First of all, I want to say hello to everybody on the site. :)
I understand a lot of the element of cartography that help determine river placement, lake placement, and different types of landscapes such as marsh, or forest. The problem I often encounter comes in my second stage of mapping, when I'm trying to figure out where the mountains go, in order to determine river placement. Is there a system to help determine where to place mountains, and why? The topic on river placement was very well done, and I was hoping to find something similar for mountains. I tried to use the search feature to find a topic on the subject, but I'm still learning how to navigate the website and where to find topics like that, so I was unable to find it. It appears that almost all the tutorials in the tutorial section are mainly about how to use particular software to get the right visual effects. Thank you in advance to everybody here :)
First, I'd suggest perusing the 'net on articles about tectonics. This one in particular really helped me: http://csmres.jmu.edu/geollab/Fichte...on/Wilson.html
What that does is give you a general idea on how mountains form and why they tend to be where they are.
Once you've internalized that, I have some general guidelines that I follow: mountains tend to be either somewhat near a coast (Rockies, Andes), or where two landmasses have been "stitched together" (Himalayas, Alps).
Also, I've learned lately (and I mean VERY recently after 2+ years of mapping) that it's much easier for me to place mountains if I actually do it backward. I draw the rivers, then draw the mountain ranges as they fit between the rivers. Much much easier (at least for me).
Not a whole lot, but that's how I do it; hope it helps!
And after you learn all of that, just put the mountains where you damn well please.... within reason(I mean it's not likely that you would have a square mountain range or circular one, but really as long as you don't do something really really goofy, just don't worry about it to much.
Circular mountain ranges = impact craters!! And hey, tolkien made a square one. ;)
Yea.. I used to love that map.. now i see Mordor and can't help but shudder....Though, in a way... one might be able to argue divine intervention which trumps plate tectonics... Also, volcano's tend to totally hose up the normal plate tectonic means of creating mountains..
Originally Posted by Gidde
From time to time the mountains in Mordor bother me from a cartography standpoint. That being said by reading the books it seems like something either Morgoth or Sauron would have done as almost a makeshift castle...so then I feel better about it ;).
not to imply in any way that i'm an expert on tectonics etc., though i have to agree with the above - once you know the rules you can disregard or bend them
Originally Posted by jfrazierjr
however you want.
You can also spend some time zooming into different areas of Google's map to see how things look. =)