View Full Version : As Yet Unnamed Map - Basics

Ryan K
11-22-2009, 12:49 AM
Good Afternoon fellow Cartographers,

I'm currently in the process of building a map for a world I am designing, and I am using a combination of Fractal Terrains with the aid of the Terraformer, and of course, Photoshop CS.

Usually when I am bringing a Fractal Terrain map into Photoshop, the next three hours is consumed by meticulously tracing the outline of every coast, island and lake, but since I woke up to myself and started playing around with light intensities in Fractal Terrains, exporting the two-toned image into Photoshop, running the Glowing Edges filter over it, inverting it and knocking off all the troublesome white-space, those days (and I do mean days) are far behind me.

The Terraformer package is the greatest thing since Fractal Terrains, of course, but an issue with one of the climatic images is that it tends to attribute the same texture to high-altitude, dry areas as it does to deserts. However, by blending this climatic image with some choice selections from the Gaia, the snowy mountains in the northern section of the map look like it has snow up there as opposed to cacti, rattlesnakes and Bedouin.

This image is basically I shot of how my planet is shaping up so far, but my future intentions for it are to create a much more scaled back, authentic looking hand-drawn map, with incomplete landmass depictions, compass rose, maybe a couple of sea-beasties.

My biggest problem is this:

I like how with Fractal Terrains that I can produce images up to 8000 pixels wide. I like excess. I like putting 1TB of memory to the test. And usually I can do that. If I wanted.

However, for whatever reasons unbeknown-st to me, if I so much as ask for a tiny image to be converted into .bmp, .jpg, .anything, Fractal Terrains tells me "Computer says no" and shuts down the program. Doesn't do it with any other many countless of other maps that I have scattered about my HDD, just the one that I desperately want to export for the love of God!!

So, I have had to settle for screen-capture resolution. Not happy, Jan.

Anyway, please have a look and let me know what you all reckon :)

Steel General
11-22-2009, 08:03 AM
I like it so far...

...can't help you with the Fractal Terrains issue as I don't use it myself. But I'm sure someone with more knowledge/experience with it will be along to give you some help/ideas.

11-22-2009, 12:42 PM
I like the general outlines and continental shape, and the elevation coloration looks good. Only question I have is about the tannish area in the southeast - is that desert? If so, why all the rivers running through it?

On the FT front, I too can be of no use to you. Never used that program.

Ryan K
11-22-2009, 03:21 PM
Admittedly, I didn't initially plan on the river outlines appearing in the desert. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided that they would make useful water channels, wadis and I might even convert one of the courses into a canyon of some sort.

Deserts rarely have to consist of miles upon miles of burning sands rolling across a great expanse, but merely a climatic zone where it rains too far too little for there to be the sort of vegetation found in more temperate zones. So I decided to leave them in, because it actually didn't make sense not to have large watercourses (no matter whether how much of the time of the year water would flow through it).

11-22-2009, 06:24 PM
I like how with Fractal Terrains that I can produce images up to 8000 pixels wide. I like excess. I like putting 1TB of memory to the test. And usually I can do that. If I wanted.

However, for whatever reasons unbeknown-st to me, if I so much as ask for a tiny image to be converted into .bmp, .jpg, .anything, Fractal Terrains tells me "Computer says no" and shuts down the program. Doesn't do it with any other many countless of other maps that I have scattered about my HDD, just the one that I desperately want to export for the love of God!!

FT will output images subject to the limits of your machine (it keeps everything in memory). FT is a 32-bit Windows program, meaning that it has access to roughly 2GB of process space including editing data, workspace for the displays, and workspace for export. Exceeding this limit will cause the program to terminate without warning in a rather unhelpful fashion. I can get it to output 6000x6000 bitmap files without a problem.

There was a bug in some releases of FT that would cause the program to crash if there were grids enabled when the export was attempted, regardless of export size. There is a fix for this problem, but I'm not sure if it's on the PF website or if it has only made it into the beta versions. Contact PF tech support if you can output without grids but not with and they should be able to get you working again.

