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Thread: Segarma - yet another "My First Map" - constructive criticism requested

  1. #1
      s0meguy is offline
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    Wip Segarma - Yet Another "My First Map" - feedback requested

    Hey there.

    This is a map for a continent (or a couple of continents) on one of my planets in my sci-fi universe.

    As I am unskilled in cartography and photoshop, I decided to just design a group of continents, not the entire planet, and see how it turns out before trying my hand at the entire planet. I made it after I read through the Sederan tutorial, which is awesome.

    The area displayed on the map is around 32,000 km (19884 miles) long and the scale is approximate because of curvature in the planet. It is on a giant garden planet. The local civilizations are in a relatively primitive phase. Medieval level technology. Only significant population centres are displayed because of the large scale of the map. I am looking forward to creating more fantasy themed smaller maps on the local level with lots more detail.

    So, what do you guys think? Did I make any giant geographical blunders, and how do you guys think I could improve on the graphics?

    Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated. If you dislike it or like it, I would also like to know, and why.

    Thank you.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Segarma - yet another "My First Map" - constructive criticism requested-segarmawip.jpg  
    Last edited by s0meguy; 04-16-2012 at 09:23 PM.
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      jbgibson is offline
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    Looks nice. Pleasant, plausible shapes, and a nice mix of flat vs. steep. Apart from any scale indicators the mountains seem like individual ridges and peaks, yet at the scale you indicate one would expect a bit more branching - whole systems of mountain ranges. You have diligently sourced every river at a mountain - and right up high on its flanks at that. While some streams do rise in the mountains, plenty of others have their sources in less precipitous terrain. Too, up at its highest reaches one of those mountain rivers would be a tiny stream, and at this scale of map perhaps not worthy of notice. You've done well with keeping river locations plausible, except I'm not buying the ones that run the length of a peninsula - like that near Onash, the one near Rilvas, the one by Thrivar, and so forth. Such a circumstance is not impossible, one would just expect terrain that forced it - say, twin ridges 'containing' the watercourse. Absent hints like that, I'd expect stream flow to 'fall off' to one side or the other.

    I want the Engill canal franchise, by the way. :-) Or the ferry concession at Tayli.

    You look like you've got a vague prevailing wind from northwest going - is that right? Is the tan terrain supposed to be arid? Across such a vast expanse I'd expect some more variation in generalized airflow - UNLESS you're playing your definition of 'giant planet' to the hilt. Care to give us a diameter? Have you thought what latitude you want Segarma to be at?

    You've wondered elsewhere about forest placement - I'd say you are doing fine. I do see some extensive river systems that are exclusively in arid areas - you might want to indicate an in-between climate zone - steppe or savannah or the like?

    I don't know the Saderan process - are the bits of continental shelf generated or painted, as it were? If you can easily paint some more, broader shallow expanses would do well in places.

    Would the northern of the two big Istane lakes overflow to the sea?

    Good stuff - keep it up. I find myself wanting to know more about your lands, which is a good sign!

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    Guild Member mozltovcoktail's Avatar
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    I'm working through that tut right now, and it IS awesome! I like what you've done with the place.

    One thing I noticed is that a lot of the the mountains appear to be the same height. Some variation in elevation might be nice. Maybe even some hills so its not just either flat or mountains? I'm a newb myself, so I hope that I'm not talking out of my butt!
    Last edited by mozltovcoktail; 04-22-2012 at 07:00 PM.

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    Guild Novice apothecaryrose's Avatar
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    Your map is really well done! I particularly like your forests and your naming. I don't know much about rivers and jbgibson gave you great pointers there, but to a lay person who is still figuring them out, they look believable.

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      Ourea is offline
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    Unfortunately I don't know enough to give you any useful criticism. I really like it so far, and I can't wait to see when/if you delve into making a map for the entire world

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      Lukc is offline
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    To me it looks wonderful, especially for a first map. Jgibson's already given a lot of good suggestions, so I'll just make a focused observation. The ridges in the lakes of Istane and Nysageno look ... off to me. That's not to say that very deep lakes do not exist, they do. However, I would doubt that the level of elevation difference would be so great. They just look a tad geologically implausible to me - if they were long, narrow rift-valley type lakes, like Lake Baikal say, I'd buy it - but yours are round and pretty flat. I'd leave off the steep drop-off and possibly just paint the centres of the lakes a slightly deeper blue.

