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Thread: First attempt FT + Photoshop

  1. #1
      feanaaro is offline
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    Wip First attempt FT + Photoshop

    This is my first post, so to begin I want to thanks everybody who contributed to this wonderful site, from which I stole a lot of material and ideas for this project.
    In particular, I am indebted to the terrain creation tutorial by Pasis, the FT tutorial by a2area, and to the many people which posted interesting textures in various threads (of which regrettably I did not kept track, so I cannot thanks everyone by name, sorry).

    However, my general aim is to obtain a method to quickly draw good-looking maps (for rpg and/or narratives), even if not particularly inspired (I have zero autonomous artistic capacities, sorry).
    So I started from fractal terrains, tinkered quite a bit with it then export an high resolution (5000*3000) bmp to work with photoshop.
    Here there are my preliminary results. The first is an image of the entire continent (which includes most of the land in the world, perhaps 3/4), with just some post-processing but without added elements like cities, forests etc. The second is a regional map of an area in the norh-east; here with forests, cities, roads. The area should roughly be 1300*900km, it looks smaller to my eye, but I have trouble in exporting the background from FT in an higher resolution (so that cities and the like could be smaller in proportion) because it tends to show the "fractal pattern" at higher level of zoom. The alternative is to ditch the pseudo-pictorial style for cities and fields, but I would rather not.

    First attempt FT + Photoshop-arya.png

    First attempt FT + Photoshop-dale.png

    I am really looking for advices since I am not quite satisfied with the results. Notice that I am really new to photoshop and 99% of what I know come from the aformentioned tutorial (so do not be exceedingly technical!).
    Last edited by feanaaro; 07-29-2011 at 03:55 PM.

  2. #2
      cantab is offline
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    It's good to see work on mapping areas at multiple scales.
    I am a geology nerd.

  3. #3
      ravells is offline
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    Crikey, that looks fabulous! And this is your first attempt? You'll probably be hanging your third attempt at the Tate.

    I think I should be asking you for advice!

    Seriously beautiful work. I have no suggestions for areas of improvement except maybe tone down or blur the vivid blue coastline just a tiny bit (it dominates), but that's just a subjective thing.

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      feanaaro is offline
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    Thanks ravells, but there is not really much of my doing in the map, just the placement of some elements (and, of course, that it is a first attempt does not mean that the attempt was not itself quite a long thing to pull off, but the good thing is that after I have settled on a set of textures and got the right proportions everything would be very quick). Everything else is either Fractal Terrains or textures that I took here and there.
    But I am unsatisfied with the cities, perhaps someone may have some suggestion as to how do it better and in a style that blends with this kind of map.

  5. #5
      Redrobes is offline
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    Yes, I concur, that is some amazing work for a first attempt. Really nice in many many ways.

    If I had to crit it then I would say that the fade for the beach aqua colour to the sea colour is quite severe such that for the continental view it looks like its outlined. That makes it appear to visually 'float' over the sea.

    Cities and man made stuff is the hardest part of mapping in my opinion. My only tips there is to think about the way a city or town might have evolved and put in those elements first and then build out from it. I.e. for your city in the second map it would have likely been driven by fishing so that the road network next to the sea would be complex and then the paths would exit out the back of the town where carts and so on might have made roads then houses form along those roads etc. You have them (well the field pattern) drawn as a kind of gridded pattern which is very unlikely and would indicate an overall town planning effect taking place. This only really happens in cities that have been demolished and rebuilt or where a whole new town was constructed in one go with a powerful governmental direction driving it. My only real suggestion is to look at google maps and find some similar looking places in a country with similar technology / wealth rating to the one your planning to draw and note some of its features. The fields would follow the roads of the town or the geography of the terrain.

    I have given you rep so you have a little green pip next to your name now. Well done for these maps.
    Last edited by Redrobes; 07-30-2011 at 08:22 AM.

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    I agree with Redrobes & Ravells - Blur/fade the aqua outline of the coasts a bit. It's not as bad in the 2nd image as the first. I also think the shadow/bevel on the rivers in the 2nd image is a bit dark and thick - again that's an opinion don't feel you must change it. Ultimately you have to be happy with your work.

    Cities, farmland, etc. are difficult (at best) at this scale, I think you've a fine job so far with what you have and don't really have any specific advise/ideas for you.

    Keep up the good work
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

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      Master TMO is offline
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    Looks great! To be able to zoom in further on the FT map without seeing the fractal patterns, go in to the World Settings menu and modify the parameters on your fractal and increase the number of octaves.

    A minor pick is that the borders of your rivers also look a bit strong, like the blue coastline.

    You may also have a problem with scale - if the zoom in map is 1300km by 900km then I'd guess that the village on the coast is about.. 50km from left to right? I have *often* had the same issue with my FT maps. It is extremely easy to lose track of the scale of the image you're looking at. My best suggestion is to find a pair of obvious landmarks on your map section and use the ruler tool in FT to see what the distance between them actually is. Also, because the section you're working with is near the top of the map, it's likely to be more distorted. That may not matter to you though, since you're only doing a subselection of the world rather than the whole thing.

    It's an awesome-looking map though! I'll have to look up those tutorials you used for myself.
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      feanaaro is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Master TMO View Post
    Looks great! To be able to zoom in further on the FT map without seeing the fractal patterns, go in to the World Settings menu and modify the parameters on your fractal and increase the number of octaves.
    I have tried repeatedly, but if I lower the number (12 is default) it seems to work, while if I increase it, visually I can se no difference, and the number itself return to 12 if I re-open the worl-setting after closing it. It says that the maximum is 20, but it seems unable to take any number greater than 12, is this just me (may be that I am running FT under CrossOver on a Mac) or is it a known bug?

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      Master TMO is offline
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    The octaves work on my version. There won't be a visible difference when you increase it until you zoom in. The higher the octave, the lower the resolution it's visible at. And to just check the obvious, are you sure you're applying the changes you make?
    My Finished Maps | My Planet Maps | My Challenge Entries | Album: Pre-generated Worlds

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    Assuming I stick with fantasy cartography, I'd like to become a World Builder, laying out not only a realistic topography, but also the geopolitical boundaries and at least rough descriptions of the countries and societies.

  10. #10
      waldronate is offline
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    Certain fractal functions are capped at 12 octaves because beyond that point strange artifacts begin to appear on the surface and eventually the whole thing degrades into a few spikes on a flat terrain.

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