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Thread: Introduction Post and a few maps

  1. #1

    Map Introduction Post and a few maps


    I am a Long (Loong) time Dungeon Master / Cartographer / Sociologist / World Designer (Lunatic?). I have recently (within the last two years) started switching from hand drawn pencil sketches to using Photoshop for my DnD props. I have been using photoshop for a long time now, and I've got a pretty decent wacom tablet (5x6); so I am no stranger to using it.

    However the work and tutorials here shamed me! I was astounded at the quality of work here. Really stumbling onto this site when looking for 'Mountain tutorials' for photoshop was a godsend.

    Here is a couple of regional maps I did for my game world a couple of years ago:

    For a long time I'd been itching to put new photoshop skills to work in updating and improving these works (I've grown a lot in two years) so I set about looking around the 'net for good raster cartography tutorials, and found here! Lucky me.

    Diving into the wealth of tutorials here, and mixing and matching techniques I've developed/learn on my own. I came up with this in about ten hours of work:

    Obviously some of the techniques are straight out of tutorials found here, some is my own hand painted work (I am particularly proud of the ice lake in the north)

    I welcome any input. I consider the geography 'finished', barring glaring critiques, and will probably start labeling soon

  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected torstan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007


    That's a great example of change between the maps. I think the early oneas a very clear and useful, but the later one is really pretty.

    A note to the wise before RobA gets here - your rivers are in violation

    Rivers don't branch (generally) as they go downstream. River junctions are generally two smaller rivers joining to become one larger river.

    And welcome to the guild!

  3. #3

  4. #4
    Community Leader NeonKnight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Surrey, Canada, EH!


    Quote Originally Posted by RobA View Post
    I like the clean style of these maps. But the rivers (shakes head, crying softly into his oatmeal)....

    -Rob A>
    Hey! I like his huge Delta System on this map:
    Daniel the Neon Knight: Campaign Cartographer User

    Never use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice!

    Any questions on CC3? Post them with CC3 in the Subject Line!
    MY 'FAMOUS' CC3 MAPS: Thunderspire; Pyramid of Shadows; King of the Trollhaunt Warrens; Demon Queen's Enclave

  5. #5
    Community Leader jfrazierjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Apex, NC USA


    Welcome to the Guild Finis! Very nice Map! As Torstan said, you might consider cleaning up the rivers.

    You did a great job on the trees. The hills look very good and convincing. The water texture is spot on, and the transition between normal land and ice/tundra is convincing.

    I would not mind seeing the line between deeper water and shallow softened just a bit, but that's not a major thing.

    One thing you might want to consider is playing with the mountains. They look to uniform in comparison with the rest of the map contents. One of the things I have played with quite a lot when using RobA's angular gradient maps (as I assume this is what you have done) is to use the smudge tool with a fairly small fuzzy brush on the B/W version, possibly using some burn/dodge also (very lightly) and then smudging that so you can pull some blacks up toward the top and some lights down towards the bottom. This kind of helps rough up the sides of the mountains and makes it more irregular in texture. I would make a copy of the original B/W layer so you can go back if needed, then Bump Map that copy. I usually do a few strokes, select the color copy, and run the bump map filter to preview my work and then cancel and do some more. This is a lot of work, but in my opinion, well worth it. If you want to get an idea of how it looks, look for the "Playing with mountains" thread and check out my later posts.

    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  6. #6
    Community Leader RobA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Toronto, Canada


    Quote Originally Posted by NeonKnight View Post
    Hey! I like his huge Delta System on this map:
    I agree - the delta is fairly well executed. I think delta's are why many people mistakenly think that rivers branching is the norm, rather than the exception. It provides such a strong visual.

    -Rob A>

  7. #7


    Thank you for all the responses and feedback

    You know, after I posted and went to bed last night I thought of half a dozen ways to improve stuff as I was falling asleep (of course)

    I'll defiantly try some of your suggestions out.

  8. #8


    Fixed the rivers, in the one instance where I kept the fork (important for the city thats built there) I hope I provided enough subtly geographical evidence to support it (w/e the heck that means)

    The bulk of this repass though is looking at the mountains

  9. #9


    I greatly disliked those mountains so I spent some time reading the "Playing with Mountains" thread, got inspired and made this pass at the two largest mountain ranges.

    Muuuuuch better imo

  10. #10
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    St. Charles, Missouri, United States


    Those mountains are coming along nicely. Good color palette as well.

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