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Guldaroth
04-07-2010, 08:27 AM
Greetings Ye Fellow Cartographers !

Greetings !

First of all, if my english's not clear, please ask me to reformulate...
But let me introduce myself by saying that I really enjoyed seeing all of your community working hard on cartographic maps. This because I do have also a hobby that consists in creating a world from A to Z...
My name is Jim Walker and I live in Switzerland. I'm currently studying Medieval History and Medieval Languages at the University.
As I was saying, I'm working on a great scale project since I am ten or eleven years old. It really started as a serious project only since I've been encouraged by some of my friends around me who try to give me support. And with their help I'm finally able to think that, someday, it'll be finished.
What brought me to your community is the gentle google search engine, as I was desperately looking for some good tutorials concerning realistic mapping.
The project I work on started for RPG needs first (I was GM for D&D but I always felt a bit uncomfortable and frustrated by the Forgotten Realms aesthetic). Then it evolved in a real hobby that wasn't linked anymore with RPG matters (though I'm still playing on the same map).
What I tried to do in my project is creating a consistent world - not just saying "this is it" but attempt to give explanations about why things are the way they are. For this purpose I've drawn a huge map using Illustrator (to have it very precise), set up the astronomical environment (with the help of my former math teacher), created the tectonic, volcanic and geological map. I'm now on the way of establishing the climate map. Meanwhile my coworkers and I have designing mineral materials and we're working now on plants.
After all this part we will pursue with animal design and finally social species with their own culture, religion, language, history, legends, …

I really adore working on this project for it represents at least 8 years of my life. And that's also why I'm still nervous about somebody stealing our job.

I wish I could get some advices or help from some of you to get this project (or at least its mapping part) done properly, as real professional !

Let me now show some pictures thumbs about what I've done.

I'm very glad to enter your Guild and hope it'll be fruitful for both side !

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Steel General
04-07-2010, 01:28 PM
Welcome Aboard!

Redrobes
04-07-2010, 01:33 PM
Welcome - thats a big project you have and its looking very grand.

When you say "to get this project (or at least its mapping part) done properly" what kind of map are you thinking of. Are you needing a more realistic terrain or an atlas style map of your world. Are you mapping it in 2D or3D ?

I would be interested in your process that you have formed to create the climate and the flora / vegetation for your land.

Edit - why is it that when I re-read the posts I always seem to get answers to my own questions. Ok so your after realistic mapping. Personally I would then model the terrain in 3D because the height and contours provide huge detail - rivers, temperature, shadows / slope to the sun, etc.

Aenigma
04-07-2010, 06:04 PM
Yo ho, yo ho a pirate's life for me... Welcome aboard ye fellow cartographer!

Guldaroth
04-08-2010, 11:08 AM
Glad to be aboard !

@ Redrobes: The problem I have is to realize a realistic heightmap for further 3D mapping. I was first working with Photoshop but I wanted to have the map more precise so I used Illustrator for vector drawing. But now I'm stuck with vectorial contours and when I turn the picture into grayscale heightmap my mountains just look like stairs...

I should have known that I was forgetting something... If someone is interested and if french language is not a problem for you, just ask me and I could grant you access to our Wiki where all the finished work are... (I can also translate some parts if somebody's really interested).

NeonKnight
04-08-2010, 12:15 PM
Welcome to the Guild!

Redrobes
04-08-2010, 02:05 PM
Glad to be aboard !

@ Redrobes: The problem I have is to realize a realistic heightmap for further 3D mapping. I was first working with Photoshop but I wanted to have the map more precise so I used Illustrator for vector drawing. But now I'm stuck with vectorial contours and when I turn the picture into grayscale heightmap my mountains just look like stairs...

I should have known that I was forgetting something... If someone is interested and if french language is not a problem for you, just ask me and I could grant you access to our Wiki where all the finished work are... (I can also translate some parts if somebody's really interested).

Ok, a GIS program is ideal but you can get from the stairs effect can be smoothed out if you have enough contours. Since you are in Illustrator then you should be able to export them as SVG or some vector format that you can import into a 3D app like Blender. In there you can set the heights up and get it to create a skin over the contours. Or you can create polygons, extrude them and sequentially slice them up to make the skin yourself.

If you have a lot of contours so that they describe the surface quite accurately then you can fill the gaps in alternate black and white bands then flood fill the bands in ascending shades of grey then blur the image to smooth out the stair effect. You need to use a gaussian blur and ensure that its sufficient to leave no ripples between the stairs.

