View Full Version : Paidixira - My first worldmap! HMOG!

01-11-2010, 06:40 AM
I'm posting here the first 2 maps for my unnamed fantasy story. The world is made up of four great landmasses, three of them connected by landmasses. The fourth, Paidixira, is the newfangled toy in the hands of the Danic conquest. The unification of the other three landmasses and the invasion of the new land across the sea were lead primarily by physically manifestations of the greek gods.

I made a conscious decision to build this world around a decidedly Greek influence, and the names of Continents and Countries are variations on greek words.

On a visual side, the artistry of the countries is pretty lacking (i decided to be a writer for a reason...) but it is a founding template for the story. Even with that caveat though, i'd love suggestions and positive criticism for my cartography.

I have some more WIP maps for the individual countries, and i'll be posting those soon.:arrow:

Steel General
01-11-2010, 06:43 AM
I really like the world map, it's a very eye-pleasing style.

For the Paidixira map, I would suggest looking through the various tutorials and choose one whose style you like. Give it a spin, post up your results in the WIP forum and we'll help you along.

02-13-2010, 03:37 PM
I have an updated version of my Paidixira map. I want to know what you guys think about my "improvements." I'm pretty happy with them, but i only see my changes now in relation to my last one, sooo im a bit biased. :? You guys are objectvity! What do you guys understand about the world from this map? What could i do to make the theme more contiguous? Does this map raise any questions?

02-13-2010, 04:44 PM
I like the Paidixira map, but I think that the river police might have something to say about that massive splitting of rivers :)

Steel General
02-13-2010, 08:15 PM
Elothan is correct, rivers generally do not split. The easiest way to think of a river system is it's like a tree. The smaller branches starting at the higher elevations and combining into larger branches and/or the trunk as it progresses to the lower elevations.

02-13-2010, 09:59 PM
Ditto on the rivers. I am also puzzled as to what the black lines in Aster are meant to represent. I think the continent has an interesting shape and the mix of colors is pleasing, but you might want to add a key to the map. There are several quite sharply defined brown areas. I would make a guess that the darker green is forest, the yellow-green areas are grassland, and the yellow-red-beige areas are desert, but I can't even guess what the brown might be.

Edit: I should have looked at the earlier version. Brown appears to be taiga, but I am still baffled by the Aster lines and still recommend a key, although that really can wait until the map itself is settled -- as long as you are sure you'll remember what everything meant.

07-25-2010, 04:27 AM
Wow, it's been a while since my last update.
I have since been digging through some wonderful tutorials and rebooted my entire style. I'm looking now for less of a paper map style and more of a tactile relief map style. I've finished mountains and valleys, but now i'm stuck. I need an efficient way to portray forests and grasslands and swampy basins that follows the whole tactile feel. Any suggestions?

P.S. Thanks for the advice on my rivers, I've cleaned them up a bit. What do y'all think?
@rdanhenry: Those sharply defined brown areas are actually monumental mining pits that factor into the story of the land. I'll have a key pretty soon that clears all that up.

07-25-2010, 08:07 AM
Looks very tactile. Rivers still need work as they split often (remember that rivers join and don't split except in deltas). As for the forests, what software are you using?

07-25-2010, 10:05 AM
I like your map a lot actually...I just recently posted my first map not too long ago myself and would like to replicate any of the styles you've done here...great job, man.

07-25-2010, 06:34 PM
You're too right about my rivers. I have learned the error of my ways, and i'm improving my lakes now too. I'm working in photoshop CS4 with a large wacom tablet. I've seen photoshop tutorials for making forests, but in my experiences the texture I use isn't as perfect as theirs or they use a masking technique I just cannot match or some other oddity pops up. I really like the forests Tear (http://www.cartographersguild.com/member.php?11372-Tear) made in his map of Durra (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?7676-Durra-The-Land-of-Shivers&highlight=trees+tutorial), and I think something similar would work well on my map.

