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Thread: First Map: Kel'Nor

  1. #1
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    Wip First Map: Kel'Nor

    It was Ascensions awesome tutorial that led me to sign up and create my first map. The first image is my rough sketch during the planning and character creation session. The second image is the result of trying to transform that sketch into a map.

    For story reasons there is a perfectly circular desert smack in the middle of this map. It used to be the homeland of the Elves, but during a war 300 years ago a chunk of desert on the other side of the world was swapped with the Evlish homeland. If anyone has suggestions on how to make this region fit in with the map better I'm open to ideas. The edge of the region does need to remain perfectly circular, as the boundary between the two areas is magically maintained.

    Also I'm having some difficulty coming up with political boundaries and roads that fit well on this sort of realistic "satellite image" type map.

    Thanks for looking.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails First Map:  Kel'Nor-sp_a0108.jpg   First Map:  Kel'Nor-kelnor-draft.jpg  

  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Obviously you have some familiarity with Photoshop as you nailed the tutorial quickly. I screwed it up bunches of times before I finally got one to match what it was supposed to looklike.

    Ascension also has some good tips on doing political borders (i beleive it was in his antique map tutorial).

    You could probably still do a bit of a blur on the circular desert then add an outline/stroke around it to maintain the "magical border".

    Great start though, looking forward to seeing where you go with this.
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  3. #3
      Karro is offline
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    So, this magically maintained desert region... it doesn't countour the existing land, but is as if a slice of the world were physically swapped...? Meaning that where the differing elevations of the two regions meet, there will be numerous sheer cliff-faces, etc.?

    Or does the desert simply overlay the existing land countours and elevations? If the latter, the desert probably will be surrounded by a thin bit of hard rocky crags where the elevations don't properly line up. You might represent this with some kind of dark colored texture fade from the regions outside the desert and into the desert.

    If the latter, I think Steel General pretty much has the right idea.
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      Hoel is offline
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    Ring of Fire anyone?
    Cool idea, could you post a bit more about the history?

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      Ascension is offline
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    2 things but otherwise spot on...the light blue outer glow on the land layer needs to be reversed (you have it fading in rather than out so just hit the reverse button on the outer glow gradient in the layer style menu) and the second thing is that you might want to use a the giant 300pixel airbrush instead of the perfect circle...the airbrush will give you that faded look so that the desert doesn't start so abruptly (unless of course there is a reason for it to do so). A small tip, most people accuse me of making things too dark (I aim for the "blue marble" style of satellite photos) so you might want to lighten up the image with a layer of white on the very top of the layer stack and set it to soft light with an opacity of around 60%.

    Nice job, though, and Steel was right, I cover country borders in the Antique Maps tutorial...the result looks something like my Narthaine map in the Finished Maps subforum, although that one was meant to be lighter than usual. Glad you liked the tut and also glad that you almost perfectly nailed it (the North Korean judge had to take points off for the outer glow)
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karro View Post
    So, this magically maintained desert region... it doesn't countour the existing land, but is as if a slice of the world were physically swapped...? Meaning that where the differing elevations of the two regions meet, there will be numerous sheer cliff-faces, etc.?
    Yes, exactly. The location where major trading roads cross into the region is dictated by where the two regions match elevations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoel View Post
    Ring of Fire anyone?
    Cool idea, could you post a bit more about the history?
    Sure! Here's what I sent to the players:

    Up until ~1000 years ago, this world was dominated by the Orcs, until a combined force of Humans, Elves, and Dwarves threw off the shackles of their Orc oppressors and drove the Orcs North into their current homeland. The Orcs, faced with the prospect of total annihilation abandoned their warlike ways and took up a vow of non-violence. Today most of the population barely remembers that Orcs were once violent monsters and sees them much as we see the Amish: slightly backwards and fairly harmless.

    About 300 years ago a great and bloody war break out, the Elves on one side and the Humans and Dwarves on the other. The war was fought because the Elves held the only safe trade route through the mountains that cut Kel’Nor in half. Few records remain from this time, but at the end of the war the Elvish capital and most of their productive farmlands were...gone. In their place lay The Desert. The remaining elves were hunted to extinction, and no elves have been seen for 250 years.

    The Elvish lands had not become The Desert, but rather were replaced by it. For many years it was avoided, as some feared it was cursed land, but finally the new and untamed land of The Desert called out to the king of the northern human nation Tar’Shina. This king was named Aemon. He sent a mining expedition deep into the desert, and based upon the predictions of the court Seer, started digging for adamantium. For 80 years the digs continued as Aemon poured more and more of the treasury into the work. All that was ever found was a vast deposit of salt. Tar’Shina was bankrupt, and the monarchy was overthrown, 25 years before the present. A fledgling republic has grown up in its place, although corruption is rampant.

    Over 80 years of continuous digging resulted in a sizable city being developed in the desert. Aemon’s Folly (as it came to be known) is now the center of trade for the continent, a fiercely independent city that welcomes all peaceful travelers and traders. If you can’t find it in Aemon’s Folly, it probably doesn’t exist. And that's where our adventure begins.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    2 things but otherwise spot on...the light blue outer glow on the land layer needs to be reversed (you have it fading in rather than out so just hit the reverse button on the outer glow gradient in the layer style menu) ... A small tip, most people accuse me of making things too dark (I aim for the "blue marble" style of satellite photos) so you might want to lighten up the image with a layer of white on the very top of the layer stack and set it to soft light with an opacity of around 60%.
    Hmm...I'm not seeing any reverse button. Ahh, I found the problem. I wasn't using a gradient at all, just the solid color option. The layer of white is a nice touch, and lightens things up nicely.

    Nice job, though, and Steel was right, I cover country borders in the Antique Maps tutorial...the result looks something like my Narthaine map in the Finished Maps subforum, although that one was meant to be lighter than usual. Glad you liked the tut and also glad that you almost perfectly nailed it (the North Korean judge had to take points off for the outer glow)
    Thanks. Working on the borders now. This is turning out better than I ever expected when I started out.

  7. #7
      Redrobes is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bravehamster View Post
    This is turning out better than I ever expected when I started out.
    Ahhh y'see. Not quite so difficult to do this mapping thing after all.

  8. #8
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    A slick looking map, and a good story to go with it!
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  9. #9
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    Wip

    A bit of an update. I was unhappy with the water, so I decided to abandon the realistic water approach and went with this softer look. I also added a 3 pixel wide stroke to the land layer to really differentiate between the realistic land and the unrealistic water.

    Also went and added major city locations and trade routes. Still working on the political borders, but I think I know which way I'm going to go with those.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails First Map:  Kel'Nor-kelnor2.jpg  

  10. #10
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Coming along nicely...

    Don't give up on the water, even a simple texture on the water can go a long way to giving a map that little extra "zing".

    You may want to experiment with reducing the stroke a bit - it's basically turning all of your small lakes, small islands, etc. into black dots which kind of takes a way from the map (in my opinion).

    You could try replacing the stroke with a dark outer glow or something *shrugs*

    Ultimately it's up to you
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