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Flaterectomy
03-15-2009, 09:50 AM
After fiddling around with my first map (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4660) a while, trying to improve it and turning it into a nasty mish-mash of different styles on several occasions, I decided I should move on to something else to try some different techniques.

I named the area The Isles of Soquakask purely for the sake of naming the area.

At the moment, I am uncertain about my rivers. I just can't seem to get them to look as if they're not just blue squigglies lying on top of the map. Additionally, I haven't added any forests yet, I still need to decide what technique to use. Given the style of the map, I should probably visit Google Maps and have a good look at the satelite images.

Of course, any and all comments, suggestions and criticism are welcome. ;)

EDIT: Credit to Pasis for the water texture from his Rising up the mountains in Photoshop (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4405) tutorial.

Steel General
03-15-2009, 10:32 AM
This is looking pretty nice so far.

Rivers are for me one of the toughest things to add, so I usually have as few as possible. You can try adding a slight bevel to your river lines and change the shadowing to a more brownish color to help delineate the river banks.

There are a couple of tutorials on doing rivers, though I'll take the plunge and say you've probably at least looked at them.

pasis
03-15-2009, 10:34 AM
The water texture is originally from Spiralgraphics and not my creation, so I cannot take the credits :)

Steel General
03-15-2009, 10:36 AM
The water texture is originally from Spiralgraphics and not my creation, so I cannot take the credits :)

It is? I didn't recognize it - I use those textures a lot, which one is it?

RobA
03-15-2009, 10:43 AM
Following up on SG's response, here is an example of a slight emboss on the S river.

It is subtle, but it makes a fair difference.

-Rob A>

pasis
03-15-2009, 10:44 AM
It is? I didn't recognize it - I use those textures a lot, which one is it?

It's called Azure Waters. I used that in my tutorial and in the Curunir WIP I'm working on. In my maps I just changed hue/saturation and added clouds to get rid of some repeating feeling.

It seems that Flateroctomy had done some modifications as well and the outcome on the water is nice.

Steel General
03-15-2009, 10:47 AM
Thanks...I have used that one but as I said I didn't recognize it.

Ascension
03-15-2009, 10:48 AM
I like this, looks very tropical and colorful. I like the terrain too. You won't get much out of the satellites for help on rivers so I suggest a few things:

1. Take a soft brush and paint in some river valleys/lowlands.
2. Put a layer of 50% gray between the land and river layers, set it to overlay, and use the burn tool to paint some valleys in.
3. Easiest but crappiest way is to add an outer glow of dark green.
4. Add some variation to the river line thickness by going back over places like bends and deltas (which I can see you already have some wider deltas).
5. You can always add a down-bevel to make it look lower, I've gotten mixed results.
6. Lastly, add a slight blur to soften the edges.

Anywho, looks real nice and nearly done, label this bad boy up.

Flaterectomy
03-15-2009, 11:42 AM
I have tried countless variations of bevels, but never found one that worked for me (usually, if you look away and then look back, you can imagine the bevel inverted, and it looks like the river is actually raised).

However, I tried again and using a soft brown stroke, some new bevelling and a couple of the hand-painted valley shadows that Ascension suggested I came up with the map attached below.

I also convinced a concrete texture I made before to pretend to be a forest texture, and started on a couple of tree-filled areas.


(...) It seems that Flateroctomy had done some modifications as well and the outcome on the water is nice.

My water exists of a rendered clouds layer (blend mode normal) with moderately decreased contrast and a subtle cracked soil pattern overlay (50% opacity), and on top of that a layer (blend mode overlay) filled with an even blue with the water texture pattern overlay (50% opacity).

Steel General
03-15-2009, 12:38 PM
I think the rivers are looking good now - nice job.

CartoGeo
03-15-2009, 09:08 PM
I really like this map for the detail that is being sculpted out as you add more and more variation to the map. How did you do some of this? I am a CC3 user and haven't broken into how to use Photoshop CS4 for map making. Could you, would you, post a basic summary of what steps you went through or where you learned to do this kind of map? I am aware of the 'how/to' tutorial section but haven't gotten a chance to view the ones I find relevant. Great map!

Flaterectomy
03-16-2009, 03:36 PM
A quick run-down of how I made the map up to this point (note that I use Photoshop 7, not Photoshop CS4):

For the landmass:


New layer, apply the render -> clouds filter with standard black and white colours selected. Make a Threshold adjustment layer and fiddle with the threshold level until you see something you like. Copy and move around segments of land that you want elsewhere, and use the burn and dodge tools to add and remove land. Select the final land shape, make a new layer and fill the selection with your basic soil colour (in this case, fairly bright green).

For the mountains:


Select the landmass, apply render -> clouds and then apply render -> difference clouds twice. Select and delete the darker areas of this layer, and set the blending mode to overlay or multiply, depending on how dark or bright you want things. You'll likely have to play with this layer's overall brightness and contrast to get something that works. You can then select this layer, make a new one and repeat the process to get some extra peaks on top of it. Select the lightest shades of the peak layer and fill a new layer on top with white to make snowy peaks. You can decrease the opacity and repeat the process on just the very bightest shades if you feel that once isn't enough. ;)

For this map, the base mountain layer is light grey and set to multiply, and the peak mountain layer is slightly darker grey and set to overlay.

For the coasline:


I have a white outer glow on the basic green landmass layer. I duplicated the landmass layer, and gave the duplicate a thinner, brown outer glow to make it flow into the white outer glow below it. I also added a similar thin brown inner glow to make the transition smooth on that side as well.

