After reading some great posts by folks who took what I had tried (and failed) to do and proved it was possible, I'm giving the worldmap another try.
Since this is for the novel I hope to one day finish, I want as much realism as I can get, so if anyone sees something impossible (or highly improbable) please let me know.
I saw a couple people mention that they really liked seeing all the steps that went into these (like climate modeling etc.), so here are mine so far.
First, I generated a bunch of random fractal planets with PlanetGen until I found one I liked. In particular, this one looked like it was tectonic-friendly, at least more so than most fractal planets.
Used hugin to convert from equirectangular to Mercator so I could see the actual shapes of everything. Then I moved the continents around a bit, thinking about how plates could have been moving, etc., and drew in tectonics around them (Red = divergent, Green = transform, Purple = convergent, Blue = subduction, Pink = hotspot).
Next I used the tectonics to draw in the basic locations of island chains (in black).
Oops, hit submit on accident there. I'll continue with this post. It starts getting pretty ugly from here, since it's basically just sketching informational stuff.
So ... yeah. Next is islands, based on the tectonics.
After the islands, I rough-sketched in where the mountains should be, in orange. Dotted areas are relatively low mountains, whereas solid strokes are relatively high mountains.
The last step I have done so far is the air and ocean currents.
I also drew in the tropical, subtropical, temperate, subarctic, and arctic zones as a guide for the currents ... they aren't truly representative of temperatures yet (that's what I'm doing next).
Black arrows are air flow, red is surface (warm) ocean current, blue is deep (cold) current.
I hid the tectonics and mountains on this one, just to save eyes from as much ugly-sketch as possible. Everything's in layers in one Gimp file.
Average temperatures. REALLY ugly now.
The good news is that I'm pretty sure this is the last bit of ugly. The next step is biomes, which can look clean again.
Go Gidde Go! you guys are makling me want to digg out all my planet model maps and post the process... I love it when you guys show all the "dirty" maps, there not just good to look at but teach like a tutorial on world building.
Thanks! I was sorely needing encouragement about there since I was posting such incredibly ugly stuff, lol.
Starting the clean-up process now, first landmasses. This is (I think) my final coastline.
Incidentally, I stumbled upon a new (to me at least) method of making "random" islands. After I drew a few by hand (which I just don't trust myself to do), I grabbed the "galaxy" brush in gimp, plastered my rough locations for archipelagos with it, then blurred/spread/threshold-alpha'd until it looked like islands.
Then I blurred/spread/threshold-alpha'd the ones I handdrew .... then I blurred (5px) and normal thresholded the whole thing so it was pure black and white, which had the added benefit of smoothing out the jaggies from fractalness and conversion.
I do a lot of that too... glad to see I'm not the only one. I'm not nearly as good at it as you are.
Originally Posted by Gidde
You can oversmooth if you do too much of the blur->threshold work... at least I do a lot. I've had luck correcting it by merging a layer or blurred noise or clouds down on top of my oversmoothed landmasses and applying the threshold filter again.
Also, really nice to see your process. Even if its ugly!
Yikes! I'd hesitate to call me good at anything at the moment; I'm just learning how to do the stuff and it very well could be a fluke or beginner's luck. Thanks for the tip on how to fix oversmoothing ... I got pretty close to overdoing it a couple times while I was fiddling.
Originally Posted by msa
This is quite good, so far. The only thing I see that I have major issue is in the ocean current stage. I could be wrong, but I don't know that ocean currents cross truly each other like you have twice in the southern hemisphere.
For the central one, I think the problem is the cold current. It probably wouldn't make it all the way to the equator on that eastern coast. Southern hemisphere currents tend to move counter-clockwise, and Northern hemisphere, clockwise (assuming a planet that rotates similarly to the Earth).
The warm band in the eastern current cross would probably swing northward, along the western edge of that larger continent. Currents don't tend to move in one sinuous, unbroken stream across the equator. You tend to get two separate and opposite currents in opposing hemispheres, from what I've seen.
But then, that's all based on the example of Earth from the viewpoint of a layman. I could be wrong, and even if I'm not, it's still made under the assumption of an Earth-like planet, which this may not be.