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EsotericForest
08-06-2009, 07:32 PM
First of all I'd like to introduce myself, my name is Josh, and thanks for having me. I've been poking around the forum for several hours trying to learn what I can. Frankly I'm completely new to cartography, and really don't know what I'm doing. What originally got me to start working on a map, was for a novel I'm currently working on, and I wanted a realistic world to place it in.

I apologize that my map at the moment is pretty pathetic with absolutely no detail, like everybody elses here. But, I'm just starting, and I thought I would get some input before I tread further into uncharted waters. My problem is getting my continents looking the way I want them. So far this is what I have, and what I'm wondering is if the continents look too...jagged, for the lack of a better word. Other than that, any additional suggests would be greatly appreciated. Again, thank you for your time, and can't wait to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly :D.

Steel General
08-06-2009, 09:30 PM
I think you have a good start with some very interesting land shapes.

Coyotemax
08-06-2009, 09:37 PM
Nice to meetcha!!

You say the continents seem too jagged, but i actually like the way they are shaped.
And I would definitely not use the term pathetic, my own first map was far less.. inspiring. Just remember that at some point, everyone has been where you are :) (and at some point, all those pretty maps were a newly opened blank file, heh)

I highly recommend going through the tutorials, there's a wealth of information in there. Some of my own favourite maps are the results of going through the tutorials as is - and them modifying once I knew what was going on. You'll do the same, i'm sure :)

In specific reference, I would recommend the tutorials by Pasis and Ascension, seeing as those are the ones i refer to most right now, but I know there are other dangfine ones in there (I just haven't tried them all yet).

That having been said, a suggestion that seems to be made often around here is to spend time going through the finished maps and look for ones that have a style you want to end with - and check the Work In Progress threads for them for specific comment and hints. In a lot of cases there's references to the exact methods used, or the tutorials used as a basis.

Having a novel background should help some, I find the most difficult part of the process (once I got a handle on some techniques) was having a history and focus behind the area I'm working on.

Thanks for being brave and showing off your start, it's pretty inspiring.

Diamond
08-06-2009, 10:29 PM
I don't see anything wrong with it. It's not any more off-the-wall, continent-shape-wise, than stuff in the actual world. I mean, look at the Central American isthmus - that just looks kinda hinky. :D

Oh, and welcome aboard! (Though I've only been here a few days myself.)

Ascension
08-06-2009, 11:07 PM
If you wanted to make them less jaggy then I'd suggest closing off some of those big inlets or fjord-like bays (I see two that could be closed off...top left and bottom right). You could also try erasing out some of those really narrow points (top right and middle). Lastly, making those inland seas into smaller lakes might help reduce the effect some. Keep in mind that this is only if you really are bothered by the shapes, otherwise, if you're cool with it then I'd say leave em.

EsotericForest
08-07-2009, 12:21 AM
Thanks guys for all the positive feedback, I feel better already about how the map is coming. I will take your advice Coyotemax and read some of those tutorials carefully. Thankfully I do have Photoshop Elements 7, though I'm not very used to it yet. I've been using Jasc Paint Shop Pro 8 for years, so switching to something else is taking some getting used to...though when I can't figure out how to do something I still revert back to PSP.

But anyway, one concern I'm having is because my continents don't take up a whole lot of water space, it's leaving me with a lot of blank ocean. I'm not really sure what to do about it, because I have the fear that if I add another small continent, or several small islands in those spaces, the map will end up looking more like a dalmation than anything :D.

Diamond
08-07-2009, 12:45 AM
But anyway, one concern I'm having is because my continents don't take up a whole lot of water space, it's leaving me with a lot of blank ocean. I'm not really sure what to do about it, because I have the fear that if I add another small continent, or several small islands in those spaces, the map will end up looking more like a dalmation than anything :D.

Well, you could turn that scattered continent archipelago on the left that looks kinda like a heart-shape into one big continent - fill in the middle with land. Then you could add more land to the bottom right - mid-sized islands, etc. That way the map would look more 'balanced', if that's the effect you're going for.

AslanC
08-07-2009, 03:37 AM
I look forward to seeing this one develop :) Stay the course my friend and welcome to the Guild!