Northwestern Azhnar - by Handsome Rob
Map (Click to enlarge)
Created in: Fractal Terrains / Illustrator / Photoshop
When one first looks at the maps created by HandsomeRob, designer of our current featured map, the first reaction is often, "Is this a real location?" or "Is this from Google?" or "What atlas was this created for?" But the world being mapped in detail--of which Northwestern Azhnar is but a small piece--is completely fictional. The attention to detail and the high verisimilitude of the cartography is awe inspiring, and although perhaps appearing scientific rather than artistic, no one can doubt the high level of inspiration, skill, and mental elbow grease Rob has exerted to create all of his wonderful maps. Azhnar is but one of many, many Sorol maps, most of which Rob posts here at the Guild.
It's my dream to map an imaginary world in detail. The Atlas of Sorol consists of a set of about 30 regional maps, which will eventually cover the entire surface of the planet. I started this project about six years ago with some very rough maps at the continent scale, but it soon became apparent that I would need more detail in order to satisfy myself. Around that time I also got a job as a professional cartographer, allowing me to hone my skill in creating atlas-type maps. I knew when I started that it would be an enormous project, but it's work that I love to do so I welcome that.
These maps are created using a combination of Fractal Terrains, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop. The world file was created in FT; I have manipulated it slightly, by adding a few islands and connecting some large coastal lakes to the ocean to create bays, but otherwise it's straight out of the box. I only use the coastlines and relief from FT, however, as I prefer to define climate and landcover myself. The majority of the artwork (boundaries, roads, rivers, settlements, labels) is created in Illustrator, and then the map background is touched up in Photoshop, adding the FT shaded relief to the landcover polygons from Illustrator.
The entire project is hosted at http://sorol.wikispaces.com, which is updated frequently with new maps, information, and photos.
Click here to view the original thread by the author.