World Campaign Maps (about 70 to build)
I've been wresting with an appropriate style for "near orbit" maps for a couple of years. I've tried countless approaches and software, including Campaign Cartographer, Gimp, Wilbur, and Bryce 7. I finally settled on a few approaches here (thanks Ascension and ZombieNirvana), and use trusty old Photoshop.
The campaign I'm digitizing is 30 years old (a friend drew ~70 maps using a very very simple pencil/line style). That means every map element has "a specific purpose" and has to be accounted for... very challenging. So in building out the maps, almost every approach would work at first... until it came to drawing the mountains. The random clouds/difference clouds approach was always too random and very hard to control. Keep in mind even the ridgelines have tactical purpose. Other tools made the mountains too vague or too cartoonish. I finally found a way to draw the mountains with reasonable success in photoshop, using layer styles.
Anyway, I've been lurking about for a long time here. I figured I'd pop a couple of my maps on here and share what I've learned. One thing to keep in mind with this world... IT'S FLAT and uses an old Ptolemaic paradigm for the universe. That means the rivers aren't always completely "true". The world has a slight slope from high/west to low/east.
I'm using Photoshop CS5, CC3 icons, and a Wacom Bamboo tablet. I've turned off the hex grid for visual clarity. For scale, 1/4" = 3 miles. I have about 66 more maps to draw... whew.
I'd be interested in your feedback. Thanks for your time.