View Full Version : [WIP] Regional Map - Gaia

03-27-2009, 09:43 AM
Just a quick look at the map being created for my friend's campaign setting. We're debating the use of the outer glow around the names. Mountains of course were done using Pasis' technique. The continental outlines were a fluke that just worked out once we deleted all the extra crap that was there after we used difference clouds a few thousand times.

Edit: Wow, I can't believe what a half day of work can do to a map. That's such a huge difference when you look at them side by side. Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

Steel General
03-27-2009, 10:14 AM
Personally, I like the outer glow - maybe shrink it just a little bit.

03-27-2009, 10:45 AM
That was a 2px outer glow. I'll try 1px. What about the thoughts on the drop shadows on the clouds beneath the skylands? This is a world where the continents drift in the air.

03-27-2009, 10:52 AM
Try to make the dropshadow stronger, and reduce the offset a little. Had you not said it was continents floating in air, I'd surely have missed it completely.

03-27-2009, 10:57 AM
The dropshadow was low to try and mimic the diffusion of light in the atmosphere. Like when a cloud passes over it doesn't blacken the ground completely. I'll try a little stronger though.

03-27-2009, 11:06 AM
I'd also suggest bumping up the drop shadows, but make sure they only appear on the clouds - otherwise what are the shadow's being cast upon? It may well be worth increasing the number of clouds and desaturating it a bit. Right now it looks a lot like water. If it were less blue and more obviously cloudy it would help to dispel this first impression.

03-27-2009, 11:08 AM
I'd also suggest blurring the drop shadow a bit - due to precisely the atmospheric diffusion you mention.

Steel General
03-27-2009, 11:14 AM
Also, don't forget things tend to move toward a bluish tone when viewed from above - something that served me well on my Magus Aerie map.

There are some really good tutorials out their on making realistic clouds - nothing wrong with what you have currently, just something to consider

03-27-2009, 11:26 AM
I'm not good enough in photoshop to just show the shadows on the clouds. I'll fiddle around with the clouds and try some other styles.


Really nice clouds!

03-27-2009, 11:34 AM
Have you got the clouds on a transparent layer? If so you should be able to do the following.
1. Add a layer mask to the drop shadow layer and make it totally black
2. Select all on your clouds layer and paste it on to your drop shadow mask.

That should do it. This is for gimp, but I think the steps are the same for photoshop.

Equally, I think photoshop has layer blending modes and allows you to set one layer to modify another? If so, you can set the drop shadow layer blending mode to darken only, and apply it to your clouds layer.

03-27-2009, 11:43 AM
Um, sure. I'll get right on that as soon as I figure out how to do all that. The drop shadow is an effect on the landmass layer. Maybe I can find a way to make my own drop shadow so it's separate.

03-27-2009, 12:03 PM
Your landmass layer is the layer with your continents on? If so, then your set-up is very different from the one I assumed. I'm afraid that as a gimp person I'll have to step back! You'll need Ascension or some other photoshop guru to help you out from here I'm afraid.

Edit: Whatever you do, there's a small glitch caused by your drop shadow routine in the far bottom left. You seem to have a hard edge to the shadow as it's taking the edge of the paper as the edge of the landmass.

03-27-2009, 12:10 PM
I figured it out. I just made a 25% black opacity copy of the landmass and then applied that as the clipping mask to the clouds layer.

03-27-2009, 12:32 PM
Here's the new and improved version with drop shadows where they should be and big fluffy clouds.

03-27-2009, 12:45 PM
Wow, that looks phenomenal. I love the way the borders of the continents appear on this map, and no-one could possibly mistake the clouds for sea now. Very clear indeed. The arctic continent is brilliant too. I love those mountains.

All around awesome! (oh, there's still a small glitch in the bottom left. You could get around it by removing the cloud there so you don't see the shadow at all.

Repped for excellent perseverance with a wonderful result.

