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Thread: Making Earth-like Fantasy Maps

  1. #1

    Default Making Earth-like Fantasy Maps


    I'm trying to make a map of a fantasy world whose continents resemble that of Earth. Not a Geological AH where Doggerland never sank for example, but more on the lines of Warhammer Fantasy's world map, or the Terra or Earth2 maps in Civilization IV. However, my mind can't really think of ways to make a layout that's similar to Earth without copying it. So far, breaking "India" into an archipelago John Mandeville-style is the only major change I can think of. Any help? Remember that I'm trying to make a world that loosely resembles Earth's continent layout here.

  2. #2
    Guild Novice
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    Mar 2012


    As I suggested in the other thread, why not start a game in Civ 4, using the parameters you like, and use that as the basis for your world map?

  3. #3
    Community Leader Guild Sponsor
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    Diamond's Avatar
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    Jul 2009


    Another way to do it would be to actually draw a world map from memory. Unless you're some kind of eidetic wizard, you'll make mistakes, leave things out or add 'em, get dimensions wrong, etc. Then you can go in and alter things; make that Yucatan peninsula even bigger; chop off Florida; add a few dozen more islands to Japan, etc etc. It'll still look recognizably like Earth, but a base map drawn from memory and then fiddled with like that would probably be sufficiently different.

  4. #4
    Community Leader Gidde's Avatar
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    May 2009
    Michigan, USA


    I don't have Civ4, so here's the method I'd try: Start with a map of earth and get it so you have black seas/white land. Then blur it until you can't really see the shapes anymore (for a 3000px map that's about 100-200px or so). Then run a bunch of cloud filter/clipping on it. The method varies; for PS you set your blurred layer to Hard Mix and put it over top of the clouds (see Ascension's Atlas tutorial). For gimp, you put the clouds layer above the blurred one and set to overlay, then put a clipping layer above that (see RobA's creating realistic coastlines in gimp tutorial). The result should be something quite similar, yet noticeably different.

    I'm awfully sleepy so I went through that really quickly; if you decide to go this route and need help with any of the steps, post it up (along with what software you use) and I'll put in a more step-by-step approach

  5. #5
    Guild Member Morgan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Naples, Italy


    I went through the process of making a world similar to Earth a while ago. It's not posted here 'cause I only have the landmass outlines for now, but it came out quite good.
    This is the method I used:
    - First of all, draw by hand if you can scan, it comes more natural (at least for me).
    - If you see the real world, you can recognize 5 great landmassess (North America, South America, Europe/Asia, Africa, Australia), so draw 5 shapes of different sizes.
    - Now cut them with scissors and rearrange on another A4. It's like art attack, I know, but in this way you can rearrange shapes as you see fit (for example, I have my Europe/Asia landmass where South America should be).
    - Now you just have to add small details and, where necessary, merge continents with small tongues of land (as Mexico).

    The trick is to draw convincing shapes in the first place. They don't have to be harmonic with each other, as tou can rearrange them afterwards. And you can play with your shapes to get what you want, or also put in more shapes or change sizes.
    Hope this helps! Happy mapping!
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