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Thread: My first map, and it'll be a doozie.

  1. #1

    Help My first map, and it'll be a doozie.

    It is my hope that through the kind assistance of real cartographers, I'll be able to create a halfway decent map for my fantasy novel/s that I'm planning to write. I have a decent grasp of plate tectonics, erosion, currents, and climate but I'm no more than a novice in any of these areas.

    The map will be of a full continent approximately 3,000 miles long from north to south. There will be a large mountain range to the south, possibly with areas of permafrost. In the middle will be mostly grasslands trying to invade more barren areas. Finally, to the north will be lush forests with extremely tall trees, possibly tropical in nature.

    The Gimp is my weapon of choice, which I am already familiar with, and I'm thinking the first step will be to decide on elevation and general shape, paint that in grayscale, then hit it with a gradient map.

    Thanks to the randomness of the noise generator, I managed to get the first inklings of a continent. By doing some very loose dodging and burning, I was able to bring a continent out of the floating mass of islands.

    So far, I've managed to do this:



    For those who'd like to help me out by figuring out where I should put my rivers and other bodies of water, here's the full image I'm working with:



    Stay tuned! Tips are appreciated!
    Last edited by SilverDrake3; 07-23-2009 at 06:08 PM. Reason: Update on progress!

  2. #2
    Community Leader Gandwarf's Avatar
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    Well, just start with drawing a general shape of the continent and the major land features, like mountains and rivers. There's some great tutorials for The Gimp on this forum.

    Feedback and tips are easier to get when you have posted your first work in progress, so just throw something at us.
    Check out my City Designer 3 tutorials. See my fantasy (city) maps in this thread.

    Gandwarf has fallen into shadow...

  3. #3

    Wip Attempts so far...

    Alright, just in case people are curious, here are the maps that I attempted, then discarded.




  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gandwarf View Post
    Well, just start with drawing a general shape of the continent and the major land features, like mountains and rivers. There's some great tutorials for The Gimp on this forum.

    Feedback and tips are easier to get when you have posted your first work in progress, so just throw something at us.
    I just wish I knew where I want to put the mountains and rivers...

    Every time I try to get something down, it doesn't look right somehow or someone tells me that land masses don't form that way. Argh!

  5. #5
    Administrator RobA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilverDrake3 View Post
    I just wish I knew where I want to put the mountains and rivers...

    Every time I try to get something down, it doesn't look right somehow or someone tells me that land masses don't form that way. Argh!
    aah! That is the funny thing about the real world... Name one "odd" geographic feature, and I bet there is at least one example of it on the earth. Not common maybe, but possible

    -Rob A>

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobA View Post
    aah! That is the funny thing about the real world... Name one "odd" geographic feature, and I bet there is at least one example of it on the earth. Not common maybe, but possible

    -Rob A>
    You're right, I probably am worrying too much about this. I'll give it another go tonight and upload what I manage.

  7. #7
    Software Dev/Rep Redrobes's Avatar
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    I was a bit bored tonight so I had a play with your discarded map. I think you discarded them too early. The dark mountains looked just fine and inverted made a great height map as a starting point. I also made a black and white sea only map so that I could drop the sea away a bit.

    I loaded these into my GTS app though I reckon most of the terrain apps like Wilbur would do just the same. Then I added the height map and lowered the sea with the other one.

    Then by erosion and some use of rivers and so on I progressed it up. I did not pick where these rivers were placed I got the app. I know that many people here have been using Wilbur to do that job real well. Anyway, after a while I got it to a stage I was happy then applied some textures to it.

    Et voila...

    (Color and height map attached if you want to play with it further).

  8. #8

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    I have a tendency to reject any map I actually draw. (Sort of like Woody Allen never joining a club that would accept him . ) I am of the opinion that making land is an unnatural act. Recognizing suitable land is however an exciting and liberating act. Primal discovery in our digital age.

    I suggest you make a list of your requirements for your world. Then find a random generator you like and go through some iterations to find a world shape that inspires you. I can recommend Fantasy Terrains but there are several random generators out there.

    Only when you start moving to different scales should you try making the land all over again and then you will have the random gen as a guide.

    You can change anything and everything but most people are better editors than they are creators. Start from a random gen and edit. The computer wont mind if you reject its work and you won't raise a sweat.

    Sigurd

    Just my 0.02


    Dollhouse Syndrome = The temptation to turn a map into a picture, obscuring the goal of the image with the appeal of cute, or simply available, parts. Maps have clarity through simplification.

    --- Sigurd

  9. #9

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    I have to ask this, as it actually helps me when doing the next map of mine.. is it normal for the rivers be that much carved into the terrain? This question was for Redrobes
    Last edited by Jykke; 07-23-2009 at 03:01 AM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redrobes View Post
    Then by erosion and some use of rivers and so on I progressed it up. I did not pick where these rivers were placed I got the app. I know that many people here have been using Wilbur to do that job real well.
    What is Wilbur and where can I get it? o.o

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd View Post
    I suggest you make a list of your requirements for your world. Then find a random generator you like and go through some iterations to find a world shape that inspires you. I can recommend Fantasy Terrains but there are several random generators out there.
    Where can I also find a random generator? I spent all of last night and most of this morning trying to find one.

    I must note, I run Ubuntu Linux..
    Last edited by SilverDrake3; 07-23-2009 at 02:26 AM.

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