Ryan K
11-23-2009, 01:32 AM
I didn't consider turning off the grids, so I might give that a whirl.

As for the limits of my machine, I would think it was beefy enough to handle it if my old Dell Insperon 1200 could handle it. Then again, the Dell runs Windows XP, and this machine runs Vista.

I'll try some more fault-finding in the meanwhile. Thank you for your advice Waldronate.

Ryan K
11-23-2009, 02:31 AM
I love you, Waldronate, and I would like to bear your children.

11-23-2009, 05:21 AM
Black bear or grizzly bear? I suppose polar might work in a pinch, too, if we can figure out a way to get them to the arctic...

Ryan K
11-23-2009, 05:28 AM
I was thinking more panda or koala bear, despite the fact that they aren't really bears.

It worked, as you can tell, I now have the ability to make 8000 pixel wide maps ... problem now is that the computer that has PS on it won't be able to handle the 1GB of images I want to process :S

Well, at least now I now know what to get for Christmas.

11-23-2009, 05:31 AM
Ah, I was thinking more along the lines of disposal.

Good to hear that the problem has been resolved to some level.

Ryan K
12-02-2009, 07:23 AM
Here's an update on my progress so far.

Special thanks so far to:

Bohunk for his inspirational design for Shegu,

Wag for his mountain brushes, and,

Waldronate for helping me see the bleeding obvious problem I had with FT.

Things left to do:

RIVERS - They look just plain awful, but I've left them in for now because it's good to have a reference point. I intend to make them look more tapered and a bit more of a smooth flow. Additionally, some of the rivers in the more deserty part of the map will either be chopped completely, or converted into a vast canyon system.

Nav Lines - I'm going to fade them a fair bit, and maybe tweak them so they look a bit more sketched on.

Labelling - I gots a lot of labelling to do.

Borders - as above.

Here be dragons - Yep. Gonna put some fantastical creatures on there when I find the right sort.

Compass rose - need one, want one.

Thumb-print and maybe an ink-splotch - somewhere, just for something different.

Creases and folds - planning on putting a strategically placed fold mark on it.

Make it look good and functional - in order to make it look good and functional.

Please have a look and let me know what you all think. The original image is actually 8000pixels wide, just because I can :)

12-02-2009, 08:17 AM
As a rule I don't think nav lines go over the land masses. For one thing it looks kinda messy.
Other than that, it's looking really good. I usually find that it's when you add the labelling that it really brings a map to life so looking forward to seeing it at that stage.

Steel General
12-02-2009, 08:35 AM
I'm with Ramah, either move the nav lines below the land (but above the sea) or lower the opacity on them so that they don't dominate the rest of the map.

Ryan K
12-02-2009, 10:00 AM
Yep, I have every intention of fading them and making them a fair bit more faint. As I've mentioned, this is all just a WIP.

I am inspired by the Piri Reis maps from the 16th century, which are just gorgeous - I'll probably have the lines as faint as these:


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/27/Piri_Reis_map_of_Europe_and_the_Mediterranean_Sea. jpg (this one is just exquisite)

Ryan K
01-12-2010, 11:17 AM
Good (very early) Morning, Fellow Cartographers,

My progress so far:

Mountains: I was never really fully satisfied with the mountains that I had stamped on it originally, so I went banoonoos and wiped it, started over from scratch. It doesn't look perfect, but I think it suits the basic nature of the map.

I also included a sort of canyon feature amongst the mountains of the western continent, which will soon come with a bit of a mysterious cloud effect at the bottom of it. Trying to work out ways to make the colour scheme of it look more parchmenty, but that's low on my to-do list for now.

Rivers: Using the same hand-to-mouse-method as with the mountains, I got rid of the god-awful blocky ones from previous and made some new ones that I think look a million times better.

