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Thread: Leend - first try

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  1. #1

    Wip Leend - first try

    Hi everyone,

    I only joined this amazing community yesterday and today I spent all day trying out a few things and applying them to one of my continents - Leend.
    This is what I've come up with so far (all done in Photoshop):
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Now while I am absolutely happy to have come this far at all (this style is amazing thanks for the tutorial!) there are a few things still bothering me and I thought maybe you guys can help.

    The mountains, for example, look just a little off to me, weird somehow, but I can't really place my finger on it and don't know how to fix it. Did I use the wrong brush size? Or is it the shape of the mountain ranges? Or something completely different?
    Maybe the entire map is just lacking detail, but then I have the problem of what to do with the desert? If I add tons of detail on the mountains, islands, forests etc the desert in the middle will look unfinished and blank...

    I am also a complete noob when it comes to rivers. I never managed to place them in a way that looked natural so I started to not place any on my maps at all. It can't stay that way of course, so if anyone has a suggestion as to where some natural rivers could flow in this extremely dry region, I'd be really grateful!

    Any other comments and critique is very welcome, too, of course! I am a complete beginner after all...
    Last edited by Lyrillies; 01-28-2014 at 06:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Guild Journeyer Gracious Donor rgcalsaverini's Avatar
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    This looks exceedingly good! Very nice map!
    I don't see anything wrong with the mountains, maybe you're not found of the particular shape, or style, but they seem alright to me.

    If I may nitpick, the island formations to the left seems a bit artificially shaped, like the shape you get after you use the eraser continuously. Also I think that your map lack a bit of contrast, maybe an adjustment of the histogram levels could fix that.

    About rivers, Wilbur will be of great help if you have a heightmap, and on either case this is a good thread about rivers.

    Welcome and good mapping!

  3. #3
    Guild Journeyer Gracious Donor rgcalsaverini's Avatar
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    After you read the river tutorial, follow these simple steps and you should have decent enough rivers:
    - Pick the places where it rain the most (Is the mapped area big enough so that you have a significant rainfall gradient?)
    - See where your basins would be located (read the tutorial)
    - Make your rivers seek the ocean (or in some rarer cases lake) following the terrain (never climbing)
    - Do not split your rivers. It may be tempting, but stay strong.
    - Nearby rivers tend to merge.
    - Consider deltas.

  4. #4
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    Hmm.. a scale would be helpful. You call it a continent. Is it fair to assume something the size of India, or more in the lines of the size of Africa. Either way, I think the problem you find with the mountains is the small number of peaks.
    The map looks more like a small/medium island.

    As for rivers, once again it depends on scale. But, for pointers, why not looking for similar regions on Earth. Try centering google earth on Asmara (Eritrea), or Ta'izz (Iemen). Those are very dry areas with close mountain ranges.

  5. #5

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    Thanks, you two!

    @rgcalsaverini: haha thank you, it might also be that I just stared at the mountains for too long now and that's why they seem weird to me.

    As for the islands on the left, yes I agree they look relatively artificial. However some of those shapes have a rather significant function for the world, so they will probably stay that way. But maybe I'll find a way to make them look more natural and still get what I want from the shape.

    Hmm I thought so too, about the lack of contrast, but it was part of the tutorial so I just followed the directions… Maybe it does look better without, I will try it when I work on the rivers next!

    And thanks for the suggestion to use Wilbur! Unfortunately that only seems to run on windows and I have a mac… is there anything similar for macs? But the thread about rivers was very helpful. I did know some of the basics but there's a lot of great new info in there, too (like not splitting rivers, though that made me very sad I love splitting rivers ) oh and deltas are a great suggestion, too! I will definitely include some!

    @Pixie: I don't exactly know how big the area is, that's why there is no scale but it should be about 1.5x the size of Africa. So adding more peaks you say… I'll try that, thanks! Do you maybe have more suggestions on how to add them? That part was the only part of the tutorial that I found hard to follow, since there were no suggested brush sizes…

    And thanks a lot for the suggestion of those regions, that helped very much! Seems like in these areas there are more lakes than big rivers or if there are, they are so small they would probably not be visible on my map.

  6. #6
    Guild Member Zach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyrillies View Post
    And thanks for the suggestion to use Wilbur! Unfortunately that only seems to run on windows and I have a mac… is there anything similar for macs?
    Yeah, I'm sad that Wilbur isn't available for other platforms, or at least its source code for generating terrain - from all I know the software appears to be free.
    Developing a fractal terrain generator is one of my long term projects. I already wrote the terrain generation part, but it doesn't make rivers.

  7. #7
    Guild Journeyer Gracious Donor rgcalsaverini's Avatar
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    Hey, don't let your hatred towards rivers make you avoid them, it would be hard to explain a very dense demographics without the supporting fresh water
    Yeah, I know, everybody loves to do some river-splitting. There must be something deep inside the human soul that makes us hunger for it... I bet that even Larb, GP, Arsheesh and all of those big guys split a river or two when no one's looking, just to satiate the craving. But don't get caught doing it, some people will respond to it as if you had just farted on an elevator.

    I took the liberty of adjusting the colors a bit, so you can see the difference:
    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
    Software Dev/Rep Gracious Donor waldronate's Avatar
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    The mountains likely look a bit odd because that style of mountains is most representative for local or regional maps. A continent would likely have narrower and/or more complex shapes for mountains (see South America).

  9. #9

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    Hey thanks! That does look a lot better!

    Ok so what happens to people whose worlds run on different physics and laws of nature? Do they get the elevator reaction, too? Cause I'm pretty sure I could find reasons to split rivers in that world… Just kidding though, I think my rivers would work the same as they do on earth. But I realized I really do have to redo the mountains before I can try to add rivers to that map…

    Thanks Pixie and waldronate for making me realize that that was indeed the problem - the land simply looks way too small! I'm already working on changing that and will post the progress once I've gotten anywhere. And after I finished my university work, I have neglected that for the past two days now…

  10. #10

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    Ok so here's what I was able to do on my own.

    I tried a few ideas for the mountains and overall I think it works better than the first one. What do you guys say? Does it look like a bigger place now? I would like to add more gray in the background color around the mountains so that it locks more rocky and less like sand, but didn't find a way to do that - yet. Still trying.

    As for the rivers, I actually like the two on the right side, the one on the upper left side looks a bit weird to me, but as always I don't low why. Btw if you look closely you'll see the faint remains of two previous rivers on the right side - I tried getting rid of them but I have seriously no clue how to do that! I deleted the paths, but that doesn't undo the strokes… Help?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    edit: whoops sorry, I forgot to readjust the colors…
    Last edited by Lyrillies; 01-29-2014 at 05:10 PM.

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