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Thread: World Map WIP in GIMP

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    Post World Map WIP in GIMP + Bonus Special: Climates & Wind Currents!

    Well... so a couple weeks ago I lost my job, and the following week began the process of moving into a new house where eventually I will be living with my fiancee/wife. So... the past couple weeks I've been relatively incommunicado (sans internet ).

    But I got a moment here on some borrowed wi-fi, and thought I'd take advantage of some of the learning on GIMP I've been doing and have another go at my world map.

    Yeah, like roughly 50% of all readers of fantasy stories and novels, I'm in the process of writing just such a novel (have been for years). And like roughly 50% of those writing fantasy novels, I made my own map. Only recently, in an attempt to actually improve my writing, I restarted the whole thing from scratch, and consequently started mapping from scratch.

    So here, using the early stages of RobA's GIMP tutorial for regional maps is an attempt at a world map (roughly mercator projection-ish). The sea and base land are from those early steps of the tutorial. The mountains, forests, jungles, deserts, and arctic tundras are just blobs of color thrown on to start getting a feel for it.

    I started this map by trying to consider the underlying tectonics and the effects it would have on geography (this required me to move some continents around to fit the tectonics). The first map shows as a red line the tectonic boundaries with color-coded plate movements. The second is without the tectonics.

    The gray blobs are mountains and hills. The green blobs are forests, while the gray-green blobs are rainforests and swamp/wetlands. The yellow-ish blobs are deserts, and the white-ish blobs are tundra and frozen arctic ice.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    The images are reduced in size by 50% from the originals, then you have the jpeg artifacts.

    My current thoughts: I like how varied and interesting the north-western continent is. I'm not completely sure that the southern continents, in particular, have as much variety in coastline and appearance as perhaps they ought. I'm open to suggestions on improvements or thoughts. I tried to place the different zones in logical places (deserts on the leeward side of mountains or along the equator, rainforests along the tropics and in places with abundant rainfall, etc.), but I'm not 100% sure I got it all right. I'm guessing the leeward side of mountains are on the western side rather than the eastern side in the southern hemisphere, assuming the trade winds blow in the opposite direction down there (east-to-west instead of west-to-east).

    Anyway... comments and critiques are most welcome.
    Last edited by Karro; 07-14-2008 at 03:01 AM.

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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if the winds would be reversed in the southern hemisphere. The coriolis force is, but that governs only cyclonic patterns. The planet is still moving beneath the air, so wind should still generally blow from the west, even in the other hemisphere.

    I'm no meteorologist, though, or even a hydraulic engineer, so I could be entirely wrong.
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    Guild Artisan su_liam's Avatar
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    For climate help try The Climate Cookbook. While your at it look over Creating an Earthlike World on the same site. Very informative, fairly simple.

    Hint: The equator isn't so hot a place for deserts. Well... it's hot, but not very dry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midgardsormr View Post
    I'm not sure if the winds would be reversed in the southern hemisphere. The coriolis force is, but that governs only cyclonic patterns. The planet is still moving beneath the air, so wind should still generally blow from the west, even in the other hemisphere.

    I'm no meteorologist, though, or even a hydraulic engineer, so I could be entirely wrong.
    Yeah, I couldn't remember for certain, but I seem to think I recall maybe from middle school science classes a map of earthly trade winds that showed them reversed in the southern hemisphere. I could very easily be misremembering that. I will need to look it up, I suppose.

    Quote Originally Posted by su_liam View Post
    For climate help try The Climate Cookbook. While your at it look over Creating an Earthlike World on the same site. Very informative, fairly simple.

    Hint: The equator isn't so hot a place for deserts. Well... it's hot, but not very dry.
    Thanks for the links. I'll definitely give them a look. (I've also read a great PDF from a few years back - a freely distributed section of a larger for-sale e-book - about the basics of developing a realistic geography for a fantasy world. Alas, it is one of many things lost when my harddrive crashed a couple years back, and my google-fu is too weak to find it again.)

    Though I don't mean to disagree with you too much, a quick study of earth-environments shows that most of the worlds major deserts appear to be near the tropics or the equator (the Sahara, Middle East/Arabian Peninsula, American Southwest). The rest appear to be very far inland away from major water sources or the results of some sort of rainshadow effect. Obviously, of course, I'm not fully versed in climatology and what all influences it, so I'm hoping to learn more.

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    Guild Artisan su_liam's Avatar
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    Pretty much near the tropics. I think, with the exception of a big area of northeast Africa and a long thin bit of western South America, our "equatorial"-band of deserts is between the 10th and 30th parallels.

    It looks like Somalia is in the rainshadow of the Ethiopian mountains. Western South Africa confuses me, but it seems to have something to do with cold ocean currents not adding enough moisture to the air in the first place. I also wonder if the Andes are tall enough to turn global wind patterns aside? Time for some reading!

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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karro View Post
    (I've also read a great PDF from a few years back - a freely distributed section of a larger for-sale e-book - about the basics of developing a realistic geography for a fantasy world. Alas, it is one of many things lost when my harddrive crashed a couple years back, and my google-fu is too weak to find it again.)
    You have come to the right place. The pdf you seek is here: http://e23.sjgames.com/credits.html?...etreat%20Press

    Scroll down to A Magical Society: Guide to Mapping.
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    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    Awesome link Mid, wish I knew about it last week so I could have that week back spent on research and brainstorming shop ideas Well worth a read.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midgardsormr View Post
    You have come to the right place. The pdf you seek is here: http://e23.sjgames.com/credits.html?...etreat%20Press

    Scroll down to A Magical Society: Guide to Mapping.
    That's the very thing! Thanks! I think I might love you

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    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    @Ravs: blobby? ...need to add that to the WIKI for geographic terms

    Seriously tho, I agree with Ravells, love the style...not so hot on the islands being so uniform in shape. If you're stuck on what to do for the archipelago's look at some real world ones, the Philippines is a great example. Might stir up some ideas.

    ...and congrats on getting married!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravells View Post
    The general style looks fantastic, but to me the islands look a bit too uniformly round and blobby (technical term) - I'm not sure if it was intentional, but they somehow don't look right.
    Yes, I realized that as I created them, and have tried to do some things to correct for that, but I thought not enough.

    The source of the uniformly round and blobbiness is the method I used to sketch in the initial basic outlines: I used a round brush with a medium jitter setting. Bigger brush for bigger islands smaller brush for smaller islands. In some cases it worked, in many others it did not--particularly the large islands. I'll have to go back and rework some of them.

    Any particular suggestions on where on the map this is most offensive (i.e. areas you think I should focus on first)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steel General View Post
    @Ravs: blobby? ...need to add that to the WIKI for geographic terms

    Seriously tho, I agree with Ravells, love the style...not so hot on the islands being so uniform in shape. If you're stuck on what to do for the archipelago's look at some real world ones, the Philippines is a great example. Might stir up some ideas.

    ...and congrats on getting married!
    I'll take a look, thanks.

    And thanks! It's been a very exciting time for me... the only drawback being I don't get to work on these things like my maps quite so much.
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    Pimping my worldmap here. Still WIP... long way to go, but I'm pretty proud of what I've done so far...

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