View Full Version : Argontath - Work in Progress

04-13-2009, 08:50 PM
Greetings again!

About a week after I posted my "Hello" message (see link below) my computer's motherboard decided it was better to NOT have working capacitors and much easier to stay cooler if it wasn't running. *smirk* Completely un-salvageable, except for a few parts. Oh well, I patched together a garbage computer out of 8 year old parts and finally got CC3 to run... and that is about it. LOL

Concept and Hand Drawn Maps of Argontath (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4556&highlight=Argontath)

I took the advice of several people to keep the hand drawn maps continental look, with a few changes. Added a few new continents for further storyline and pieced it together in Paintshop Pro 5 (yes, 5. It won't run anything else heheheh) after screen capturing each continent.

I'm going to slowly add mountain ranges and rivers, then place political borders down. This is a work in progress... much more progress to come in the next few months. Please, I welcome comments, criticism, advice and nagging... well, maybe not nagging. :)


~Valtharius the Mad

http://img220.imageshack.us/img220/4817/argontathnewworld.th.jpg (http://img220.imageshack.us/my.php?image=argontathnewworld.jpg)

04-14-2009, 04:09 AM
That's some bad luck with the PC. Your world map looks good, save for the repetitive land texture. That should become less of a problem onse you add different terrain features though. The coastlines for the polar landmasses (or are they just ice sheets?) look awesome. Maybe you could use similar detail for the continents? Oh, and that there is the most badass compass rose I've seen to date!

04-14-2009, 11:29 AM
Thanks Ghostman for the comments! I drew up that compass about 20 years ago and scanned it in. Funny the things you find in old piles of gaming papers. :)

I produced a grey scale image of the land masses and drew in a rough draft of proposed mountain ranges. Once I get these laid down in CC3, it will be on to river flows... uggh. God may have made the world in 6 days, but it is going to take me a LOT longer. heheheh

~Valtharius the Mad

http://img123.imageshack.us/img123/315/argontathplottedmntrang.th.jpg (http://img123.imageshack.us/my.php?image=argontathplottedmntrang.jpg)

04-14-2009, 04:14 PM
Revised the mountains and added a few more ranges. Placed major lakes, rivers and the desert/wasteland areas. Rough sketch is coming along.

http://img231.imageshack.us/img231/6130/argontathrvrmntdsrt.th.jpg (http://img231.imageshack.us/my.php?image=argontathrvrmntdsrt.jpg)

04-14-2009, 11:33 PM
Looking forward to more!

Also, have you read the info about posting images on the forums?


You don't need to use an outside image host and the pics look bigger.

07-19-2010, 05:52 PM
A HUGE, HUGE thank you to Ascension for his Photoshop tutorial! This is my first attempt at using Photoshop. Almost all my maps are hand drawn or were created using the old JASCO Paint Shop Pro. (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?4556-New-%28and-old%29-D)

I finally picked up a laptop that will run everything I need it to run. I've been playing with Ascension's Photoshop tutorial for the last few days... I've gotten up to the point where the rivers will be placed. Mind you, the polar caps are far north and south of this continent so they are unseen. Anyway, here is my work so far...

http://img840.imageshack.us/img840/2452/argontathtathis.th.png (http://img840.imageshack.us/i/argontathtathis.png/)

I'd love some feedback! Feel free to roast me over a spit! ;)


07-19-2010, 07:54 PM
Looks just like I did it myself, nice job.

07-19-2010, 09:54 PM
It is very good, the only thing I noticed is that the continental shelf doesn't match the land in a few places. A few islands seem to be floating off the edge of shelves and there are a couple of places where troughs seem to undercut the land. But everything else is spot on.

07-20-2010, 12:23 AM
Looks just like I did it myself, nice job.

Thanks Ascension! That is a huge compliment coming from you! I made a mistake though... I didn't use a 300 point airbrush with 10% flow... I ended up having a hard pixeled edge to the land masses. I took the eastern land mass of an old map and scaled it to 2000x2000 in Paint Shop Pro and copied the image into a PS layer and then traced around it at 400% magnification. Took me a while to figure out how to do mountains and that challenge will continue as I try and figure out how to create more mountains to 'create' a range where I want them. I still have the black and white cut-out of my land mass and am contemplating putting it into Paint Shop Pro 5 to soften the edges of the continent then transferring it back as a layer into PS and experimenting with settings.