@cjs0216: here are the tutorials I used for the mountains (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?4405-Award-Winner-Rising-up-the-mountains-in-Photoshop) and to direct the flow of water (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3822-How-to-get-your-rivers-in-the-right-place) . From one novice to another, I suggest you keep trolling your creative net for more tut's. Their help has been invaluable

07-27-2010, 05:45 PM
I'm not real sure of Tear's method on forests, he'd be the one to explain that. But to me it looks like a small round tip with some scatter and layer styles.

07-27-2010, 08:49 PM
Though there are a couple of issues that you can do to make the map better - like the rivers splitting on left side and some minor points where your repeating texture shows a little. I think this is a great map and nice bit of art and I will give you some rep points to start your rep pip off in the green zone. Also some rep for posting the tut link on the rivers which I was going to do but now I don't need to. Thats great stuff - im glad you already found it.

If your interested in getting rid of repeating texture edges on seamless tiled textures then where you have one texture put in three - all the same image but tile them with different resolutions. Best to make the difference between res's in factors of some prime number. Say 100px x 100px then next one 133px x 133 px and then another 179px x 179px. Then they will not repeat in multiples and not show the edges so clearly.

08-18-2010, 06:09 PM
This is my latest vesion of paidixira, with exuberant colors and depressed rivers. This is where I'm at a road block. The colors on the map are so far the best way I know currently to differentiate terrain types, but I'm not satisfied. I really want to have at least four different textures to work with. Forests, deserts, swanps, and grasslands, and I might do taiga and chaparral too. I'm on active search mode now, so any contributions will be time saving and useful. As for the placement of my terrain, i know that desert in the northwestern section of beozall is a strange place for a desert, but it has plot relevance. I'd love feedback for the rest of my terrain, and I'm not opposed to a total overhaul if the map needs it.

Your help is invaluable!

08-30-2010, 08:44 PM
Here's an update: I have forests! It's just a simple scattered brush, but i enjoyed the effect. I thought the trees were a little hard to see at first, so I added a layer to brighten things up a bit. The first version has names of all the mountains and forests other landmarks. The second version shows political borders and and country names. The black-bordered countries are either occupied by native peoples or inaccessible. What do you guys think about the names I have? Does the Land seem to have enough biomes? Do the forsts look realistic? Do you guys have any questions for me?

08-30-2010, 09:24 PM
this look is very different, unique. the more i look at it though I find that i really like it.
cool work!

08-30-2010, 11:18 PM
I'd change the white glow on the text because the text is white causing it to run together in places making it hard to read. I'd change it to black or brown, but that's just my opinion.

Steel General
08-31-2010, 03:54 PM
I agree w/Ascension on the text. Otherwise it's quite nice.

08-31-2010, 04:58 PM
I really like how you did the dropoffs to the big valley in the east - that looks cool. Rivers and lakes look much, much better now too, and I agree with Ascension & SG re the white glow around the text.

09-02-2010, 02:34 PM
Trouble! I'm working on some clouds for the map, and I can't find any good examples or tutorials on the forums. Any ideas?

Steel General
09-02-2010, 02:35 PM
Do some Google searches for Photoshop Cloud tutorials, I found some good ones a year or so ago.

09-02-2010, 07:39 PM
For what it's worth, I've never found anything worthwhile on cloud tuts and I've yet to figure out how to make good ones myself. If you find anything decent, link it here so we can try it.

09-03-2010, 04:16 AM
Ive found a couple, but they seem to be more useful for closer up shots. Still, they show how to make some nifty cloud brushes, and how to paint clouds from scratch. I may use the video tuts for my town maps. Most promising is the jpeg tut. I'm going to try out this method and get back to you guys with the results.
Here are all the links:
Making a wonderfully flexible cloud brush (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8J11qdE4GFM)
Painting clouds into scenes from scratch (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=466lBz0KadI)
Original tutorial the jpeg was excerpted from (http://www.solarvoyager.com/images/tutorials/LandPlanet.jpg)

09-03-2010, 05:57 PM
Taking some concepts from the tutorials I found, I've finally made clouds! What do y'all think? I was hoping to use the clouds to obscure lands unexplored by the main character's people. Also, in figuring out where to place clouds, i have placed down markers for the prevailing wind currents. I'll be uploading those soon too.

