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Thread: My first map, WIP

  1. #31
      DanChops is offline
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    Here is the map with the granite mountains done.

    My first map, WIP-14-gray-mountains.jpg

    Again, I'm happy with how this two-track approach to the mountains (a hills step followed by a peaks step) helps the elevation blend in with the lowlands. I think it looks a wee bit odd in the area where the gray mountains meet the yellow lowlands on the east. I'm going to have to rethink my palette there, I think.

    Beyond that though, I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out so far.

  2. #32
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    Okay, so today I've been tweaking the granite mountains. I wanted to to create the appearance that the areas outlined in white were higher than the surrounding granite peaks.

    My first map, WIP-15-snow-peak-sketch.jpg

    And this is what I came up with.

    My first map, WIP-16-snow-peak.jpg

    Compare with before the change.

    My first map, WIP-14-gray-mountains.jpg

    Basically, I duplicated what I did with the hills layer - I created the height map and did a few bump map layers based on that, but didn't add a color layer. The effect is subtle, but I think it does what I wanted it to do - creates the illusion that those areas are a bit higher than the rest of the mountains.

  3. #33
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    And here are the forests. First, the rough sketch:

    My first map, WIP-17-forest-sketch.jpg

    And the final product:

    My first map, WIP-18-forest.jpg

    A few thoughts about the forests: I did a plasma noise render for the noise layer in the Forest TLS rather than a solid noise render. I found that this helped give it a more "foresty" border. I also used the same plasma noise layer as the map for a bump map layer, which I duplicated. Finally, the color variation was achieved through use of a solid noise render overlay layer. I used a "large galaxy" brush with varying degrees of gray directly on the noise layer to make the color variation more to my liking.

    All four of the visible forest layers (color, the two bump maps, and the texture overlay) got the forest mask applied. I blurred the mask to help with blending. Then I copied each of the four layers, applied the forest mask, and applied the coast mask to keep the trees out of the water. Then I added the mountain mask and blurred that mask, to help the forests blend in with the mountains better.

    I'm not entirely satisfied with the forests as yet, and I'm sure I'll come back and tweak them later on.

  4. #34
      DanChops is offline
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    Rivers. Ahh, rivers. I tell you, rivers are tough. I've spent much of the afternoon with them, and I'm still not quite where I want to be. Let me show you what I've got so far.

    First, as always, I did rough sketch of where I wanted the rivers to be:

    My first map, WIP-19-rivers-sketch.jpg

    Then I zoomed in really close and, using the mouse, drew more precise rivers in white:

    My first map, WIP-19a-rivers-sketch-white.jpg

    After I had them all drawn in, I colored them:

    My first map, WIP-19b-rivers-color.jpg

    I still had the problem from my first map with the rivers looking like they were laying on top of the mountains and forests, rather than flowing through them. I tried to remedy that by applying a bump map with the rivers as the source of the bump. I made the azimuth the opposite of what I had been using for the elevation (315 for the rivers as opposed to 135 for the elevation) to give the illusion of a depression, and kept the depth very low.

    While this approached helped the appearance of the rivers flowing through the elevated terrain, it made the rivers on flat land look funny. So, I made a combined Forest/Mountain mask and applied it to the bump map. This seems to be a good start, but I think I'm going to need to work on them some more.

    Anyway, here's the map as it is now:

    My first map, WIP-20-rivers.jpg

    A few things I'm not happy about:
    • The narrow rivers running through the mountains get lost. I think I may have to make them thicker.
    • I'd like the rivers running through the sandstone mountains in the southwest to look like they're going through a deeper canyon. Maybe I should do another bump map with a higher depth masked to only affect those rivers?
    • The rivers running through the plans need something, I'm just not sure what.
    • I'd also like to stipple some white or lighter blue onto the rivers running through the mountains to give the illusion of motion and rapids and such.


    Thoughts?

  5. #35
      RobA is offline
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    Regarding rivers -

    What is the scale of this map (whole world)? I think some of the rivers are too twisty for this scale. Look at rivers on earth that have a similar scale in similar terrain to see how they move. Really big rivers tend not to meander that much (it all depends on the scale...if this map were, 25-50km across, I'd say you got it right). Just my opinion, doesn't count for beans

    I do like the river running down the sandstone mountain valley in the SW.

