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View Full Version : The Fanavar Empire, or the first map Ive ever made. Help.



Enduin
02-24-2010, 07:25 PM
So like the title says this is the land of the Fanavar Empire that I am trying to create and its the first map I have ever made, in fact its the first thing Ive ever made in PS ever outside really basic photo touch ups. The reason I am making this map is to have a foundation for a story I want to write and I dont want to start without having a solid picture of where its happening and where the people I am writing about came from and the kinds of environments they developed out of. Ive done some poking around on the forums and looked at a lot of peoples work and three that stuck out the most were Tear's Westeros (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?6795-Westeros-by-Tear), Shegu by Bohunk (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?5568-Shegu-by-Bohunk) and most of all Ramah's Vaniya (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?5556-Vaniya-by-Ramah). Ive also looked at a number of Ascension's tutorials, though I don't think his style is exactly right for my purposes, though I have to say I love his Antique style map a lot.

So far Ive made two distinct maps the first was a complete failure that a 4 year old could have drawn. The second has come out much better and I have two versions of it, though I am not opposed but rather leaning towards scrapping this too and starting from scratch. I am not sure which direction to take or even how to finish them but V1 is more realistic with bump mapping and actual mountains and elevations that took me a while to figure out and Im still not happy with, while V2 is very simple with no fancy style effects and Ive only used Minty's mountains (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?9277-Minty-s-World-First-Map), thank you those are awesome by the way, so far and I like the simplistic look akin to Ramah's Vaniya.

My overall goal is to create a map encompassing a land surrounded by water that is comparable in size to the United States or Europe and as diverse geographically, with then enough detail to be a worthwhile reference for when I write my story. So any help or comments would be greatly appreciated, especially if people know of specific plugins or other tools I should get for PS or if theres another program altogether that I should get.

Rythal
02-24-2010, 07:37 PM
looks great so far... I really like the shape of the land.

rivers are mostly allright, but the one in the bottom left corner... I recall reading that rivers dont join at 90 degree angles somewhere, though I don't think I read that on this site.

torstan
02-24-2010, 09:00 PM
Looks good.

NeonKnight
02-24-2010, 09:07 PM
looks great so far... I really like the shape of the land.

rivers are mostly allright, but the one in the bottom left corner... I recall reading that rivers dont join at 90 degree angles somewhere, though I don't think I read that on this site.


Better not tell the Nechako River that, because it feeds into the Fraser at a near 90 degrees in Prince George, British Columbia ;)

http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=prince+george&sll=49.891235,-97.15369&sspn=45.962854,135.263672&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Prince+George,+Fraser-Fort+George+Regional+District,+British+Columbia&ll=53.906765,-122.684498&spn=0.081507,0.264187&z=13

NeonKnight
02-24-2010, 09:10 PM
Mapwise, I like the map, I like the look. Waiting for more!

Mark Oliva
02-25-2010, 12:01 AM
rivers are mostly allright, but the one in the bottom left corner... I recall reading that rivers dont join at 90 degree angles somewhere, though I don't think I read that on this site.

The River Police will get in trouble if they try to enforce a law like that! I can think of several real world contradictions.

rdanhenry
02-25-2010, 12:40 AM
The shape makes me think of a dinosaur skull, but that may just be me. You have a few rivers that start very close to the sea and flow the other direction for no visible reason (not necessarily wrong, but when you get down to closer detail, you'll need some coastal heights in those places.

Aenigma
02-25-2010, 07:58 AM
I also see a dinosaur skull inthere :P lol.
Very well done, considering it's your first map O.o

Rythal
02-25-2010, 08:00 AM
ah, I was thinking about a different rule then, my apologies.

again, a great map

Steel General
02-25-2010, 10:16 AM
Great start, looking forward to seeing it develop.

Enduin
02-25-2010, 02:13 PM
So I ended up scrapping that map like I did my first attempt. It was a decent map but it just felt far too crafted and artificial, so I did a great deal of searching around on here and other places, and I played around with some different apps and was very pleased with what I got from Greenfish's Relief Map Generator (http://greenfish.extra.hu/downloads.php). By ramping the resolution up big time and tweaking the settings turning off all the names and having the land black and water white I got a good few land masses that I was able to cut up and patch together to make some nice continents. I had 9 in total and narrowed it down to the one that felt like it would suit my needs the best.

