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Thread: Isolden (my 1st world map)

  1. #21
      Psylence is offline
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    jtougas is on the money. It's all about you and your take on things. Let's face it, when it comes to mapmaking there's always the question of how realistic you plan on making it. Often people want to put in an element of realism, but there's also ways around it. The easiest explanation is magic, but you could also create an artificial split in a river because of a town. If they go out of their way to split it, it could theoretically happen for a while. It's also interesting to just look through that thread because, sometimes, even our living world does things that make us scratch are heads and want to call foul(or fowl since Turkey Day and all). Either way, I know I haven't spoken too much on the map, but it's coming along quite nicely.

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      Neyjour is offline
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    Thanks Psylence! Yeah, since this is a Fantasy world, I'm not going to worry over it too much! Now, if I was making a real world map, that would be different...I'd probably be kind of OCD about getting everything exactly right.

    I should have another update tomorrow. Been working on the sand dunes in the desert area, and adding more trees. I tried a few other options for the trees but couldn't get any good results, so I may have to just stick with my cloned trees.

  3. #23
      Psylence is offline
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    Have you tried the option from: Fantasy Cartography with Adobe Photoshop 3 - YouTube

    It's not a bad way to do forests so long as the map fits for it.

  4. #24
      jbgibson is offline
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    Default Water 101 (& 102 & 103)

    I don't want to discourage you on what is a really nice map. Like others note: if it is for just you, and it makes you happy - no problemo.

    But glaring is in the eye of the beholder. For a wider audience than one, some folks may have enough realistic hydrology internalized, for implausible channels to grate like fingernails on a chalkboard. 'Tis the same for other features - when one is sensitive to the effects of different projections, implausible grids and graticlules are unnerving. For those who have studied climate and biospheres, unlikely placement of deserts, forests, and such can ruin an otherwise pleasing experience.

    I use a "good enough/ minimum effort" doctrine -- go for all the plausibility that doesn't take overmuch effort, and which doesn't get in the way of your storytelling. If your tale calls for a fifty-mile-wide waterfall, then make one.... if you need rain forest abutting desert, draw that... heck, if you need water flowing uphill, do that -- just be willing to blame it on handwaving, big deposits of implausiblite, or a backstory with drunken gods creating willy-nilly.

    What you have drawn has a number of issues, but none of which look hard to correct, *assuming* you don't mind the more likely configurations. It's also REALLY nicely done otherwise, and it deserves a bucketload of rep already, unfinished and regardless of rivers!

    The "how to get your rivers in the right place" tutorial (most excellent reading!) boils down to "water flows downhill. at any one point, only one direction is 'most down', so rivers tend to join, not split". Lakes are a special case of this principle - it's not impossible for two or more points on the periphery of a lake to both be lowest outlet and exactly the same height - only unlikely and temporary.

    Your southwestern lake has this problem - the two circled outlets. The yellow line is a shore all the same level. "Think" the dirt and rock a little higher at either one, and you get no flow there - call it erasing a bit of the outflowing river. A very few feet of difference is enough. The new "upper end" of the cut off river can even be pretty near the lake - say a ridge separates the two.

    Isolden (my 1st world map)-lake2.jpg

    This northern lake is fine - if you assume the yellow marks a shore all at the same level, you have one outlet and many inlets.

    Isolden (my 1st world map)-lake1.jpg

    Down from the eastern outlet of that SW lake you have a major split going on. Realistically all the flow would go one way or the other -- a midway break in one channel as drawn, down from the split, would technically fix things. But that middle view shows what looks like a wrong-way join. The way dirt and water behave, one will usually see joins at an angle that in effect points a bit downriver. Not always, but usually. So maybe a situation like the third view would be better -

    Isolden (my 1st world map)-split1.jpg


    This split likewise you could improve with one little erasure.

    Isolden (my 1st world map)-split2.jpg

    Having that shorter river arise not *quite* so close to the longer one where I broke it (least effort :-) ), would maybe be even more readily believable, but that's your design decision. For that matter, maybe the southern bit is the one that needs disconnecting instead <shrug>.





    Water flows based mostly on three things - the level & slope of the top of the water, the level & slope of the bottom of the water (i.e. the bare terrain), and the capacity of the channel. The second is the most obvious - that leads to the "only downhill" maxim. But take it further - because at any point only one direction is likely to be "most down", it is in that one direction that water will flow. But nothing stops any one point from being thus downhill from two other spots. These add up to create the generality that rivers join as they proceed downhill, but don't split. You can get that by observation too - from looking at the behavior of most watercourses.

