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Thread: The World of Caliy [Help Requested]

  1. #1
    Guild Novice SkullCollector's Avatar
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    Wip The World of Caliy [Help Requested]

    Hello everyone.

    I'm here with my second map done in PS, the first completely copying jezelf's tutorial, and I need quite a bit of help. Not with techniques of actual mapping, but more with the geography. If this, at this stage, would be more appropriate in a different board, I beg for pardon. Please move the thread in that case.

    All right, so I've got an amazing theoretical world, planned into every little detail of relevance and even irrelevant stuff.
    This one is not it.
    I've got a concept, the general and rough stuff like races and so on. A few details about locations, flora and fauna. What I'm basically entirely lacking is geography in all its aspects: political boundaries (which will be up to me, don't worry), mountains, rivers, lakes. These are the things I'm worried about the most.
    I tried determining the stuff via tectonic movement, worked well, but I noticed the world would not turn out to be what I liked it to become. So I settled with basic landmasses waiting to be filled with content. While I fancy myself a huge science expert, geography definitely is not amongst my qualities. The basics, sure, that's it.

    This is what I have so far:
     

    (Zoom level 51%)

    Red indicates where I'd place mountains / mountain ranges, blue are cold ocean currents and green warm ones. Note: Very rough and definitely not settled with.
    You see, I'd like the southern continent to be warm in the north-east, like England's south coast thanks to the Gulf stream. Never mind the rest of the currents, I just thought I couldn't leave the one alone and made some randomly.
    I'm unsure about rivers as well, but those I have I'm happy with.
    Islands are lacking a lot, too, I think. I do not deem them necessary so far, though.
    Also very important, I guess, is the execution of the map itself. I'm often confused with the placement of stuff along the edges, especially the southern continent here. If you could help me out with a good read about maps, it would be much appreciated.

    What I don't want are details for now. It's a Fantasy world for a progressive and dynamic multiplayer story where almost a dozen authors will write their parts with unique characters. Basically an RPG with less constraints, but never mind that.

    So yeah, I guess that's it. If you need more information to help, please ask.
    Thank you a tonne in advance, I appreciate every bit of advice.

    Cheers
    SkullCollector
    Last edited by SkullCollector; 07-05-2013 at 10:21 AM.

  2. #2
      Obbehobbe is offline
    Guild Member Obbehobbe's Avatar
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    Alright, lets see. The rivers seems to be wrong. Rivers are basically rainwater and water from glaciers. They start from a high (mountains, highland) from several small connected flows, and usually finds the most easy way towards the ocean. It's very rare that a river split up into two rivers. It's more common that two rivers merge into one river.

    I would have remade the rivers completely. Think that they should start from the mountains, and find their way between hills and canyons towards the ocean. Also, if the above is a world map, then the current rivers are veeeeeery wide/large.
    I'm not an expert, but regarding the mountains, they are (often) created when two landmasses (continents) collide.

    If you look at the left continent, at the lowest half-island just above the southern continent, then the mountains are placed like they are crossing the land. This is not impossible, but I think it would be more likely if they I would go with mountains that follow the shape of the land. Think like this. The land actually starts from the very bottom from the ocean and emerges up, up up until it's over the waterline. Then it continues upward to hills and finally mountains.

    Hope it helps a bit
    "That sounds... incredibly complicated, but there's no doubt the result is fantastic." /Diamond

  3. #3
    Guild Journeyer Gracious Donor Klaus van der Kroft's Avatar
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    Well met!

    For starters, you have an interesting landmass distribution. I think it has the potential to make a very nice map.

    Now, I did notice some problems with the rivers, which are running between different coasts and having multiple outflows. Unless extremely specific conditions are met, rivers only have one exit, and never flow from one coast of the same water body to another coast of the same body (like what you have on the westward continent).

    I don't see any glaring geomorphological problem; there seems to be continuity between the landmasses and the islands, which is always a big plus (and gives maps a pleasant, proper look).