03-27-2009, 01:55 PM
Drawing the mountains feels like cheating using the method Pasis came up with.

03-27-2009, 02:45 PM
Pretty much have all the cloud, mountain, and landmass styles set along with the text labels. The next step is to work on the forests and rivers.

03-27-2009, 02:57 PM
That looks great. Maybe you could add more clouds to it, though? And possibly you could put some clouds above the continents, now that you have them anyhow.

03-27-2009, 03:02 PM
The clouds above will need to be used very sparingly. I had a layer to test it and it looked ok, but covers up a lot.

03-27-2009, 03:11 PM
That's coming along beautifully. Good work.

03-27-2009, 03:14 PM
The continents look great but the cloud effect looks like the land is 'floating' above the clouds. I think the problem is that there is no cohesion between the cloud layer and the landmass layer so for me the cloud effect doesn't really work. Maybe if you put the cloud layer on top of the land layer and used large but semi-transparent drop shadows so they looked like they were floating above the land?

I'm not sure about the scale of the map but if those are continents then the clouds seem to be in the big side....might be worth using the twirl filter (if you're using ps) and make some spirally types?

Sorry, I don't mean to knock your map, just trying to give you ideas for alternatives.

03-27-2009, 03:15 PM
We might get more done if we focused on making up kingdom and city names rather than messing around with mountains and watching youtube videos.

Ravells - The landmasses are floating. This map is for a campaign setting my friend and I have been tossing around for several years.


03-27-2009, 03:39 PM
What are they floating over? Presumably, if they were floating in the sky over another planet then would you see such blue sky between the clouds? Or would you see a smudge of land? If there is no actual land mass beneath the clouds then again, would the sky be so blue? Or would it be more of a whirling maelstrom of cloud?

I really like the land masses you have and Pasis' mountain technique is maybe the best I have seen it used, but I personally think your earlier cloud techniques look better than the current background.

Maybe if you combined the two? Those higher, wispier clouds along with those earlier, lower ones, so there is a lot more white and grey with maybe just a hint of blue or whatever colour is appropriate.

03-27-2009, 03:46 PM
Ah sorry, forget what I said then!

03-27-2009, 03:59 PM
It's an oxygen/nitrogen gas giant, if such a thing is possible. There is no core planet the deeper you get. There are other skylands deeper, but that low, the pressure and heat combine with other forces to create an Elemental Chaos and volcanic activity is very much alive in the lower depths of the planet. It's one of the sources of additional organic and mineral matter in the upper atmosphere as the sulfur and all that other stuff drifts on the winds.

There are basically three habitable tiers:
- The Heaven's Above
- Heaven's Gate
- The Abyss Below

HA = Angels and other celestial beings. Wind and water elementals, ice and lightning para-elementals.
HG = Your bog standard humanoid races and smaller versions of all the elementals, though fire and magma are very rare.
TAB = Demons, devils and elemental forces that prefer to exist here. Mostly earth and fire elementals and smoke and magma para-elementals.

03-27-2009, 04:37 PM
Altered the hue and saturation of the continental colors to something a little more ah, mild. Not so bright and green. Got all the kingdom names done in Westeros. Just need to come up with a bunch of capital city names next and then it will be "playable". Not sure what we're going to do about forests though. Don't want to make them cover up too much stuff.

We've also completely forgotten that Westeros is the name of the continent in George RR Martin's books. Time to come up with something new! I thought it sounded incredibly familiar.

03-27-2009, 05:30 PM
I don't know whether it's the colour change alone or the fact that you've dropped the grid below the clouds, but either way the islands don't seem so pasted on now. Looks a lot better. Nice one. :)

03-27-2009, 07:12 PM
Danke! I thickened the lines on the rhumb lines, giving them some more weight beneath the clouds. I think it really helps to bring out the depth of the map. Going to try some small clouds floating above the skylands, set in out of the way places that won't cover up anything important.