    The lake-outlet thing is not just the odds against multiple lowest outlets, but the mechanics of erosion. Say two separate spots do happen to be both lowest. One will have a larger flow, or will be in softer terrain. That one will cut just a bit lower outlet - which will then capture more and more of the flow, grow faster, and will wind up the lowest outlet, with all the flow. The timescale might be days, or years. Even if it is thousands of years, on a geologic scale, that's small potatoes, and thus temporary. So a map representing any random time in the history of a land, is most likely not to have such transient situations - or not many of them. Our fantasy maps can either exist of and for themselves, or they can be in support of something - being a background, a setting, a set of stage furniture for whatever events you wish to portray. If the former, then whatever looks good will suffice. If the latter, then maybe we want the map to be almost "invisible" - not to call attention to itself too much. The latter can be beautiful, clever, fascinating all by itself - of course it can for us map geeks :-). We'll peruse any map, and the more interesting the better. :-) But a viewer (watcher, reader, what-have-you) has only so much attention to give. If the point of a map is to help tell a story, the details that pull one's attention away from the focus of the narrative are counterproductive. If he's puzzling out just what is going on in the picture that bugs him, he may miss important bits of plot. Or may not buy the book :-b. In the same way a writer doesn't make his characters or setting *too* strange, we may not want too much jarring in our depiction. Artist James Gurney (of Dinotopia) has a term - imaginative realism. So in all respects possible maybe we ought to keep things at least plausible. Again the audience matters - among folks who don't much know or care how the real world works, discrepancies from "realism" won't matter. More folks know how rivers work than how plate tectonics work, so being sketchy on tectonics is less of a problem. More folks understand gross climate situations than orbital mechanics, so moon placement might not be as essential to get "right" as whether a desert on the downwind side of a mountain range makes sense just *there*.

    And this is art supported by science, not plain science - if it pleases you, draw it. It just pleases some of us to not only be pretty but to also try and figure where the winds would blow, how the ice caps spread, and what lies beneath the volcanoes. :-)


    Okay, now that I've strayed SERIOUSLY into the Too Long; Didn't Read territory, I might as well get more complex. For one, I noted carrying capacity of a channel matters. This is most clear in an underground watercourse - there the rivers are also pipes. If a tunnel can only pass 100 gallons a minute, then that's all that flows, and some other tube carries other water out of the Lost Sea Beneath. Thus multiple outlets. You get that situation on the surface temporarily during floods - a normal channel maybe can't let past an increased flow, so it backs up and water also flows elsewhere. That delightful (?!) circumstance gets 50% of Bangladesh underwater once in a while. It lets the Mississippi grow to a hundred fifty miles across for a time.

    The exceptions to the no-splitting generality mostly equate to flatness, hence water "not caring much" which direction it wanders. Like a lake with islands, even if the passages between are narrow - it's all the same to this bucket of water as it is to that one. In a delta, that goes on in spades. Flow slows, and silt drops. Now the silted bottom right there is shallower, and that direction over there looks lower, and a bit more flow moseys *there*. And back and forth, and all at once. Thus if it's what you want, a marshy swampy bayous situation, say like the south end of Florida (before Man's modifications), I'll buy your tangled situation below near the coast. Depending on your scale, maybe the breadth of connection to the sea I left in place is appropriate , or maybe it ought to neck down more. Swampy land/water can also be explicitly shown with something like the little marsh-grass tufts I stuck in. The other (farther away) tangled many-exits-to-sea bits are not so plausible, but could be bettered with something like the three shown deletions. Can you imagine how it now shows one-way down for each raindrop? Watercourses by themselves imply the shape of terrain beneath. Call the areas where I broke rivers now ridges - whether sharp or gradual.

    Isolden (my 1st world map)-marsh1.jpg

    Now, that northern delta is troubling mostly in its size.
    Isolden (my 1st world map)-delta1.jpg

    Am I guessing right that it's hundreds of miles across? Simply smaller and closer to the shore would help. Do you intend that to be dead-flat delta mud and marsh? Some of your river mouths "read" as being more hilly surroundings - note a delta like that of the Mississippi has some channels that actually run out to the end of peninsulas. The same hydrology that has river-joins "pointing" downstream, make contour lines of a valley "point" upstream, along a river. And a shoreline is just the zero contour. In terrain that's at all slanted, one expects a mouth like the one I circled to maybe be a bit of a slot between two ridges, or at least rises. If that's the terrain you want near this coast, then it's back to the earlier examples, where you wouldn't want the downstream splitting behavior at all.

