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Thread: A world map WIP

  1. #1
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    Post A world map WIP

    I've been requested to share my work in its own thread, so I thought I would oblige. I'm currently working on a world map and I will post my progress in this thread.

    I've told the story here twice, so I'll condense it: a) been working on a fantasy world for 10+ years, b) been using same hand drawn world map until c) said hand drawn map was lost between moves. d) decided to draw a new one, more scientifically based, e) decided to try drawing it on GIMP, f) searching for "GIMP draw maps" led me here, g) read RobA's tutorial and decided to give it a try.

    So this time, before drawing random continents and coastlines, I decided to base my map on a bit of science and started with plate tectonics. My first task was to draw my tectonic plates, which I did by hand on notebook paper (the only thing I had available at the time the inspiration hit).

    I have since scanned my original drawing and touched it up with the GIMP. Here are my plates and their general direction of movement (as was said in my tutorial, movement isn't quite as simple as that, but for my purposes, it will work):

    A world map WIP-tectonic_plates.png

    Then based on the plate boundaries and some of my own design, I drew my continents and islands. I first did this by making a copy of my original hand drawn tectonic plate map and drawing the continents over it. I then used white out to eliminate the plate lines.

    However I have also scanned my map of the continents and superimposed it onto my tectonic plate map:

    A world map WIP-plates_and_land.png

    And finally, a rough, two tone image of my world map:

    A world map WIP-continents.png

    I do plan to add a lot more detail like inland seas and lakes, gulfs, bays, more islands, more random coastlines in places, etc.

    And following that will be the arduous process of detailing it using RobA's GIMP methods (as well as those by others who have extended the process).

    One thing I need to do is dramatically increase the size of my continental map. I found that GIMP is unable to generate bump maps fine enough for a global scale map, at least not with any method I know of.

    If anybody has any advice or suggestions, please let me know. Thanks for looking!

  2. #2
      Ascension is offline
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    I know that in Photoshop when I enlarge something, what was once a jagged coastline now becomes blurry. So what I do is make my base map in black and white and then use the pixellate > crystallize filter then bump the contrast all the way up to max, this takes all of the lil crystals that appear in the blurry part and makes them black or white. This, then, restores a jagged coastline but It doesn't quite line up with the old one, which is usually not a big deal. So look through and see if you have something similar to pixellate or crystallize in GIMP.

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    You might want to try this technique I posted a while back for "refractalizing" coastal detail as you zoom in.

    Here is a sample of the cluster of islands just NE of the center continent using that technique:

    A world map WIP-test.png

    -Rob A>

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    Thanks for the tips!

    I've done some work in the last few days according to RobA's marvelous tutorial, and have come up with this:

    A world map WIP-world_map_progress.png

    Obviously, I don't plan to leave everything as grass (as you can see with my desert attempt, which I currently don't care a whole lot for).

    I've been playing with the polar ice caps and have come up with some stuff that's ehh... decent, but not really convincing. Gaussian blur is only getting me so far. I'd kinda like to go for a Northern Canada look, a la this satellite photo:

    http://www.debian.org/devel/developers.map.jpeg

    Neither my northernmost nor southernmost continents are entirely covered with ice, so I need a good transition and a simple Gaussian blur isn't cutting it. Any thoughts would be welcome, and it doesn't have to be exactly like northern Canada.

    Actually, any suggestions at all would be welcome. I need to do deserts, forests and mountains and at this scale, things get a little more complicated... for me, anyway.

  5. #5
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhalsimrocks View Post
    Thanks for the tips!

    I've done some work in the last few days according to RobA's marvelous tutorial, and have come up with this:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	world_map_progress.png 
Views:	151 
Size:	297.0 KB 
ID:	4367

    Obviously, I don't plan to leave everything as grass (as you can see with my desert attempt, which I currently don't care a whole lot for).

    I've been playing with the polar ice caps and have come up with some stuff that's ehh... decent, but not really convincing. Gaussian blur is only getting me so far. I'd kinda like to go for a Northern Canada look, a la this satellite photo:

    http://www.debian.org/devel/developers.map.jpeg

    Neither my northernmost nor southernmost continents are entirely covered with ice, so I need a good transition and a simple Gaussian blur isn't cutting it. Any thoughts would be welcome, and it doesn't have to be exactly like northern Canada.

    Actually, any suggestions at all would be welcome. I need to do deserts, forests and mountains and at this scale, things get a little more complicated... for me, anyway.
    Post what your trying for the polar regions so we can see what you are doing.

    As for the deserts, a bit to bright and needs some more color variation within the area.

    Joe
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    Post what your trying for the polar regions so we can see what you are doing.

    As for the deserts, a bit to bright and needs some more color variation within the area.

    Joe
    Totally agree about the desert. I'm going to go for a "dirtier" look.

    As far as the polar regions go, I guess I don't really know exactly what I have in mind, but here is the only attempt I've made so far (It's just some noise with a light blue/white gradient map and a Gaussian blur):

    A world map WIP-polar_caps.png

    My own criticisms of it are that the blur just doesn't look realistic at all, especially going immediately to green. The effect looks more like cloud cover. I also think they come too far north and south. They need to be smaller areas, but not by much.

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      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhalsimrocks View Post
    Totally agree about the desert. I'm going to go for a "dirtier" look.

    As far as the polar regions go, I guess I don't really know exactly what I have in mind, but here is the only attempt I've made so far (It's just some noise with a light blue/white gradient map and a Gaussian blur):

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	polar_caps.png 
Views:	450 
Size:	296.5 KB 
ID:	4384

    My own criticisms of it are that the blur just doesn't look realistic at all, especially going immediately to green. The effect looks more like cloud cover. I also think they come too far north and south. They need to be smaller areas, but not by much.
    Try using the smudge tool to pull the "snow" down/up in places in a random way. Use a combination of fuzzy brushes and perhaps some types of splatter brushes. Not quite sure what you are looking for, but the smudge brush might be able to draw some white color into some places in whatever way you stroke and then if you wish, you could use the blur/sharpen tool to help blend it in a bit more. However, I would probably work on any terrain features first. For example, crevices/mountains would hold the snow for longer an thus you should put more there. You could also use a splatter type brush with lot's a jitter and "dust" some of the green areas, perhaps using the smudge tool or perhaps the blur/sharpen tools to get a better result.


    Joe
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  8. #8
      Ascension is offline
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    For dirtier deserts I'd make a new layer and render up some tan and reddish-brown clouds then mess around with the blending options and erase parts out. Same for the snow except use gray and white and possibly a very light blue color overlay.

    My 2 cents

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    Thanks for the feedback and ideas!

    I've done a little more work. Just a bit on the desert, a lot more on the Polar regions.

    I think I have improved both effects, but in particular, the Polar Regions. I used two different clipping layers to achieve more of a "Snow/Ice on Bare Ground" appearance. The randomness could be a bit better on the Northern Region, but I'm pretty happy with the south.

    I'm liking the color/texture of the desert now, but I need to make a better border with the grasslands.

    I've also added some more noise to the water portion and used the Dodge/Burn tool to darken and lighten the water where it is deeper and shallower respectively. And no, I haven't matched it up on the East and West edges yet. ;-)

    A world map WIP-world_map_progress.png

  10. #10
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Very cool. Any chance of getting a higher res version posted up so we can get to see the nitty gritty details?

    Joe
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    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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