03-27-2009, 08:48 PM
Ok, adding forests. I think they look pretty good myself, but it helps to get other opinions.

03-28-2009, 12:05 AM
And my latest WIP with rivers, mountains, and forests. Along with names for a lot of places. Still need some capitol city names and something for the HUGE mountain in the middle. Also, I added some hue/sat adjustment layers to the mountains. I think the new colors really blend well with the overall theme of the map.

03-28-2009, 12:43 AM
I like the forests. They look great! Coming along nicely. I was wondering about the giant mountain. I'm glad to hear it's getting a name.

03-28-2009, 06:10 AM
Probably just name it something unoriginal like Dragon Mountain and create a huge multi-level old school dungeon inside it.

03-28-2009, 06:38 AM
Very cool! Great style and the forests are looking smashing. Can't wait to see it when it's finished!
Have some rep for encouragement.

03-28-2009, 08:14 AM
The Midlands are mostly complete right now. Just need to add city names, the mountain name, and some local color in out of the way barren spots. Don't want to make the map too busy and this way, it provides freedom for the DM/World Builder to improvise at the speed of plot. Drahkmar and Tengoku aren't as important, since the bulk of the campaign will take place in the Midlands.

03-28-2009, 08:18 AM
This is one nice lookin map, love the clouds, love the colors, love the clean look...love it all. Excellent job.

03-28-2009, 11:20 AM
You may want to add hints of TAB below. I think just a really blurred faded coloring of what TAB looks like would give even more overall depth to the whole map.

03-28-2009, 11:36 AM
The predominant religion in Heaven's Gate, believes the elemental realm, the material realm they live in, to be a stepping stone between different existances. Since they cannot "see" the Abyss and only glimpse the Heaven's Above, many try to dismiss the mutterings to the wind and stars by the faithful as nonsense. The Abyss is many hundreds of miles deeper into the atmosphere and not visible to the unaided eye, should any fool be brave enough to stand at the edge of the world and look down.

It is so deep that an unprotected human would be crushed by the pressure and cooked alive by the heat. Hence why it is the realm of demons and devils and elementals able to withstand the chaos below. Heaven's Gate is supposed to look idyllic and pleasant, so that's why there's all the vibrancy to the colors.

03-28-2009, 11:49 AM
Ah, well then that makes perfect sense, but it does raise a question. Is there a barrier of any kind at the edge of the continents to keep people and animals from falling off? I'm looking specifically at the City of Bastia which appears to be very close to the edge. Also, has anyone created telescopes that look down toward the Abyss? Even vegetation I would think could be an issue if too much grew out past the edges would the gravity pull on it more? Hm... I could imagine an inverted "Jack and the Beanstalk" scenario where a section of jungle has grown over the edge and downward.

I'm guessing there are transport vehicles that can cross the divides made from the same minerals that keep the continents aloft? Are those closed, or open to the air? That would make for a fun encounter!

03-28-2009, 12:23 PM
No natural barriers in most places and your typical sane and intelligent person doesn't build near the edge, but there are some valuable resources open to the sky along the borders for those brave or foolish enough to try. Vegetation growing over the side would be one access route to travel lower. Though I wouldn't suggest it.

There are skyships, which are aging remnants of the Imperial Fleet from hundreds of years ago. They're very rare and very valuable. Less powerful and much slower are the airships which are crude facsimiles of the skyships. Finally there are the zeppelins which are pretty much one way trips from west to east or north to south.

They are as open or closed to the sky as you want to make them. Also, when you think skyship, think magi-steampunk armada style with smaller attack vessels. The world of Heaven's Gate is set following the rapid decline of the Imperial Order, ruled by the Magi. When the Magi vanished, the empire crumbled. They lost the capability to produce skyship engines. Engineers were slaughtered by anti-tech zealouts or kidnapped by fleeing military commanders. Most notable was the Home Fleet that fled the capital city of the empire moments before everything but the adamantium walls were destroyed. They fled the Known Shards and have not been seen since.

