I fully agree with the last comment of NedS298. Personnally I find inspiration in Earth shapes (making little parts big continents for example) or past/future earth. It gives immediate "coherence" without being very troubled with all the geologic/realistic questions. I often question myself about the possible complementarity of each continent to redo a pangea (the wegener puzzle), but that's all.
Even though I find that questions interesting by itself. We're far to understand and discover everything about it btw (a common thing in science, and happyly!)
Anyway, I really like what you have so far!
Yes, once you get a map together the artists here will pounce and start critiquing and praising your aesthetics. But in the meanwhile there are those here who appreciate the science. Not many, but they are here.
That island near your north pole looks kind of unnatural in the orthographic view. On your base map it probably needs to look "smeared" east-west or "squashed" north-south more, so that it looks more natural in orthographic.
NedS298 and Ilanthar are right in saying that a lot of this "tectonics & climate" effort doesn't get noticed once the map is finished. In fact, they can put you off from finishing a map more often than not. However, I think acrsome and others (myself included, surely!) take pleasure in this sort of what-if exercise.
This site has some of us nested in a corner, next to the ultra productive artistic cartographers, the game-masters carving a local/city/dungeon map their players can explore, the goblin/dwarf/sorcercer/fairy maps, and the etc. You really place yourself wherever you like.
As a science freak, I try to balance between giving advice to those who seem that will take it and appreciating "things as they are" from the ones who are not interested. A few times I felt I was intruding too much and backed off. And I am aware, every time, that it's up to the map creator to decide how much time he wants to put into the fine detail.
So, having made this "disclaimer", comment on your work, groovey:
You generally understood the rationale I suggested for that area (except what you mention, the formation of those islands - I have drawn a set of pics to explain and you can find them at the end of this post).
From experience, I found that making up a tectonic planetary model is easier and more coherent when done (at least partially) from the bottom-up. That is, to figure out particular areas of the globe and then stitch them together.
Since it looks like you will take this double rift idea, consider prolonging one of those two rifts all the way to the separation between the two continents in the western side of the map. Because their shapes look like a fit, their breaking apart could be recent .
And now the full explanation of what I meant before. I was really unsure whether to post these or not and I considered sending a personal message instead... this is maybe too heavy on the detail, boring for some, and all that, and it would be a huge task to create a whole planet with this level of detail - but something was telling me you wanted it . Feel free at any time to tell me to shut up, I won't be offended.
@Ilanthar, thanks a lot for the encouragement, the one you give now and the one you gave me when I first joined in the Guild to make a WIP thread to get help with my project, doing so has really helped me to re-think some things about it and improve it a bit. And I'm really intrigued about using little parts from Earth and making them continents, I might try having fun with it at some point.
@acrsome, indeed, that northern island looks terrible with orthographic projection, but I wasn't sure if I needed to do something about it or what, but I think I understand the logic now, so I'll try to fix it. And in my case, I doubt I'll fully please neither the artists or the more science inclined with this map, since I've had to sacrifice science over time and needs for the novel; and on the other hand I'm terrible with terrain and anything that requires an artistic vision related to painting (I've a better vision and understanding to make music and writing, which doesn't mean I'm good at them), but we'll get to that eventually, I hope.
Wow Pixie, that's a lot of fascinating history you've managed to convey in just 4 images. I would have never been able to come up with so much detail. It makes me love that region of the map a lot, it feels special now, with so much detail on its evolution. Thanks a lot for taking the time to do that, I understand much better now what you first suggested, and it has become canon. I like it a lot, specially how the islands are created.
That said, I'm very conflicted about the map in general, because part of me wanted to create a full planet and figure out everything about it in some detail (climate, currents, etc) and maybe even give it different basic traits from Earth, like tilt, revolution time, etc; but the thing is, this particular map is the base for a novel, so I can't spend so much time with all that, since those things are secondary or even less significant to the story. Terrain is the most important thing I need, and for historic purposes, basic tectonics for natural disasters.
So with a bit of disappointment I've finally accepted that for this project I need to keep going and don't worry much about all the science behind it, and simplify most things instead. I love tectonics and I've still a lot to learn about it, but for this map for the novel I'll be happy with a rough outline.
For example, Pixie, your suggestion for that area made it feel more special to me, I connect more with it, but I'll hardly be able to reflect it with detail on the general tectonic map, since I'll only make the present one. I will though, soon post said rough general outline of the tectonics, and I'll be very interested in reading comments about it, because I'm sure I'll need to do a bit or a lot of corrections, because sometimes I get confused.