    It might help if you figure a delta more as what happens when a silty river hits ocean, than what the onshore end of a long river does. They build out, not inward - except for the case of land so flat that you have a swamp more than a delta. If a river dumps much sediment into an ocean or lake, but currents wash it all away, no delta builds up. Thus only some coastal configurations would tend to let a delta form.



    What I said about the TOP of the water mattering can get odd. The Tonle Sap in Cambodia is a really low-slope river. Where it flows into the Mekong, normally, the path from there to the sea is just that little bit lower, and flow proceeds as you might expect. But when the Mekong floods (yearly!) its surface becomes several feet higher. Now all of a sudden the surface of the Mekong would be higher than that of the whole lower Tonle Sap, and the latter accepts flow from the Mekong and flows *backward*, backing up into a huge lake. Weird. I dare you to symbolize THAT on a map :-). So "plausible" can have a wide range... but that level of oddness does call for explanation. One or two such special situations would be plenty for a normal map.

    A micro-case of the multiple-outlets situation : think of a broad waterfall like Victoria. It flows over a pretty dang level shelf of hard rock. There's still bits that have eroded more, so those spots gush more - and more constantly. Bit of a drought, and the 'higher' spots dry up. Bit of a flood, and a more complete curtain of falling water is seen. A waterfall is a pretty restricted example - Victoria is only a bit over a mile wide. That's accentuated by the natural tendency of the rock to erode away - only there, erode-and-a-chunk-falls gets you a bit wider channel, and moves the edge back to unslotted rock. An interesting counterexample, a rare one, is where minerals are at an almost saturated solution in the water. You can get constant buildup instead of constant erosion. Accidental rifts tend to heal.


    Ah, well - if all that makes sense, you can tweak things a bit and improve your believability. If it doesn't make sense, then draw on and still give us some more of the very nice work I see!

  5. #25
      jbgibson is offline
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    I wouldn't expect the lava to flow all over creation either - more of a few channels than a finely divided mesh. I *would* figure it to be temporary enough for the multiple outlets bit not to matter. Check your scale, and think of how fast lava cools -- if the volcano area is one mile across or twenty, I could buy it easier than if it is 150 or 200 miles across.

  6. #26
      Falconius is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbgibson View Post
    I wouldn't expect the lava to flow all over creation either - more of a few channels than a finely divided mesh. I *would* figure it to be temporary enough for the multiple outlets bit not to matter. Check your scale, and think of how fast lava cools -- if the volcano area is one mile across or twenty, I could buy it easier than if it is 150 or 200 miles across.
    I'd imagine real lava behaves in relatively the same manner as water just with quicker pattern changes since it cools quickly and ends up blocking it's self. That said for a lake of lava or anything of that nature as depicted here I think it's pretty safe to say the rules don't apply. On Earth that would have cooled and formed new land pretty much immediately. The way I take this representation is that surface area of the crust is extremely thin and or extremely hot through some means. To me it appears as if it is a cooling surface on a huge lake of lava, like when you see a lake dry up and you get that wonderful cracked pattern on top with mud underneath with maybe some freestanding water in the middle.

  7. #27
      Diamond is offline
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    @jbgibson: You deserve a 3rd River Police award for that.
    Falconius likes this.
    "I like a look of agony, because I know it's true."

    -Emily Dickinson

  8. #28
      Neyjour is offline
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    Psylence - Thanks for the YouTube tutorial link! Unfortunately, I don't know how to translate that to PSP. Although, I did find some brushes that looked sort of similar, but they just didn't look quite right on my map.

    jbgibson - Wow...thank you so much for taking the time to post all of that! I really appreciate it! I've started making some changes to my rivers based on what you've shown me.

    Alright, here's the latest update:

    * Edited the rivers (still a WIP)
    * Did some more texture work to the terrain
    * Added some more trees
    * Added more texture to the background (+ changed the colour)
    * Added a border, compass rose, rhumb lines, cartouche, and text
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Isolden (my 1st world map)-isolden-wip-07-neyjour.jpg  

  9. #29
      Lingon is offline
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    I love that desert! This is coming together beautifully

  10. #30
      Neyjour is offline
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    Thanks so much Lingon.

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