Bastia was the captial city and it lay empty for a hundred years or more due to superstition, but eventually treasure seekers and adventurer's jumpstarted a new economny there. Traders brought goods to sell to explorers seeking old Imperial treasures beneath the ruined city. The gates were reopened and the city rebuilt. The biggest surge in population came from Lydian refugees fleeing the culling the Eladrin army inflicted on Lydia for trying to cut timber from inside the Thessian border.

03-29-2009, 08:16 AM
By the way, you can track the progress of the meat of the campaign setting at http://heavensgate.wikidot.com

My friend, Brigand, is adding things to the wiki daily.

03-29-2009, 08:58 AM
We've also completely forgotten that Westeros is the name of the continent in George RR Martin's books. Time to come up with something new! I thought it sounded incredibly familiar.

You do know "The Midlands" is an important place in Terry Goodkind's fantasy novels, right? :D

03-29-2009, 09:00 AM
Yeah, but I've seen midlands used in more places than just that novel. So it's not as big of a deal. Westeros however is pretty unique to Martin's novels and Midlands is just more general. Could go with Midgard heh.

03-29-2009, 09:00 AM
Yeah, but I've seen midlands used in more places than just that novel. So it's not as big of a deal.

True, I just thought it was funny.

03-29-2009, 11:53 AM
Yeah, but I've seen midlands used in more places than just that novel. So it's not as big of a deal. Westeros however is pretty unique to Martin's novels and Midlands is just more general. Could go with Midgard heh.

Well to me Westeros sound a lot like the Swedish town Västerås :-)

03-29-2009, 12:03 PM
Westeros was used before the current map, which didn't have Drahkmar on it at all. So it needed a name change anyway.

03-29-2009, 03:47 PM
Just an image of what it might look like from a skyship traveling near the Heaven's Above.

03-29-2009, 10:54 PM
The Midlands portion of the map is approximately 95% done. I need to add some rivers to the tribal lands of the Hakori nomads and come up with a name for that big arsed mountain in the middle. If I can't come up with a cool name, I'll just chop it out. This version of the map has all the kingdom and capitol city names along with the completed skyland of Kahandarak, which is almost covered entirely by thick jungle and dangerous rivers.

Oops. I had the skyland names layer hidden. Oh well.

03-29-2009, 11:11 PM
Looks very nice but I'm not sure why the land is casting a shadow on the clouds. Clean, nice, and unique otherwise. Good job.

03-30-2009, 05:53 AM
The land is above the clouds. It's a campaign where the land float high in the atmosphere of an oxygen/nitrogen rich gas giant. Big continent sized floating islands along with thousands of little floating islands.

03-30-2009, 04:42 PM
I like the style of this map a lot. The font is a good choice, and I like the colors and the way that you have shown the cities.

I also like the general idea behind the map. It is a great little twist!

One quick question though... On the continents, the areas that look like lakes, are they lakes, or areas where there are "holes" in the earth?

03-30-2009, 04:55 PM
There's only one visible lake on the map right now and that's in Lydia. It's a lighter blue compared to the rest of the sky below. The other "lakes" are holes in the skylands. Damn, I forgot to give Inara's capitol city a name. Maybe Serenity. :D

03-30-2009, 09:40 PM
Ver 012 of the campaign map. Added some hills and mountains to the Hakori tribal lands, along with rivers. Altered the color scheme of the Drahkmar skyland and added mountains, dry riverbeds, and a single valley where the water table still exists. The rest of the shards that make up Drahkmar have lost their water tables and are rapidly eroding away. Flash floods are very common and very dangerous.

Only the drahken, high in their mountain citadels are able to thrive in these harsh wastelands. Human nomads, descendants of ancient settlers during imperial times, have learned to survive in the deserts of Drahkmar, but just barely. The frequent attacks by drahken makes it even more difficult.