Two questions for you, if you have time... is a 2000x2000 map just one continent, or an entire world? And lastly, if I want to 'blow-up' an area of the world to make a close up map, how do I go about making sure that mountains, hills and rivers are consistent with the world map?

Again, you have done an absolutely wonderful job with this tutorial!!! Thank you again!!!

It is very good, the only thing I noticed is that the continental shelf doesn't match the land in a few places. A few islands seem to be floating off the edge of shelves and there are a couple of places where troughs seem to undercut the land. But everything else is spot on.

Meh... my islands are falling off the world. lol I'm looking through that step right now trying to figure out how to 'ring' the continent and islands so it doesn't happen again. I'm having most of my fun playing with the color palette in order to create temperate lands and plains areas. In the world there are a few magically created wastelands from magic gone bad. I am untalented (I just suck) when it comes to painting things... I screwed up models ships badly as a youngster by painting them solid red with the old Testers Model Paint sets and it scarred me for good. heheheh.


07-20-2010, 05:46 PM
2000 is enough, technically - I could squeeze an entire world into 100 pixels - but I almost always start at 4000 for a continent. More pixels = more detail and I'm obsessive about detail. Fewer pixels = larger scale. The answer is up to you really, how much detail do you want. Blowing things up to do a zoomed in regional map is hard to do because you're wanting to add detail that wasn't there in the first place. PS can take a layer and enlarge it without too many distortions but if you go too big you'll want to run some blur on it to smooth out the blockiness, maybe also some noise to put some bumps into it. Normally I just redo a zoomed in map from start because I can deal with those headaches while the resizing stuff makes my head hurt and trying to fix things takes too long. Of course you also need different settings and techniques for that so maybe I need to do a tut on satellite mapping at regional scale.

07-23-2010, 04:31 PM
I worked out a preliminary map and played around with the tutorial until I was comfortable with it. Then I started five maps (of the six continents) at the same time and followed the steps 3 or 4 at a time. Once I was on the third map I was more comfortable and working much quicker. I took to heart what you said about the tutorial not being a bible and to play around with the settings. It took a bit of courage, but I screwed with the continental shelves and the effect looks a bit different. I am happy with the effect. I am going to sit down and figure out the river system now. Now that I am somewhat comfortable I will most likely re-do the maps in a much larger size to apply more detail, but I wanted to share what I have done so far.

Lantier (1100x1100) is an undiscovered and uninhabited continent to the north of the continent of Khaitaer-Ypriss. Perhaps there are ruins of an ancient civilization?

Tathis (2600x2600) is the eastern continent and one of the two primary continents for my world (in terms of where the campaign characters are from). The western regions are explored and inhabited. the far eastern and far southern reaches are unexplored territory.

Kaitan (1200x1200) is a continent to the far south east and unknown to the 'civilized' world. Its inhabitants are a feral race hell-bent on conquering whatever lands they find. They are just starting to explore the world in which the players live... and will not hesitate to make their presence known.

Khaitaer-Ypriss (2600x2600) is the western continent and one of the two primary continents for my world (in terms of where the campaign characters are from). The northern continent of Khaitaer is inhabited in the western and eastern regions. The central region is ringed by mountains that holds a vast swampland-jungle. The southern continent of Yppris is largely unexplored territory and inhabited by bands of tribesman.

Ascalon (1600x1600) is an unknown continent to the far northeast. It holds thriving and ancient civilizations that are largely disinterested with outward expansion and focus more on their maintaining their borders with the other countries in their part of the world.

Thanks again to Ascension for everything he has taught me!


07-23-2010, 04:34 PM
Here is a quick map of the World of Argontath... the arctic regions to the north and south were done years ago in Paint Shop Pro... All I did was cut and past the continents in to show their relation to one another.

