[WIP] - Unnamed World
Probably my inaugural post. Hello, everyone! =)
This is a map that I've been working on for a while. I'm pretty happy with it so far. I'm looking for criticism/feedback on the map, mostly regarding mountain placement and rivers. I haven't yet decided on climate yet, so the entire map is a lush, green paradise right now. I'm open to suggestions on that, as well.
You can also see a full-quality version here.
Hope you like it!
EDIT: Title should be Unnamed Continent. Bah -_-
I like it! What's your methodology?
I used Photoshop primarily. I hand-drew a shape that I liked and loosely replicated it in Photoshop. Then used Old Guy's Tutorial on Creating Realistic Coastlines to, well, make realistic coastlines. I originally used Ascensions' Atlas Style in Photoshop for the first few maps, but wasn't totally happy with the result. I adapted a few things from his tutorial (c.f. continental shelf, lighting effects), but developed a few styles on my own by playing with brush effects and such in Photoshop. I ended up, at one point, laying down the continental plate boundaries (you can faintly see them in the ocean), to help lay down the mountains. The ocean styling was the happy product of playing around in Photoshop while trying to figure out mountain placement.
Originally Posted by Dana O'Rourke
Nice work, for your first map this is mighty fine! However, I see some river violations. On both the souteast and northwest areas you have rivers that split in two before reaching the sea, unless its artificial or at a river delta this doesn't happen naturally (River Police please feel free to stop me if I'm wrong). My other critique is that you might want to lower the opacity on the shadows you have on the continental shelf, its a bit too stark at the moment. Just my thoughts.
Rivers - the SE join I'd almost buy, as a geologically temporary liaison between two flatland meandering watercourses. The NW split though, is just implausible no matter what. I highly recommend a read of Redrobes' most excellent tutorial on How to Get Your Rivers in the Right Place. You do a nice job of randomly wiggling your rivers here and there.
Also about rivers - if you're shooting for a pure aerial photo view, you're fine. Rivers often show up as dark threads from orbit. But to make it a more useful as a map, you could consider lightening the rivers, so they'll show up among all that lovely dark terrain.
If it's an aerial photo, you can't do the cartographer thing with rivers - only showing the most important ones. You instead need to do the camera thing and show them all (five or ten times more, going all the way down to sub-pixel width). If you can convince the viewer it's a manmade map not a photo though, what you show could be all right.
The terrain IS very nice - I like the whole look. You've got a great set of landforms going. There's a plausible scattering of islands. But the apparent climate is mighty uniform, if this continent spans a wide stretch of latitude. Where is this on the globe? How many degrees apart are those lat/lon lines? I guess if the separation was just a degree or two the whole thing could be nestled in just tropical or just temperate zones. But if it's ten or fifteen degrees, you'd figure to see drier bands in between tropic and temperate, and maybe some rain-shadow effects drying out other areas, depending on prevailing winds.
The continental shelf effect is nice, but again is awfully uniform. You have it narrow in a couple of places, and you've got most of that inner sea as fairly shallow - good so far. The rest is still uncomfortably artificial though. Peek at a view of Earth's shelves - some hug the shore evenly but some wildly diverge. I'm with LonewandererD on their prominence - they jump out even more than the mountains, yet if this was orbital photography you'd figure the water would mask 90% of the view. You're treating them more as a seafloor map without water. By the way, you could get away with stealing some of earth's seafloor relief and stitching it into place to relieve the blandness of your deeps. Midocean ridges and fault zones are fiendishly hard to synthesize. If your planet is low-tectonic and there really is a planetwide mudblanket below a thousand fathoms, okaaaaay, I guess :-). But only do that if it's what you intend, not by default.
How well the mountains are placed partly depends on your scale. You have a good mix of continent-rimming ranges and midcontinent rises. But again with the shelves - if the eastern range is the result of subduction just offshore, the underwater relief doesn't point toward that. You kept the bevel on all coasts subtle, and it looks good zoomed out. Zoomed in though, it looks like you have cliffs all around. I don't know how you would improve that - shallow coasts are tough. Maybe deemphasize the dry-basin-colored-blue effect, and go for more of an orbital photo view, where you can show super-shallows with color?
For all that I-hope-constructive critique, it's a really good looking map - way better than I can do. Definitely worth a bit of rep, and we want to see more!
Very nice. My critique would be that the shelf looks a bit too stark; I would tone it down a bit. Otherwise nice job.