the guidelines and did not find anything regarding a double-post. This is one of my landmasses with features, save for the rivers and lakes, filled in. I know I need to fix the coast if I want to keep the outline, but other than that--

I don't know how to make the scrub (upper-left) better looking and I'm not sure what to do on the other side of the mountains. Maybe more rainforest since that is the windward side.

Also-- are my river and lake placements okay? I tried to follow the guidelines in the tutorial forum.

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Tris (working name) was once the site of a great empire. When the last great emperor died, he did not leave a confirmed heir. The three siblings squabbled and ultimately divided the empire between themselves.

The lower portion of Tris is very wet and hot year-round. As one travels upward, however, the weather dries, giving way to the savanna. The desert was once small, but has grown over time due to over-grazing by one of the three (nations/kingdoms/mini-empires). One group of people lives in the south, along the river and coast. Another lives on the west coast harbor where the summers are drier and the savanna begins to thin out into scrub. The last lives in the north where the savanna is gradually disappearing.

Steel General
03-08-2009, 09:09 AM
This is coming along nicely.

Here are a few things that stuck out to me... I think the shadowing on the mountains is a little heavy and dark (at least for me). The scrub isn't bad, maybe try using a brush that's a little more 'scattered' to give it a bit more random look. You rivers seem to be 'floating' on top of everything else, you might try giving them a bit of a bevel to help with that.

lisze
03-08-2009, 09:22 AM
Thank you for your comments and advice. I'll see what I can do about the mountains. I'm still trying out the suggestion I got before to see how I can make that work.

As to the scrub-- thanks again. I couldn't figure out why it was bugging me so much. Right now I have it made with an applied layer mask and something else. I'll look through the resource forum for a good brush and try that out instead.

As for the rivers, yeah... I still need to do those. Part of the reason they're not set yet is because I want to make sure they pass river police standards and partially because bevel isn't something I've used in gimp before. I'll search the tutorials. Thanks again.

jfrazierjr
03-08-2009, 10:26 AM
Thank you for your comments and advice. I'll see what I can do about the mountains. I'm still trying out the suggestion I got before to see how I can make that work.

As to the scrub-- thanks again. I couldn't figure out why it was bugging me so much. Right now I have it made with an applied layer mask and something else. I'll look through the resource forum for a good brush and try that out instead.


Assuming you made the mountain ridgeline on a layer of 50% grey(set to layer mode Overlay) before you ran the bump map, just lower the opacity. If you did not, learn this technique post haste!


Instead of modifying the base image for your scrublands, just modify the mask. In your layers dialog, click on the mask part of the layer and paint in black or some shade of grey. Where ever you paint, the texture will disappear if black or reduce opacity of the texture if some shade of grey.

lisze
03-09-2009, 09:06 AM
Oh, good point about the mask. :) Thank you.

The ridgeline is on its own transparent layer. I did bumpmap the layer, but I also have an un-bumpmapped, also transparent layer saved just in case. I tried filling the layer with gray, but the selection is feathered and so it leaves a little halo around the base of the mountain.

Also, if you put the ridgeline on a layer of gray, how do you get the color? A base? In the bumpmap? My knowledge of what I can do with gimp is very, very spotty. I just figured out how to install scripts this past weekend, even. Sorry. And thank you.

jfrazierjr
03-09-2009, 10:16 AM
Oh, good point about the mask. :) Thank you.

The ridgeline is on its own transparent layer. I did bumpmap the layer, but I also have an un-bumpmapped, also transparent layer saved just in case. I tried filling the layer with gray, but the selection is feathered and so it leaves a little halo around the base of the mountain.

Also, if you put the ridgeline on a layer of gray, how do you get the color? A base? In the bumpmap? My knowledge of what I can do with gimp is very, very spotty. I just figured out how to install scripts this past weekend, even. Sorry. And thank you.

Thats ok, on the grey layer with the halo, just use the smudge or blur tools to soften it up manually.

For the color, you paint the color on a layer below the bump mapped grey layer(set to overlay). This is a great technique, because now, if you need to tweak the colors, you don't have to deal with the bump mapping again. This is also a great technique to get height into things. For example, take a look at this example: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=3478. Note the original image and then pay attention to post 6 and 7 with Torstan's example and how it makes hils in the final product. The great thing about this technique is that I can change the underlying image or texture and the hills remain exactly as they are singe that stuff is done on another layer.

lisze
04-07-2009, 04:17 AM
All right. I've been working on the map.

I still have not done the rivers. The blue lines are simply where I wish to place rivers. Are they okay? Do they violate any rules?

I am not happy with the forest on the continent on the lower left. I tried to mimic the forest I'd done on the three-isle continent above it (so that way regular forests and tropical ones would be different), but it didn't come out. I ended up overlaying the original forest I'd done for the lower left over the attempt to mimic.

I am also unhappy with my little ice island on the lower right.

Lastly, I'm not sure how to approach the islands, because they are so small. How can I do a single mountain or volcano?

That said, I also want to say thanks again for the help and links/references. They do help. Thank you.

The latest version of my map:

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