This is Merrymeet, a halfling village located in Callie's Thicket in the Witchlight Strand, my original area of the Cooperative World Building Project.
I was playing around in Photoshop 7 without the intention of doing any serious project when I hit upon a relatively simple technique with what I considered great results. When I discovered that I was able to duplicate the process with similar results, I shut myself in and went on a mapmaking frenzy. Four maps in I produced Merrymeet; I think it’s the best one yet, and the only one I’m confident enough to call “finished.”
The process is a combination of the clouds, watercolor, and blur filters—not necessarily in that order. Layers of color blended, blurred, and smudged on top of more layers achieved the final result. In the WIP thread Ascension said something about it looking like it was on an easel in the corner of his room, so as a subtle joke I added the canvas texture to a grey overlay layer (thanks for that one, Torstan!). To say I was surprised by the “pop” from the texture would be an understatement, to say the least.
My favorite part about this map, as well as the others in the series, is not the final result of the images, but of what I learned while creating them. It was as if everything I’ve read on the Cartographer’s Guild forums came back to me all at once, and it all just clicked. For the first time, I was able to use layer masks and work paths effectively; I used tools and filters that I never knew existed before, and I really feel like I know Photoshop more intimately than I ever have.
More importantly, I feel like I have finally submitted a piece of work that is at least approaching the level of quality this site is known for, and I have you all to thank for it.
And so I present to you Merrymeet, with a heartfelt Thank You.