07-23-2010, 05:35 PM
Wow, that looks really great! Good job! I notice the oceans don't seamlessly fit together some places, but the landmass is just bad-ass! :)

07-24-2010, 11:46 PM
The ocean was tossed together haphazardly just to give myself an idea where the continents sit in relation to one another. I plan on increasing the map size if each continent (5000x5000?) and create a decent ocean layer... Just wondering a few things:

1) How large a map can my laptop handle and..

2) How to start a new map with a size 5000x5000. A 2000x2000 size map is 300dpi and RGB 8 bit. Do I bump up the specs a bit to get more detail?

Thanks forth comments!


Wow, that looks really great! Good job! I notice the oceans don't seamlessly fit together some places, but the landmass is just bad-ass! :)

07-25-2010, 12:21 AM
If you're not printing, dpi doesn't really matter. The only thing it will do is affect what the "Print size" button does, and that won't even be accurate unless you've told Photoshop what your screen's actual physical ppi is.

When you start your new document, you'll probably see width and height expressed in inches. Simply change the dropdown boxes with the units to pixels and enter your desired image size. I'd recommend you leave the document in 8-bit RGB unless you have a reason for needing a different mode. 16-bit or higher will increase file sizes and the memory requirements for the image quite a bit.

There are times when you might want a higher bit depth; if you start doing a lot of processing on height maps, the extra depth is very useful, and if you do lots of color correction in 8-bit, you can quickly degrade the image.

edit: Oh, and there's not really any way of knowing how much your laptop can handle other than experimentation. 5k x 5k, while large, is not beyond the capabilities of most modern computers. I routinely paint at 4k with 10-12 layers, and most of the time PS runs quite well. I do occasionally have to restart it when the brushes get sluggish, though.

07-27-2010, 04:07 PM
Went with 5000x5000 for the continent of Tathis. Did some rearranging of mountains and finally put rivers down. This is about 8 hours worth of work right here... I seem to be picking up speed! I know the river system (and lakes) in the northwest area of the continent is wonky looking but it was divinely altered.

I am really enjoying this tutorial and with all the tweaking and experimenting to the settings, I am feeling much more comfortable!

Let me know what you think!


07-27-2010, 05:21 PM
Yeah, that's why I call myself a mad scientist...so many things to fiddle around with. Nice looking shape for the continent...lots of nooks and crannies makes it interesting.

07-29-2010, 05:41 PM
The Continent of Tathis (The World of Argontath)

Well, let's see...
rivers are flowing...
longitude and latitude has been placed...
continental outline is created...
borders are finished...
country names and unexplored territory are have been laid down...

The font used is Papyrus... I will be tweaking this quite a bit to get the desired effect and make it look cleaner, then it is time to place cities and towns.

Is this what it is suppose to look like? Opinions?



07-29-2010, 06:49 PM
Looks pretty good, if I recall correctly you like to have a more subtle continental shelf. I think some may have a negative reaction to the font. I do not.

07-29-2010, 09:14 PM
Yeah, papyrus is pretty infamous as far as fonts go. I don't really have a problem with it either, though. Looking good :)

07-30-2010, 02:22 AM
Papyrus is a good font, but those who say it is overused have a point. I say if it fits the map, use it, but don't make it your default choice. I don't think it fits this style terribly well. I think what would be (a) good font choice(s) will depend in part on the symbols you use for cities and such, so that the font goes well with them.

07-30-2010, 11:46 AM
I agree. Papyrus is suitable for a hand-drawn pirate map style. This satellite-like style asks for something less ragged. The Celtic section at DaFont is usually a good first stop for fantasy map fonts.

Steel General
07-30-2010, 12:22 PM
You could also look for a font called "Caribbean" - it looks kind of 'pirate-y'

08-03-2010, 11:31 AM
Well... of the the 9 countries on the eastern continent, I have 6 1/2 finished. Here is a little looksie at the Bandit Kingdoms and the surrounding territory.

