So I've been hard at work (although not that much over the last week or two) on a map, following RobA's brilliant tutorial. I pulled an old setting out of my folder that I had begun sketching out a couple of years ago, so I decided to scan the pieces in and see if I could make it look cool.
That said, I've decided to post the work in progress. I've been really struggling with how I'd like to depict cities, so there's nothing in the way of cities thus far, but here's the landscape thus far, anyway...
And please, be gentle. It's my first time ;)
The idea I'm having thus far for this province is something like this...
This world is presently a medieval-type fantasy world, but a couple hundred years ago, it was a very modern world, pretty comparable to a First-World nation of today. The modern world was ruined when an industrial accident (I'm thinking something akin to a Chernobyl-esque nuclear plant meltdown on a larger scale) pushed an already polluted world into disarray. As the contamination from the plant spread into a major river, the main water supply for a massive region was devastated. As the damage spread, large areas were wiped out, and as things got worse, the civilization sort of went nuts as they struggled to survive. Unfortunately for the modern world, as it was on the brink of world war, another such accident happened, the already beleaguered world was pushed past the brink.
Several hundred years later, very few remnants of the old world still exist. The wars destroyed most of the signs of modern progress, and looters, the treasure-hungry, and those trying to make a meager living looted and ravaged the rest.
In the province of Nesspressen, which was at the far reaches of what was a major empire (think of something like the United States, except as an empire), there wasn't too much development. One thing that I'm thinking of is that the remnants of one of the trans-empire freeways will run through the province. The Nesspressen River is a major river that runs for hundreds of kilometers (hence the depiction of its size on the map), and it serves as an important shipping corridor. The Lake of the Farduraan is believed to be cursed, so few people ever approach its shores. For a couple of generations after the great cataclysm, the water of the lake was unable to support life, and it had a poisonous quality to it, so it became known as a cursed lake (even though it's fine now). There will also be some ruins along one of the shores. There will be some cities, although I've not decided much on those, yet.
Culturally, The populace knows little of the remarkable past, as the survivors were loathe to speak of the cataclysm, and as the remnants of the modern world were destroyed, the knowledge was destroyed with them. This world has an interesting intersection between magic and technology. In the modern world, technology and magic were one and the same. People had mass-communication devices and all sorts of other modern wonders that we would think of as technology. In the present world, magic is what one would expect of a fantasy setting, although there might be a random wizard-type out there with some neat (and functional) artifact from the old modern world.
Eventually, if I get really ambitious, I might create more of the rest of the world, but for now, we'll consider that a very ambitious ideal, especially since I don't have a use for this setting right now...
It's a good start.
There is some weird stuff going on with your mountain(s) - looks like something to do with a radial gradient maybe? Also I think you need to add either a bump map or some noise to your forests (and maybe even a bit of drop shadow), they look a bit flat.
For cities it depends on the scale really. It looks like a big area so I think just marking the locations would be enough.
Agree with steel, you can spice up those trees and things with some good textures. Its not too hard to do it. Check out the finished map thumbs and see what people have done and steal some ideas.
Thanks for the feedback, guys. I still have a lot to learn...
I've been hard at work. I redid all the forests, although I'm trying to get a bit more distinctive texture out of them. I finally got around to painting the rings around the mountain out (I knew they were there, but I kept putting it off until I forgot about them). I've laid out some roads and Trans-Empire 114 (the freeway from the old "modern" civilization).
I'm still a long way from being done, though. I want to distinguish cities of varying importance (read as size) from each other. I need to figure out what to do with the freeway to make it pop a bit more. I still need to put the canal in on the northern river (yes, that was a deliberate river violation on my part, as it's a man-made canal). Bla bla blah...
Ok, enough yammering, more map!
There are what look like contour lines on the mountains. Are those contour lines? If they are, you have a problem at the lake: it falls across multiple contour lines, which is impossible unless the surface of the lake is magically sloped.
Bloody H--l I've been busy, and last night was the first time I had enough time to get any sort of work done on this thing!
I tried getting rid of those stupid damn lines a couple of times before I posted the original map, but then I kinda gave up on it. Before, every time I'd emboss the layers, it would create those stupid lines. Now that I'm starting to learn my way around GIMP (I'm a video guy that uses Photoshop by day, so GIMP for art is new ground for me), I need to go back and play with it more, and I'll probably wind up having to figure a new way of making the mountains... :roll:
Originally Posted by rdanhenry
But, I'll take the lack of commentary on the rest of it as a good sign that I haven't made an atrocious puddle of filth! :lol:
Speaking of, I've added a few more detail bits, like the canal and bridges, and I've been playing with place labeling. AND!, and, I added that one road so that people in the province of Nesspressen can get to other places (lower left corner). Also, if anyone knows how to get the "Text along Path" function in GIMP to actually, um... how do I put this gingerly...? F---ing work?!?!?, I'll love you forever and give you rep.
Of course, feedback is always welcome! With that, I give you more map!! *with trumpet fanfare*
So I was thinking about this during... a few free moments at work... after I posted my recent update.
The mountains... I don't really have a use for them in the setting, and when I'd originally sketched it out, they were there mostly as a "future-proof" in case I wanted to do something with mountains. Geographically, there's not a lot of good reason for the mountains to be there, unless I got a bit more creative geographically later on.
BUT, given the backstory I've come up with, I'm thinking I'm gonna redo those mountains, making them into "mountains." More specifically, they'll be mountains in present parlance, but really they'll be a series of huge landfills from the old "modern" society... And that'll give me some wiggle room as far as the appearance, since a landfill looks different than a mountain.
Those emboss "contour" lines can usually be taken care of with a very soft gaussian blur (2-5 px), without losing too much of your peak. If you do find that you're losing too much sharpness, take the lasso tool, select just your peak (which should be free of lines anyway), feather your selection by 10-20 px, invert, and then do your gaussian blur. They'll disappear nicely :)
Thank you! I haven't had a chance to play yet, but this sounds like exactly what I needed. :!:
Originally Posted by Gidde