PDA

View Full Version : [WIP] Topographic Map



cereth
06-18-2009, 08:36 PM
Here is a new project I've been working on. I'm pretty new with photoshop still so I'm kinda fumbling my way through it. The terrain itself was generated in Fractal Terrains, and now I'm going through an making the map in photoshop. I'm trying for a style similar to what HandsomeRob makes, but am trying to put my own twist on it.

What I'm going for is a heavily detailed map you'd expect to find in an atlas or history book. I'm still in the process of working on the rivers, which I'm finding is fairly time consuming. I let fractal terrains tell me where to put the rivers and now I'm going in and re-tracing them by hand.

I'm not real sure about the colors and stuff yet. I think I might make the land colors a little lighter and the rivers a little darker. I also plan to go in and paint some of the land features as well (forests, etc) but just wanted to use the fractal terrains generated colors to give myself a base.

Anyways, here is where I am so far.

Alecthar
06-18-2009, 09:23 PM
I like it quite a bit, though your ocean colors seem odd to my eyes. I generally associated the darker colors with further out to sea, whereas yours are kinda the reverse. I suppose that's part of the realistic atlas-type look.

Other than that, though, very cool.

Ascension
06-18-2009, 09:52 PM
That long mtn chain in the NW is kind of wonky looking but otherwise this is some really good stuff. The bay looks like an awesome place for a pitched broadside battle.

waldronate
06-19-2009, 03:59 AM
Sometimes I think I should have gone ahead and put in the effort to get the image climate shader working like I wanted to instead of just doing the cheesy thing that ended up in the software. Ah well...

One way to avoid the overly-smooth mountain chains that FT editing tends to generate is to use the selection tool to generate a squiggly area and then Tools>>Actions>>Create Profiled Mound From Selection. The result is analogous to the shapeburst algorithm in popular image editing tools.

cereth
06-20-2009, 02:29 AM
Here's an updated image of what I've been working on. It is a cropped image of the map at full resolution. I've done some extensive work on the coastline and the rivers. Outlining the rivers like this is pretty time consuming but i think I like the effect. Let me know what you think. :)

cereth
06-23-2009, 10:51 AM
I'm finally finished with the rivers. I think I'm going to start painting in land features now. This is the map so far at full resolution.

LonewandererD
06-23-2009, 11:23 AM
hey this map is looking great. nice work

one small thing though, the mountains in the NW corner look a little out of place, but other than that, way to go :)

Greason Wolfe
06-23-2009, 11:36 AM
Sometimes I think I should have gone ahead and put in the effort to get the image climate shader working like I wanted to instead of just doing the cheesy thing that ended up in the software. Ah well...

One way to avoid the overly-smooth mountain chains that FT editing tends to generate is to use the selection tool to generate a squiggly area and then Tools>>Actions>>Create Profiled Mound From Selection. The result is analogous to the shapeburst algorithm in popular image editing tools.

Lords, I never even thought of that, what a great solution!

As for the map in question, it's looking pretty good to me. I won't harp on what others have already mentioned, but it looks like you're definitely headed in the right direction. Look forward to seeing more as you continue to progress.

GW

Steel General
06-23-2009, 11:39 AM
Coming along nicely...

cereth
06-23-2009, 02:50 PM
I'll have to fiddle with those mountains a little I guess since the common consesus seems to be that they are distracting. I wanted some impassable, very extreme mountains there but I guess maybe I went too far. :-)

Thanks for the input.

cereth
06-26-2009, 11:42 AM
Here is an updated image. I've done some considerable tweaking to the mountains in the northwest corner and I've begun to play around with painting in forests. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet for the forests, so I am kinda just trying things until I find something I like. I'm not sure about this one. :)

Ascension
06-26-2009, 04:49 PM
Forests look fine to me, the whole thing looks great...very HR.

cereth
06-28-2009, 10:08 AM
Here's my latest work in progress.

ravells
06-28-2009, 11:17 AM
It's coming along really well! My only very minor crit is that the map lacks contrast. A simple brightness and contrast adjustment layer got me this (hope you don't mind me having a play with your map). The lovely mountain textures 'pop' more.