Just a small key for you:
Capitol = Big purple flowery icon
City = Large white dot with dark gray middle
Fortress = Large white dot with orange middle
Town = Small white dot
Ruins = Small light red dot
Ancient Place of Power = Small light blue dot

Towns with the word 'Cor-' indicate a port city that has been blessed by the priesthood of Manetoaka (Lord of the Waters)
Fortresses begin with a 'Khol-' indicating they were blessed by the Voltarian Priesthood (Lord of War)
Ruins begin with the word 'Tor-'

The font I used is called Sakkal Majalla. I am happy with the font but am trying to work around the color scheme with the surrounding landscape.




Steel General
08-03-2010, 01:44 PM
The font is very readable - though the black text is a bit difficult to read - needs a slight glow and/or stroke around it.

08-06-2010, 04:45 PM
I had some time to think about things the last few days... I created hastily sewn together world map and was unhappy with the results. I had created preliminaries of the continents to experiment with the rivers, cities, fonts, etc... until I put together the final draft of the world map. I decided on a 7500x5000 map size so as to include all the continents and increase detail. I am to the point now of placing rivers... this should prove to be quite tedious and time consuming, but it is a labor of love! heheheh

Here it is submitted for your approval....


Thanks Ascension!


08-06-2010, 06:55 PM
Those are some nice continents. As for rivers, just put a few major ones on each continent or you could easily get burned out.

08-06-2010, 07:10 PM
Zoomed out, the map looks really busy, but looks very sweet when you zoom in...are you taking zoomed in parts of the world map to create your region maps? I ask because I am attempting to do just that...but my map size is 4000x2000 atm and I don't think my coast lines look crisp enough zoomed in that far.

Also I think that putting a thin stroke of light blue around the land layer would look pretty good...at least that's what I've done with a map or two of my test maps with good looking results.

08-07-2010, 01:17 AM
It does look too busy doesn't it? lol I think when you see it as a 'thumbnail' it is at around 12% of the total size... it really compresses everything. As for the regional maps.... I am still trying to figure this out. I want to 'cut-out' each country and enlarge it to put some better detail into it, but at this point, I am just going to save a copy of the map at the border creation process. I did place a blue aura about the map, but I think it needs to be intensified a bit to see it properly.

Zoomed out, the map looks really busy, but looks very sweet when you zoom in...are you taking zoomed in parts of the world map to create your region maps? I ask because I am attempting to do just that...but my map size is 4000x2000 atm and I don't think my coast lines look crisp enough zoomed in that far.

Also I think that putting a thin stroke of light blue around the land layer would look pretty good...at least that's what I've done with a map or two of my test maps with good looking results.

08-07-2010, 01:23 AM
I need the river police! I am hoping I haven't murdered the river system too bad. lol ;)

I've placed the areas where the major rivers will be (may end up deleting some) and splotched an area red on the northern end of one of the continents. The red area is to be ignored... this area is a god-created sanctuary of the inhabitants of this particular part of the world.

I appreciate any eyes that would be able to help point out problems.




08-07-2010, 01:35 AM
For what it's worth, i only see one violation, the area to the west/southwest of the red marker has a river that goes from one coast to another, the one that crosses through the middle of the light plains-looking area.

Not bad considering how many layouts you have planned :)

08-07-2010, 02:22 AM
The only really weird bit is the ring of lakes and rivers around the red area - I imagine something magical is happening there?

However, there is some really "challenging" geography going on here, occasionally.

The extremely long river across the continent that, I think, Coyotemax mentions. The necessity here is that the source of that river has to be sufficiently high so that all the river SW is downhill from there on, and yet, a short distance away is the coast to the NW, past that other smaller lake. This area would be extremely steep to accomodate the same drop to sea level as taken by the long river (which also passes a couple of decent mountain ranges to get there).
A similar situation occurs on the Western continent around the large lake - the inflow river on the lake's NE side comes from very close to the coast - which would imply extremely high cliffs there or something.

In general, personally, I would tend to view "with suspicion" any river that appears to flow "inland". It's certainly not impossible, but you have to ask yourself why it is happening when there are mountains about. In plains areas it's not such a bother.

