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Thread: A comprehensive map of Avani

  1. #1
    Wag
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    Wip A comprehensive map of Avani

    Hello Everyone!

    After trolling the forums for the past year and lots of work refining my methods on various test maps, I finally decided it was time to create a serious and extensive map of a fantasy world. This is my first map and my also, my first post!

    My world is called "Avani." My work is done in Photoshop exclusively. Iíve used Photoshop extensively in both work and school so I am somewhat well versed in the program. It never ceases to amaze me how much more a person can dig and learn with a program. The things that people have done here on this site are nothing short of amazing.

    So to contribute, I present my work in progress. Currently consisting of more than 75 layers in Photoshop ranging in text layers, to texture layers, to color, layers and more I have a map that I can still completely rearrange without starting over from scratch.

    Iím relatively pleased with the result thus far, but have found it exceedingly difficult to continue on the map as the details get smaller and smaller. I am currently working on labeling of cities, seas, inlets, rivers, landmarks and everything else I can. I am also considering adding roads or paths between the major cities.

    At this point Iím looking for some advice. First and foremost, how am I doing? Are there things I should be considering doing that Iím not? Are there major mistakes that I've made? How much detail should I be adding? I'm also looking for suggestions as to how I can more clearly differentiate my deserts and plains. The textureís Iíve played with have not worked well and I havenít found any custom brushes that have fit the style and what Iím trying to do either.

    My goal for the map is to create a complete world that can lead to other projects such as providing a setting for short stories, campaigns, and possibly even a novel. Once complete I will be writing an "encyclopedia" for the world as well to assist in the various methods of storytelling. The level of detail needs to be rather extensive for this reason. There is no doubt that writings will lead to more content as well which is why I have so many layers to work with, modify, and expand upon.

    I've sank a lot of time into the map already and currently find the most difficult part to continue simply naming the geographic regions, rivers, lakes, inlets, channels, and so forth. Perhaps it is because I wish for the names to hold more meaning than simply making things up.

    As you can no doubt tell, I'm a bit on the anal-retentive side of things and itís been making progress a bit tedious. For this very reason, I feel it is important to turn to the community for support and feedback.

    Thanks!

    *EDIT*
    The "final" versions of this map may be found on page 3. Thanks!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A comprehensive map of Avani-avani03.jpg   A comprehensive map of Avani-avani04.jpg   A comprehensive map of Avani-avani05.jpg   A comprehensive map of Avani-avani06.jpg   A comprehensive map of Avani-avani07.jpg  

    Last edited by Wag; 01-11-2009 at 12:02 AM.

  2. #2
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    You're doing a marvelous job! On this style of map, I think the large labels are sufficient to delineate your plains and deserts. Based on the locations of the mountains and water, I have little difficulty seeing where the desert would leave off and transition to grassland.

    The coastal glow might not be right for this map--I think you should probably either find a way to make it look less regular, as if it were watercolor, or switch to a different style that looks more hand-drawn. Ghalev's woodcut effect might work well. Wood block stamp style water (S. John Ross' PS tutorial)(+in GIMP)
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      Gandwarf is offline
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    Let me be the first to rep you. You have done very well!
    I really like the handdrawn look & feel of this map and you picked a great font.

    As for adding details: don't overdo it. Maybe name some of the bigger cities, but certainly not every hamlet! The map will get bogged down with labels and symbols otherwise. Don't overdo terrain types either. I think it's great as it is.
    You are not using any colors and it will get tricky to represent desert for example - you don't want to add many more symbols. So don't go overboard and try to add deserts, swamps, icy terrain, etc.

    The only thing I might do to this map is smoothen the landmass borders a bit (not too much!). They have some jaggies, while the mountains, trees and other symbols are more smooth.

    Also, I have found the best way to name places is to just write stories about them. You will name the places along the way and the names will really stick. If you are going to sit down one night and just name 50 different places a lot of those names won't have any meaning at all. I have breen creating a fantasy world for over 8 years and it took me years to name everything. I still lack names for mountains, rivers, etc. I make them up when I need them.

