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Thread: My first (real) map

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  1. #1

    Wip My first (real) map

    Hey all, I'm new here. I'm just gonna copy what I posted elsewhere her to explain my first project, which I intend to detail here:

    I have had a homebrew world that has spent years in pitiful penciled mediocrity as I've dreamed of coming across someone who could turn it into something respectable. In the meantime I've gained PS experience, but never had to use it creatively like this, so couldn't put the pieces together to do so. Now I find this, read it, and realize I can do it! I'm adapting it to base the land masses on my hand-drawn map, which I hope will be helpful to someone.

    All I did was scan the fore-mentioned map, trace the coastlines and fill in the inland bodies of water with a small black brush (on another layer, of course), then fill the oceans black with the paint bucket. Make that the background layer for the "Clouds/Threshold" set, and tweak the clouds layer opacity to taste. I went with 60-ish%. After some cleaning up, it broke up the coast nicely, filled the oceans with various, surprisingly geologically sound archipelligos, and added a few inland lakes for my consideration. (See attached). That's as far as I've got so far, having to restart the process twice for various failures on my part to pay attention to some important details that really messed things up later that I couldn't figure out how to fix.

    I'm going to need some help down the road with a few features not specifically covered in the tutorial linked above. Does anyone have an idea for making large plateaus, like mongolia-style? I could also use help making a few smaller, yet still very large ridges, and several small but very tall rock spires.

    Thanks! I'm sure my stay will be short-lived, but I'd appreciate any help you guys can give me, and I'll try to contribute things I figure out along the way.Click image for larger version. 

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    Don't know if I did that quite right. Note the parenthetical numbers for the viewing order of the jpg's. Also note the selected layer in the screenshots. I suppose it'd be helpful to reference the tutorial linked above to follow what's going on as well. Again, I hope this can help someone!

  2. #2
    Community Leader Gidde's Avatar
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    May 2009
    Michigan, USA


    Looks like a good start! I've always had trouble with that tutorial (others do fine, I think I'm just wired wrong) so I'll be of limited assistance, but you should be able to make plateaus using the tutorial's method for laying out mountains. Just make some of those mountains really really wide with a flat top

  3. #3


    Thanks, Gidde! It hasn't been the easiest process, but I got the oceans done. I ran into some wierdness on page 6, though, when it came time to paint in the elevations, I got some dark haloing going on (see attached). I don't know if this is because I didn't re-size as instructed on page 3, and this somehow is messing with the bevel/emboss? For now, I'm just leaving it without painting the elevations in. I think it looks alright as is:

    EDIT: I figured out part of the problem with the elevation layer. I turned the mask off, and realized that the coastlines weren't beveled because they didn't exist on that layer. Duh! I loaded the alpha channel (created in the tutorial from the land mass layer) as a selection and deleted it from the elevations layer and voila! Now I need to tweak the layer styles for a noticable effect at the resolution I have going, and I think all will be better. I think I might erase some of the layer further to create coastal shallows and continental shelves.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Baxder; 04-04-2012 at 12:32 AM.

  4. #4


    Land progress.

    See here for how I fixed my ocean elevation problem.

    Please critique what I've got so far!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Baxder; 04-06-2012 at 03:22 AM.

  5. #5
    Community Leader Lukc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Lausanne, CH


    I've always said Volcanoes are the pimples of the Earth!

    It's looking quite good, though I find the mountains on the sou'-westerly continent a bit too massy.

  6. #6


    Thanks, Lukc! Bummer that those aren't volcanoes, though. They're supposed to be tall monoliths. Don't know how else to show that.

    I kind of agree about the mountains, but I think that's how they should all look, really. They're the only ones I had the space to bulk out like I wanted to. I think the northern mountains look kinda lame, being so thin. I'm gonna see about making them more consistent, but right now they all just match my pencil-drawn map as best I can make them.

    Thanks again for the feedback. I'm really excited for how it's turning out!

  7. #7


    K, I beefed up the mountains a bit and got about 2/3 of the river work done. I initially had the western of the three northern rivers just ending in the plateau, but I didn't think that'd fly, so I pooled and diverted it instead. Is that more feasible? I honestly don't like how the large lake's estuaries look, nor can I find a look I like...thoughts? What do you think of the pumped up northern mountains? How do my deltas look?

    Oh yeah, I painted the waterfalls white as well. (One on each of the island continents, one where the aforementioned pool's river drains into the valley.)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
    Community Leader Lukc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Lausanne, CH


    The rivers look good, if perhaps a bit too straight - but I really like how they seem to have cut into the land. For the monoliths, you could probably use a symbol to denote they are also monoliths - maybe a little cross or tower or ... well, a little 2001 monolith

  9. #9


    A 2001 monolith? I'm afraid that reference is lost on me...

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Baxder View Post
    A 2001 monolith? I'm afraid that reference is lost on me...
    It is an iconic item from the classic movie/book 2001 The Space Odyssey. It was an object that was so mindbogglingly foreign that it inspired our ancient ape ancestors to invent weapons.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    EDIT: I like the way your map is turning out. Have you considered making the rivers a bit more windy?

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