It's a lovely map, albeit I'm no expert on mapping. It's possible that this scale may warrant "filering" out some of the rivers if you have difficulties with space to represent other stuff.

Good luck!

08-07-2010, 02:11 PM
Thanks for the comments! I will rework the river in the plains area. It is really too long. lol


08-07-2010, 08:33 PM
Looking for another river inspection... made some corrections and added a bit more mountain to one area to warrant a flow into the plains. I don't see any ocean to ocean rivers now.... let me know?



08-08-2010, 05:37 PM
Rivers have been set... latitude and longitude are done and the continents have had their outlines created. Next on the list... the placement of countries. I should be able to finish the placement by tomorrow along with capitol cities.


08-11-2010, 02:35 AM
I hate borders... took me a while (a long time) to set them down as it was my first time trying it. Placed country name markers (so I don't forget lol) and approximate areas where the capitols lay for future reference when I go back and try stylizing the map. Just thought I'd share my progress.



08-11-2010, 03:17 AM
Made a globe!!! Google Earth is pretty cool! I wonder if I can place my own landmarks and such?



08-11-2010, 03:44 AM
You did this with Google Earth? How? Looks great!

08-11-2010, 11:09 AM
I would like to know how as well. I had heard rumors that this was possible but a link to somewhere that explains it would be cool. It looks great btw.

08-11-2010, 12:39 PM
that map looks way good wrapped around the globe like that.

08-11-2010, 04:20 PM
I saw a link to another forum post that Ascension has on his Bio page under his messages. You'll need to download Google Earth. It has an option under the ADD menu to place an overlay. One of the tabs on the menu that pops up allows you to assign latitude-longitude coordinates. Set the N and S to 90.0.00 and the E and W to 180.0.00. I hope I gave the right directions lol - I am away from the computer. Have fun!


08-11-2010, 06:09 PM
Got it right Val, nice.

08-12-2010, 12:51 AM
FYI it is in this thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?2607-Mixing-hand-drawn-and-randomly-generated-elements), in case someone is looking. There are a couple of screen grabs of dialogs and such.

-Rob A>

08-16-2010, 02:40 PM
I ended up reconfiguring the borders. I wasn't happy with the last draft. I laid down the capitol cities and went through and placed the names of the countries and unexplored territories of the world. I have a list of the oceans and seas but haven't been happy with the color combination to warrant placing them on the map. Still working that out.

I like the fonts used, but may end up changing them out for something easier to read. Still debating what colors to use for those too. Anyway, I thought I would share my progress with you all.




08-16-2010, 04:28 PM
Looks like Seven Swordsmen; I like that font, too, even though it is named after an old Samurai movie.

08-16-2010, 04:52 PM
You hit the nail on the head! Seven Swordsman! Cool looking font.

Looks like Seven Swordsmen; I like that font, too, even though it is named after an old Samurai movie.

08-17-2010, 03:59 PM
First time really trying to create a Mileage Meter, Map Key and a Map Logo in Photoshop. They are pretty ugly, but straight forward. The Compass Rose (or Skull) was one that I had hand drawn about 20 years ago and scanned in. I placed them on the map for the time being and will try and figure out how to piece them together. lol



Steel General
08-17-2010, 04:02 PM
I think it looks fine, you might consider putting some kind of background/frame around/behind the key - it gets a bit lost.

08-17-2010, 04:36 PM
This is coming together nicely man

08-17-2010, 09:16 PM
Redid the Map Key as per Steel General's suggestion and moved the everything around... I think it is still ugly. lol



Steel General
08-18-2010, 09:38 AM
Maybe give the key a parchment-y/leather-y background instead of the gray.

08-20-2010, 02:50 PM
The naming of major cities, towns, fortresses, ruins and places of interest has begun... I am about 50% of the way through the map and thought I'd dump this on you before the weekend.

Steel, I will screw around with the Map Key once I am done with all the naming. Thanks for the advice on the change to parchment.


