You got the same problem with rivers, as I got. Where they meet the sea, they just don't look right.
As requested in my intro thread here are the WIP shots of my creation of a map for my DM. I have attached the base map I am working from as well as the current WIP for feedback.
A few quick comments on making this:
A. Lots of little islands were a pain, even now some have merged together, it made setting a sea mask much trickier than it would have been otherwise
B. The boundaries between the features is harsher than I would have liked, the most succesful way I had found to soften them was to turn down the whole layer's opacity
C. I completely lost what was happening for the rivers (and the lake) in the tutorial I was following, so I have just made them as 2 layers, the blue and a black. to make the black line I traced the blue layer with a thicker brush, I cannot believe this was the most efficient way
Any comments on presentation are welcome, my hands are a bit tied with what goes where thoguh obviously (hence I can't for example do anyting about having rivers starting and ending inland)
I agree, I think its because it doesn't effect the coastline effect at all, I may have to add in by hand some sort of white 'wash' effect. Will have to look at what rivers look like when they hit the sea though, as I don't know how far off the coast you would take it (or how far up river for that matter)
What software are you using, Jkaen, and do you have a tablet and pen?
GIMP and no
Thanks, I don't know if it's a stylistic issue that you want the islands not to have a detailed coastline, but if you do, then I recommend RobA's tutorial here, written for Gimp. You can use the coastlines you already have, islands and all and make them more fractally.
I think using the sea as a mask might be counterproductive. It might be better to have it as a base layer and have your land on top in other layers. If you want to make adjustments to a landmass, you can just mask the layer its on and paint out the bits you don't want.
It looks like you're using a pattern fill to make the features. You might want to use a brush instead although it depends on the feel you want to achieve. Is there another map you can post which shows what you have in mind (roughly?) it'll be a great help in terms of getting answers as to how to get there. If you'd just like a softer border between the features and the underlying land colour, then select the features and use the 'feather' command. That should give you a softer transition.
I'm not a Gimp user, but one quick way to make a black outline for your rivers (in photoshop you'd just use a stroke command on the selection, but I have a feeling Gimp doesn't support that - but if it does then that's the easiest way) is to draw your rivers in black on a new layer and select them. Shrink the selection by the number of pixels you want the stroke width to be (I would guess one or two) and then fill the new selection with blue. Image below to show you the effect (but done in photoshop).
Oh, and get a tablet, it's really worth it if you want to spend time drawing maps - especially useful for rivers. If you're using a mouse I've just posted up a tutorial on drawing rivers with a mouse in photoshop, but I don't know if Gimp has the same functionality.
Last edited by ravells; 04-27-2008 at 06:55 PM.
I don't think the rivers that end inland are so much of a problem. So long as the water is going somewhere, it's not unreasonable for them to not reach the sea. For instance, if there are swamps near the ends of those rivers, or if they go underground for some reason. Or perhaps they could end in lakes with no outflow.
I'm not certain you need the bevel effect on the mountains. They look mountainous enough to me not to need it, though I'm not sure what the borders will look like.
Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
Ravells, Thanks for the comments.
I agree the random coastlines from Rob's tutorial look much better, the problem with it not being my map is I don't know which features are important and which are not right now. If I fractal it I may well end up losing a bit of coastline the DM has an important wizards tower on or something.
Getting feedback from him currently and I will ask if I can randomise the coast more and if there are specific features of it I need to keep.
Also currently I have done the rivers using a 'standard' brush, should I be using a path tool instead?
You can always edit the coastlines afterwards if your GM decides that he wants a particular feature included/excluded. What Rob's method does is to take out all the 'fiddly bit's of drawing a coastline, which would be hugely time-consuming using a mouse.
I would use a brush to create rivers using a pen and tablet, but your control has to be pretty good to do it with a mouse. The advantage of using the path tool is you get rivers that taper (if that's important to you) and you can edit the path before you commit to drawing the river so you have a lot more control. The pen tool can be a challenge to learn how to use, but it's worth it imo.
So from the feedback, I take it that if I could improve in any specific areas it would be the coastline and rivers you guys feel needs the most work?