    As for the currents, I'm not much of an expert in that regard, but I do understand that every incomming current needs to have an outgoing current as well. Also, they transfer heat as they enter cold waters, so their warming capacity decreases the further they travel. For instance, the central warm current you have seems to be picking up heat in the equator (I'm assuming this is a spherical world and the map is showing the whole thing), then goes down to cold waters and warms them up. However, it then moves north still warm, while it should be going there colder (after transfering its heat to the cold water around the southern continent), only to warm up again once there and continue the cycle.

    From what I understand, smaller water bodies tend to have higher mean temperatures near the equator, so perhaps you could have the heat being brought from the sea in the middle of the map rather than from the ocean outside. Also, currents tend to get locked inside enclosed water bodies for the most part.

    Now, and this is entirely speculative, I think your southern continent would suffer from planetary rotation and feature a cold circumpolar current (a current that circles the entire globe around the pole), just like the one we have around Antarctica. This could be perhaps avoided by making the peninsula on the westward side of the continent be even closer, creating a natural barrier that would impede the formation of a current.

    Hope it helps!

  4. #4
    Guild Novice SkullCollector's Avatar
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    Thanks you two, greatly appreciated!

    I'm now redoing mountains, ocean currents and rivers. Regarding the latter, that's a major problem of mine. How do I know what scale is appropriate? I usually use a 3 px brush for those you saw, but maybe it's just the document that is too small: 2560 x 1600 with 300 ppi. Thought WQXGA would be sufficient.
    If that's not big enough, I sure hope I can scale this up without loss...

    Edit:
     

    Last edited by SkullCollector; 07-05-2013 at 03:22 PM.

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      Hai-Etlik is offline
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    How you need to place things depends on how you distorted the globe to get it to lay flat as a map. The different ways of doing this are called "projections".

    Since you have a rectangular map, and it sounds like you want it to cover the whole globe, that means you are probably after some form of cylindrical projection. Cylindrical projections work by taking each parallel and then stretching or squashing so they all have the same length. The pair of parallels (one each north and south of the equator) that are not squashed or stretched are called "standard parallels".

    The poles are also stretched out to form the top and bottom of the map, but you need to keep in mind that although they are lines on the map, they are points on the globe. If a line, say a coastline, touches the top or bottom, then it means that line passes exactly through the pole. The distortion at the poles is essentially infinite. That means that if the pole is inside a landmass, the coastline of that landmass should span across the map.

    Where all normal cylindrical projections distort east-west the same way, they differ in how they distort north south. Equidistant Cylindrical doesn't change north-south distance (it matches up with the east-west distance at the standard parallels). Mercator adds north-south stretch to match the east west stretch, so it keeps shapes roughly the same, but distorts areas. Cylindrical Equal-Area does the opposite, distorting shape even more, but keeping areas the same. Since the distortion at the poles is infinite, Mercator adds infinite north-south stretch at the poles, which means the map is infinitely tall and only a finite portion of the middle of the map can be shown. In practice, Mercator is the only one of the three that is really suitable for a finished map. Equidistant cylindrical is mathematically simple which makes it useful for feeding into software to convert to another projection. Cylindrical equal area projections are pretty much worthless as there are far better equal area projections that are not cylindrical. Mercator was intended for marine navigation, with sailing ships, and for that purpose, it works reasonably well. It ended up getting used as the standard projection for reference maps for a while, but it is not particularly useful in that role and has been replaced with more modern projections like Winkel Tripel and Robinson. Mercator is also used for zoomable web maps like Google Maps and OpenStreetMap where its shape preserving property means that zoomed in sections are approximately correct, at least if you zoom in to a fairly large scale.

    To get your currents right, you need to set up "gyres". The currents run arround in loops, going one way in the northern hemisphere, and the other in the southern hemisphere (sometimes with smaller gyres driven backwards by the bigger gyres like the Gulf of Alaska driven by the North Pacific Gyre.). Where the currents flow away from the equator, they are warm, and toward the equator, they are cold.