*** Just realized I didn't turn down the opacity on the town names.... they look radioactive right now***


08-22-2010, 04:08 PM
Looks good to me. Good names overall. One note though, all the ruins seem to start with Tor-? Must be a very widespread language to have named ruins all over the world like that?

08-22-2010, 06:45 PM
The naming conventions for the cities and towns used are religious in nature as the pantheon that 'governs' Argontath is very much involved in the everyday lives of the inhabitants. Think Greek mythology.

'Tor-' (dead) - Fallen cities and areas of great destruction have been chronicled throughout the ages by the Priesthood of the Final God (circumlocutions are used in order to never mention his name as it is commonly believed that his name (Akbal - the most powerful of the Lords of the Kirei (darkness)) will bring instant death to whomever speaks it (it does too lol). The names of the ruins are rune marked (at the actual site) and recorded within the Tome of Tor (Book of the Dead).

'Cor-' (blessed waters) - Port cities that have a dedicated temple to Manetoaka, Lord of the Waters (one of the four Lords of the Lethin (elements)) take the prefix 'Cor-' and waters about the port are unnaturally calm, even during times of great storms. Other port cities/towns simply have an altar for offering/sacrifice/tithe near the dock areas.

'Khol-' (Place of Battle) - Fortresses (great city-keeps... not minor castles) with a dedicated temple to Voltar, Lord of War (another Lord of the Kirei) have bestowed upon them a blessing that strengthens the very walls and fills the reservoirs of a warriors spirit to fight well beyond what most would call natural.

These are a few examples. Many of the city/town names take the last name of the ruling power (many have retained the name even though that line of 'royalty' has either died off or fallen out of favor) in the area.

Someone sent a private message in regards to the great expanse between populated areas and how hard it would be to travel between them... simple logic within the fantasy world... magical travel (or god-given travel). The cure-all solution. lol To the far west of the map is a small island upon which the Nexus Gate rests. This gate allows for magical travel to even be possible. Mind you, many of the areas of interest (blue dot) are for a DM's reference. Very few are known to the inhabitants as they exude a powerful aura that simply makes unwanted guests very uncomfortable within the region... you know, that kind of place that you know is 'sacred' or 'cursed' and people don't wish to go near because of an impending doom but yet they have no idea what is there.

Hope this helps explain some of the (ill)logic behind the madness.


08-23-2010, 05:54 PM
Another update... I finished up the naming of cities (several hundred names) and such for the campaign area of the world... the two continents to the east are unknown to the player races and should be pretty easy to finish up this week. Sheesh... my brain is tired. Once all the names are created I will finish up with bodies of water and re-do the country names so they blend into the map.




08-23-2010, 08:23 PM
Yep, the hardest part of any fantasy map is coming up with hundreds or thousands of names for things...truly the most tedious part. I enjoy just making the terrain.

08-25-2010, 05:04 PM
*whew* Finally finished naming all the cities, towns, fortresses, special places of interest and the ruins of the world.... My fingers and brain are officially numb. Next step... oceans, seas, bays, lakes and other bodies of water. Oh joy... heheheheh - I increased the detail of the coastal shelves as well.

Now I am off to find a proper font, style and color for water...

Let me know what you think.




08-26-2010, 05:14 PM
Almost done! Placed in rhumb lines and icon'd the points. Dropped in country names and names of unexplored areas. Created oceans and seas. Re-did the map key.

All I need to do is place a few lake names and name some of the bay/gulfs... then put a border around the thing (still trying to figure that out).

I thought I would drop in a pic of the hand drawn map of Argontath I did over 20 years ago and the current map as it stands.

Thanks for all the input guys! Ascension, special thanks to you for that great tutorial!


Hand Drawn Map of Argontath - 1988



Current Map of Argontath - 2010


Steel General
08-26-2010, 08:46 PM
Coming along quite nicely

08-27-2010, 07:11 AM
If I could offer some advice, it would be to make the names of the polar regions smaller. They kind of dominate at the moment, at least when taking in the whole map at once.

Cool that you still have the original 1988 version as well. Though it seems the lay of the land has changed quite a bit over the years. :)

08-27-2010, 05:23 PM
Done and posted in the finished section