All depends on the look you're going for though...

best

ravells

Ascension
06-28-2009, 12:10 PM
<start threadjack>

Hey Ravs, could you (or one of the other awesome dudes here) explain adjustment layers in a tut? I've never used them and don't really understand them. Clipping layers I get, adjustment layers I don't.

<end threadjack>

cereth
07-01-2009, 11:32 AM
My only very minor crit is that the map lacks contrast. A simple brightness and contrast adjustment layer got me this (hope you don't mind me having a play with your map). The lovely mountain textures 'pop' more.

It is actually kind of intentional that I'm giving the map a kind of "washed out" feel at the moment. Most of the layers I've made like 40 to 60% transparent. The thought is that I intend on putting a lot of detailed information on the map and that it would make it more legible. I can always play with the intensity of the colors to make it 'pop' a little more later on if I feel it doesn't hurt the legibility of the map. That was just my train of thought. :)

Here is an updated small section of the map and shows the direction i am going with the symbols and whatnot.

RobA
07-02-2009, 01:09 PM
Are you basing this off HandsomeRob's tutorial?

http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1577

-Rob A>

cereth
07-02-2009, 03:23 PM
Yeah, I started off using it but now I'm kind of going off on my own a little bit. Currently I'm kind of jumping back and forth between photoshop and illustrator. I guess my end goal would be to use HandsomeRob as my inspiration, but to try to do my own thing somewhat. :)

I also used Waldronate's fractal terrains tutorial and his image climate shader.

cereth
07-06-2009, 10:39 AM
Here is an updated image. I have a lot of work to do yet. :)

Gandwarf
07-06-2009, 04:05 PM
Wow... that map is huge Cereth... very cool stuff.
Are you going to fill the entire map with countries and places of interest?

Ascension
07-06-2009, 05:42 PM
Yeah, that's enough work to keep me busy for about a year...good luck to ya :)

cereth
07-06-2009, 06:59 PM
Are you going to fill the entire map with countries and places of interest?

Yes that is the plan. Hopefully I won't go insane before I finish it. :)

Gandwarf
07-06-2009, 07:07 PM
Repped for encouragement then...

cereth
07-14-2009, 02:17 AM
Here's an updated map. I've added a grid in Illustrator but I'm undecided as to whether I like it or not.

Steel General
07-14-2009, 07:53 AM
Looks good to me, the grid is there if needed but doesn't draw the eye away from the yumminess of the map itself.

cereth
07-30-2009, 01:53 AM
Here's an updated WIP...I'm still grinding away at it. :)

Steel General
07-30-2009, 08:23 AM
I find the font you used to label the forests is a bit hard to read, maybe 'bolding' it or something would help.

su_liam
07-31-2009, 04:22 AM
I'm really liking this. I agree with SG that the forest font could use some "clarifying." Also the river labels are a bit illegible.

Some of your rivers are disappearing into closed lakes near the shoreline. Typically, I go in with a moderately large and weak prescale displacement brush(that should approximate the FT term, I'm not on windows right now) to lower the land between those brushes and the sea till an inlet appears. Another thing I often do in Wilbur(at a much earlier stage of terrain development than you are at) is to lower the sea level by about 2000 feet or so ,run Mr. Slayton's handy-dandy fill-basin and incise-flow method, then raise the sea level back up. That last often works wonders for all but the most stubborn of deep basins.

Did I mention I'm really liking this?

cereth
07-31-2009, 04:51 PM
I'll fiddle with that font a little bit to try and get something more legible.

Thanks for the comments! :)

cereth
08-01-2009, 11:28 AM
The more I look at the way the fonts on the exported/saved jpg images look the unhappier I get. I'm thinking the issue with the labels might have to do with file compression when I save it as a jpg. Maybe if I saved the image as a different file type (like .png) they would hold up better and not look all wonky (and thus be easier to read).

