View Full Version : First Serious Map Attempt

02-07-2010, 07:58 AM

This has kind of morphed into a development of a style of mountains to go with an "antique" sort of map; please see the last posts on this page to see where I've moved into.


None of this would have worked without:

RobA's ARtistic Regional Map Tutorial
Ascension's Atlas Style Tutorial
Gidde's GIMP conversion of the same
Gidde's Textured Forests tutorial (which I haven't applied yet)
RobA's script-fu magic (tapered rivers, others I'm sure to follow)

Others I may have forgotten.

This is Work In Progress, tear it apart. Theoretically, this continent is supposed to be about the same size as Africa, presuming you turn Africa on it's side (Mediterranean shore to the right).

I need to redo the jungle in the upper-right with Gidde's Textured Forests, and I'm not sure about the desert yet. The blue river lines are my current w-i-p attempt at creating rivers with RobA's Tapered Rivers by cheating and making the path out of a 1 px line - you can see my thoughts on the process at that thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?3011-[Award-Winner]-Tapered-Rivers-in-GIMP)




02-07-2010, 09:35 AM
That looks pretty good. The coast could be more jagged but the overall shape is interesting. Colors look good, mtns look good.

02-07-2010, 10:49 AM
Agreed, great job for a "first attempt." I'll have to take a look at Gidde's forest tut, not familiar with it. I agree with Ascension's comment about the coast needing to be more jagged. I also think that there are some spots within the continent that are too dark and shadowy (I presume this is due to an underlying clouds layer). You might try lightening these shadowy areas up a bit. There are several ways to do this, but since you're using Gidde's Ascension style tut, I suggest just following step 34 and creating a third land color adjustment layer (using the colors form step 22 or as you see fit) and simply coloring over the dark spots a bit, and setting the layer mode to hue. Keep up the good work.



02-07-2010, 11:59 AM
Thanks for the feedback!

I agree on the coast - this started out as a scan of a rough sketch, and I'd been playing with ways to use RobA's "Not So Random Coastlines" to get it to jag out. I'd gotten halfway there; the inlets intruding into the mountains on the northwest and southeast portions of the continent are a result of that fiddling, but it didn't "take" everywhere - zooming in you can see some jaggedness, but in other sections it still looks pretty smooth.

I may try fiddling with distorting a selection of the coastline mask to see if I can induce some jags in the smooth bits.

The shadows are better than they were - they're mostly an artifact of bending RobA's "Not So Random" into "Almost Completely Not Random". I'm on a different monitor now (LCD) looking at my post and they're a lot darker here then where I'd been working (CRT). Sounds to me like an excuse to get myself a widescreen LCD :)

I'm not sure what I was drawing when I did it, but my 4 year old daughter told me it looked like an angel - tilt your head to the right and assume the round sea surrounded by islands is the angel's face and you can see it.

Gidde's Forests are here:



02-07-2010, 01:40 PM
OK, quick update. I curve-lightened the land cloud layer, and that took out a bit of the shadows. I recolored it after that, as the southern portion of the continent went all desert, and I didn't want that. I also re-bumpmapped after the lightening. The darkness now you see in the northwest and south of the desert is the new gradient colors, they're a touch dark in the middle.

I took my coastline as a selection, I distorted it with 155/2/2/1, no smoothing, then reapplied that as the mask. I've got a slightly dark coastline stroke on there right now to highlight what the distort did. It gave a bit more small-scale jaggedness.

02-07-2010, 03:01 PM
If you want to fractalise your coastline, check out Oldguys tutorial on it in the tutorial section - it's by far the easiest way (easier than RobA's which is also really good) to produce great results and will work in gimp. Presumably your sea and land levels are on different layers. Just make a new layer and make a solid filled outline of your land layer if you haven't got one already. Do Oldguy's magic on it and then save that as a selection and just delete the bits outside it on your land layer.

I'd suggest putting another texture on your land layer too, something subtle (ie low opacity and masked with clouds or something) to give it a shade more variety (if you feel you need it).

Also I'd suggest desaturating and/or darkening the sea by about half. The sea and land don't look unified to my eye (I haven't got a very good one) and I think it's because the sea is too bright and too blue. An easy starting point (doesn't always work) is to sample a colour on the land in HSL mode and use the same saturation value for your sea layer.

If you're after the scale of Africa, then the central mountain range is HUGE in width, might be worth making it narrower and having more little spurs coming off it....depends on the look you're going for though.

I do like the general lighting, and it's a fine start to something which I'm sure will turn out to be pretty beautiful.



02-07-2010, 03:56 PM
The coast is coming along but keep going - really give it some chunkiness.

02-07-2010, 04:26 PM
I'm pretty 'meh' on the sea color as well - through this process I've found I'm horrible at picking colors, and nothing I've tried yet for the ocean has really grabbed me.

Good point on the mountains. I went and checked out the maps here:


The best comparison I can find on a map of Earth is that those mountains are about the size of the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau, with the Kunlun and Qiling ranges, if one were to cut+paste that formation onto Africa.

I think if I were to keep that size, I need a more well-defined ridge on either the north or south side of the mountains to show where the plates are colliding.

02-18-2010, 06:20 PM
OK. Like a kid at Christmas, I'm jumping between toys willy-nilly, and as I was randomizing up the coastline I decided to switch over to Ascension's Antique style for a little bit.

This was a little bit of playing around, but what I'd really like feedback on is the mountains. I used RobA's rotating brush script to make the single and V-line mountains - the "style", if there is one, is 2 parts Ascension and one part Colton (google Colton World Map, first hit)

I need to fix up the straight-line style a *lot*, and the V-line experiment I don't like at all. The straight lines I think I need to firm up some actual ridges - I was attempting to "build up" the range with mutliple levels of lines, but I'm not sure that really got the idea across.

I'd be best served with a tablet and an hour hand-drawing the little lines :) I wish I knew a way to get the lines to "lengthen" during a stroke; alternatively, if I were to stroke a path with this brush, it could take the length of the path, grow the line for the first 50%, and then shrink it back down for the second 50%. I may have to put on a coding hat and combine RobA's tapered stroke path with his rotating brush, but that'll be a long time coming.




02-19-2010, 04:42 PM
Yet another mountain post - I thought I'd try the same line style but add "peaks". This is just a section of the north part while I'm playing around. Different "woodcut" too.



And more, smaller lines, with and without peaks.





02-19-2010, 06:17 PM
this is looking good and getting better ;) for the sea colors i'd go with a little darker blues, especially further from the shores to indicate some more depth. Also a nice idea on the coastline-waves, makes me curious how they'd look on the colored version... cheers!

02-20-2010, 12:22 PM
More mountain tests. The lines are closer together, and the upward "face" of the mountain has longer lines.

With and without peaks:



I think the basic structure of what I'm trying here would work better with better "lashes" - they feel a little artificial, espc. when next to the waviness of the water "woodcut".



02-20-2010, 12:28 PM
Like Coyote says; if ya want it to look hand-drawn ya might as well hand-draw it. So I agree about it looking a bit artificial. It's not bad but it looks a little too perfect.

02-20-2010, 06:17 PM
Yea, I know. I so love letting the program do the work for me though :) In no small part because I'm really bad at drawing.

One more try at a style. Redid the coast effects. Four different mountain attempts. I think the one on the right may work out the best, espc. if I'd thin it out more like the one on the left. It's a selection stroked with a 10% spaced version of the lines I was doing before, then a inverted, blurred selection mask made from the same selection. I think I may like this if I can work up a better brush to stroke with.