Valkyris is the only true city built and inhabited by humans in Drahkmar. They made a pact with a line of dragons that dwell in the Stormdrake Peaks many ages ago. Those drakes provide protection for the city, while the city pays them tribute every year.

Let me know what you think of the map without the rhumb lines and the compass rose.

Steel General
03-31-2009, 06:42 AM
This is coming along nicely.

I like it without the rhumb lines but I think you still need the a compass rose, maybe something a bit more stylized toward the theme of the map *shrugs*.

03-31-2009, 11:09 AM
I have to say that I am loving this map! The map has a nice clean style to it, and looks very good. All of the different elements (fonts, symbols, colors, etc.) fit together quite well. There is nothing that stands out as not fitting in the map style.

I also like the concept of the world, and I hope that you will do a write up of it as you finish. Maybe on the Campaign Builders Guild.

03-31-2009, 03:39 PM
I have to say that I am loving this map! The map has a nice clean style to it, and looks very good. All of the different elements (fonts, symbols, colors, etc.) fit together quite well. There is nothing that stands out as not fitting in the map style.

I also like the concept of the world, and I hope that you will do a write up of it as you finish. Maybe on the Campaign Builders Guild.

Already in progress: http://heavensgate.wikidot.com/start

It's actually a joint project.

03-31-2009, 04:29 PM
Some alternative names for your mountain:

The Great Barrier
The Great Fist
Mount Great
Giant's Fist (or hand or whatever)
Heart Mountain
The Hive (if there's a lot of caves or something)
The Stone Desert
The High Guardian
Ceiling of the World
The Great Rising
Mount Shadow (because it's so huge it's casting an enormous shadow!?)
Horizon's End
Mount Abandon all hope as everyone dies here (ok, losing it here...)

03-31-2009, 04:36 PM
The mountain plays a vital role in the Hakori tribal culture. It is the abode of the Gods to them. Too many gods to name. Perhaps Godsmount would work. Although the Hive would be interesting thanks to the ah, copyrighted monsters my friend converted to 4th edition. I kinda like Dragon Mountain though. And make it the real Dragon Mountain that plane shifts.

03-31-2009, 04:42 PM
The mountain plays a vital role in the Hakori tribal culture. It is the abode of the Gods to them. Too many gods to name. Perhaps Godsmount would work. Although the Hive would be interesting thanks to the ah, copyrighted monsters my friend converted to 4th edition.

Gods Abode
House of the Gods
Mystic Mount
Gods Fortress
Mount of the Elders
High Mountain
Spirit's End
Spirit Ceiling
The Spirit Hive
Here Be Gods (losing it again, ack!)

I am trying to get my names into your map here :P

03-31-2009, 05:12 PM
Elder Mountain might work. I'll run it by Brigand. They're the real mastermind behind this map. I'm just contributing ideas and some techniques in photoshop.

04-17-2009, 10:14 AM

Link to the finished map thread.

04-17-2009, 02:42 PM
Your map isn't finished. The mountain is still named "Dragon Mountain" :D

04-17-2009, 06:41 PM
Brigand wanted it to stay Dragon Mountain.

04-19-2009, 05:11 PM
oh god tell me you can write a guide how you created the mountains and th forests. The bes map iv seen.
Mikael Mansen

04-20-2009, 09:03 AM
The mountains and forests were based on Pasis' techniques. I don't have a link to the thread handy and I'm too lazy to search at the moment. Basically, you just use different types of bevels on three different layers for mountains and use a pattern overlay on a layer of white brushwork. The key is choosing the right texture. Pasis was too... pockmarked, imo, so I found something that works better.

Forests were done the same way. Just use a pattern overlay on a layer of white brushwork with a slight drop shadow and bevel. Apply lighting effects after you're done and boom, you have forests and mountains.

04-20-2009, 10:49 AM
Did I never comment on this nor rep it? What was I thinking? It is quite beautiful!

04-20-2009, 11:13 AM
Arigato. =)