    -Rob A>

  6. #36
      DanChops is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobA View Post
    Regarding rivers -

    What is the scale of this map (whole world)? I think some of the rivers are too twisty for this scale. Look at rivers on earth that have a similar scale in similar terrain to see how they move. Really big rivers tend not to meander that much (it all depends on the scale...if this map were, 25-50km across, I'd say you got it right). Just my opinion, doesn't count for beans
    Yeah, I guess I got a little crazy with the twistiness of the rivers. I'll have to tone that down some.

    As for scale, I'm thinking roughly 6,000 km or so from side to side. So yea, I definitely need to straighten out those rivers.

    Quote Originally Posted by RobA View Post
    I do like the river running down the sandstone mountain valley in the SW.
    Thanks. My goal is to make it look like it's running through a canyon.

  7. #37
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    I started straightening out a few of the rivers, and decided that I was too lazy tonight to go back through them all. Since I don't plan on ever actually using this map, I'll just chalk this up as a learned lesson.

    So, here we are with a few rivers straighter than last time. I also duplicated the river bump map and applied the brown mountain mask, emphasizing a bit more the rivers running through the sandstone mountains.

    My first map, WIP-20a-rivers-mark-ii.jpg

    The things I still want to play around with on the physical geography of this map are:
    • Create some sort of a plateau look in the midst of the north east granite mountains (think Tibet)
    • Play around with the coloring for the band (currently yellow) that transitions from the grass to the desert
    • Add a lush river valley to the river running through the desert to the west (think the Nile)

  8. #38
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    Okay, I think I'm pretty much done with the physical geography portion of this map. Here it is:

    My first map, WIP-21-physical.jpg

    I added the fertile river valley and the high mountain plateau, and adjusted the coloring of the transition band. I also added a bump map to the ocean floors and did the coastline stroke like Robb suggested in his tutorial.

    All in all, I'm quite happy with this map. I've learned quite a bit about GIMP and about map making:
    • Like Rob pointed out, I need to keep map scale in mind when drawing rivers to keep from making them too curvy.
    • Similarly, I think I need to work on my mountain placement. The width of the central North-South range in particular just looks regular for my tastes.
    • I like the two-step elevation process I played around with here, and I have a few ideas of how to play around with that in the future.
    • I kind of like the canyons in the southwest - I need to play around with the idea a bit more to refine it though.
    • I like the three bands of ground color, and imagine it could be expanded to include a tundra and an icy band as well.
    • I also like the two different colors of mountain.
    • I really like the way using plasma clouds affects the forests.


    A huge thanks to Rob for the tutorial, and for everyone who's commented thus far. Next time I have a chance to sit down and tinker, I'm going to start with the political geography aspects of the map.

  9. #39
    Guild Member Elvith Gent's Avatar
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    For rivers : I personnaly "cut" forests where I want to put a river. The result is, in my opinion, a little bit better. But it's not perfect ...

  10. #40
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanChops View Post
    I added the fertile river valley and the high mountain plateau, and adjusted the coloring of the transition band. I also added a bump map to the ocean floors and did the coastline stroke like Robb suggested in his tutorial.
    In my opinion, the river valley is a bit to regular. Make a few points where it flairs out a bit more and perhaps consider using a gradient blend to show how it gets lusher the closer to the river you get.

    Quote Originally Posted by DanChops View Post
    All in all, I'm quite happy with this map. I've learned quite a bit about GIMP and about map making:
    • Like Rob pointed out, I need to keep map scale in mind when drawing rivers to keep from making them too curvy.
    • Similarly, I think I need to work on my mountain placement. The width of the central North-South range in particular just looks regular for my tastes.
    • I like the two-step elevation process I played around with here, and I have a few ideas of how to play around with that in the future.
    • I kind of like the canyons in the southwest - I need to play around with the idea a bit more to refine it though.
    • I like the three bands of ground color, and imagine it could be expanded to include a tundra and an icy band as well.
    • I also like the two different colors of mountain.
    • I really like the way using plasma clouds affects the forests.
    1. I think the two elevation process is a good idea, it just does not look natural in this execution. Perhaps as you say the problem is that it is two uniform in width
    2. canyons are cool
    3. Multiple color bands are very cool
    4. different mountain colors is a very good mutation of the tutorial
    5. plasma = good! your forests rock!



    Quote Originally Posted by Elvith Gent View Post
    For rivers : I personnaly "cut" forests where I want to put a river. The result is, in my opinion, a little bit better. But it's not perfect ...

    I agree to some point with this. In a perfect world, I would have bits if the river hidden and show as it winds through the forest.
    My Finished Maps
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    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
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    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

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