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Thread: My first world map - Feedback wanted

  1. #1

    Wip WIP: My first world map - Feedback wanted

    It is just a black/white image so you can't say much about it but I would like to receive some feedback on it already so obvious flaws can be easy corrected. This is my first serious attempt at creating a world map and I am personally satisfied with the result so far. If this is good enough to continue then I will post a more final looking version in the future. This may or may not take me a life time.

    Black is land mass, white is water.

    Direct link

    I will add a scale later to indicate it's massive size.
    Last edited by Iggy; 08-31-2013 at 03:22 PM. Reason: Added clarification.

  2. #2
    Community Leader Guild Sponsor Korash's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Montreal, Canada


    Looking good so far, but as you say, "early stages". I am just wondering (because it can go either way) which is land and water. I assume black land.
    Art Critic = Someone with the Eye of an Artist, Words of a Bard, and the Talent of a Rock.

    Please take my critiques as someone who Wishes he had the Talent

  3. #3


    Silly me, black is land mass, white is water. Should have pointed that out.

    Oh, I noticed that coast lines look inconsistent. Some look smooth, other sections look more crenate/rugged.

  4. #4
    Guild Novice
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    Aug 2013
    I'm in the USA.


    Looks cool.

    If I was going to change something I'd vary the size of the islands. There are groups of two three and four and all the islands in the group are the same size. In real life it seems most island chains are varied sizes. Hawaii has islands in descending size pretty much from East to West, Indonesia has two big islands, two medium islands, and tons of smaller ones, you get the idea.

    Also, continents 'should' look like they used to fit together Pangea style.
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    Those two grabs from the Eastern Hemisphere (?) give me that sort of feeling, but the other half of the map feels like it is lacking that coherency.

    By the way, asking for C&C early is a really good idea. Nice work so far. Please keep us updated.

  5. #5


    I'm currently at war with the brush I use to paint the land mass, I can't get it to paint 100% it paints transparent shapes. Once I have that sorted out I'll see what I can do about the islands. And yes, thanks for the feedback so far.

    Right, I got my solid brush back. Shift + 0 sets it to solid. Now, about them islands...........

    Edit 2 - Son of edit;
    I changed the size of the islands;

    Direct link

    I'll try to do something with the Pangea style tomorrow.

    Oh, remember that one of those islands isn't exactly an island.
    Last edited by Iggy; 08-30-2013 at 03:21 PM. Reason: Added link to solution.

  6. #6
    Guild Expert jbgibson's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Alabama, USA


    Good start (because any start is better than stasis :-) ).

    Inconsistent = good. Look at Earth (our best and only example set of coastlines) ... there's plenty of smooth, plenty of ruggedly indented, and everything in between. If anything you may not have *enough* inconsistency. There's an awful lot of very finely notched shore going on. THink about what produces various shore forms. Where is there a strong current washing past? What shape is your land AWAY from the shore? After all, that range of mountains that's all jaggy and new is WHY there's scads of fjords indenting the coast. Vs. the vast plain of sloping dirt that intersects sea level as a series of swooping beachlines and barrier islands. Vs. the volcanoes pushing up from the seafloor.... all sorts of reasons for different interesting shapes. Take a look at Wikipedia's Category:Landforms for ideas. A flaw of some automated fractal map generation routines is when only one *degree* of fractal is employed worldwide. You already improve on that by some variety - now go forth and even further varietize your variety :-).

    Btw, flat coastal land/ shallow seafloor doesn't mean *all* low-relief shorelines are smooth and swoopy - look around the periphery of the USA's eastern coast and Florida - sand spits can wind up pointy, they just don't look a lot like your crenellated jagginess - I like that term.

    You're getting close to the "I must fill up this rectangular space" sickness. To my eye, those selfsame landforms would look more plausible if more randomly scattered. But they are random, you say? Noooo.... they're somewhat irregular but that's not random. Random can easily include clumpiness. Look at some characteristics like island-separation. If you took a randomly wrinkled dry globe and ran a prospective sea level up and down, you'd probably get at any one time some widely separated landmasses and some that are very close. Indeed, instead of thinking (subconsciously ?) that you have to avoid the coincidences of super-near masses with skinny straits and skinny isthmuses, perhaps think upon the unlikelihood of there being NO such.

    At least think about what projection you're going to work with, and why. One apropos thread would be if only because it introduces two of our most eloquent spokespersons on the issues of representing a globe as a flat thing (paper, 2D bit map, what-have-you). Rummage among Hai Etlik's responses to a couple of dozen WIP threads, and you can get a good overview of why one might choose one over another.

