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Thread: My first map, WIP

  1. #41
      DanChops is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    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.
    Agreed. Truth be told, I just rushed that out right before bed last night. I'll take another look at it this evening.

    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    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
    How do you think it looks elsewhere on the map? I like the mountains to the southwest and to the east. It's just the constant-width stretch in the middle that I don't like so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    canyons are cool
    Thanks. I'm still not entirely happy with them, but I'm not sure why. I think I may go back and tinker with them some as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    Multiple color bands are very cool
    different mountain colors is a very good mutation of the tutorial
    plasma = good! your forests rock!
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    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.
    Yeah, I think I may need to rethink my approach to rivers. Not sure exactly how yet though.

  2. #42
      DanChops is offline
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    Okay, I played around a bit with the river valley, and I think it looks a bit better now:

    My first map, WIP-21-physical.jpg

  3. #43
      DanChops is offline
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    Okay, so I'm ready to start with the political geography portion of the map. Before labeling cities and drawing in roads, I wanted to define empire boundaries. So, as always, I started with a sketch:

    My first map, WIP-borders-sketch.jpg

    I figure the three in the middle can be locked in war. The one in the west would probably be based on Egypt (yeah, I'm not stretching the creative muscles tonight, am I?) The northeast can be the obligatory Elven kingdom; the one in the east the obligatory Dwarven kingdom. The other three would be small, trade-based seafaring nations.

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    I just realized that I started the last two posts with "Okay." Note to self: word variety is a good thing.

    I've finished one possible style of border, and have it in both light and dark varieties.

    Light:
    My first map, WIP-02-borders-color-light.jpg

    Dark:
    My first map, WIP-03-borders-color-dark.jpg

    I had the borders in Civilization IV in the back of my mind when I made these. Generally, I think they work well. The borders with the more muted colors work better than the ones with brighter colors though. I'll need to redo this with a wider variety of muted colors.

    Not sure if I prefer the lighter or the darker borders though. I think I'll wait to decide on that one until after I've placed the cities and roads and see how much they compete with the borders for real estate.

  5. #45
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanChops View Post
    I just realized that I started the last two posts with "Okay." Note to self: word variety is a good thing.

    I've finished one possible style of border, and have it in both light and dark varieties.

    Light:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	02 Borders Color light.jpg 
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    Dark:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	03 Borders Color dark.jpg 
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ID:	3939

    I had the borders in Civilization IV in the back of my mind when I made these. Generally, I think they work well. The borders with the more muted colors work better than the ones with brighter colors though. I'll need to redo this with a wider variety of muted colors.

    Not sure if I prefer the lighter or the darker borders though. I think I'll wait to decide on that one until after I've placed the cities and roads and see how much they compete with the borders for real estate.

    I like both, but tend more toward the more vibrant of the two. IMO, I would actually make a copy of the underlying map, turn off many of the texture layers and have the political stuff be the primary element of the map other than the general shape and terrain features. Of course, I have ADHD and OCP, so I tend to like things fairly well delineated (which goes against mapping principals since this makes things look unnatural...go figure...)

    Joe
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  6. #46
      Karro is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    I like both, but tend more toward the more vibrant of the two. IMO, I would actually make a copy of the underlying map, turn off many of the texture layers and have the political stuff be the primary element of the map other than the general shape and terrain features. Of course, I have ADHD and OCP, so I tend to like things fairly well delineated (which goes against mapping principals since this makes things look unnatural...go figure...)

    Joe
    In general, I agree with this principle... It's why I wanted to start making my maps on the computer, because otherwise I could more easily draw a map by hand and scan it in than drawing it in the computer. But by using the computer, I could use the layers to generate different kinds of maps quickly and easily - geographical maps, or political maps - without duplicating the effort of redrawing everything.

    However, I think the hard line with fading glowy effect for the borders is kind of cool. On the contrary, though, I think the brighter colors work better as borders. They help the borders stand out from the terrain. The very earthy-looking Elven area border, for instance, fades into the background rather too much, making it hard to pick out. Bright red and bright blue and purple are very clear (although the bright blue obscures the rivers a bit too much, and the red blue border makes the rivers there look weird).

    The only other criticism I have is about where the rivers join the ocean. Using RobA's ocean technique, the edges of continents have a very light blue, almost white color for the oceans (unless you change up the palette a bit). However, the rivers are a much darker blue, which makes for a strange and abrupt looking color transition when the river suddenly meets the pale white-blue of coastal waters. When I do up my maps, I'm also hoping for a slightly clearer land/ocean border. All-in-all, though, it looks good.

  7. #47
      DanChops is offline
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    Sorry about the long MIA - real life can be rather intrusive at times.

    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    I like both, but tend more toward the more vibrant of the two. IMO, I would actually make a copy of the underlying map, turn off many of the texture layers and have the political stuff be the primary element of the map other than the general shape and terrain features. Of course, I have ADHD and OCP, so I tend to like things fairly well delineated (which goes against mapping principals since this makes things look unnatural...go figure...)

    Joe
    Thanks for the feedback. I've gotta say though - putting political borders on a nifty physical map appeals to me. Maybe I just play too much Civ IV.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karro View Post
    In general, I agree with this principle... It's why I wanted to start making my maps on the computer, because otherwise I could more easily draw a map by hand and scan it in than drawing it in the computer. But by using the computer, I could use the layers to generate different kinds of maps quickly and easily - geographical maps, or political maps - without duplicating the effort of redrawing everything.
    See, I'm almost the opposite to this. I wanted to start making my maps on the computer because I have next to zero artistic ability when it comes to drawing things by hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karro View Post
    However, I think the hard line with fading glowy effect for the borders is kind of cool. On the contrary, though, I think the brighter colors work better as borders. They help the borders stand out from the terrain. The very earthy-looking Elven area border, for instance, fades into the background rather too much, making it hard to pick out. Bright red and bright blue and purple are very clear (although the bright blue obscures the rivers a bit too much, and the red blue border makes the rivers there look weird).
    Excellent points. I worked on the colors for the Elven area border, and adjusted the red and blue borders so as to not mess with the rivers so much.

    I'm glad you like the hard line with fading glowy effect. (Is that name trademarked? I may have to yoink otherwise. )

    Quote Originally Posted by Karro View Post
    The only other criticism I have is about where the rivers join the ocean. Using RobA's ocean technique, the edges of continents have a very light blue, almost white color for the oceans (unless you change up the palette a bit). However, the rivers are a much darker blue, which makes for a strange and abrupt looking color transition when the river suddenly meets the pale white-blue of coastal waters. When I do up my maps, I'm also hoping for a slightly clearer land/ocean border. All-in-all, though, it looks good.
    Yeah, I agree with the rivers-meet-ocean color discrepancy issue. I've put that in my list of things to try to improve on my next map.

  8. #48
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    So, after a much too long absence, I had a chance to sit down tonight and play with the map some more. Here are the cities and roads:

    My first map, WIP-04-towns-roads.jpg

    With the scale of this map, I figured narrow roads would work best. I think I should have made the secondary cities a bit smaller.

  9. #49
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    And, here we are with the empires labelled. I really like RobA's method of using a path to curve the text. I thought it worked well.

    My first map, WIP-05-labels.jpg

    I realize that I should probably tweak colors and fonts and such, and I certainly could add a title and a legend and whatnot, but, truth be told, I think I've gotten all the practice out of this map that I'm going to. I'm quite happy with the skills I've developed throughout this process, and I'm excited to start drawing maps that may see actual use at the gaming table.

    Thanks again to everyone for their feedback!

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