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rdanhenry
10-01-2009, 03:02 AM
Here is my first map posting.

This is a continent in a world I am developing for role-playing (using Rolemaster as the system). I started with a pencil sketch showing the main population areas and a few key sites, some terrain and rivers, and not much else. The first picture is just this sketch scanned into the computer to use as a guide to my map.

The second picture is how far I got working on it this evening. I didn't quite get the coastline as jagged as I'd have liked, but it'll do. This process also produced some lakes, which I hadn't included in my sketch at all. I erased those in areas where they just did not belong and adjusted the rivers a bit to take the new lakes into account. I did the ocean and lakes as one layer, using a layer mask, while the rivers are another layer. So right now, I have four layers: the sketch, the continental outline, the ocean/lakes, and the rivers. Possibly overkill, but the sketch will eventually be deleted, having served its purpose.

Opinions?

Coyotemax
10-01-2009, 03:53 AM
Nice start. Good work with the rivers too, they look clean from here :)

this should be nice when it's done!

Steel General
10-01-2009, 08:18 AM
Yup looking good so far... there is a "Not So Random Coastlines" tutorial by RobA you may want to look at if you're not completely happy with your coastlines. Very easy to use and gives nice results.

rdanhenry
10-01-2009, 02:19 PM
Yup looking good so far... there is a "Not So Random Coastlines" tutorial by RobA you may want to look at if you're not completely happy with your coastlines. Very easy to use and gives nice results.

That's what I used. I think I should have used more blur for the continent, but then it almost killed the islands as it was -- I had to repaint the center of Rogue Island after my Gaussian Blur just to be sure it would survive. I'm not unhappy with the result, it just wasn't quite what I was trying for. I'm sure with experience, I'll be able to get much closer to what I expect.

Can anybody point me to brushes for swamp terrain?

Gidde
10-01-2009, 02:44 PM
It's tough to get a good coastline for larger maps using Gimp's regular noise filter. Try installing the Felimage Noise plugin (another tip from RobA) and playing with the size parameter.

rdanhenry
10-01-2009, 09:08 PM
With mountains, hills, and forest brushed in (thanks for the brushes, Wag). Found some more brush collections online and I'll look to see if I can find something for swamp.

rdanhenry
10-02-2009, 01:57 AM
Added swamps. Added capital and major cities. Differentiated between shallow and deep ocean.

Now I'm trying to decide what to use to mark major ruins.

Juggernaut1981
10-02-2009, 02:08 AM
other than the fact it looks a bit like you are mapping a "tall" human heart... none too shabby.

maybe if you have the rivers in another layer try smooth them out a little? in a close zoom they are "staggered" in a pixelated sort of way...

rdanhenry
10-02-2009, 02:35 AM
Yeah, the rivers were drawn with a mouse, so the quality is not what it could be. I redrew some of my attempts which were completely awful. But as they are on their own layer, I can go back and work on improving them later. Maybe completely redraw them if I find a method I like. Tomorrow I'll work on the rivers if I'm still stuck on the ruins.

Steel General
10-02-2009, 07:52 AM
I like it so far, one suggestion would be to vary/mix the mountain and hill symbols so you're not using the same ones all grouped together.

rdanhenry
10-03-2009, 06:50 PM
Added symbols for the major ruins. Tweaked some rivers. Darkened the swamps, which were too light. The most obvious change is a rather crude marking of the political divisions. (Well, the giants in the north aren't technically a nation, but they have a recognized area that is under giant control.)

Not too happy with the look, although the political map will be separate and I'll tone down the opacity of the terrain layer on it, but I'm thinking I'll be wanting to learn to do my labeling in Inkscape, because the text manipulation in GIMP is too limited.

SG, thanks for the comments. Some of the forests have mixed trees and having installed some new brushes, I'll be changing the Elvenhome wood to another symbol. But one hill symbol and one mountain symbol makes it easier to tell which is which at a glance and differences in the forest symbols indicate differences in the tree populations of the forests.

Eventually, I'll work on revising the map to make it prettier, but right now I'm working on having it "finished" (in having the minimal detail available on an initial player map -- the GM map will have lots of extra layers I can turn on to show resources, lesser sites, underground highways in the Shield, etc., that can be added gradually, at the same time I make the basic map more artistic).

Steel General
10-04-2009, 09:55 AM
You might try lowering the opacity on the borders to lessen the impact against the white background.

Also your labels are getting lost against the terrain symbols, you need some kind of stroke and/or glow on them.

rdanhenry
10-06-2009, 01:12 AM
Latest version. Improved the political boundaries and changed to coloring plus a separate key to improve readability. Not a final final version, but I think I could give this to players as their "common knowledge" map and be happy with it.

rdanhenry
11-03-2009, 03:24 AM
Added a scale and named the forests.

Steel General
11-03-2009, 07:51 AM
It's coming along...much better than the original version.

rdanhenry
11-04-2009, 01:53 AM
It isn't the greatest of maps... but this is my second map ever on the computer (the other was a very simple map in... I think it was MacPaint... more than a decade ago) and the first thing I've done on GIMP (not counting one barely-started project and some photo clean-up). I think it isn't bad for a first go. (And I've been avoiding tutorials to start with, other than the one to get my coastline jaggy, so I play around with GIMP a bit on my own first.)

Halo of Gnats
10-23-2010, 01:06 AM
(And I've been avoiding tutorials to start with, other than the one to get my coastline jaggy, so I play around with GIMP a bit on my own first.)

rdanhenry,

I think that statement alone warrants rep. I've started on the tutorials here right away (after some playing around with a few youtube tuts).
This is a fine player map handout. More than I (if I were playing) would expect (as a GM, I started an unspoken fog of war style game
until the players stumble, search, or earn a map; it's like finally finding the light switch in a crowded porch).

Namasté,
~Tim