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Thread: Thraeton Map

  1. #1
      bartmoss is offline
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    Wip Thraeton Map

    Thraeton is the world I am currently building. I originally wanted to post the map once it is done but I realized it is a good opportunity to post it as WIP to show my work flow as well as getting some opinions before it's completed. I'll post in steps as the work on this map progresses - feedback and constructive criticism is always encouraged.

    After I have a general concept for a world I would like to build, I begin with doodling continental outlines until I find a pattern that I like. I attempt to imitate features from the Earth's map for similar locations, and of course I try to be as naturalistic as possible about my coastlines. I already try to keep tectonics in mind when I do this, but the priority is on creating pleasing shapes for the landmasses.

    I use a wacom tablet + inkscape, where I employ the freehand drawing tool to create shapes that I add or subtract as desired. So for example, I might have a straight coastline which I then spice up by creating a new shape that I then subtract to create a bay, or add to create a peninsula. It is a highly iterative process, and it takes me many, many hours. It seems I am just never completely happy with the continents I get.

    The earliest draft of Thraeton's world's map that I still have is this map showing my attempt at drawing ocean currents:



    An more recent version of the world map where I am already very close to the current layout is this:



    Even though they are very different I think you can make out quite a lot of similarities between the two, so you can probably imagine how much I forced this map through the blender, so to speak.

    Once I am happy with my continents, I try to work out the plate tectonics for the world. First, I place the plate boundaries - this is the step I am currently at with Thraeton. At the beginning the plate boundaries are just generic boundaries, the second step includes defining convergent, divergent and transform boundaries.

    The current map looks like so, the thick black lines are the unfinished plate boundaries:



    For this map, I recently converted to Equirectangular projection, because I am using Google Earth for visualization. You can sneak a peek here:

    http://files.pandemonium.de/thraeton/thraeton.kml

    This is a new experience, but one that I find highly useful as I always had problems really imagining my maps as spherical surfaces. Drawing the polar regions is exceedingly difficult in equirectangular map projections, however, and I have to figure out a good solution for making that part easier whenever I get around to it.

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      bartmoss is offline
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    Wip

    Alright, here we go: Now we have some rough plate tectonics in place. Red = Divergent plate boundaries; blue = convergent, yellow = transform. Black triangles mark zones of major volcanic activity; the orangy circles are hotspots. I've also started to add major mountain ranges (the brownish areas). This isn't perfect; it's fairly hard, in my opinion, to work out correct plate tectonics for pre-existing continents. There's going to be revisions as work on the world progresses, but this gives me something to start from.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Thraeton Map-map3t3-small.png  

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      bartmoss is offline
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    Wip

    Here's a preliminary WIP style sample for the mountain ranges. I tried a few different appraoched and I ended up doing something fairly abstract, as I honestly can't imagine creating a height map for an entire planet at this point... (there simply do not seem to be tools for that which are user-friendly enough.)

    Thraeton Map-newmountains2.png

    Well, back to the drawing board!

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      Ascension is offline
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    This looks good, I'd like to try that...more of a processional building up of an elevation rather than random clouds with a texture.
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      bartmoss is offline
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    Thanks. The random clouds have the problem that they are not at all realistic. Now, my maps are hardly scientific, but at least they are not plasma clouds. I had intended to create a few levels of mountains in inkscape, then use Wilbur or gimp or something to make the heightmap more detailed. Didn't try in Gimp, but it doesn't really have any tools for such work (I'd have to hand-craft everything) and Wilbur, well, it has its shortcomings as well.

    That said, I am working on the colors... I've been told they look weird. (I hate being colorblind.)

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      bartmoss is offline
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    Fixed / improved colors for the mountains. To be honest, it looks pretty much the same to me, a little darker maybe, but I was told it's much better this way.

    Thraeton Map-newmountains4.png

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      waldronate is offline
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    A description of the shortcomings of Wilbur would be appreciated.

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    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    This is somewhat similar to how I do my mountains - though I use texture/pattern overlays and other layer effects, rather than just the plain colors. Yours are much more realistically shaped then mine generally are.

    I'll be interested to see where you go with this.
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      bartmoss is offline
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    Waldronate, I had a bunch of minor issues with it, most importantly it crashed when I tried to create large files. I also kinda felt that the basic tools were a bit limited, and that pressure sensitivity would be nice.

    Steel General, I am really not much of an artist; this is one reason why I go for a "simple" look. It has its advantages and disadvantages.

    Anyway, I am done with the basic mountain ranges. The map now looks like so:

    Thraeton Map-map3-small2.png

    Detail view:

    Thraeton Map-map3-small2-detail.png

    In Google Earth, it looks like this:

    Thraeton Map-test19.jpg

    Now that I got the basics down, it's time to breathe life into Thraeton. That is, the next step will take me even more time than the tectonics. I'll have to figure out ocean currents, prevailing winds, and climate zones.

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      ravells is offline
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    This is looking fantastic, bartmoss. Are you still in inkscape at this stage? If you've moved to Gimp, then I would strongly suggest that you look up RobA's tutorial on creating not so precise coastlines (one of the useful tutorials for a workflow which starts in vector and moves to raster IMO). In fact I might put a link to it in my sig to save people having to search for it! The beauty of Rob's tutorial is that you keep the general shape of your landmass but impose convincing coastline detail (if that's the look you're shooting for).

    Again, if you're moving your workflow into Gimp and want to give your mountains a less clean but more graduated feel, it's worth considering using the smudge tool to blend the colours a bit and then using a bit of dodge and burn to suggest shadows and highlights.

    Really well thought out work bartmoss, I'm really looking forward to following this thread closely.

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