In any case even if you have a 3D surface with stair steps in it you can put the terrain through some erosion filters to make the effect less noticeable. Like this (http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/cgi-bin/geotersys.pl?category=pic_page6).

Id be interested to see what you have so far on your wiki - the french will be alright for me (mostly..).

Guldaroth
04-09-2010, 07:33 AM
Ok, thank you Redrobes, I will try that again myself with Blender or something. In fact I already tried something like this on Vue6 X-Stream but the problem is that I'm just a real newbie with those programs and 3D vocabulary... I shall give it another try and see what happens!

If you want to access the Wiki, here's the address Encyclopédie Svinlir Gûn (http://www.aromathier.com/svinlir/wiki/index.php/Accueil) and I'll mail you the account infos ! Thanks again for your interest and your help.

PS: This was the best I could do on a part of my map with my few knowledges about 3D mapping (it looked so cheap to me that I prefer not to pursue immediately)
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Redrobes
04-09-2010, 09:15 AM
Thanks for your invite. I saw the relief map you have. Its not too bad for getting the height into something which you can use as a world map relief to calculate temperature and vegetation.

I made this up quickly by taking the relief map and splitting the image into red green and blue and using the red and blue colours got to a height map where sea level is black and mountains are white and gave it some gaussian blur. I then used some gamma adjustment so that the lowlands were flatter.

From there I would use this as mask or template to determine the temperature offset so that if sea level was 20 Celsius then for each 1000m it drops 6 Celcius so that at 3000m it starts to form snow. In hotter or colder regions this would be more or less but you have the temperature map done.

Once you know the temperature you get good feel for the rainfall and vegetation that would grow there.

Then when you have relief, temperature and vegetation you can combine them all to look at which realistic textures to use to map onto the different areas.

jwbjerk
04-09-2010, 03:28 PM
If you want to access the Wiki, here's the address Encyclopédie Svinlir Gûn (http://www.aromathier.com/svinlir/wiki/index.php/Accueil) and I'll mail you the account infos ! Thanks again for your interest and your help.
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Google translate seems to do a pretty good job, at least with the only accessible page, the welcome page (http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aromathier.com%2Fsvinlir%2Fwiki %2Findex.php%2FAccueil&sl=fr&tl=en).
EDIT: unfortunately if you log in Google translate won't work, or it logs you out. :(

jwbjerk
04-09-2010, 05:57 PM
Ok, i'm looking through it, and it's kinda clumsy since i have to copy/paste the text into a translate webpage, and then all the formating, links, and context are gone, but i can get by-- though if i stupidly misunderstand something that's my excuse.

The first thing i notice is that you have an impressive amount of astronomical detail, conjunctions, eclipses and so forth.:D

* I assume you've calculated out these orbits carefully, but i don't see any information on your primary sun's mass-- this is a necessary bit of info for calculating orbits.

Based on the diameter, (2'345'000 km) assuming it's an average main sequence star, i come up with 2.05 solar masses, which according to my charts should be a Class F star, which is not more orange than our sun, but in fact, more white. Such a star would be about 12 times brighter than the sun. The brightness of your sun, and of course the distance of your world determines how much solar energy your planet gets, and thus if it is habitable.

i realize that different sources make different estimations on the masses of various types of stars, maybe this is the result of an equally valid scientist's estimate, but this is different enough, that you might want to recheck your math. Or perhaps this isn't a main sequence star, and you have another type in mind.


* Planets 2-4 are translated "sparkling planets", but they are gas giants right? If so you might want to look at this (http://orb.jwbjerk.com/2009/11/freebie-colors-of-gas-giants.html) and the embedded link for information on the probable colors of gas giants in various circumstances.


* The various moons seem to have colors chosen at random, which is fine, if that's how you want to do it, but there are definite patterns (at least in this solar system's moon) that relate the color of a moon to the substance it is made out of and the distance from the sun. Purple and green moons may not be impossible, but they are certainly outside our experience.

Here's an expept from a useful, but unfortunately offline resouce:

And, of course, there's the moon's colour, which is largely a function of what the moon is made of. Moons may be:
Rocky, like the Moon and several other moons in the Solar System. Rocky moons appear greyish and cratered.
Icy, like Jupiter's Europa. Icy moons will be white and bright, since ice reflects light much better than rocks.
Volcanic, like Jupiter's Io. These moons will be red, orange and yellow.
Gaseous, like Saturn's Titan. Titan itself is orange, although most other colours are possible.(Cached here (http://web.archive.org/web/20080822160448/http://www.cix.co.uk/~morven/worldkit/index.html) by the wayback machine)

* What do the starbursts over the currents on the climate map (http://www.aromathier.com/svinlir/wiki/index.php/Carte_Climatique) represent?