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      s0meguy is offline
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    Thank you all for your feedback, much appreciated. I have created an updated version based on all your feedback and made some other changes and additions I wanted to make. It's attached to this post.

    More feedback is welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by jbgibson
    Apart from any scale indicators the mountains seem like individual ridges and peaks, yet at the scale you indicate one would expect a bit more branching - whole systems of mountain ranges.
    You are right - I looked at real world mountain ranges and they tend to be a lot more complex (and look more messy from the top) with more branching and I noticed rivers carving large valleys into them. So I expanded most of the mountain ranges, and also gave them more emphasis, some less and some of them more, so that they look more varied - what do you guys think?

    You have diligently sourced every river at a mountain - and right up high on its flanks at that. While some streams do rise in the mountains, plenty of others have their sources in less precipitous terrain. Too, up at its highest reaches one of those mountain rivers would be a tiny stream, and at this scale of map perhaps not worthy of notice.
    Thank you, I have shortened a lot of the rivers at their source. It makes sense now that I think of it.

    You've done well with keeping river locations plausible, except I'm not buying the ones that run the length of a peninsula - like that near Onash, the one near Rilvas, the one by Thrivar, and so forth.
    That's what I thought when I was designing the map in the first place as well, but then I reminded myself that the relevant peninsula's rival Spain in size. So it's not just some small area where a river would easily "fall off" into the sea. Also (this is purely conjecture on my part, I'm not sure if it actually works this way), take the example of Onash: the sea currents are far higher near Onash than near Toreste (because it is a more shallow confined area). If the river near Onash ended near Toreste, perhaps there would be sediment build up because the water currents there can't carry it all with them, thus causing the river to divert further into the peninsula because it chooses the path of less resistance. At Thrivar the situation is similar; the peninsula is huge, and the sea currents are stronger near the tip of the peninsula.

    With this in mind, do you still think those rivers are unrealistic?

    You look like you've got a vague prevailing wind from northwest going - is that right? Is the tan terrain supposed to be arid? Across such a vast expanse I'd expect some more variation in generalized airflow - UNLESS you're playing your definition of 'giant planet' to the hilt. Care to give us a diameter? Have you thought what latitude you want Segarma to be at?
    I do (northwest wind), and yes (tan terrain=arid/dry). And you're right, it's just that I wanted some vast expanses of desert, and I guess that I got a little carried off there. I replaced some desert with mild vegetation. With giant planet I did not mean that all its geographical features are huge, it refers to the size of the planet itself. I want the geographical features to be what they realistically could be if the planet were real. The planet's radius is 15,057 km, and the diameter would be double that.

    As for latitude, the continent is located about halfway between the equator and the south pole.

    You've wondered elsewhere about forest placement - I'd say you are doing fine. I do see some extensive river systems that are exclusively in arid areas - you might want to indicate an in-between climate zone - steppe or savannah or the like?
    The idea that I had in mind when creating those relatively few rivers (that are flowing through otherwise dry areas like deserts) is that there is a thin strip of fertile ground next to them (where there are villages and sometimes a city) where vegetation grows. Tracing real life rivers in google earth, I've there are quite a few of those. It probably has something to do with the fact that many of those rivers have a lot of power and they have a relatively straight pattern so they don't shed much sediment that would otherwise make the area fertile. Many other rivers (in Segarma too) do fertilize the ground around them a lot.

    I don't know the Saderan process - are the bits of continental shelf generated or painted, as it were? If you can easily paint some more, broader shallow expanses would do well in places.
    It isn't complicated to alter continents. You mean to add landmass into the oceans and seas? Where, and why?

    Would the northern of the two big Istane lakes overflow to the sea?
    That lake is a bit less than a thousand kilometers (about 600 miles) from the sea, it doesn't. The lake is subject to a lot of evaporation and so catches a lot of sediment and does not rise to the point of creating a river outwards.

    Good stuff - keep it up. I find myself wanting to know more about your lands, which is a good sign!
    Thank you for your time, comments and feedback, I hope to see more when I progress.



    Quote Originally Posted by mozltovcoktail
    I'm working through that tut right now, and it IS awesome! I like what you've done with the place.