P.S. For some reason the third image didn't load a thumbnail, but I didn't mean to hide it in any way.

09-04-2010, 02:44 AM
Those turned out pretty well. I think the style of the first version looks best with your map, but #2's got a certain something too. Only thing I'd do with 2 is maybe add in a bit of gray to simulate storms, etc.

09-04-2010, 08:09 AM
I prefer the cloud shapes from the first one, the "streakier" one. Looks more realistic as large scale weather system. But I prefer the lightness and fluffiness of the second. Is there a way to combine the two? I'd like to see that! :-)

09-18-2010, 04:19 AM
Okeeeee, not sure how factually legit these are, but here are some wind currents! It's important how I build these so I can decide from which direction the Conquerors discovered Paidixira came from. The main method I used to decide these currents was to make loops around the edges of major bodies of water, veering out of the way of land masses, then ascribe a direction of rotation based on hemispheres, and lastly, fill in any gaps between loops with either a "wind tunnel" or "hurricane strip". This was probably the bluntest, quickest way i could have made these approximations of very complicated systems, and it was advised by no real experience in meteorology. Tear it apart!

P.S. the key for Megalaos is
White: Main Wind Current loops
Cyan: those wind tunnel thingies i was talking about
Red: hurricane thing
Blue: some kind of evaporation uptake something
gah, my inexperience is horrific!

P.P.S the cyan clouds on this Paidixira map are just that: cloud placement!

09-19-2010, 05:46 PM
I like te second concept of the clouds the most.
By the way, I really do like the structure of Paidixira.
Are there towns/ villages?

09-28-2010, 06:30 PM
John64 brings up a great point! I do have towns laid out. The problem is, on the world map adding cities makes the map look far too busy. Sooooo, ive made country maps. These countries are all supposed to speak the same language, but between them they have developed different dialects. They each as well have a different patron god. So far I just have 2 (Makitan and Tambria, patroned by Aphrodite and Athena respectively), but I'm hoping to do all of them :). Whaddyall think?

09-29-2010, 06:43 PM
Oh, to clarify a little for the things you might not understand before I have my legend, here are some important naming and typographic distinctions.
1 Capital ciies are in all caps. Across the board.
2 In Tambria, a Fatel is a kind of religious center and fort. They are pretty much abbeys with better armaments. These forts are often built around religiously significant sites to protect from physical and cultural attacks.
3 A Pyrga or Pyrgo in Makitan is a similar fort set up, but instead of religion as a second cental component, trade works alongside military. In a pyrga, the fort is built around a central market so entering traders can be safe from attack, as well as can be monitored and searched. These forts dissuade smuggling, reduce petty theft, and make for a safe place to mix cultures.
Im still coming up with these different types of cities and forts, so any feedback will be of interest to me. I'm hoping to introduce a new kind of polis in every new country then mixing them up a bit. For now, i think these cities can help define the differences between these countries where different language will not be a factor.

09-29-2010, 09:16 PM
The ideas of the different kinds of forts is awesome; I may have to steal that idea, if you don't mind. :D

I'm really liking the close-up country maps, with one exception: the cities/towns as red blobs looks kind of... off. My personal opinion (so ignore at your leisure) is that they'd look better as more traditional icons, especially if you're going to show all the forts, etc.

09-30-2010, 03:31 AM
I think you're right about the blobs (im kinda thinking now they look like blood, eugh). If I may explain, my intention was to try and give a sense of scale and shape to the cities. I was afraid icons wouldn't quite convey the physicality i'm looking for. My grind comes from trying to convey the size, shape, and layout of a town or city simply and quickly. I may have to put more effort into that.
I really like your Dutchy of Normark (http://www.cartographersguild.com/album.php?albumid=330&attachmentid=28853) map, Diamond (http://www.cartographersguild.com/member.php?11607-Diamond). It makes me think that roads might be the key to deciding the design of and conveying a sense of my towns. Anybody know of any tips or tricks I should be aware of before I start my probably very time-consuming roadmapping of a continent?