    Assuming that is that you are representing a globe. Flatlands and the interior surfaces of ringworlds have different rules (?) and depart wildly from what we're used to on Earth and most fiction. By the way, for what purpose is this map? Different reasons bend your cartography in different ways. Hint - what you have looks like no reasonable projection, *unless* it is a large scale map (large scale = small area, remember) of but a small part of a globe. I.e. if it's a locally - a near-flat approximation, with little attendant distortion.

    rdbeales brings up another issue you can tackle - how detailed do you want to go, in simulating a "realistic" background for your landforms? He refers to plate tectonics - even sketching in such history mentally, or being aware of the kinds of effects tectonics generate, can generate some realistic shapes. But you don't *have* to go to those lengths to be plausible or pretty. I've fooled around with trying to devise realistic climate and weather patterns - those affect everything from landforms to human activity. But I do that because it's fun for me - one can ignore such obsessiveness and get some reasonable results with a half-dozen climate rules of thumb. If a given arrangement pleases YOU then it is fine on your map; it's when you intend it for others as well that plausibility gets a vote. Stick a map in front of me that has water apparently flowing uphill and I just won't be able to suspend disbelief enough to enjoy your story or movie or game or what-have-you.

  7. #7
    Guild Expert Azelor's Avatar
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    Jul 2008


    When I'm playing a strategy games and when I'm at war, the soil normally paint itself without too much effort but there is only one color. I have never fought these Brushes before but you say that they are transparent? Just use the pencil tool, it does'nt have transparency.

    It look ok but how much do you want your world to be realistic? Just saying because 50% of the world is landmass. Well it might be ok if you used mercator.
    Last edited by Azelor; 08-30-2013 at 03:41 PM.

  8. #8


    I knew it was a good idea to post this before continuing. Let's see, from the the posts above the comment involves;

    - Islands do not look random. Small issue.
    - World map projection. Big issue. Current map doesn't simply seem to have one. I was going for flat land at first then I thought a globe world might be better. I searched through Hai-Etlik's topics, found out about Flex Projector, QGIS, and G.Projector. I need to do more research on this subject. The map so far has been made in Photoshop but these aforementioned tools might be better considering the world map projection type. Unless I can find a good Photoshop tutorial on creating a (more or less) believable world map.

    The map is purely for reference, to tell you where something is.

    I also just added isthmuses to my vocabulary.

    I found the PS plug in Flexify 2 for map projections giving me these results after changing the map to a 2:1 ratio;

    Gilbert globe

    Mollweide projection

    After some reading on the different map projections I think I'll use Winkel tripel.

    Edit 2;
    Redesigned the map, here it is in Winkel Tripel;

    Flat version
    Last edited by Iggy; 09-01-2013 at 02:52 PM.

  9. #9


    Painted new land and started to paint it using the popular Sanderan tutorial by Tear. My current result is below;

    Direct link

    The actual map is 6000 x 3000 pixels, resized it to 3600 x 1800.

    Let me start by addressing the map-o-phant in the room. There is one particular island that will look off when you at the map. The map is to be used in my fantasy novel, it's split into a ice frosted part and a volcanic part. I want to make the mountain on the latter part to look like a volcano but I don't know how yet. There might be more of such oddities later on. I am also not done with painting the land, the ocean looks not good enough for me too. Rivers and roads are not present because of the small scale of the map.

    Any way, feel free to take pot shots, I mean, post critics.
    Last edited by Iggy; 10-07-2013 at 12:30 PM.

  10. #10
    Guild Expert Hai-Etlik's Avatar
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    It's not a matter of having a "flat map" which you then "put in a projection". That's a common misunderstanding.

    All maps are flat, and they are representing a curved surface; this means you have to distort the curved surface by stretching, squashing, or tearing. The particular way you distort it, is a projection. So all maps are flat, all maps have a projection, and all maps have distortion. (Unless the world is flat)

    The tricky part is that in order for everything to work out, you have to draw whatever distortion is appropriate for whichever projection you are starting from. If you don't, it means you've effectively given the land itself the opposite distortion of that caused by the projection. You appear to be using Plate Carree which stretches everything out east-west as you approach the poles. You haven't drawn the features that way though, which means you've drawn land that is 'pinched', as you approach the poles, and the projection then stretches it out so it doesn't look pinched. When you switch to another projection, you'll get that backward distortion combined with the distortion of the new projection.

    Also, you shouldn't symbolize your map until it's in the final projection otherwise the symbols will get distorted. If you want to make this Winkel Tripel, you should stick to just the raw geometry of the features (solid colours, lines, etc) until you project it into Winkel Tripel, and only then do you try to make it pretty, otherwise you're just wasting effort you'll have to redo later.

    God job picking up on what "small scale" means though, a lot of people new to cartography/geography get that backward.

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