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Thread: WIP - My Story World

  1. #1

    Wip WIP - My Story World

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm a longtime lurker of the forums, and I finally decided to post something. This is the world map I'm developing for a fantasy graphic novel I've been working on. It's the first world map I've ever made so it was definitely a learning experience. I wanted to share what I've completed so far.

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    Looking at Earth as a guide, I've worked out the general land masses and elevations. I'm mainly concerned with the northwestern crescent-shaped continent, because that's where the story takes place.

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    I'm hoping to achieve shapes that look both aesthetically pleasing and somewhat plausible. The biggest thing I struggle with is getting decent mountain placement. (I tried to do a bit of the tectonics thing, but it confused me to no end so I just put them where I wanted them. )

    I would really appreciate any opinions on how I can improve it. Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Guild Adept Naima's Avatar
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    I actually like a lot , the continent shapes look belieavable and interesting .
    Pixie might give you better hints on tectonics and mountain placements though .

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    Guild Apprentice Blindkingofbohemia's Avatar
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    That is... Really cool. Can you write a tutorial as to how you did that? I would love to replicate the style.

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    Guild Expert jbgibson's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Guild!

    We appreciate folks jumping right in and contributing - which is worth a bit of rep all by itself.

    The world is plausible enough. You've got a nice scattering of elements, and nothing looks outright out of place to me. Could be an effect of the wide altitude bands, but it looks like mostly like wide swaths of really flat plains, with ranges for punctuation. I'm not sure it would be easy to show, but there might be room for garden-variety mild roughness, some plateaus (beyond that humdinger of a northern continent), maybe decent-sized lakes other than those on the SW continent?

    I like the mostly-ocean hemisphere -- you have successfully avoided the must-fill-all-space problem. Do you already have solid ideas about landscape, climate, and weather on the continent you're focusing your book on? Or are you willing to let the land you've generated dictate some of the situation? The way you have ocean and land would let you subject the E and SE coast of that crescent continent to some fierce cyclonic storms, in the right season.

    You've done a good job - staring at it, I am imagining the civilization that could prosper there, the trade routes across that sea, the mountain passes filled with bandits or guarded by troops. And that's even before the aid to visualization that your river network will be. If the map is starting to tell stories by itself, you're ahead of the game :-). How did you go about generating the terrain?

  5. #5
    Guild Member BlackChakram's Avatar
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    I would agree that you have a lot of wide swaths of empty between mountain ranges. But that leaves some excellent spaces for vast deserts, forests, or himalaya-like highlands. Really curious to see your river placements!
    “What is a fantasy map but a space beyond which There Be Dragons? On the Discworld we know that There Be Dragons Everywhere. They might not all have scales and forked tongues, but they Be Here all right, grinning and jostling and trying to sell you souvenirs. ”
    ~~ Terry Pratchett

    - My fantasy gamebook
    - My old Traveller actual play podcast
    - My upcoming DND cloak and dagger actual play podcast

  6. #6

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    @Namia
    Thanks! I appreciate the feedback.

    @Blindkingofbohemia
    Thank you! I'll try to explain how I went about making the map.

    To generate the land, I played around with Fractal Terrains a bit and got a few interesting shapes, but I ultimately decided to draw everything. I got a bunch of maps of Earth and examined how things looked on our world and tried my best to draw something similar. I'm using Photoshop CS4 Extended which has a nifty 3D object layer feature. It allows you to paint a texture on a 3D object directly. So, I imported a sphere and painted the land shapes right on it.

    I started by drawing the land in black and white on a 6000x3000 pixel map, going back and forth between painting the globe and adjusting the flat map until I had shapes that I liked. Drawing right on the sphere also helped avoid distortion at the poles. I then painted the continental shelves on a new layer underneath the land. After that I picked some colors from an elevation map of Earth and painted in where I wanted the mountains. My layers from top to bottom are Elevation, Land, Shelves, and Ocean. I then took the map into G.Projector and exported a few orthographic globes. And that's pretty much it. I hope that was clear. If not, I'm happy to explain further.

    @jbgibson
    Thank you so much! The guild seems like a really great place with lots of helpful and knowledgeable people.

    That's a good suggestion to add a bit more roughness to break up the flat areas some. And I like the idea of more lakes, too.

    As far as climates go for the Main Continent, I wanted it to mostly be temperate and tropical. I wanted a little bit of desert in the middle beyond the long eastern mountain chain, with a large river flowing toward the west coast. There are rainforests in the south. The home of the main characters (which I call Dragon Kingdom for now since it has, well, lots of dragons) is on the east coast and is kind of barricaded from the other kingdoms because of the mountains. It should have mostly warm weather with lots of greenery. And yeah, I'm guessing they have to deal with hurricanes.

    As far as the other continents go, I have no idea! I might try the Climate Cookbook to come up with something.

    @BlackChakram
    Yeah, I definitely want to add a lot of neat land features.

  7. #7
    Guild Expert jbgibson's Avatar
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    I did a rough seasonal winds mockup on your world, which can certainly be stretched to get that dry-central Crescentia/ wetter warm east coast Crescentia. Would you like to see my wind hack for your world? It's got guesswork leavened by a dollop of science, but the fun thing (for me anyway) is that such general weather/ climate/ currents schemes keep me from feeling the world isn't arbitrary, just "I said so", but rather there's at least a measure of "this is just how it would happen". Makes it seem more real, less whimsically dictated, you know?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naima View Post
    Pixie might give you better hints on tectonics and mountain placements though .
    Hmm, I don't know how much into scientific accuracy sapphireLight wants to go or how much the world is still allowed to change. I can definitely see some areas that are very plausible in terms of tectonics as the mountains that are placed suggest obvious and believable limits for plates. Others would take a little more mind-scratching to justify..

    The particular continent that you want to work on looks plausible, so you might as well leave the whole tectonics chapter closed.

    Also, you say you have elevation as a single layer. I have learned from painful experience that each altitude level should be in a separate layer, as you have much more possibilities this way. You might want to retrace those before it gets any more detailed/complex.
    Last edited by Pixie; 08-03-2014 at 07:56 PM.

  9. #9

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    @jbgibson
    Yes, that would be great. I would like to see it. I'm sure I can learn a lot from it.

    @Pixie
    As long as the crescent continent looks plausible then I'm happy. Any of the others can change as needed. You're right about the altitudes. It's easier having each on its own layer.

  10. #10

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    Here are a couple of updates. The first is a rough idea of climate zones. The second is an attempt at getting a shaded relief look using Photoshop and Wilbur. I still need to add rivers.

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