09-30-2010, 07:07 PM
I think it all really depends on scale. In my Northmark map, looking at it again, I feel like the scale is off. Looking at the size of the buildings and the width of the towns (the majority of which are supposed to be quite small), I think I goofed. I should've made the scale 1 inch = 1/2 mile or something, or greatly reduced the number of buildings in each community.

So for your country maps, my thought was that the scale is still too large to show even a generalized shape layout of the cities, etc. unless either A) the countries are tiny, or B) the cities are freakin' HUGE.

10-05-2010, 06:38 PM
I've decided maybe icons arent so bad. Here are three maps: Oryktogi (patroned by Apollo), Tambria (Athena), and Makitan (Aphrodite). There are roads varying in width and traffic. Each country has one capitol. Makitan's pyrgas (fort/market), Tambria's fatelos (fort/church), and Oryktogi's toigas (fort/sport arena) are all represented by a single "fort" symbol, so one has to look at the names to determine the type of fort. Once I've developed all the types of forts, I want to go back and mix them up a bit, and maybe add other landmarks and installations. For now, do you guys think the roads and icons read easily? Do the names sound like real towns or like someone dropped a scrabble board? Is it okay to have so many different compasses, and do they work for you?

Thanks for all the feedback so far! I can't believe how far y'all have gotten me!

10-06-2010, 10:30 PM
I'll tell you what, your terrain looks fan-freakin-tastic, especially in the Oryktogi map. What is that in the top, a dried-up lake? Looks damn good.

Naming is always difficult (I think for everybody), but these seem to mesh okay. And I'm digging the different compasses, especially the medusa one in Tambria.

Really, the only nitpicks I have are small:
1) The city/fort/etc icons in Makitan and Tambria might look better in a different color besides that of the border; they're a little difficult to pick out as is. The Oryktogi map works much better IMO.
2) The areas where your borders follow coastlines look funky. Instead of having a 'hard border' following the coast, maybe leave it off altogether there, or put in a more translucent border that roughly follows the coast a couple dozen pixels out in the sea.
3) Your coastlines could do with some more definition. The areas where the borders follow the coast look too harsh, and the other coastlines blend too well with the sea. maybe put in a slight blue outer glow? Or maybe reduce the intensity of the 'waves' in the seas to draw attention back to the land where it belongs.

10-10-2010, 02:02 PM
Really impressed of your maps, compasses, everything. Have some rep!

The only thing is the trees dropshadow in the Makitan-map, it's too distanced so they look double. Just close them up a bit :)

10-10-2010, 02:28 PM
I love the style of these maps. All in all a most excellent job. I'd agree with Diamond about your coastlines but other than that I love these maps!! :)

01-28-2011, 03:11 PM
After a long school-laden hiatus, I've finally gotten back to my maps! Updates to the previous country maps show some polishing changes, but I'm most excited about the new map! Beozall, the desert nation, is supposed to have some middle-eastern/mediterranean influences in it's names. Several roads lead over its border mountain ranges. How do these borders look to y'all? Is it realistic to expect them to stop at the mountains so abruptly? Is there any other polish I could put on to all these maps? Loving all the feedback!

01-28-2011, 03:54 PM
The only thing that I can say, opinion-wise, is that the blue water is too vivid - kind of clashes with the terrain colors in my opinion. So maybe put a layer of gray over that then reduce opacity a bit to mute it some. As to the borders, well, there's so many ways of doing them that I really don't have any strong opinions either way...so these are as good as anything else. :)

Steel General
01-29-2011, 08:42 AM
I agree with Ascension on the water being a bit overwhelming.