So, the original post is still there *Points at the quote box below*. Some of the information in there still applies.
I started reworking this map the other day. What I've got left to do now is labelling, et cetera. I'll probably touch up the rivers at some point, too, since they don't blend with the land as nicely as I'd like. I'm extremely proud of this map now, though.
I'm especially proud of the forests. I haven't been able to replicate them fully (and I still can't replicate the land or sea the same way), but I'm uploading a tutorial to get something similar over here.
Comments would be appreciated and welcomed.
I've realised since posting this that it's nigh impossible for me to simulate the sea. There were just way too many things that I did that I've forgotten. That's okay with me, though.
This is different map, however, that used two different versions of RobA's Making Not-So-Random Coastlines (mainly the turbulent noise method for the outer islands.
It took me a while to reach the point that I'm at because I didn't want to use the tutorials here as much as I usually would. I've used them for base methods (like creating the land shapes, et cetera), but I like to think that a lot of this map is my own.
I'm particularly proud of my version of the sea. From memory, I took the land mask layer, blurred it roughly one whole load, and then did something with the threshold. Then it was blurred again, and I added the Land Mask again so the land would still show through (that level is Multiplied onto the Parchment layer). Above that, Overlaid onto the blurry white and black is turbulent noise, maximum size and detail, and Multiplied over THAT is a generic sea shape layer, like in the Artistic Regional Map thread. Essentially just a blurred land mask and gradient map in blues. At the very bottom of my layer stack (at least, above all the scrap layers I occasionally need) is my parchment pattern layer, and THAT is what gives the sea the look it has. The other three layers don't do anything substantial without that parchment layer... which is what I was aiming for.
The land is still so far unfinished, but I doubt I'll end up colouring it. I like it with that colour far too much. I'll have to do something to differentiate between weather patterns (since the outer ring of islands is nearly completely snow or sand). For the land, I took a turbulent noise level (max detail, size 10, if memory serves) and made a bump map above it. From there, I overlaid the bump map onto white, duplicated from visible twice, gave both new visible layers a 20px Gaussian Blur, and embossed it, flipping the azimuth in one so it would oppose the first. Those are overlaid onto the bump map, which is multiplied onto the parchment. Because it still looked stupid, I duplicated the Parchment layer, took it to the top, and added the land mask so it would keep the colour of the land somewhat close to original, instead of looking like it had sat in the sun for a few days.
The rest of what I've done was just symbols and labels, but it has taken me about a week and a half of on and off work, because I've changed the sea a good three or four times, adding and removing texture layers, and I didn't realise how to do the land until yesterday morning. Now, it's somewhat close to finished, all because I'm a genius. I had the problem with the emboss layers that it made it look as though it was "popping" out to one side. Redoing it and flipping the azimuth didn't work. That's when I made the second emboss layer, and overlaid it. Then I just messed with Opacity levels. I've learned a lot about GIMP through this... a LOT (this "LOT" is in comparison to only knowing what I was told to do beforehand).
I don't want to say too much about it for fear of losing my interest, but...
Desolate is a large continent surrounded by a ring of islands that sits in the middle of a worldwide ocean. Upon this planet, there is no other above sea-level land, although large port bases on the outer edge set up expeditions to find other land. Magic is near nonexistent and is limited to the imagination, and what the mind can physically manifest. That is, what traces of magic can be seen are so small that most doubt their existence. Pirates are highly common, making their living on the southern isles.
I'm yet to discover any "monsters" that live on Desolate, although I've no doubt that there are common animals far different than our own.
...And that's all I'm willing to say on the matter.
All your comments will be appreciated and more than welcome, and any and all advice to do with rivers and land colouring will be taken highly into account.