My First Fantasy Map
Hello everyone. I have always been in awe of all the great maps I have seen here over the years and finally decided to give it a shot myself. I just wanted to thank all the contributors to the site and all those who have helped so many. I would love any and all criticism and appreciate anyone taking the time to do so. One thing I am having a really hard time on is setting up trees. For some reason its like a roadblock where I simply do not like anything I come up with in regards to how it looks. So if anyone has some pointers or tips on that it would be great. Well here she is...
I think you did a good job. I like your base color choices. I think that the shape of your land is good. I really like the frame of your map but I do not like that the top of your island is overlapping the frame. I think the water border around your islands needs another layer. The dark blue contrast with the light blue to much, I think you should add a second slightly darker blue highlight. The mountains at the top of the map look out of place the land around them needs to have a colder feel to help the mountains seem more natural. As for trees I think you should find a style that you like and try to build off of that at first then you can continue to create a more unique style of your own. I am really looking forward to seeing this map continue to evolve as you learn more, it is easy to learn here... Good work so far.
Thanks for the kind comments Domino. I fixed the map overlapping out of the border as you mentioned since it did look tacky. Still have plans to address the feeling of cold in the north as well but have been getting sidetracked with other things here and there. Finally settled on a look for the trees that I liked and will be ironing all that out next. The shields are placeholders and were created by Max for his Selvarin map (I will gladly remove them asap if Max or the site has any issue at all). Some of the names for places were also plundered from other folks but may also be changed for the final map.
I feel like the map is starting to come together and am liking things so far and really enjoying the process of map making. It is quite enjoyable. However, I believe I have a long way to go and much to learn still so I am all ears, eager and willing to learn from the masters. Thanks for looking...
EDIT: Looking for any suggestions on creating a more appealing look to the cold environments in the north. I figured I can easily paint the tips of the mountains but what else can be done to make it come together?
For the north, I'd say probably lay off on the browns for the mountains and the edge of the landmass - try and transition it into a grey/blue kind of colour; the way the mountains look in the first image would look good, for example. Similar for the general whiteness, very few snowy/icey regions are flat white. Get some variation in there, hints of blue and grey.
But yeah other that it looks great! the forest in particular - is that a brush effect or hand-drawn? Or a pattern, I guess.
You've got quite a strong "done with graphics software" thing doing there. You might want to put yourself in the shoes of an in setting cartographer. Think about what you want to present and what tools and resources are available to you.
If you just toss arbitrary textures and filters around, it's going to look like arbitrary filters and textures mashed together. To get something that looks like it was created by someone in the setting, you have to thing about how the map was made, and then replicate the appearance you'd get from that.
For instance, that course texture doesn't really look like anything in particular. It's just sort of a general "roughness". It's also not consistent as if it were an aspect of whatever surface the map were drawn/painted/printed on, then it should appear through any drawing/printing/etc. A rough texture should also be disrupting the fine details of whatever is printed on it besides simply being visible. The edges of the map, both in terms of their shape and the strange emboss effect also don't look like anything in particular so much as just some graphical effects tossed in to look "interesting". Likewise the Perlin noise for whatever surface the map is sitting on.
Those gradient halos are also a very "done on a computer" looking effect. They look far to perfect, and far too brilliantly white. Just about any use of an 'emboss' type effect is also something you should consider carefully.
You should also read Eduard Imhof's Positioning Names on Maps: http://www.cartographersguild.com/re...ames-maps.html A very good introduction to labelling, which is one of the hardest parts of cartography. However good you may get as an illustrator or graphic designer, labelling is one of the things that will set you apart as a cartographer.
How do you do so nice maps? Y have been looking diferent tutorials and trying to do it in CC3, but my maps are **** comparing with your´s, very good job!!
Is there any good tutorial for the textures? O maybe CC3 is bit limited and its better to use another progrma like Photoshop?
Madbird: Yeah I'm working on the ice area now. Giving me fits tho but I'm sure something will click. As for the trees yes they are a pattern based on a brush I found through this site. Wish I could recall which brush but after downloading so many they are all a blur now.
Hai-Etlik: Everything you said makes complete sense. The map definitely has that photoshopped feel. However, there is a piece of me that kind of likes it. I suppose its a case of beauty in the eye of the beholder. I plan on finishing the map in that same over processed style and then converting it over to something more traditional. Part of that is because I'm still learning so figure I will take some baby steps and will be happy to get a map out the door for now. I do appreciate your critiques and agree 100% with everything you said. In fact it will be my goal for my second map to deliver something that feels more authentic to the time its from. Also thanks so much for the read on labeling as I can see now how badly I have been doing it. Its a long read but an excellent one.
Valhall: I'm honestly new to map making and everything I have learned so far has been through reading this site, and trial and error. All I can say is just keep at it and be patient with yourself as it is time consuming, but if you enjoy doing it, it is also very rewarding. I myself use Photoshop and have never used CC3. From the looks of things the majority of folks seem to use either Photoshop or Gimp which is free to download.
Very nice Ome. I tend to agree with Hai-Etlik's analysis: I'm not very fond of combining hand-drawn elements with textures. That said you've done a good job here. I especially like the heraldic shields.
Sorry, I don't want to be rude, but the shields you use from Selvarin's map aren't free to use. I put them on Selvarin's WIP thread as part of the process. I hope you'll be able to pick some free ones or make some to replace them on your map :) Arsheesh made a nice tutorial about how creating shields here, you may find it useful. Also you may find this link pretty cool to get a lot of ready to use shields shapes that you only have to fill in ;)
Hope that helps
...ah, I thought those shields looked familiar. Reading back now I see that Ome mentioned that and I just missed it.
Originally Posted by - Max -