View Full Version : Azala Eschanron (Proof of concept/learning the ropes)

04-03-2010, 11:21 AM
For the past week or so, I've been tinkering around with RobA's awesome Gimp tutorial, playing with settings, and trying to improve on some of the basic steps (if that's possible). I have a few preliminary maps for a fantasy novel I'm planning on writing already done, but I felt that I could learn more by making a map from scratch without restrictions. I mostly followed the tutorial, but I modified several things:

1) The coastline generation. I generate a smooth coastline, then do a couple of displacement maps on it in radial coordinates. I find this generates much more satisfactory coastlines (also generates small islands, depending on the settings).

2) The seashore (the light water around the coasts)--I'm not actually sure what I did here, I just played with it until it looked okay. I'm very open to suggestions on how to improve this, as I feel it is one of the weakest points of my maps.

3) The "Dirt Layer." For some reason, I can never get it to look as good as he does in the tutorial. Again, I just played around until I got something passable. I would really appreciate suggestions on how to vary base terrain textures and colors.

Okay, so now that the preamble is done, let's see the map(s):


The first is the blank, the second contains geographical information, and the third contains cities and towns. I would appreciate any advice or suggestions, but especially stuff on forests and rivers. I never feel entirely satisfied with those.

04-03-2010, 09:54 PM
I don't use GIMP, so I can't really comment on the nuts-and-bolts, but the thing that stands out to me here that could use improvement are the rivers. They have too many straight areas and almost right-angles, especially that river flowing from Embrium to Gal Hesperion. The other thing that bugs me river-wise is Capsan Island. All those rivers crammed in like that on an island just looks 'off' to me.

I do, however, like the landmass shapes, the river placement (except for the points above), and the general color/texture of everything. I also dig your place-names. Have some rep!

04-17-2010, 04:36 AM
Sorry for taking so long to get this wip up (had a big quantum mechanics test to study for!). Anyway, I worked on both the rivers and the mountains in this newest version, and I like the results, though I'm not 100% satisfied yet.


04-17-2010, 08:53 AM
The mountains and rivers look much better, I really like the mountains.

04-17-2010, 07:36 PM
Very nice map WIPs, coming along nicely.

04-18-2010, 08:03 AM
I wanted to try a more antique/tolkienesque style on this map, so here's the preliminary results:

It seems a little spare to me, but that may just be a function of the fact that there's no text yet (I haven't found something that works with this style yet). Any suggestions?

04-18-2010, 04:09 PM
I'm loving that parchment style! I'd add a one- or two-pixel stroke around the landmasses to help define them a little more, in a color three or four shades darker than the seas.

The nice thing about maps in this style is that you can cram a crapload of text in and still have it be clear and legible; in fact, I think the more text on this kind of map, the better. One trick I've learned is not to have too many different font styles on the same map, though, especially ones that are widely divergent style-wise. If all the fonts have a unifying 'look' to them (even if the size and color are different from location to location) it helps the whole map hang together better.

04-18-2010, 08:21 PM
I decided to take some of the above suggestions into account, and imagine my surprise when I realized I hadn't saved my last map version! At least that gave me an opportunity to implement some changes that I wanted to. Anyway, here's the map:


You might noticed I added a desert on the eastern limb of the large continent. I think it looks pretty good.

Anybody have any suggestions on fonts to use?

04-18-2010, 10:03 PM
To me, the desert looks too yellow; it clashes with the rather nice color scheme you've got everywhere else. Also, what about lowering the opacity on the rivers a bit? As they are now, they kind of overpower everything else, especially the mountains.

I'm not trying to be a dick, honestly. Just offering suggestions! :D

04-18-2010, 10:22 PM
No, I totally understand! I really welcome any comments, especially critical ones. How else am I supposed to get better at this?

04-18-2010, 11:10 PM
Well, ya never know how people are going to react on the intranetz, so I just wanted to put that qualification in there. :D

04-20-2010, 04:03 AM
Continuing with the antique style map, I've tried to spruce it up a bit. I think I've finally settled on a text, so now I can start putting in labels.


I think it looks a lot better with the compass rose, border, and the title box. I'm trying to figure out just where to put a legend. I might move the compass to the bottom center and put a legend where it is now. Any suggestions?

04-20-2010, 04:09 AM
Whoops, just realized that I turned off the desert layer and forgot to turn it back on. It will be back in the next version, when I get around to putting some text in.

04-20-2010, 11:13 PM
Got around to putting labels in. Most seem okay, some are probably too small.


I think that maybe the next step would be to distress the edges to make it look like a well used map. I actually have no idea how to do this, so suggestions would be very much appreciated!