Just at work thinking out loud to myself. ;)

Steel General
08-01-2009, 01:41 PM
That may very well be true, only the italic looking font on the forest was an issue for me, the rest are fine.

Ascension
08-01-2009, 02:55 PM
The issue with the jpg-iness is probably due to the thinness of the font and its smallish size. Just make it a point or two bigger or try bolding it and see what happens.

cereth
08-03-2009, 12:46 AM
Tweaked the fonts somewhat, especially the italicized font. I changed it to good old trusty Times New Roman, and I think it looks much better. It seems to look better when italicized then the font I was using (Garamond). The forest and river labels are now much more legible now.

I also tweaked the political borders somewhat and finished off the large Empire that I want to be the focus of the map. I'm considering cropping the map to focus more on this Empire and its Protectorates. Functionally speaking, the map may just be too big and i don't want the focus of the map to get lost in all the other surrounding details.

Anyways, thanks for the continued feedback. :)

LonewandererD
08-03-2009, 02:27 AM
It still amazes me as to how much detail you already have in this huge map, how do you come up with so many names. The Times New Roman does look better.

Great work :)

-D-

Coyotemax
08-03-2009, 03:17 AM
Wow!! That is incredibly cool, I love it! It really is looking like it belongs in a full atlas :)

Steel General
08-03-2009, 07:22 AM
I had no problem reading the forest fonts this time, and I applaud you for the patience of doing all that labeling.

cereth
08-08-2009, 03:37 AM
Time for my weekly update. :)

I added a few more things (scale bar, title, and legend) and started sketching in some more national boundaries. Mostly this week has been spent on planning out the rest of the map, but I'm pretty happy with what I've gotten done so far.

I think this is officially the longest I have ever worked on one map, and i still have quite a bit to do. :((

Coyotemax
08-08-2009, 04:05 AM
Looking very nice!!
*highly impressed*

Gandwarf
08-08-2009, 06:50 AM
I think this is officially the longest I have ever worked on one map, and i still have quite a bit to do. :((

You can be very proud of your work though. I like it a lot, it has a nice atlass style.

Steel General
08-08-2009, 09:31 AM
The combination scale bar, legend/cartouche thingy fits in very well.

Ascension
08-08-2009, 02:24 PM
Agreed, this is truly nice stuff. Very professional. Once you get it done I hope you hang it on a wall...like the one here next to my chair :)

cereth
08-23-2009, 02:39 AM
I thought I'd go ahead and update my progress, even though I didn't get as much done this last week as I would have liked. A home improvement project ate up most of my time, but did get me some brownie points with the wife, so I guess that's a good trade off. ;)

I'm still trying to figure out how i want to represent some of the unsettled, "barbarian" lands surrounding the established nations. Hopefully it'll just work itself out as I go and will look all right in the end.

Steel General
08-23-2009, 01:52 PM
Maybe some kind of light color overlay or crosshatching?

cereth
08-23-2009, 02:46 PM
Yeah...now I'm running into a problem exporting the file back into Photoshop. I've been fighting with it for the last several hours and haven't found a solution I like. Before I was able to go back and forth between Illustrator and Photoshop pretty much seamlessly, but now I can't get Illustrator to export the file.

I guess Illustrator has an issue with exporting large files (this one is near 100mb) to Photoshop. I must have crossed some threshold because now it won't work. I get an error saying there is insufficient memory to save the file, even though I have plenty. Apparently I'm not the only person to have this issue. I'm reading various forums but I'm not real pleased with the workarounds presented there.