    One thing I noticed is that a lot of the the mountains appear to be the same height. Some variation in elevation might be nice. Maybe even some hills so its not just either flat or mountains? I'm a newb myself, so I hope that I'm not talking out of my butt!
    Thanks, try tweaking the settings from the tutorial and experimenting with other photoshop features, it made my map look quite a bit different from the Saderan one but I like it better.

    I thought about the elevation thing and I tried to elevate the terrain in some places, but either its barely noticable or it looks like a mountain - I don't think its a good idea to try to show relatively small elevation differences at this scale.

    Quote Originally Posted by apothecaryrose View Post
    Your map is really well done! I particularly like your forests and your naming. I don't know much about rivers and jbgibson gave you great pointers there, but to a lay person who is still figuring them out, they look believable.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ourea View Post
    Unfortunately I don't know enough to give you any useful criticism. I really like it so far, and I can't wait to see when/if you delve into making a map for the entire world
    Thanks! It is coming, but I have to study a lot for university as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukc
    To me it looks wonderful, especially for a first map. Jgibson's already given a lot of good suggestions, so I'll just make a focused observation. The ridges in the lakes of Istane and Nysageno look ... off to me. That's not to say that very deep lakes do not exist, they do. However, I would doubt that the level of elevation difference would be so great. They just look a tad geologically implausible to me - if they were long, narrow rift-valley type lakes, like Lake Baikal say, I'd buy it - but yours are round and pretty flat. I'd leave off the steep drop-off and possibly just paint the centres of the lakes a slightly deeper blue.
    Thanks, you are right. I had doubts about it before, I didn't really like the way I the elevation in the lake looks there. As for the depth, (again conjecture) opposing/clashing forces from the rivers entering the lake could force part of the streams downward, hollowing out the lake in the middle. Is that implausible?


    Thank you all. I am working on the rest of the world, and a political map (and background for the planet and it's civilizations at different points in their development).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Segarma - yet another "My First Map" - constructive criticism requested-segarmawip2.jpg  
    Last edited by s0meguy; 04-24-2012 at 09:57 PM.

  8. #8
      jbgibson is offline
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    I'll assume you mean a radius of 15,057 kilometers :-). Niiiiice - that's something like 5.5 times the surface area of earth. You can stay busy mapping that for a long time. That makes this hmmmmmm... a bit less than half the circumference of the planet that you show.

    Peninsulas the size of Spain - okay, I'll believe that, for rivers wandering down their length sometimes. Your Onash/ Toreste sediment conjecture is probably more likely at a lot smaller peninsula size - a mile or two across instead of these at hundreds of km across. No - you're okay to run like you have them, just make sure you don't do it over much. Statistically, you have to figure a river's more likely to wander over to an ocean forty km away than a coastline 500km away. Even the bit west of Asen could work like you show it, just remember when you do a large-scale map of the area to indicate some coastal hills or something along that narrowest neck of land.

    The more complex mountain ranges are an improvement.

    As for where some more shallow water might work - I just mean most of the continents look like they jut up from a similar depth of ocean with all the same abruptness. I would kind of expect some more extensive continental shelves, and for some of the bays to be shallow with respect to the open ocean. At this scale, 'shallow' can still be hundreds of meters deep. You don't need above-water additional land, just (maybe) some additional shallow-water expanses.

    Good work!

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      s0meguy is offline
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    Thank you and yup, kilometers :p. I was tired when I wrote that post and in my notes, the radius is written down in meters but I figured I'd shorten it since those things are usually displayed in km. I like your idea about more shallow expanses, it makes sense. I'll do that.

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      s0meguy is offline
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    Finally I am somewhat happy with the largest landmasses in general. I feel like adding more small archipelago's and small volcanic islands, but don't have time at the moment. Figured I'd post an updated version and see what you guys think of my world. I left out the shallow water from this because it looks ugly and distracting while unfinished. The image is pretty high resolution, I recommend downloading it and zooming in with a picture viewer. My aim is to create a realistic world.

    Circumference at the equator is about 94612 km and the surface is about 2.849 billion km2 - over 5 times that of Earth.

    1st is with names, 2nd is without.

    What do you guys think so far? What should I add/modify/remove? I feel like there should be more small islands (and groups).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Segarma - yet another "My First Map" - constructive criticism requested-nyturo21.jpg   Segarma - yet another "My First Map" - constructive criticism requested-nyturo21nonames.jpg  

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