As for the rivers and the ocean, the previous posts in this thread give plenty of information on those aspects. And the textures are generally just that; textures overlaid onto the layer, and then sufficiently altered to look the way you want them to, which mostly means playing with the blend mode and their brightness and contrast.

I think that many of the methods used come from things I read in Ascension's tutorials, such as the way I made the mountains, and the gradient overlay I used on the landmass to have greens and browns fade into eachother.

That's about all I can think of. Hope it's useful. :D

Now to get back to actually mapping, instead of writing about it. ;)

Kingbreaker
03-16-2009, 04:58 PM
I enjoyed looking at this map. It manages a delicate balance - satellite-level precsion mixed with artistic stylization - well. Nothing about it feels jarring or out of place, for the most part.

Regarding rivers.

As I see it, it's an issue of realism. If you opt for a satellite-style map, you make a conscious decision that realism is important. But if you add just the two or three major rivers, and not all of the rivers that would show at the same level of resolution, it feels somewhat forced.

Does that make sense at all?

I do like the rivers in the latest image.

Torq
03-16-2009, 05:05 PM
Great looking map Flaterectomy. The sea texture is wonderful too.

Torq

Flaterectomy
03-17-2009, 04:28 PM
(...)
Regarding rivers.

As I see it, it's an issue of realism. If you opt for a satellite-style map, you make a conscious decision that realism is important. But if you add just the two or three major rivers, and not all of the rivers that would show at the same level of resolution, it feels somewhat forced.

Does that make sense at all?

I do like the rivers in the latest image.

It does make sense! These islands are fairly big, but not meant to be huge, so I didn't plan on adding many rivers. I've added a few more in the version posted below, though, because it simply looks and feels better. :D Thanks for your input.

And thank you too, Torq, for the kind words! :D

Now, I need some more input. Below there are two versions of Soquakask, one bright like before, and the other desaturated and with a colour filter. Personally, I prefer the desaturated version, bit I am of course biased towards my latest idea, and I do realise it loses a little bit of pop this way. (While typing this, I've experimented a little with having the original colour seep through in high-light form here and there, and that might be another viable alternative.)

In any case, I'd really appreciate some opinions on this.

Jykke
03-17-2009, 04:34 PM
Desaturated in my opinnion looks a bit better.. Maybe you could do a composite image of some kind for interesting results? :)

Gandwarf
03-17-2009, 04:47 PM
Yep, I like the desaturated version better also.
Cool map by the way :D

Ascension
03-17-2009, 05:43 PM
I'm partial to the bright, sunny, tropical, happy bunnies one...despite my penchant for dark and spooky. We don't get to see happy maps, generally, only dangerous ones...and the sunny one makes me smile. Makes me want to go on vacation.

Steel General
03-17-2009, 05:44 PM
Make it 3 for 3, I prefer the desaturated version - looks more natural to me.

Kingbreaker
03-17-2009, 08:53 PM
Desaturated, please. Just like my lipids :)

Flaterectomy
03-18-2009, 04:23 PM
Well, since most people that posted agreed that the desaturated look is better, I've gone with that, and I hacked away at the layer mask to expose some subtle highlights. It's just a simple Hue / Saturation adjustment layer on top, so it's pretty simple to revert back to the bright look in any case. :D

I added some cities, roads and sea lanes as well as a border and compass rose. I am starting to run out of ideas at this point, and am getting pretty close to calling it done I guess, so I'd really appreciate any suggestions before I close the book on this one.

Ascension
03-18-2009, 04:29 PM
Looks great...really does. All you need is a scale of miles (or meters or feet or whatever).

Karro
03-19-2009, 11:53 AM
Quite simply, very beautiful looking!

Flaterectomy
03-20-2009, 06:27 PM
With more names added, and a scale of miles, I am thinking this one is done! I know I could name more parts of it, rivers and mountains and coastlines and the likes, but sticking text on it seems almost heretical right now, and I'll try and get the hang of it with my next map instead. ;)

Ascension
03-20-2009, 06:58 PM
I hear ya...I hate to over-label as well. I take the artsy side over the informative side and this is a nice piece of artwork. In future maps you could try a smaller font and squeeze in a wee bit more of the labels tho without ruining the art. Well done.

ravells
03-21-2009, 08:02 AM
Brilliant map, Flaterectomy!!

Kingbreaker
03-22-2009, 01:05 AM
Wow. Looking great.

I am going to steel your road idea. I dislike roads that look like brown rivers :)

StillCypher
03-25-2009, 10:48 PM
Very pretty piece of artwork! I like the way the colors blend together (and the desaturated version is my choice, too!), and the ocean is just plain delicious.

NeonKnight
03-25-2009, 11:06 PM
I love the map. Very beautiful!

MadLetter
03-26-2009, 08:49 AM
Turned out to be really awesome. Have some rep! :)

Flaterectomy
03-26-2009, 03:55 PM
Thanks for all the kind words, folks! :D

And as a small status update, I'm working on something new again - though aren't we all? ;) - quite a different style than Soquakask, but it's all for the sake of actually learning the trade, so to speak, so I imagine I'll have a wide variety of styles ahead of me still. :) A post containing said WIP map will probably pop up in a few days.

torstan
03-26-2009, 08:32 PM
Now that is just lovely. Great job. I really love the colour scheme - it has a real integrity of style.

altasilvapuer
03-29-2009, 10:07 PM
I love how the colours of this map complement each other, rather than competing for attention (which is mostly why I, too, prefer the desaturated version, incidentally). My eyes are free to drift across the map, guided only by the shape of the landmass, itself. Your roads and sea lanes work quite well with each other, too. Just visible enough to be useful, without overpowering.

-asp