WIP - My First Map
Alright, so I've been debating whether or not I wanted to post my progress so far on the map I've been making. I've been lurking around for a long while now and learning from lots of methods and advice in various threads here and making a map of a continent in the world I've made for the series of novels I'm writing and hope to someday publish, along with the dice and paper rpg I'm making. After much debate I've finally decided to go ahead and post up what I've got so far, I'm unfamiliar with a lot of stuff still, and it's far from complete yet, just as a warning. The rivers need work, the land still needs to me raised and lowered in places as I've only worked a little on the elevation stuff, and there are many more cities and towns to add and title on here, but over all it's got a lot of progress on it so far. I've only marked towns and cities, so nothing with a population less than 1000 people, so tons of villages would be spread out everywhere, but they won't be shown here, I've just realized I haven't included a scale for distance and I'm too lazy to open up photoshop to save a copy with it displayed right now, so I'll have to do that later on. If you've got any advice you want to offer please feel free, I know it still needs a whole lot of work, and I'm still learning about many things, I know people complain about nonsensical rivers a lot, and while I'd say I've done decently, I know some of them don't quite add up here, I'll be fixing them with time, but for now here it is. I used some textures and things from here, the compass rose was from RPGMapMaker who is actually also the person who kinda led me here lol, I found his videos on youtube and they mentioned this site and I came here, my map uses mostly his over world tutorial method, but has been tweaked by some various other things I've learned from other threads as well. You probably won't be able to read many of the town names unfortunately due to me having to size it down in paint because it wouldn't upload >.< I'll be changing up some font size stuff later on to help counter this issue, along with perhaps changing some text colors like the black one at some point too because they're hard to read.
First off, read the Rivers tutorial which is a sticky in the tutorials, your rivers need work, they split and do some unnatural things. Seem to see a couple spots where a river disappears also, or that could be forest covering the river... not sure. Rivers also seem to be going over terrain that is still visible in the river, also.
Whereas many maps have coasts that appear too smooth, yours almost goes the other way with jaggedness that still has a smoothness that has the feel of randomized computer handiwork. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, just goes against the tastes of my eyeballs.
Your mountains also appear to lack rain shadows.
In general I like the colors and basic shape of the land mass.
Okay, that's it for now, gotta run! LOL.
As mentioned in the post I know the rivers need work still, it's still one big work in progress and being my first map it's a big learning experience lol rivers are probably going to be the most difficult part for me to get all worked out, so I'll possibly be leaving them as one of the last things I finish up, they've been improved since their on paper version for sure XD but I realize they do some strange things in certain places, I'd say the best rivers are the ones on the southern part considering I've done the most work down there, but they still have some issues too.
As for the coastal appearance it's definitely a work in progress, I originally had them very smooth which is obviously an issue, then I tried out a method to make them more natural looking last night, having found the method on here in a thread, but it's obviously not worked to perfection here, still learning so it's going to take some time to get it all worked out, but I definitely know what you mean, I've been looking at it and feeling displeased with it, places like the coast to the right of DeltaFord where the forest is I think look good enough, but the left side of the continent looks particularly displeasing, I think the issue is that the general shape of a lot of that side is too round in general for it to look very natural, I intend to tweak with that and see what I can manage because it's bugging me lol
Rain shadows? I'll need to look into this more! D: I've just used the basic mountains from RPGMapMakers tutorial without having spruced them up at all really as I've done witht he forests and such, so I'll need to work on them, I have been feeling that they don't all look entirely proper, so I'll be sure to direct my focus there!
Thank you for your advice, and I'm glad you like the colors and general shape ^_^
I have looked into Rain shadows now! I sure feel stupid XD I'm sure I learned about them in school at some point, but to be honest I don't remember much from what I learned in school, anyway that's very helpful and interesting, I'll certainly get to work on playing with that and my mountains, perhaps changing up my mountain ranges and such to accommodate this concept better lol. Alright so the idea is basically that one side of a mountain range would be drier and more brownish in appearance than the other would right? But if the mountains were quite tall you would still be able to have rivers from snow melt on the shadowed side wouldn't you? It would just be less and the area would be in general less moist than the other side? I'm very curious about this now so any help from anyone on the topic would be very helpful ^_^
Edit: Not sure where my first reply went, but I'd mentioned that I know the rivers need work and they'll possibly be the hardest thing given how complicated they can be, so they'll get worked on last, and as for the coasts I agree, the right coast looks more natural than the left to me, the western coast looks too rounded in appearance and so the jagged effect looks very strange on it particularly. I'll be working on that as well over time, and I then mentioned that I was unfamiliar with Rain shadows lol
There is certainly no rule against a river in the rain shadow. Rain shadows are not necessarily dry, per se, they just tend to be drier than the opposite side. An east coast rain shadow (at a latitude where weather patterns travel west to east) will tend be wetter than a west coast rain shadow at the same latitude, as storms coming in from the warm water east coast will tend to carry more moisture to the rain shadowed area, and in some cases bring in large amounts of tropical moisture from north moving tropical storms like hurricanes on the east coast of the US. Rivers through deserts are certainly possible, see the Nile, Colorado River and Yellow River, so I doubt there is a reason not to be able to have snow melt create a river in even a desert rain shadow. To pass through a hot desert more than seasonally would require a heck of a source, I suspect, to defeat the evaporation.
Alright, thank you very much ^_^ this is all very helpful and interesting, I'll definitely be taking all this into consideration when I'm working on my map and future ones as well, there's a lot of things like that which I don't actually know much if anything about, so it's really awesome that people here are so helpful and friendly, thank you again
I'm certainly no expert and very new to the Guild but the map looks beautiful! Nice work so far.
I would try toning down the sea texture quite a bit; currently it looks like concrete that has been painted blue. Others have already mentioned the rivers. The compass looks nice, however the Letters used to indicate North, South, East and West look somewhat pixilated. That said, not bad.
Looks like a great start. Very nice mountains. I'm looking forward to how it will look like after rivers are fixed, etc. Good work. :)