Since we started dividing up the map for the RPGBN Campaign setting I've been trying to come up with a way of mapping my islands at the standard I wish I could attain every time I start a new campaign setting. There's usually no surprises when at the beginning of the first session of a new campaign that I whip out a map from an old boxed set just to start us off.
When it comes to smaller scale maps I'll be the first to reach for a scratch pad and pencil but I always like the main map to look good. It's been about 10 years since I last draw a map free hand for my main map and been happy with it.
So for this setting I decided I should learn a few new tricks for Photoshop and see what I can come up with. I tried a few of the other cartography software packages out there but they were either not up to the standard I was looking for or their learning curve was a little too high for my liking.
I started looking looking at all the tutorials over at the Cartographers Guild for some help and inspiration. The first thing that struck me though was that almost all their tutorials generated a random map and left you to use any artistic abilities to push and pull that into the shape you wanted/needed it to be. I may as well do it freehand going from those tutorials.
So how did I go about getting to where I am now?
Well we started off with MadBrew's map.
From that I cropped out my islands and blew them up so that they fitted onto a 2000x2000 canvas.
It was turning this map into something usable where I had the problem. What I ended up having to do was follow the random map tutorials through until they had they're land masses created and then copy and paste the coast lines around the island in such a way that they follow the general outline of the blown up islands from the original map. It takes absolutely ages though on a laptop using a touchpad.
Currently I'm at the stage where I've went through most of the tutorials steps but it's not looking quite right to me. The colours off and I'll need to redo the hills and mountains I think before I start on rivers and placing towns etc.