First Map. Critique please.
The image size of this map is rather large and hopefully will upload properly to this post. If not here is an img ur link : http://i.imgur.com/QNsT8.jpg
This is my first map and first time using photoshop. I followed the Atlas Styled Tutorial I found here and I'm semi happy with the results. Everything was done with CS5.
The map is for a D&D campaign and while I'm mostly glad to just be at this point with it I have several issues. I want to break this up by zone so that What I'm about to say makes sense.
Map Segmented by Zones : http://i.imgur.com/XBgRP.jpg
1) Zone 1 should look like the amazon river basin. The most notable issue I have here is both coloring and the river system. I feel like the way the the rivers were approached in the atlas style tut was great but in my map I don't feel like I executed them very well and it doesn't really convey to me "Low lying tropical mangrove forest jungle river basin' type of area. I think the color detracts from that a lot. The problem I ran into with color is that in the tut you create a gradient fill for the land layer and pick essentially three colors then come back later and paint over it, when I tried to paint over it with darker colors i mostly created dark spots because only some parts of the layer would 'pick up the paint', if that makes any sense. I'll be the first to say that I'm a photoshop idiot so any insight on that would be great.
2)The Mountains stand out to me as the biggest disappointment of the entire thing. They more resemble offensive gouges in the land. I had some problems with the cloud filter when following the tut. I tried it both on CS6 and CS6 and had the same results. Somewhere something in my settings is screwed up. When creating render-> filter-> clouds you're supposed to then select a color range ( alt s m c) while the foreground/background palate is black (fore) and white (aft). From there you set the fuzziness and hit ok. It should, in theory select all black. The problem I had on both programs and literally every time the select color range function was used is that it would either select all white or all of the grays and leave me with nasty black ring cloud colors. I worked around this by setting select to 'Shadows' instead of 'Sampled Colors'. This, however, allowed me to select the black but didn't leave me with much gradation once the color was deleted. It left me with very jagged cloud rendering to build the mountains with and I'm exceptionally unhappy with them. Any insight at all on that would make my day.
3) The placement of the mountains is bothering me. I have to point out that my GM created the outline map originally and I picked it up and made it digital later so I was going by his original. I felt that to justify the existence of the lakes, you would have to, I assume, have mountains somewhere to create an elevation to allow water to drain and pool, creating a lake. I tried to reflect that with the rivers. I feel that the placement of the mountains is poorly chosen and doesn't really convey believable terrain to me but I reworked them so many times and over so many hours that I settled on the current product out of frusteration. Any ideas would be helpful.
Any other critique would be appreciated.