Kaanum- The Dark Realm
Well, the coastline looks pretty good. I can't say I'm too fond of the color mix; it seems rather bleak to me, but I guess for a dark realm it is somehow fitting.
I think the water is too obviously a cloud - I'd suggest making it darker and with less value variation. Also, bump mapping your water seems to be rather popular.
Your rivers split, and your lakes have multiple outlets, something that doesn't normally happen much. Here are some posts that should contain the accumulated wisdom about rivers for this forum: "How to get your rivers in the right place" and "Essential river guidelines for mapping."
Other than that, on the southwestern side, there's a dark forest(?) where sometimes the river flows "on top" of the forest, and sometimes the forest has been cut away. One of the places it switches between the two modes, there's a very straight cutoff, which looks rather odd. Maybe a softer transition, or just a more jagged line would do.
Sorry for not being more precise in my suggestions - I'm a Gimp'er, and haven't used Ps since CS2.
I personally like the color palette... especially given the name of the map. I actually really like the dark-colored woods that are in the south, in particular. And I also am partial to the way you have done your mountains--with shades of reddish-brown indicating elevation. It was done to great effect in the current lite challenge map by Alb. Finally, I like the stylized patterns you are using for your different terrains.
Guess all around a great start!
The two crits I have now are, first, I guess I'm not sure what the different green regions are. Are they all forests? The textures on them don't match up, so while I suspect they are, I'm not certain. Also, I don't like the points where your mountains overlay the forests. Its accurate and conveys information well, which is good. But IMO it doesn't look that hot.
Oh, and the issue about rivers and forests. I recommend you just pick one style and stick with it.
A double-endorsement for those articles.
Originally Posted by Alfar
I read them a few months ago and now rivers are one of the first things I look at when viewing a map.
Spiderfate, one consideration regarding water that might help you if you don't have the time for those article is that water always flows downhill and will take the shortest possible route.
Water is, essentially, lazy.
The water on your map is terribly energetic, running in circles, taking the long way around to get to the ocean, crossing entire continents, etc.
Must be the vitamins in the soil