Its been a month or so since I've tried to export it, but i wanted to go back to photoshop and edit a couple of things in the forest and landmass layers. I guess I'll have to keep playing around with it. :x

Jykke
08-23-2009, 03:07 PM
Illustrator sure eats a lot of memory.. I did a large poster (300dpi, something like 1,4m x 1,6m) for this one guy on my old computer. I don't know how long it took to export, but damn I thought many times that my computer just froze or died on me. I had some really interesting moments on that project.. So I believe you when you say have some problems with the software :D

cereth
09-05-2009, 01:23 PM
Here's an updated look at my map. Still haven't figured out what I'm going to do with the "barbarian" lands of the North/North-east. Part of me is thinking of just cropping most of that area out of this map, but the other part of me likes how the map looks with it.

Also gave up trying to export the map back to Photoshop with the layers intact. It's just too big and there are too many objects now.

Anyways, still have some more labeling to do. :)

Steel General
09-06-2009, 09:14 AM
Maybe just some kind of 'graying out' with "HERE BE BARBARIANS" or something *shrugs*

Gandwarf
09-06-2009, 10:33 AM
Or stick a giant totem in the ground, with a skull on top :D
Greying them out might actually be a good idea...

cereth
10-12-2009, 08:19 PM
I took some time off from working on my map (went on vacation, recharged my batteries, etc.), and now that I am back to working on it I am starting to see the finish line ahead. Looking at it with fresh eyes has really helped me out and I have some ideas on how I want to finish it up.

I'm still battling memory errors and struggling with the size of the map a little, but I am looking forward to getting it finished.

Gidde
10-12-2009, 09:48 PM
That is a great-looking map!

When I was struggling with memory issues before my rebuild (um, and after, since now i can make stuff BIGGER!) I found it was helpful to do a lot of save-a-copy-with-layers, merge-everything steps. That way the working copy never had more than 7 or 8 layers.

RobA
10-13-2009, 01:29 PM
Very Nice!

I made a similar map for a challenge, and it is a lot of work, so kudos!

I didn't read the whole thread, but is there a reason the lat/long lines are orthogonal, rather than the more typical for this style of map (non-equirectangular) projection?

-Rob A>

Noon
10-13-2009, 01:41 PM
What patience you have !
I wonder what software you use for each step: the creation of land with FT Pro? The effects with photoshop? The texts with Illustrator?

cereth
10-14-2009, 11:07 AM
When I was struggling with memory issues before my rebuild (um, and after, since now i can make stuff BIGGER!) I found it was helpful to do a lot of save-a-copy-with-layers, merge-everything steps. That way the working copy never had more than 7 or 8 layers.

Mostly I think my memory issues have to do with the large amount of objects on the map (although the size of the map is an issue as well). Also I'm not entirely happy with the quality of the exported jpg's I've been posting as WIPs. Once I get the map finished I plan on playing with the quality settings some to see what I can do about it.


I didn't read the whole thread, but is there a reason the lat/long lines are orthogonal, rather than the more typical for this style of map (non-equirectangular) projection?

I honestly just found something in Illustrator that made a grid, tried it out, ans was happy enough with the results. I was struggling for a while with finding a way to make more accurate "non-equirectangular" projection lat/long lines. I may revisit this once the rest of the map is done.


I wonder what software you use for each step: the creation of land with FT Pro? The effects with photoshop? The texts with Illustrator?

That pretty much is exactly how I did it. I started off somewhat following handsomerob's tutorial, but then kinda veered away and tried to do my own thing.

Thanks again for the comments. :)

cereth
10-22-2009, 02:46 PM
After over four months and countless hours of work I think that I am ready to stick a fork in this project and call it done.

Before posting it under the "finished maps" section I'm going to do some final checking for typographical errors and would appreciate any last minute suggestions.

Thanks much. :)

Ramah
10-22-2009, 03:38 PM
My suggestion is you treat yourself to several beers and a well earned pat on the back. Great map. :)

Steel General
10-22-2009, 03:53 PM
A work to be proud of!

Gandwarf
10-22-2009, 04:07 PM
An epic journey indeed :)
Congrats!

mearrin69
10-22-2009, 04:16 PM
That's awesome. Looks like an atlas map...I kept looking for real placenames. Have some rep.
M