I know if I followed your initial advice to me in the first page of this thread about the tectonic boundaries I'd get a more organic general outline that would feel more realistic and balanced, but I'm really getting impatient. I've spent about 3 years now trying to come up with a map for this novel (in sporadic periods, of course), failing miserably, never with the tools and the modest knowledge I have now thanks to the Guild. This April when I got the inspiration to try again, I thought by now I'd have the map done, it wouldn't look very pretty, but it would do. Instead, about a whole month later I'm still working out the tectonics... So I feel a bit frustrated, I'm aware making maps takes a lot of time and work, but really, my main goal is getting something decent enough to work with the novel. If after hopefully finishing this map for the novel I work on a map with no goal but itself, I'll really worry about it looking pretty and professional.
I hope after I'm done with this project, if I manage at all to finish it, I can start a new planet from scratch and have fun figuring out everything about it with much more detail.
Sorry guys and gals for the little rants, blame my frustration at my own limitations.
Last edited by groovey; 05-18-2014 at 05:55 AM.
grovey, my fellow Iberian (I'm portuguese), if you are getting impatient, move on!
And if you ever wish to work the detail in other area, you can simply call on help around here.
Okay, maybe I do think that you don't need to worry about all the different elements of the map so much, but I do love a science discussion every now and then. I don't want to take this off topic, but it's so interesting...
Good day to all.
Today I haven't been able to do much.
I made the island like shape from the North Pole plate narrower so it would look fine in Orthographic projection
Then I re-touched a bit the plates and tried to give each plate boundary a coherent general direction. I have only 11 plates and most of them are quite big, and of course their configuration is quite simplified and planned to suit my needs, when it should be the other way around if I wanted them to look and behave more naturally. I almost question if I should have bothered at all, but well, I do think it'll be useful, simplified as it is.
That said, here's my re-do of the tectonics. I realize most of the movements are either N-S or E-W, which is a bit boring and robotic, but well. Actually that describes me quite well, funny enough.
Any glaring errors or contradictions in the direction of the plates in each boundary? I'm not sure I got some boundaries directions right, I get confused when said boundaries are too irregular in shape and/or meet with more than one plate's boundary. So my main issue, I think, are the side movements, or transformation boundaries.
I was going to try and check them in G Projector to see if I could understand better what those boundaries' directions would be, but G Projector broke down or something about "JVM could not be started" crap.
So how bad is it?
Pixie, I'm not sure either I've managed to convey your suggestion for area nº3. I moved back into land nº1 the original boundary that was on top of the islands, and created the new one just to the right side of said islands. Did I even get close to what it should look like?
Don't worry, I feel a bit more optimistic today. And anyway, once I'm done with the basic tectonics I'll move to work on the terrain again, so I'm getting there.
Last edited by groovey; 05-22-2014 at 07:12 AM.
Small update. I've started to experiment with terrain features, since even if I need to correct the tectonics directions, for terrain purposes, the two tectonic boundaries where continental shelves meet to create young and high mountain ranges wouldn't change, the rest of the mountain ranges will have to be old and eroded, from previous tectonic activity.
I got all the terrain layers from Tear's Sederan tutorial ready to work on, and at least for now I added a desert layer, which the tutorial doesn't specify, to at least know where I want them to be. As you can see, I didn't overcomplicate it and just placed them around the two tropics (attached you have the same map twice, one with the tropics to check desert placement, and one without tropics to focus solely on the terrain).
The desert areas are simply the result of painting with a low opacity dry brush, since I still don't know if I need the desert layer on I'll manage to represent deserts with just Tear's tutorial, I've still not thought about adding effects to the deserts.
Then I experimented with the main mountain ranges, but boy, I hardly know what the heck I'm doing, how are they supposed to look and such. To be honest, personally I don't need them to look pretty or polished, for the novel purposes I just need them to be in place and look decently like mountain ranges, but I'd be glad to hear any comments or suggestions on how to improve them, if they are too big in scale, too small...
And I'm aware it might be hard to judge the deserts and the mountains when the rest of the map it's so bare/empty, but I don't feel like moving on to other things until I'm a bit sure about them, so I'd love to hear some feedback.
Please don't mind the flat shapes on the north of the eastern continents, they are just a visual guide for two more mountain ranges I've yet to do.
Have a nice day.
Last edited by groovey; 05-22-2014 at 05:53 AM.
Yep, it's always hard to tell before it's finished, but I, like you, am just afraid to throw myself in a lot of work just for ending with something that I don't like.
And honestly, your mountains are looking just fine to me.
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