Yet another test.
I reduced the size of the trees to the minimum of 1 px.
I also introduced variable river-width (especially easy to see at the big river).
Lastly, I tried to create a swamp (right side).
What do you guys think?
My Finished Maps
Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
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I'm really liking where this is heading. The colors are very nice; your mountains look really gnarly; the water looks great, tho' i wonder if you could make them look a little less like they're floating on top of the mountains with perhaps a different blend mode or some shading; the trees -- I'm not so sure about. They look a little to 'sharp' to my eye. Perhaps some density, as pasis suggested, and some subtle variation in color?
“It is not down in any map; true places never are.” (Herman Melville)
“A good map is both a useful tool and a magic carpet to far away places." (unknown)
General about the used style:
What I would like to see is someone taking this style a bit further and developing the look a bit. Now most of the maps look like they were done by the same person People should try their own textures and throw new styles & techniques to the mix.
(Nothing wrong using tutorials.. but usually people end up with results quite similiar to the original one --> lacks personal touch)
on this map:
+I like your rivers and lakes
-Forests might need some additional work
-Mountains lack (finer) detail, wich is not too critical I think.
Try to add a shoreline that blends with the ocean.. (semitransparent water near the coast.) It would give some extra look to this map & style
The mountains are satellite-realistic. They look like a photo that could have been taken from space.
The trees are "symbols" of trees that stand for forests. But they aren't realistic, they are much more stylized as with antique maps.
At satellite distances, no tree in any world will be distinguishable individually. My brain has a hard time, therefore, trying to figure out the scale on the map.
This is a tradeoff and balance that cartographers need to recognize - how much weight do we give to realism and how much to stylization?
I would think about looking for more of a carpet-like texture approach to the trees. The mountains (and everything else) are strong.
Perhaps the issue with the trees may be the sharpness rather than the size/clumping decision.
When we see things at a great distance, the atmosphere blurs them and washes out some of the color. Mountains in the distance are more faint than nearer mountains.
Thinking along these lines, you could try blurring/smudging your individual trees and de-saturating the color a bit?
I am merely offering suggestions as they come in! Being a total newb I should probably keep my trap shut.