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Thread: The Interactive Middle Earth Map & Photo-Realistic Mountains: Any How-To Guides?

  1. #1

    Help The Interactive Middle Earth Map & Photo-Realistic Mountains: Any How-To Guides?

    First off, if you haven't seen the Google Maps-esque interactive map of Middle Earth, do so now. It's stunning.

    Secondly, I'm very curious if anybody has some thoughts on duplicating that style of very photo-realistic mountains for their maps.

    This random Skyrim map I found via Google also shows some similar lifelike mountain range design, although in a distinctly different style from the Middle Earth design.

    It looks like the designer(s) behind it have used satellite images as a base texture, then added and modified things on top, but I'm uncertain how they created the 3D-ish mountains complete with erosion/river lines and the like.

    A very delicate use of layers with bevel styles to create a semblance of height and erosion?

    Any tips or thoughts?

    Edit: Found a slightly larger version of the Skyrim map.
    Last edited by Will Phillips; 11-22-2013 at 05:35 PM.
    Hexingtide: A dieselpunk-fantasy setting for gaming and fiction. Two world map posters in progress here.


  2. #2
    Administrator Redrobes's Avatar
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    This piqued my interest for obvious reasons... the map looks nice but there is no snow on the mountains which is clearly at odds with their own franchise films. Also the river at the bottom travels all the way up a ridge line and down the other side. A river police violation if ever I saw one. Its pretty but poor in accuracy.

    Edit - oh yes I should have answered the question asked... You can get real 3D dem mountain data and use that to make maps with nice shading in it. Otherwise you just have to ensure that all your 2D source imagery has its light direction aligned else it looks very odd.

  3. #3


    Yeah, definitely a couple river violations. There's a part in the south where a river breaks into branches or a delta before intersecting with another river... except most of the branches don't reach the second river. So, two weird violations, but all in all, its mountains are what really, really impressed me.

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