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Thread: First Effort

  1. #1
      Caleth is offline
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    Map First Effort

    Here is my first serious attempt at making a polished, finished map. I started out in FT with a generated world and a small amount of terrain editing, outputting the climate shading as well as the slope shading. Then I moved into PS to assemble everything. The font is based on Roman cursive handwriting and the compass is a digitized version of the compass from a 15th century navigational chart.

    Its not great, but I didn't realize how rusty my Photoshop skills were, and I only spent two days on this. It also came out a little bit small, but I think that is because of a mistake I made in FT. I also need to add a lot more place names around the shore, to imitate the look of a portolano chart better, so I am going to keep fiddling with this off and on for a while.

    First Effort-carvarr_v1.jpg

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      Eilathen is offline
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    I really like it. Now, if you fill it with some terrain features (mountains, hills, forests etc.), this could be a great map. Throw in some nice background for the curious people (like myself ) and you have an awesome map
    I'm trapped in Darkness,
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    Guild Journeyer dangerdog15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eilathen View Post
    I really like it. Now, if you fill it with some terrain features (mountains, hills, forests etc.), this could be a great map. Throw in some nice background for the curious people (like myself ) and you have an awesome map
    I agree. Great work! Just needs some additions.

  4. #4
      Caleth is offline
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    Thanks for the tips. I had imagined this map as more of an ocean centered map, reminiscent of 15th century navigational charts. I will try to make a version that emphasizes the features of the land more, so stay tuned.

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      Hai-Etlik is online now
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caleth View Post
    Thanks for the tips. I had imagined this map as more of an ocean centered map, reminiscent of 15th century navigational charts. I will try to make a version that emphasizes the features of the land more, so stay tuned.
    There's nothing wrong with doing a portolan like this, I've done a couple myself. You might want to add a few more named locations along the coast though. All the real portolans I've ever seen are quite dense with names, but otherwise it's just fine without any inland detail.

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      Eilathen is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hai-Etlik View Post
    There's nothing wrong with doing a portolan like this, I've done a couple myself. You might want to add a few more named locations along the coast though. All the real portolans I've ever seen are quite dense with names, but otherwise it's just fine without any inland detail.
    Pssst! We want some inland detail

    On a more serious note - Hai-Etlik is totally right, there is nothing wrong with this map. Sorry if my first post came across as too critical. It's just that i'd like to know more about the inland portion of this world So i hope you'll still do a version where you emphasize the features of the land.
    I'm trapped in Darkness,
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  7. #7
      Caleth is offline
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    Here is version 2, with some inland detail. I didn't realize how difficult it was to come up with enough reasonable place names to line the coastline of a portolan-style map, so instead I detailed the land, courtesy of these excellent brushes. The western half of the map definatly still needs some work, but I would call v2 of the Archonate of Canvarr completed.

    First Effort-carvarr_v2.jpg
    This map details a location which has been referenced in some of my Tabletop RPG games, but never really fleshed out. The gist of the story is that Naltan was the capital of an ancient empire toppled centuries ago by a mutinous cabal of military sorcerers from Karthan who proceeded to rule the region, using their monopoly on magic to stay in power. However, for centuries the Archons, military governers of the city-state of Canvarr, sought a way to neutralize the magic of their sorcerous overlords and eventually found that power in the science of alchemy. The breakthrough came when the alchemists of Canvarr developed gunpowder weaponry and launched a bloody revolution. Over the course of a generation, they broke the power of the surprised sorcerers and leveled the city of Karthan with the terrifying new tactic of aerial bombardment. Now Canvarr has strong armed the other nearby cities into the archonate and grown rich off of the sale of canons and guns to other kingdoms. Is that enough background for you all...

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      TheRedEpic is offline
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    This is a fantastic first piece, its got a lot of character and compass/typography elements are great. I'm not a fan of the mountains and trees however, they are very harsh, and their a great number of duplicates which take away from the organic feel. You might try to reduce the Opacity of the brush you are using to about 75%, and mix up the brushes themselves so the mountains look varied and interesting. Black can work, but works against you in the top right hand corner becasue f the that very light burst. A dark brown is a good alternative. Just my 2 cents

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      Hai-Etlik is online now
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caleth View Post
    Here is version 2, with some inland detail. I didn't realize how difficult it was to come up with enough reasonable place names to line the coastline of a portolan-style map,
    That's where an automatic name generator comes in handy. I was likewise too lazy so I just wrote in a standard placeholder like "Coastal City" and then ran the file through a quick little program to replace all the placeholders with randomly generated names.

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      loogie is offline
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    I agree, great effort! Doing moutains and forests in symbol brushes are always tricky to get the hang of so just try out difference ideas and see how they play out.. the biggest thing (like Epic said) is that you want it to feel organic... something that could help you out is to create or use opaque symbols, i'm not sure if this is the case for the mt's or tree's, but I can see it in the flags.. if the pole and flag's had a colour inside (or even just white, or black.. or a bit more neutral for your map) they would be able to pop more... and also don't be afraid to squish your mts and forests together, the overlap makes them look painstakingly drawn by hand, and again a bit more organic...

    (BTW! these are just suggestions.. i noticed i get a bit wordy, but it's simple cause i had a lot of trouble with this stuff, so i'd like to share what i've learned in hopes of helping you make your map even better!)
    Also another suggestion is to change the labelling a bit, make it a bit easier to read... it seems you've fixed the rotated labels from the first copy, but I also find it hard to read when the text flows over other boundary lines, like shorelines... consider moving them out a bit more into a clear space... as long as they fall close enough to the point they should not be hard to identify which point goes with which text. As a tip you want to try to stick to a # pattern, where if the point fell inside the center box of the #, labels should be placed in any of the outer quadrants... and after that you want to try to make sure your labels fall in one of 2 directions (as in, if you rotate some labels 90deg to the left, make sure they are all rotated to the left), so that at worst the reader will only ever have to rotate the map 90deg in one direction.. I always forget this, and i find fantasy maps always end up being crowded due to their artistic fonts... and like everything else.. sometimes these rules have to be broken.. just keep legibility in mind over it all...

    The only other thing I'd suggest is to colour the capital city a different shade of red, or at least make it a bit easier to make out around your map lines... but thats a simple enough fix.. a different shade.. or heck even add a bit of a black glow around the text should work...
    Photoshop, CC3, ArcGIS, Bryce, Illustrator, Maptool

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