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Thread: First Map - Crimson Isles

  1. #1

    Map First Map - Crimson Isles

    Hello there! I just finished my first map, which I might use later on for the fantasy stories that I am starting to write. I used Photoshop to make it, but I would like to ask if you could give me some advices or just criticize what you think is out of place.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks for your time!

    *Used following custom brushes:
    Last edited by TheSilverHawk; 01-15-2014 at 04:00 PM.

  2. #2
    Guild Expert Jalyha's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
    Out of my Mind!
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    Oh my gosh, this is so cute!!

    I love the parchment, it looks really good. And I'm gaga over the style of the map/labels/compass which all go really well together.

    I *don't* think the bright (read: new) style of the map meshes with an old faded parchment... but that's just me.

    Are there no rivers/lakes on your islands or they're just too small to see?

    I'd love to see some color to the icons on your map (since everything else is so vibrant!) but I think they look really cool.

    WAY better than my first map!

    Hi!! and welcome!

  3. #3


    Hey, glad you like it! Well, I was thinking of adding some rivers on the isles, but I didn't really know how to do it so that it would look good. :/ But still, I am happy with how the parchment worked out, and I hope you like it.
    Last edited by TheSilverHawk; 01-16-2014 at 02:28 PM.

  4. #4
    Guild Expert jbgibson's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Alabama, USA


    Nice Start, Silver Hawk. A map right in your first post is worth a smidgen of rep just for boldness, but the map is promising as well.

    The razor-sharpness of the coast and the title clash a bit with the slightly blurred symbols. Are you using them at their original size? If you resize elements you can get undesirable effects. THe worst potential trouble is if you use drastically different zooms and wind up with different line weights. But blurriness can be troublesonme too. Does your graphics package allow you to apply a sharpness filter to things?

    You only have five habitation symbols - it might be doable to just trace those.

    You're digitally making a map that is supposed to have a handmade vibe. When doing that, ask how the in-character cartographer would have achieved a certain effect, and why. The title banner can be a nice element - but someone going to the trouble to draw a curved ribbon would probably also place the lettering on the curve. THat's not too hard, using the free program Inkscape (don't just warp - that does bad things to fonts). Photoshop might can do the same - I don't know. The imprecise mountain coloring is good - it actually simulates hand tinting. THe wash of blue for ocean color can be an effective method - but you can improve it by making it look more hand-applied. Maybe some stroke-y ness, or sloppiness at the edges. Take that green tint that already looks okay on the land, and vary it enough to just suggest watercolor, maybe. Since the ocean says 'wash', decide if your fictional mapper did ALL his work that way - would he have applied solid pigments in a stack to get snow atop mountains atop green land? Or would he have painted the one color next to the other, and left blank the snow? If the latter, you want parchment, not white. If it's white pigment, think *how* -- it's tough to get pure white as opaque over anything else.

    THe parchment texture needs to show through the colors, a little. Too, your tattered edge effect says "old and abused". The vibrant colors and precise, clean coastal linework say "brand new work"... which impression would you rather project? Either would be okay. Too, the pixellation of the coast and waves screams "digital". None of that makes the map look bad per se, in fact it's a pleasant little island. They just are a bit jarring, where getting a match to look all digital, all sharp, all hand-drawn - whatever you want - might take you from okay to great.

  5. #5
    Guild Journeyer rgcalsaverini's Avatar
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    Jan 2014


    Great job Hawk! Very good composition and nice brushes! I'm sure you'll be a fine addition to the guild!

    I'm also a newcomer and I know very little about mapping, but I always admired maps so I will give you my review as a map lover Your map is aesthetically very pleasing, but there are a few things that could make it better:

    I feel like there is a mix of styles that don't play very well together. You have all the elements of an old scroll map, such as the banner, the compass and the parchment but at the same time you have highly saturated vibrant colors with no texture and some pixelation on the coastlines. Also there is the difference on contrast that jbgibson pointed out, where some lines are blurry and some others are thin and well defined.

    I think that if you solved this two problems you would have a great map!

    Now for the minor details:

    The roads are a bit too straight. Roads usually follow the elevation of the terrain and avoid obstacles, which makes their path less neat.
    Where are the rivers? I love rivers!
    It's a bit hard to tell the city icons from the trees, you might want to do something to make them more noticeable.

    And finally, this tutorial really helped me a lot, you might want to give it a shot.
    Nice to see your map! Keep'em coming

  6. #6


    Hey guys, thank you so much for the feedback. rgcalsaverini, thanks for the tutorial, I'm going to check it as soon as I can. Again, thank you guys.

  7. #7

    Default Great !

    Smart, good job

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