World map WIP
Pretty new here but I've been messing around with various tutorials as time permitted over the past couple of days. This seems like a great community and I really appreciate how willing the experts are to share their knowledge with beginners like me! :)
This map was made using Ascension's "atlas style" method. This is draft number x (I forget how many now) as I've tried out different things. I've finally got the shape I want but am still playing with hills, mountains, colors and such. This is the first one I've felt like dropping lat/long lines onto.
It's an Earth-sized world (this is a cylindrical projection) and this map is of the "western" hemisphere. The major landmass is a continent called Dazhou, an Asian-themed (with some differences) land that will be the center of a campaign setting I'm creating for a (hopefully) commercial project. There is an "eastern" hemisphere, of course, but right now it's just a basic shape and a handful of concepts and country names. I will eventually map it out in some detail.
I'm mainly just sharing now (and there's not really much to comment on) but would welcome any comments or critique. Will post updates as I make progress - busy time for me at work right now so I might be kind of slow but I'll be watching the thread for input from all of you experts. I'm going to try out rivers and such tonight/tomorrow so maybe another update tomorrow night.
Looking good so far, be interesting to say where you take this.
Finally got a chance to work on this some more. This one has rivers, political boundaries, city markers, and names - mostly placeholders, as you can probably tell, because I haven't yet done much development beyond my target area. Most likely I have too many "town" level items on the map - you can't even see them when zoomed out. I'll probably cut back.
The desert area yielded by Ascension's technique (which I like and have decided to keep rather than choosing a gradient without tans) has thrown me for a bit of a loop. I'm going to have to come up with a concept for that...but it'll be neat because it might not end up being too cliche.
For political boundaries I decided to just go with a line surrounded by a glow, rather than the multi-colored regions I sometimes see. The boundaries are funny anyway and I have a lot of island nations. I was thinking about just a line in the same style betwen island countries - like you see on modern maps marking political boundaries when they fall over water. Also, though I've drawn boundaries around them the "countries" aren't necessarily unified...Minguo is made up of five feuding emperors that constantly trade territory back and forth. Not sure how to denote this on the map or if I even want to bother. So, any thoughts on these conundrums will be appreciated. :)
@SG: Thanks! I honestly have no firm concept of what I want as a final step. I'm starting to think I might prefer a less-realistic style...though I want to finish this one off first for practice and to refine the design of all of that stuff I haven't even pondered yet...like "Odd Desert Empire" and "Somewheria". :)
I like the font you used for the labeling, but at this resolution I can't read any of the smaller town names.
Thanks. It's a random font I've never even noticed before. :) Kind of cool though.
I agree that the smaller labels are pretty useless. I think I'll just increase the size of the capital names and include just a couple of major cities for each area (with slightly larger font there too). I think they might show up at print resolution (it's 12.something" by 8.5" @ 300 dpi) but it's too busy even if they did. Maybe I'll leave the markers though.
It's too much for a map showing half of the world. I'll look at some real maps to see how much detail they go into. I'm thinking a map of the Americas probably shows NYC, LA, Mexico City, Buenos Ares, and maybe a handful more.
Edit - One question for those in the know: What should I do about marking scale on this map? The planet is Earth-sized, which would make the map about 12,450 miles across at the equator...but the distortion of the cylindrical projection would make the width much less as you moved up or down from that, right? Should it be based on some sort of average - i.e. the circumference at 45%? Is there a standard method? I searched a bit but didn't turn up anything (though my Google-fu may be weak).
A bit more...
Just playing around tonight to see if I come up with other styles I liked. I've got the "stuff" mostly figured out so now it's just a matter of figuring out how I want to represent it. This one has saturation reduced and has been overlaid with a dirty parchment texture. Labels and symbols added in Illustrator.
Not the easiest thing to read, I admit. Still, I liked the script font...though it didn't work well for the legend and map title. I'll probably go for something more formal in the end.
Looks fine to me, I do the same thing all of the time...a tan layer with a blend mode of hue or color. What you might want to do is make two versions of the map, one color and one parchment. On the parchment one you need to add a black or brown stroke to the landmass and rivers but that's about all.
I like this version as well, and though I'm not a big fan of the font you used to label the cities, etc. (and it's really a more a matter of preference than your choice of font), it is all very readable.
I really like both fonts individually, but they kind of clash with each other. Other than that this is looking really nice!
A couple of things to bear in mind when making a cylindrical map:
1. The land masses near the north and south poles need to be stretched wide, since when they're projected onto a sphere, they get squashed horizontally. For example, below is a picture showing what the south pole of your current map looks like when it has been drawn on a sphere. You might have intended the spikes, but I'm guessing not.
2. The width should be 2x the height. e.g. 2000x1000. The maps you've published here are 1860x1176, so you've drawn the land masses somewhat taller or narrower than perhaps they ought to be. (More appropriate dimensions for the maps would have been 1860x920 or 2352x1176.) This is because the circumference of a globe all the way around the equator is twice as far as the distance between its North and South poles, which is only halfway around the globe.
I hope these comments help a little.
p.s. I do like the style and lettering, though!