    Good luck!
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    Something I did use for my fantasy world, the fantasy name generator:
    http://www.rinkworks.com/namegen/
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      torstan is offline
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    Great map so far. I'd agree that the outer glow is a little overpowering. You could drop it back a bit or turn it to a line effect to merge it into the map a bit more. My other minor crit is the compass. It looks like it has been shrunken in the vertical direction and as a result the 45 degree arrows look like they are more like 30 degree arrows. This, coupled with the very linear form of the compass, makes it stand out as probable clip artt on an otherwise lovely map.

    Are you going to add settlements to this?

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      Redrobes is offline
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    Welcome, great first post and great map. I studied it hard and could only find one thing and I am not even sure about that. So for everyone, is 'Straights' as in 'Straights of Gibraltar' = Straights or Straits cos I thought it was the latter though there have been numerous double spellings of stuff in the past.

    Very nice map and I would agree with previous posters, theres a certain limit to what can be labeled at a certain scale. You may need to create sub maps with larger scale for more detail. You have to put information on the map that relates to the scale of the map. For a world map then sectors of a city don't mean anything until your in a city etc.

    Rep heading your way

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    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Very nice I'd say, I'll echo some of the earlier comments about the 'glow' around the land masses I'd just 'tone it down' some maybe add a bit of blur, but I also like the idea of the woodcut. It seems to work very well for this kind of map I think.

    Keep up the good work.

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    I have to say, I like the glow. But then again, I am a non conformist. On the other hand, the woodcut effect would might look nice also if done at the proper scale..
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  9. #9
    Wag
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    Originally, I had intended to make the map large enough to split into 4 different maps. I still could with relative ease. That was the rationale for the extreme high level of detail on the map. What I’ve come to find is that the more and more detail added, the more cramped the map began to feel. Sadly, one of the only things I really can't change very easily is the native resolution and size of the map due to the fact that it is all drawn with brushes and textures instead of vectors. One thought I had was to do a "less" detailed overland map and take my existing landmass and chop it into 4 sections where I could get far more detailed. That still may be the route I take which would mean that this overworld map is far closer to finished that I had previously expected.


    Midgardsormr:
    The biggest complaint seems to be the outer glow for the landmass. I'll admit that it has been slightly problematic at times and has made some of the narrower channels and lakes more difficult to name. I'll run a few different filters and textures tonight and see if I can't tone it down a bit. I've always loved that woodcut look, but have been relatively unsuccessful in replicating it sufficiently. I've give it another go.

    Torstan:
    I have been planning on adding more cities and settlements throughout the map but naming has become more and more problematic. I'm probably going to take Gandwarf's advice and do some creative writing for the regions and see if I can come up with meaningful names a little more easily.

    Also, I've gone back and forth with the compass. I zipped that one off real quick as it is so angular but it certainly doesn’t have any pizzazz. I could probably make it look more natural using a displacement map or something but it will do little to alleviate the underlying problem. I've had another idea to try that will be far more involved, but it’s probably the right time to move forward on it.

    Gandwarf:
    I think you are absolutely right that it is nigh impossible to sit down and come up with some fifty (meaningful) names just by sitting and thinking. I've been scribbling down various names and places from my browsing and perusing of Wikipedia, Dictionary.com, various encyclopedias, and other resources. Still, the problem there is my notes are scattered about and the names that I do have I'll need to look up over again to find out their intended meaning.

    By writing some regional histories, short stories, and other literature I should be able to come up with far more meaningful names and far easier ways to remember why they are meaningful.

    Thanks for the critiques and advice!

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      Ascension is offline
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    Great map. If you want to up the size of the map, then just up the size of the brushes (I noticed that many of the symbols repeat so that indicates brushes, shapes, or a scanned piece that has been copied). The only real problem with upping the size if that the landmass will not look as good...there will appear to be far too many straight places and not enough curvy or pointy bits. As for the desert, maybe add a bedouin tent or a camel or pueblo thingy or oasis in the middle...more of a style element but once seen it cannot be unseen and will lend a certain flavor to the area. IN the end, though, I think it looks pretty much done as is (taking into account above posts) and would second the notion of chopping it up for more detail. Nice job and git crackin on the bigger/detailed versions Oh, and I almost forgot, might want to change the font to something more legible...I've used this font myself many times because the style seems way cool but it's not easily readable.
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