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Thread: The world of (No Name): Help with ... Everything?

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    Guild Novice Facebook Connected Yorick Sofer's Avatar
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    Help The world of (No Name): Help with ... Everything?

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    This is the land with no name... yet.

    I the land for my D&D games as of now.

    I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on things I could do to make it look a lot more... appealing to the eye.

    To me it seems Mediocre and I want it to look more professional.

    Any ideas on how I can do such a thing?

    What I did for this map:

    I draw my maps on paper first, starting with pencil and drawing land masses.

    Then inking and moving on to forests and mountains.

    After that I just see what I need in some places.

    This was the map on paper.
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    I outlined it in GIMP and then put a photocopied piece of parchment behind the outline.

    After that I just used various colors and spray painted on different layers the colors I needed.

    The parchment color to give it not a "I'm on a fake piece of paper" look.

    The forests, ice, desert (the darkness on the left side) and the mountains.

    I drew the little trees and mountains into a brush and sprayed them on.

    It so far is just a bunch of sprayed on colors on a small world.

    My Problems:

    It looks unappealing.

    It seems like a small world.

    Compared to the rivers and mountain sizes and such everything just looks ... big.

    Making the world... either small... or have 12 mile wide rivers...

    Any suggestions?
    " Sane is Boring. " - Jarlaxle

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    Guild Apprentice Gracious Donor
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    Then why don't you just scale down the mountains a bit? Don't know how difficult that would be, but maybe you could redraw them in GIMP and resize them? I'm sure there is a function for that somewhere... I haven't found it with a quick look, but i'm sure there is.
    A second thing: There seems to be a river running from coast to coast big southern isle (or peninsula? hard to see...). Thats impossible, as far as i know, except if it's a canal. But then that's a very strange route.

    Edit: Aaand some other river issues:
    - the second isle from the left: Rivers don't split and rejoin later - at least not for such long distances. Small isles or braided rivers, yes, but not such big ones.
    - the "donut-shaped" isle in the middle: a lake shoudn't have more than one surface outflow. And again, the western river is splitting up.

    Aside from that, i think the map doesn't look too bad. Maybe you could give your continents some texture like the sea (a different one, of course), i think that would look good also.
    Last edited by Niall Mackay; 02-26-2012 at 10:14 AM.
    Conversation at university while writing our group report:
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    Guild Journeyer Sular's Avatar
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    I agree that the mountains should be reduced in size. That should help with making the world look larger. Also, some variation in the form of the mountains would help create some visual interest.

    Another thing that might help would be to reduce the size and intensity of the brownish glow around the land. The present width might be contributing to the smallness effect and it is a bit distracting for the present.

    As to the rivers, perhaps drawing them not as gaps in the landmass but as simple lines would be good. At the general size of a world map rivers aren't very big.

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    Guild Novice Facebook Connected Yorick Sofer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niall Mackay View Post
    A second thing: There seems to be a river running from coast to coast big southern isle (or peninsula? hard to see...). Thats impossible, as far as i know, except if it's a canal. But then that's a very strange route.

    Edit: Aaand some other river issues:
    - the second isle from the left: Rivers don't split and rejoin later - at least not for such long distances. Small isles or braided rivers, yes, but not such big ones.
    - the "donut-shaped" isle in the middle: a lake shoudn't have more than one surface outflow. And again, the western river is splitting up.

    Aside from that, i think the map doesn't look too bad. Maybe you could give your continents some texture like the sea (a different one, of course), i think that would look good also.
    Thank you for the advice!

    On the Impossibility of the first coast to coast river. It's the land of D&D where anything could happen.
    Also the world's magic comes from the essence of the elements, and water is a big essence to draw off of.
    So the impossibility of rivers really depends on where I put a "Drain" on the world. Where the water recedes into the earth and is then recirculated in through the middle.
    (I know this is probably making a lot of peoples minds explode at how stupid it sounds ^-^" )
    BUT ... I do understand where you are coming from, and I see that could be changed. It was less of a river and more of an Idea for a breach in the two continents. Big channel.
    I do just kind of sketch out those main rivers when I'm drawing the lands. Its all at random so a river running into itself isn't something I thought of until now. (So thank you for pointing that out.)

    I do Need to redraw a lot of the world. When I first did the digital version of the map I just redid what I was doing on the paper version. A big mountain world. Now I realize I need to shrink those rivers down and shrink the mountains as well.

    I'll post a redo when I get that done.

    I did figure out a way to redo the background paper (Mine was just one spraypainted color over a picture of parchment) due to, I believe, RobA's tutorial on how to make realistic parchment on GIMP.
    " Sane is Boring. " - Jarlaxle

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    Guild Apprentice jazzon's Avatar
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    Agree with the first posters. A possiblity for the land outline is to turn it into a drop shadow that is blue tinted, to create the effect of a continental shelf. That could then be altered to look like a watercolor part. I'll PM you with some details.

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    Guild Apprentice miinstrel's Avatar
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    My first though is it's very yellow. I think a little bit of color variation would help tremendously. If you don't want to make the ocean a blue tone, perhaps either darken the land and lighten the water a bit or vice versa? The dark brown glow around the continents might need to be a different color to compensate.

    As far as the world seeming small... it's as big or as small as you want it to be. The nice thing about a map is you can put a scale on the bottom somewhere that says "1 inch is 5600 miles" and all of a sudden your planet and continents are enormous. Keep in mind that a map is supposed to convey information to its readers. If your rivers as they are now should be 12 miles wide to fit the scale... Well perhaps they are just representational of the shape and location of the rivers. If you were to stand on one of the banks perhaps it's only 1/2 a mile long. That may not show as well from as far up as we are viewing it.

    If you go with the "representational" feel then the mountains may not be too large at all. The southern most mountain may indicate one huge mountain and its small surrounding peaks and range. It ends up being more stylized than exact, but that could look nice also. Some of the mountains seem to have their opacity lowered so they are slightly transparent. Intentional?

    Not sure how nitpicky you want to be at this point in the development, but the continent that extends across the western edge of the map is not quite matching up on the eastern side. The northernmost edge lines up, but the others are a bit too high on the west side if my eye isn't lying to me.

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    Guild Journeyer Gracious Donor Klaus van der Kroft's Avatar
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    I really like the hand-drawn version you did there. It has a very Ansalon-like feeling to it. And I love things with an Ansalon-like feeling to them.

    As for the GIMP version, my opinions as a very unskilled map enthusiast myself:

    1.- Mountains seem too big and undifferentiated. It would be a good idea to make them, say, 1/3 of their current size and either draw them freehand (slower, but potentially much nicer) or make a more varied pallete.

    2.- The coastlines are a bit too wobbly. You already have some good geographically reasonable locations for gulfs and bays; I'd straighten up most of the coast and decrease the amount of randomness, to make the land seem more natural. I'd personally re-draw the landmasses freehand on a new layer using the old one as a model (although there are probably more efficient ways to get that done!).

    3.- For the sea, considering the style of the map I'd go for a simple colour with some paper textures thrown for good measure, avoiding going into too much underwater detail (which is great, but your map strikes me more artistic than realistic, which is also my favourite style, I have to admit).


    However, you have a great starting point there. The world seems nice and with a lot of potential for variation. I personally enjoy maps with lots of islands and inner seas like the one you have.

    Keep up the good work!

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