A nice promising start!
I've been asked to make a map as a quid-pro-quo exchange style of commission. The guy in question is an SCA member who makes neat stuff like shields. He's offering to create something for me in exchange for me creating him a map.
He's already made a makeshift map of what he wants. It's a combination of a map from a Palladium Fantasy RPG supplement, and a pasted map that looks like Arsheesh's work.
My first step is defining the coastline.
I traced out the southern continent, and used a combination of the color select tool and the Threshold tool to outline the northern continent. Their outlines look very different; I may need to revise the southern continental coast some.
The styles of the original maps clash. They look like they are different scales. I would try to round out the northern island.
That's an excellent thought. The guy who wants this map prefers that I keep the shape and relative placing of the northern continent, so I'll probably just establish a new scale for the new map.
I may be able to justify the different shape with the topography. Perhaps the northern continent is a newer, growing continent, with higher, harsher mountains and rougher terrain that hasn't had much time to erode into smoother coastal plains, while the southern continent is older and more eroded?
Alternately, I could just make the southern coast a bit more jagged. I have a little wiggle room with the source map, thanks to those ludicrously wide penstrokes marking out its coast.
It's hard to see the roughness of the coast at that resolution but it's true that it's different from the other. It don't look like a rough landscape, it's just a different style. Rough terrain would include fjord or more mountains for example.
The guy who commissioned it is giving me a bit more leeway on the shoreline now. I'll adjust them a bit more.
All right, I re-did the coast of the northern continent, smoothing it out some. It's still a bit different from the south, but I think I can make it work with terrain differences. I also increased the sizes of the islands off the northern continent.
This is a preliminary terrain profile, with no mountains or airbrushed adjustments yet.
Today, I sculpted the topography, WILBUR-ized it, and bump-mapped it. I'm getting better at shoe-horning the WILBUR-made rivers where I want them to go by tracing the source map rivers with a black airbrush for several passes with different brush sizes at about 30% opacity, and doing some follow-up sculpting of the surrounding areas. All my planned rivers turned out as I wanted them. There were a few unintended rivers (including one big one), but those are easy to wipe away if the client doesn't want them.
I haven't had much guidance about climate by region. The client said that black and white is fine (I'll throw in a color gradient and greyscale it afterwards to give it a more-natural look) for topography. I have a few ideas for how to do borders; we'll see how they work out.
Looks promising so far!
"Aye The skies be clear , the seas be calm and the winds be with us .....
ARGH!! but the damn compass be broken!! "
Capt. Noah Swalter Last voyage of the " Silver Crest"
After giving it some thought, I doubled the dimensions of the map and ran it through WILBUR and bump-mapping again. The client wants to use this for an RPG campaign, and it would probably be nice for him to be able to zoom in some. I also drew in some preliminary borders along the guidelines in his concept map, hugging the rivers and mountains as appropriate. I also added in labels.
The greyscale is a bit too dry for my tastes, so I added some color. I'm not completely satisfied with the look of the result, but it beats the colorless drab of before. I also need to start thinking about how to decorate this thing.
The client needs a couple of small changes to the physical geography: turning one island into a peninsula, and another peninsula into three islands, which shouldn't be hard. He also came up with a better overall political map based on my initial coastal outline. I'm at a 95% solution on the structure and placing of physical geography. Once I make those coastal adjustments, it'll be time to work on the artistic side of the map with labels, borders, scales, a compass rose, and maybe some sort of heraldry for each nation.