  6. #6
    Guild Journeyer Gracious Donor Klaus van der Kroft's Avatar
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    The rivers look better; the px size of the brush doesn't really matter if you are going for an artistic, more abstract representation. That said, it looks good when rivers start with faint, thin lines and grow progressively thicker/darker as they approach the coast/join their courses with other tributaries. You can do this through many methods, although the easiest one is with a digital pen and playing around with the pressure.

    There are now some issues with the lakes, as most of them seem to have no drainage into the ocean. Unless you have an Aral Sea-like situation, where evapouration/depletion outweights the influx of water, or endorheic flows (where the water leaks underground, often feedin swamplands), lakes and landlocked seas will always have an outgoing river, as all that water needs to go somewhere. The big lake on the central western continent, the tiny one in that same continent where the southern peninsula starts, those four tiny bodies inside the central island, and the seven in the eastern continent, none of them have outflows.

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    Guild Novice SkullCollector's Avatar
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    Thanks again, guys.

    Hai-Etlik, that was extremely informative and I will make sure to apply most of that in future globe maps as far as I am able to. For now, can I stick with my "solution" (which is no solution because I didn't think) and excuse it with the theme being fantasy? Authenticity is very important to me and I'd sacrifice as little as possible, yet beauty and convenience play a major role as well. So I'm kinda torn, really.

    And regarding the rivers and lakes; yeah, I knew that (yay, something!), but I was too lazy to draw rivers from every but so small body of water to an ocean at such an early state.
    Speaking of states: Can I edit the map later on? Surely there won't be nukes blasting holes into the crust, but I'm thinking of lables, maybe newly discovered rivers, hills and mountains. I would be content with making this one as detailed as possible without spoiling opportunities for the players and instead continously crafting new regional maps, though. The global thing representing a mere overview in that case. But why not have both if possible?

    Cheers
    Skull

  8. #8
    Guild Journeyer Gracious Donor Klaus van der Kroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkullCollector View Post
    Speaking of states: Can I edit the map later on? Surely there won't be nukes blasting holes into the crust, but I'm thinking of lables, maybe newly discovered rivers, hills and mountains. I would be content with making this one as detailed as possible without spoiling opportunities for the players and instead continously crafting new regional maps, though. The global thing representing a mere overview in that case. But why not have both if possible?

    Cheers
    Skull
    Sure thing! All you need to do is to keep everything properly separated in different layers in Photoshop/GIMP, and such form of dynamic editing will be a breeze.

    I do something similar with my players: In order to avoid spoilers but at the same time minimize the amount of work, I split all elements into individual layers (one for rivers, one for forests, etc) and, once I'm done, create a new layer of "fog" (sometimes it's actual fog, other times a paper texture to simulate an incomplete map) on top of everything, then simply use a diffuminated eraser on the areas they have visited/should know, which kind of gives the effect of a slowly revealing map.

    It's really easy to do and gets the result you want. If you feel more industrious, you can also create smaller, more focused versions of the map that keep growing in scale.

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      Lingon is offline
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    I really like those landmasses! The new rivers and mountains are looking good too.

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    Guild Novice SkullCollector's Avatar
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    All right, I must say again that I appreciate your help a damn lot! But for now I shall cease working on Caliy. Creating an entire planet is harder than I thought, so I will stick with regional maps for the next ~5 to 10 projects and then see if I can't get back to the world.
    Landmass distribution is one thing, but colouring, biomes, heightmaps, pictograms... Quite a bit of work. As a total beginner in all aspects of visual art as well as PS, this is too much.

    I hope I can bump this thread in a few weeks, because this concept will definitely not be scrapped. In fact it's extremely tempting to just keep working on it, but as far as I know myself, I can't work on the same thing over and over again to polish it as my knowledge increases.
    So... yeah. To the tutorial section!

    Cheers
    Skull

    The concept thus far:
     
    [img]http://puu.sh/3wtCe.jpg[img]
    Last edited by SkullCollector; 07-06-2013 at 01:43 PM.

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