That's enough for one post. I hope it's useful, and that you don't end up having to redo very much...

Guldaroth
04-09-2010, 07:16 PM
Very interesting, thanks !
I'll check tomorrow if I can answer all this but it seems that I'll have to redo numerous things if I want scientific correctness...

Thanks a lot again for all your attention !

jwbjerk
04-10-2010, 01:22 PM
but it seems that I'll have to redo numerous things if I want scientific correctness...
Don't throw it all away! It probably possible to fit in a scientific accuracy while leaving a lot of details intact... it's just a question of which details you are most willing to change, or what would be the most work to redo, or where you just want to say, "this is close enough."

Guldaroth
04-10-2010, 01:42 PM
So... First of all thanks again for your quick review and for your useful links !

I must say that we'll never pretend to create a full realistic universe for two major reasons: I (we) don't have the knowledge to do all the stuff really precisely and second, we wanted to stay in a fantasy world (Note that if we wanted pure science we wouldn't have create new mineral material such as new elements for the periodic table)
But, I'm still thinking about realism and you pointed out some problems of consistency. The best exemple is that we used a simplified solar system to have the astronomical simulation easier to calculate. Look at the orbits we made, they're almost all perfect circles... This isn't even possible in real but it was a question of "feasibility".
To say it quick, we decided few things and we tried to bring the most coherent elements to sustain these choices the way we could.
The real question would be this one, do you think it's even possible to create an acceptable univers with those predefined elements ?

• A colonizable planet with three moons (and one would be as black as possible to hide the stars behind it)
• A second sun really far away that could be seen as a distant star which moves really slowly
• A planet with a strong orbital excentricity to have it doing a major eclipse regularly (for exemple every 20 years) upon all the lightened hemisphere of another planet
etc...

PS: the starbursts on the climate map would be the regions where the seas are potentialy rough. And for the sun, I must admit I didn't really check it out. I will have this redefined as soon as possible...
For better realism, you should probably check the mineral materials and the plants (I got two friends in Biochemistry and Pharmacology ;))

Thanks again


PPS:
Don't throw it all away!
I won't, nothing like this will ever be perfect science... And it would represent to much time flushed away.
But I'm still confident about some corrections.

jwbjerk
04-10-2010, 04:03 PM
I must say that we'll never pretend to create a full realistic universe for two major reasons: I (we) don't have the knowledge to do all the stuff really precisely and second, we wanted to stay in a fantasy world (Note that if we wanted pure science we wouldn't have create new mineral material such as new elements for the periodic table)
But, I'm still thinking about realism and you pointed out some problems of consistency.
Ah, you should have said it's a fantasy world from the start... If it's a fantasy world, and you are inventing elements and so forth, i wouldn't be worried about many of the things i commented on-- but consistency is still important, and figuring out the implications of the new laws you've made for your universe.



The best exemple is that we used a simplified solar system to have the astronomical simulation easier to calculate. Look at the orbits we made, they're almost all perfect circles... This isn't even possible in real but it was a question of "feasibility".
In that case i wouldn't worry about it. You can redefine the laws of orbital mechanics and solar-fusion without messing anything else up. In fact, sometimes with fantasy it's better to diverge from reality in a bold, obvious way, so readers aren't wondering if it was a mistake, or a purposeful divergence from our known reality. For instance just go ahead and proclaim that all orbits are perfectly circular-- except for your eccentric planet which is an exception due to some significant magical or cosmological reason. As you say, it makes the math easier.


The real question would be this one, do you think it's even possible to create an acceptable univers with those predefined elements ?

• A colonizable planet with three moons (and one would be as black as possible to hide the stars behind it)Sure if your are inventing elements, no problem. Or you could devise some magical cataclysm that turned it black (assuming you have magic)


• A second sun really far away that could be seen as a distant star which moves really slowlyI think astronomers consider this scenario unlikely-- not the second star thing, that's really common-- but that a habitable planet could be in such a solar system. I think part of the reason is based on theories of star/planet formation, most of which would have also considered some of the interesting extrasolar planets we've been discovering impossible or unlikely too.


• A planet with a strong orbital excentricity to have it doing a major eclipse regularly (for exemple every 20 years) upon all the lightened hemisphere of another planetIn a real solar system the rotational speed (for all practical purposes) is based solely on the mass of the star and the distance of the planet. I don't know how easily your desired eclipse could be achieved (you would have to play with the numbers), but in the case of your scenario, i wouldn't necessarily worry about it.