Right now I am figuring out which mix and thickness of mountains and trees feels right. I think Ive found my mountains in Ramah's Aronbor brushes (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?7573-Mountain-brushes-from-Ramah-s-Aronbor-map) and then trees from StarRaven on Deviantart (http://starraven.deviantart.com/art/Calligraphic-Cartography-Brush-153063338). Anywhere heres what I have so far san the trees and mountains along with some of the better maps I generated from Greenfish that anyone whose interested is welcome to.

Ascension
02-25-2010, 05:41 PM
While technically correct and abiding by the laws of physics, aesthetically speaking, rivers at right angles just look funky :)

Enduin
02-25-2010, 11:43 PM
Update #3, I think Im all set now, Ramah's moutain and hill brushes are sublime as are StarRaven's trees so now comes in the long tedious task of putting them all on the map. The trees are easy cause the deviations are maybe 1-3 pixels and its the same no matter where on the map they are but as can be plainly seen Ive messed up the northwest and central mountain rangers big time, the NW is way tinier than it should be and the central is far too large, I mean theyre supposed to be smaller and larger but I totally messed up on those, so Ill have to go back and redo them sadly. I dont realize how out of scale I am when zoomed in so close and then I zoom out and see how horribly off I was. Thankfully I layer like its my job so removing them will at least be a cinch. I do feel like Im overcrowding my mountain rangers, but with out all the hills and variations they feel to thin and awkward.

Coyotemax
02-26-2010, 12:54 AM
I'm noticing that you're using photoshop, so you might be interested in the following thread: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?7336-Photoshop-Using-the-Clone-Stamp-tool-for-better-Brush-work

It can take a bit of effort to get the technique down but once you do, it's worth the time. Basically, it allows you to overlap the brushes without the ones underneath showing through, which can help tighten up the mountains and hills so they don't look so spaced apart, yet don't look crowded either. Assuming you have a good selection of hills and mountains (the ones you're using include a great sampling for this) it's nearly as good as drawing them out by hand.

Enduin
02-26-2010, 07:56 PM
I'm noticing that you're using photoshop, so you might be interested in the following thread: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?7336-Photoshop-Using-the-Clone-Stamp-tool-for-better-Brush-work

It can take a bit of effort to get the technique down but once you do, it's worth the time. Basically, it allows you to overlap the brushes without the ones underneath showing through, which can help tighten up the mountains and hills so they don't look so spaced apart, yet don't look crowded either. Assuming you have a good selection of hills and mountains (the ones you're using include a great sampling for this) it's nearly as good as drawing them out by hand.

Darn I wish I could apply that to the brushes directly because that would be a handy technique to have but sadly at least right now it would be even more time consuming than things are for me since I am altering the size of my mountains/hills every time I use them. But I think Ive found my happy medium so that Im not cluttering my ranges with too many peaks and hillsides around them. But that technique seems perfect for creating isolated mountains and not ranges where you want to have a central peak with some really tight build ups from other smaller peeks.

Enduin
03-22-2010, 12:08 AM
So I kind of got side tracked for the past few weeks with other things and only just got back into working on the map in the last couple of days but I think I made a lot of progress and only have to do some the more finer details like little tree groves and what have you, that is if I dont go back and redo a bunch of stuff like the big forests since the pattern I made for that was pretty shoddy, though its hard to notice the blemishes if you dont know to look for them, but still. Also I found the tappering rivers tutorials and now I kind of want to do that but I dont think my rivers look that bad at all and redoing them all would take a long time, so I hopefully wont make myself do that.

I am not totally sure about the font, road markers and city/town images Im using. I could leave them as is or try and put in something better. I just really wanted to get them down for reference so Im not sure if Ill do anything more with them yet since I cant think of or find anything a whole lot better to replace them. Though I do want to find a better font to use for the town/area names than the one Im currently using for Fanavar Empire title right now.