The Planet of Titan and the Kingdom of Oltenhi
Hello all! I'm new to the forum and decided I ought to bring an offering of two maps with my first post. I finished these about a month or more ago for a game I was running on another forum, and I'm still building on this world. I've always liked old, parchment & ink type maps over bright colourful ones, so that's what I was going for with these two. If these two maps should be in seperate topics, then sorry about the mess up, just tell me and I'll seperate them.
I'll spare you the exact details, but it's a heavy magic/fantasy setting, pretty reminiscient of Dungeons and Dragons or The Elder Scrolls. Oltenhi is the main focus of the setting, though it's only a single country, split up into five duchies, on one of five larger continents, on a planet called Titan, which exists in one of many planes of existence.
These were the first two maps I made in photoshop. I'd only ever used paint before (for maps). I don't use any flashy techniques; I user layers for convenience, made the parchment texture by following a tutorial, and simply darken the texture when I'm marking the oceans.
This is a view of the planet, Titan. It's less impressive then the second map, because I just wanted to give my players a view of the wider world. It didn't take that long to make, the Southern Archipelago probably being the most time consuming bit. I suck pretty badly at drawing land masses and I'm trying to improve, but most of the time they come out either too sharp or too smooth. The mountains on this one are also a bit bland, I guess.
This is the map of the country, Oltenhi. It's more detailed than the world map, because it's obviously focusing in on a smaller area. I'm quite proud of this map, but not extremely so. It's still the best map I've made though. Like land masses, I'm not that good at coast lines, and something I've noticed recently is that I have a habit of drawing a relatively straight coast line and then doing everything on one side of it. I'm trying to fix that on my latest map, which is sort of the bottom of one landmass and the top of another, plus two islands.
I'm also not that good at mountains, but slightly better at them then islands. Most of the time I'll end up redrawing a mountain 3 or more times until it looks right. In hindsight, the large ones on the left of this map seem pretty damn big. The shading doesn't look to bad in my opinion, but I'm working on another map right now which goes for the more traditional style of simply colouring in one half of the mountain, and I think it looks a bit better.
I'm not entirely sure why I drew the forests and the capital city in black as opposed to the inky blue the rest is in. Maybe I wanted to make them stand out? I can't recall my exact reasoning at the time. I'm trying to improve on my forest drawing; I quite like what I was going for on this map, but I'm thinking of ways to make it look more canopy-like.
If anyone has some feedback, I'd really appreciate hearing it. I enjoy making maps, even if it does sometimes get a bit tedious doing one thing over and over again until it looks right, so I hope other people enjoy them to.
Welcome, Boisterous! First, a smidgen of rep for exhibiting the boldness to post maps right away. And multiples in one post is fine, particularly since they're related.
You've done fine - a good start to your carto career. There's a couple of tutorials here on how to make your coastlines more realistic (translate: more random). Still, what you have isn't *bad*. Indeed I'd leave some coasts just like you have them -- plenty of Earthly coasts are smooth. Just be careful where you add roughness - like where a chain of mountains or hills runs into the sea.
Sure, the mountains are big - just draw the next ones smaller. And if you're concerned about the length of time to draw stuff, figure out how to use brushes to easily repeat elements. You can still draw your own , to get just what you want, only drawing four or five of a thing instead of forty or fifty. Too, you want to look up a thread on TreeThing, a tree placement routine by a CG regular. The shading on the mountains is ok, though I find my self wishing for finer lines & less jaggies . What size are the original files?
It's ok to have different styles of maps, as you experiment to send what works best and is the most fun. How many different styles has Europe been drawn in, over the last thousand years?
I spot a place where you carefully kept a mountain outline away from a river -- it might work in tight quarters to let the river (coast, road, whatever) disappear out of sight behind such a nearby height. That 3-d effect is used sometimes, so both foreground and background element retain their "proper" shapes.
Overall, it's a simple but effective look you have going. Add a border, a title, however much of a key seems appropriate, and they'll have a more finished look. Are you seeking a match between map and story era, as though they're drawn by characters in- story?
Last edited by jbgibson; 10-19-2012 at 10:53 PM.