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Thread: Noob: My first try - WIP

  1. #1

    Wip Noob: My first try - WIP

    Hello, wonderful Cartographer's Guild!

    This is my first post here. Like many others, I guess, I found this great forum searching for map making tools/software/tutorials. I use some of my free time to slowly build a world for a fantasy novel thingy I'm planning, and the time has come to start making some good maps of what's in my head. Drawing by hand isn't my greatest skill, therefore I sought to do it digitally instead.

    The attached map is of a continent in the world I'm making, and it was made using Ascenion's "Atlas style map" tutorial ( - thanks a million Ascension! I really learned a lot!)

    There aren't many placenames yet, and I haven't yet totally figured out how to easily add/remove features like mountains and hills, but it's getting close to my vision now. The western mountains should be more like a contiuous mountain range, but it doesn't quite look like that yet.

    Also, some of the rivers are probably illogical, and there are too few lakes, but I'm slowly working on that. Geography's a bitch

    Anyhow, this is my first serious attempt at a map like this, again huge thanks to Ascension! There's a lot to do yet, but some feedback from you inspiring and skillful folks would be appreciated

    And it's made with Photoshop CS2 and a mouse.

    Any ideas on how to easily add/edit terrain/mountains? Most of the mountains are made with (difference) clouds (see the tutorial), and are therefore somewhat random. The tutorial I used showed how to easily move mountains around, and that helped, but if anyone has better ideas, I'd be happy

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  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Ft. Wayne, IN


    I haven't used one of Ascensions tutorials in a while, but I believe he does something with select and copy/paste to move mountains/hills around.

    I'm sure he'll be along in the near future to correct or verify. He's very good about responding to ?'s regarding his tutorials.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

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  3. #3
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    St. Charles, Missouri, United States


    Hey, how ya doin. The way I do it is to use the Lasso tool, set the feather between 50-100 (top left of screen), lasso up a nice lookin chunk of mtns and then use the move tool to move them where I want them. If you want some more then do a new layer of clouds, diff clouds, diff clouds, light effects, delete the darks, lasso up some chunks, move into place, then merge down. Of course you could get more squirrely lookin mtns by doing more diff clouds or you could get some rather bulbous mtns by just using clouds without the diff clouds (I did this in my Narthaine map).

    If you want some different style of mtns then try Pasis' tut called Rising Up The Mountains, or try Steel General's two tuts (one is still in the experimental stage). Both of these methods use multiple layers and patterns to produce mtns...Pasis' is more artsy and Steel's is more photo-realistic. There are many tuts in that forum section for mtns so if none of those grab ya then you know enough now to start experimenting and maybe we can all copy from you

    As for your map, I think it looks good but I think that you might have the blend modes on the mtns mixed up...the layer itself is set to hard light and the color overlay of brown is set to soft light. But, if that's the way you want it then that's cool too. Keep on keepin on.
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    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

  4. #4
    Community Leader Guild Sponsor Korash's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Montreal, Canada


    YEEESH!! I am absolutely stunned....

    Both Stell and Ascension respond to a first post map (and one as nice as this) and NEITHER give it some rep? For shame fellas, for shame.

    Here I will rectify that for you

    Nice map and shows the value of the tutorials on this site.
    Last edited by Korash; 06-23-2009 at 12:22 PM.
    Art Critic = Someone with the Eye of an Artist, Words of a Bard, and the Talent of a Rock.

    Please take my critiques as someone who Wishes he had the Talent

  5. #5
    Guild Journeyer Alecthar's Avatar
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    Apr 2009


    Excellent work so far, andarta. Ascensions tuts seem to produce great results, generally speaking.

    I figure I'll do what Steel did for me, way back when I made my first post (way April ). Repped!
    "Unless I'm allowed to carry around a gun to shoot their giant killer-spiders, Australia needs to stay the hell away from me. Also Australians, who if they have lived this long are obviously agents of the spiders and not to be trusted."

  6. #6
    Guild Adept Alfar's Avatar
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    May 2009


    I like the color setup - maybe a bit dark, but it works well.

    A thing you may want to look into is making the borders follow natural borders - rivers, forest edges, mountains and such. Unless of course, you have a reason for having your borders where they are - in that case, disregard me

  7. #7
    Guild Journeyer philipstephen's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Vancouver, BC, Canada


    This is an awesome first map!

    the only suggestion is that some rivers seem to go over some mountainous terrain on their way to the sea.

    they would likely wind a bit into the lowlands and valley areas around mountainous areas...

    but i may be misreading the elevation of various areas...

    still... gorgeous map, great colours, nice borders, looks great!


  8. #8


    Thanks a lot for your replies!

    Yeah, the rivers are probably a bit off, that needs to be fixed.
    I'll look into all your suggestions and tips. Thanks!

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