NB: I sort of tried something new with laying out mountains and rivers, and that was to place the rivers first, and then put the mountains in afterwards, and I think it helped a great deal conceptulise the mountain placement.

Nav Lines: something that was already a resource-sucking entreprise (in plotting the lines, the best way of doing it was to use a 1500-cm2 .psd file, and position it where I want it, and then trim the edges to fit the map canvas), I scrubbed what I had before, and replotted it with a more time-consuming and resource-heavy technique that made some of the line-intersections a bit more accurate. Additionally, I made the line more opaque, and included a sub-layer which is actually a blurred white rendition of it, so there is a very very very faint highlight to it.

Compass Rose: I was that close to making my own before I thought 'bugger it', copied a four-pointer off the internet, did some copying and layering, and voila. I like it.

Nations: Well, apparently I have to come up with 48 nations. Funny how sometimes you don't get to control everything in one's design. It will be worth it in the long-run. I was rather tempted to do a bit of a pattern, but when I put the rather opaque colour layout on top of it, it seemed really pleasing to the eye, so I left as is.

To-do List:

Labelling: 'Nuff said. That will be my next big 'un to do.

Marking: I want to put a couple of ink-splotches on it, and I've got some neat brushes that will help me towards that end.

Legend: Once I decide the font-sets and icons, that will be the next in line.

Here be Dragons!: You gotta have sea-beasties and what-not.

Anywhoooo... I thought I would show everyone my progress . I've uploaded a rather low-quality jpg, so don't hold that against me :) This sucker is 4 megapixels large, after all. As usual, critique, comments and queries are highly desired, and would love to hear what the masters reckon so far :)

I've been at this since 9am, and it's 2am the next day now.Better get to bed. I just saw an elephant in a green bowler hat, who asked me about falafels and if there is any good shows on at the Ritz.


01-12-2010, 11:51 PM
At first glance its a little "string of candy necklace" coloured...

01-13-2010, 02:54 AM
Ooooo, pretty colours... sry I'm a little out of it right now. Do each of those small regions represent a different nation or does each colour represent a different nation?

Besides that it looks good :)


Ryan K
01-13-2010, 03:25 AM
The regions on the western continent are colonies of corresponding colours on the eastern one, but that detail will become clearer once I get to the laborious task of labelling.

Ryan K
01-30-2010, 04:38 AM
Good Evening all,

Update: I've buggerised around with the countries a fair bit, as I wasn't happy with how they were looking for one thing, especially the technicoloured colour style >yeesh< you guys were on the ball with that one. Anyway, with all good rewrites come (in my opinion anyway) better results and I am pretty happy with how it looks, at least with the new country/colony spreads. The main country, Vitolia, now looks a little more prominent, due to obvious cartographer bias.

I have about 400 labels in place for the main towns, so my girlfriend and I will have a wonderful time brainstorming and filling those little suckers in, but I have already gone ahead and given the correct names to the places already visited in my book (as with the countries).

Things to come:

Sea-monsters and maybe a hurricane-dude: as previously mentioned, you gotta have em on ye olde maps.

Vitolia-centricity: I am thinking of having the positions of certain Legions of Vitolia marked on the map with small standards marking them, each with their own individual crest, but I haven't yet figured out how to capture the detail without it seeming overbearing on the map and obscuring other details.

Aging: I don't know if it is just me staring at this thing for so long, but I am not sure if I should redo the parchment style, or change it somehow? I'd love some feedback on that.

I would also love some advice on how to improve the shading of the mountains (if the more experienced hands think it could/should be done).

As usual, if there are any additional feedback, comments or queries regarding this project, please please please let me know. Also, be advised that this image has been optimised for internet use - it's on about 5 out of 12 on the quality-meter.

Thank you all.

01-30-2010, 04:47 AM
I can't see anything I would change.

I'm loving the style on this map, I've been gravitating this way myself while working on my last piece.