View Full Version : Paragonia, the Continent That Wasn't

10-04-2009, 06:06 PM
I enjoy doing tutorials, especially the ones that have a million steps and that you occasionally find yourself with a map that doesn't look like the one in the example and have to go back and noodle out what went wrong. I think they appeal to me for the same reason that the model of the USS Constitution appealed to me as a lad, or a 5000 piece puzzle or a swing set that comes with a six pound pack of screws. I like creating order from chaos, transforming raw materials into something worthwhile. It makes me feel like I've added something to the world that wasn't there before, no matter how minor.

Paragonia is the result of my working through a tutorial authored by Ascension. I know for those few of you who've been kind enough to follow my work, I do seem to be stuck on Ascension's tutes, but I guess as long as I keep learning from them, I'll keep doing them, if I haven't exhausted them by now.

Ascension's tutorial is entitled "Antique-style maps in Photoshop". Here's the link: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=3806

Back when I first used a tutorial, I cleaved closely to the letter of the instructions. I knew well that the slightest deviation could result in disaster and many lost hours. As I have created map upon map, entered challenge after challenge, some of the techniques described have become second nature. I don't cleave as much as I did, and I often know of ways to make small improvements to the techniques used.

That was the case here, with plenty of chances for me to riff of of Ascension's year-old work. I won't go into detail regarding the things I've done that departed from the tutorial. I will do that on the tutorial itself as soon as my thoughts coalesce for that purpose.

Paragonia isn't a continent for a novel or a an RPG world or anything of the sort. It's just a world that I made for the tutorial. Yes, I made up hundreds of names for mountains, cities, towns, rivers and countries just so the map would look more authentic. It may be just a learning device, but I've never believed in producing shoddy work if I could help it.

I like how Paragonia turned out. It's rather too crowded to use as a fantasy world, but perhaps an opportunity will arise. Questions and comments are welcome, as always. Thanks Ascension!


10-04-2009, 06:11 PM
Ascension's tutorial are amazing. He has mastered so many different styles! I think you can learn a lot by doing all his different tutorials.

Your map turned out great, something I would expect in an old atlass (and of course that's the style you were going for).

So how many hours did it take you to create this?

10-04-2009, 06:18 PM
Looks great. You've really mastered that style. :) And I would say the small change you've made to the style of the mountains really works.

10-04-2009, 06:27 PM
Yep, that's a keeper. I like that rusty look, like it's been sitting inside of a metal box for a long time and picked up the rust and grunge. Nice job.

10-04-2009, 06:47 PM
Thanks Ramah and Ascension.

Gandwarf - It took a bit under 30 hours. Most of that was creating and placing names, both of which chewed up oodles of time.

10-04-2009, 07:05 PM
30 hours isn't too bad a for a map like this. And I am sure if you would do a new map in this style it would take less time. I can imagine the naming took a lot of time as well. The map is filled to the brim with stuff!

10-04-2009, 07:56 PM
I could probably shave a few hours off, but since most of it was name-generation and placement, not much more. I have yet to find a naming methodology that would speed things up appreciably and that wouldn't be transparently obvious to a close observer.

10-04-2009, 09:25 PM
Labeling always takes me 10 times longer than creating the darn thing, hate it. I wish that there was some white ink so that I could label things by hand instead of the endless bending, rotating, etc needed on the computer. Of course, I'd also need to learn how to write legibly :)

10-05-2009, 01:59 AM
Great map!

Steel General
10-05-2009, 07:04 AM
Great Job! A fantastic implementation (and modification) of a great tutorial.

10-05-2009, 11:16 AM
Ascension's tuts may be fantastic (I honestly wouldn't know, as I don't have PS, so can't really use his, though by his own results they must be pretty great), but this map, too, is fantastic. Beautiful aged look, it just sings to me.

10-05-2009, 12:00 PM
Fantastic map! I really like the brush you have used for the mountain shapes.

10-05-2009, 05:07 PM
Thanks all!

Katto: the mountains were created using a single elongated tear-drop brush using shape and direction dynamics. So basically I just drew the "shape" of the mountain range and the whiskers all fell into place. I learned that from Butch Curry on one of his excellent videos. I give credit to Ascension for explaining how to use shape dynamics to create a tear-drop however, which is extremely useful when you have to create a lot of them. I didn't use that technique in this project, but it's very cool.

10-06-2009, 05:55 AM
Thanks Immolate! I'll have to check this.

10-06-2009, 08:05 AM
Absolutely beautiful. The highlights for me are the 'rust' texture as Ascension said and the subtle hatching. Have rep! (Ah....sorry won't let me yet).

10-06-2009, 05:01 PM
Any subtleties were purely accidental, or can be blamed on the tutorial.

10-07-2009, 08:01 PM
I love parchment style maps like this, and this one could easily be used for a camaign setting. It's really detailed and subtley coloured, but what impressed me the most is the perspective you created with the grid. I imagine a huge planet. Exciting.

Great work. 600 XP.

10-07-2009, 08:21 PM
I really need to spend some more time with Asc's tutorials... I cherry-picked from them for the maps I worked on, but this is a beautiful map and I would love to have some practice with this style.

That said, you're being too modest Imm. As your other work here has shown, its not just Asc's prodigious and well-documented brilliance that made this map great :)