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While a WIP thread already exists here at the forums, I decided to create a WIP page specifically for anyone wishing to submit their current map projects to the forums for critique. Also, for those of you wishing to create your own maps, if you are not already familiar with the site, I would highly recommend checking out the Cartographers Guild. It’s a site devoted to map making and there are tons of really helpful resources there for people just getting started and for experts alike. In addition, I would also recommend taking a look at A Magical Society Guide to Mapping, a free pdf resource to aid in fantasy map-making. There is also a helpful thread here at the forums on the topic of Designing Fantasy Countries and Cultures. That said, I look forward to seeing your contribution to this thread.
Well I’ll get the ball rolling by putting a plug in for my latest map project, a regional map of Veskar. Veskar is a northern region Eriond, a homebrew world I created for my Age of Legends Campaign Setting. Here is the WIP:
I’m using GIMP and Wilbur to create this map, and, as I’m new to Wilbur, it’s taken allot of experimentation and trial and error to figure out how to get the right amount of erosion. Anyway, still have a bit more to do on it but tips and critiques are welcome. Thanks.
I guess the images don’t display automatically if you are not registered. But I logged off and then hit the image link at the bottom and it let me view the pic, so… don’t know exactly why it won’t let you view them. Regardless, I think it would be more than worth your while to sign up at the Guild. There are tons of helpful tutorials to help get you started in the wonderful world of fantasy mapping.
First, let me say, DAMN! That’s a fine piece of cartography you have going there. Do you have a link to the tutorials you might have used to make this map? Also, for the rivers, do you seriously paint them all in by hand, or do you have a trick for making it easier?
Second, I’m not currently working on a map, but I thought I’d share a couple that I made with help from those same forums that Arsheesh mentioned. The cartographer’s guild is an amazing resource if you want to make your own fantasy maps.
My World Map
The Town of Highmoor
EDIT: Also, thanks for those links, I downloaded a couple of those PDFs.
Thanks Gaaran. In making this map I’ve drawn techniques from several tutorials and done a fair amount of experimentation on my own. You see there are tutorials on how to make maps using GIMP, and on how to make maps using Wilbur, but there’s only one that I know of that combines the two, and it’s not really what I was looking for. However (if I remember correctly), you’re using Photoshop, and there are some nice little tutorials done by Jeremy Elford (Jezelf) that combine Photoshop with Wilbur. Also, check out Joe Slayton’s (Waldronate) tutorial on how to use Wilbur to create terrain. I’m considering writing a tutorial for GIMP users on how to combine GIMP and Wilbur to make photo-realistic looking maps, but that may be a while from now.
Oh, and to answer your question, no, I did not draw all those rivers by hand. Except for three of the main rivers (which I did draw), these rivers were generated in Wilbur using the “Incise Flow” erosion generator. Glad to here you got something out of the links though. As for your maps, very nice indeed!
Thanks again for the links there Arsheesh, I think I might have a remake of my world map in order sometime soon. Don’t get me wrong, I like the way my current map turned out, but I think I could still do better. I also like the idea of making a hand-drawn style map, rather than a photo realistic map. Projects projects…
I blame Arsheesh for this, but I’ve started work on a series of hand-drawn style maps for my world, starting with the continent that my last game took place on. I have the outline and style done for the map so far, and tomorrow I think I’ll add in the geography and text. Without further ado, here’s the base map for the continent of Amrush.
Ooh, very nice! I like the color and texture of the parchment. I’m eager to see this map progress.
Well, I still have a little bit to add to it, but I’m almost done. Just need a break, so i thought I’d share what I’ve got so far. Any comments or criticism are welcome, as this is my first attempt at a map of this style. I’m liking how it’s coming together.
And here’s yet another update, I think it’s pretty much done now. Haven’t decided if I’m going to include a legend, I don’t think it really needs one.
Wow Gaaran! This is looking fantastic. I’ve already commented on the map over at the Guild forums but let me just say it here as well, this is my favorite of your maps so far.
I agree. It looks excellent!
BTW, here is a link to the finished version of my Veskar Map.
Thanks! Sheesh, do you have a trick/resource for coming up with names of places? Or are you just good at coming up with names? I find that is often my biggest challenge.
Well, sort of a little of both. I’ve compiled a list of “Handy Geographical Terms” which contains allot of archaic geographical terms. While I do make up allot of the terms from scratch, I also rely upon these terms for (at least partial) place names within my maps. E.g. The term “firth” refers to a wide inlet of the sea; estuary: a river estuary. So I just tack on a prefix such as “Frost”, to get “Frostfirth”.
Check out this sticky over at the Guild too. You will find some good resources there.
Some very nice work there guys, but I’d expect no less from you all.
None of my maps really qualify as ‘in progress’ at the moment, but I have done a couple of things in the past few months.
For my campaign The Company of Captain Black, I created this map of the Phalanx Coast, a more detailed close up of an area of Koar, which I originally mapped for my Sanction of the Athar campaign.
For the Exalted campaign I’m participating in, Sins of the First Age, I created a map of a neighborhood in the city of Nexus we call Cor Ignus, a chunk of the city my character got to literally remake to his own design using magic, from the population to the plumbing.
Further back than that, I also created a pair of high resolution battle maps for use in a one shot adventure I ran for volunteers at last year’s Game Developer’s Conference. One map is set along a road through the wilderness (No Grid), and the other is set in a nearby keep (No Grid).
Very nice maps Chainsaw! Are they done by hand, did you follow some sort of tutorial or just come up with it on your own? If the former, I would love to take a look at what you used :). Either way, they look great!
The Phalanx Coast and Koar maps were done more or less by hand using Photoshop and a Wacom tablet. All the elements were hand drawn, as were the land masses and rivers, and then I converted a selection of trees, mountains, hills and so on into custom brushes to speed up the process of populating out the mountain ranges and forests. Layer styles were used liberally for things like the edges of the land masses (Stroke), and the shading around them (Outer Glow), supplemented by more quick hand shading work.
The Cor Ignus map was also more or less hand done in Photoshop, but using a very different technique. To create the geometric lines of a city, I started with solid blocks of space created using the polygonal lasso and fill, then used the line tool in layer masks to mask out nice tidy streets and alleys, and more polygonal lasso work to cut out open spaces. The edges of all the shapes are outlined using the Stroke layer style, and both light and dark inner glow layer styles are used to break up the flatness of the shapes. Masked texture overlays are also used heavily to texturize things – an assortment of tiling textures, and a large satellite photo of a slum, all filtered with the Pallet Knife filter for a more graphic look.
The battle maps were created in three dimensions using 3D Studio Max, with texture work and post processing in Photoshop. Nothing hand drawn about those unless you count making models of ferns and rocks and things, and arranging them in the scene.
Last post for this map, I am officially calling it complete: The Former Amrushi Empire
All in all, I’m very happy with the final result, not something that I usually say about my own work :P.
Edit: fixed a spelling error on the map.
@Chainsaw, beautiful work! I have yet to try the hand drawn style, but you are inspiring me.
@Gaaran, really nice job. The fonts and elements you chose really work nicely for the hand-drawn style you used.
That looks great Gaaran! The extra texture and grunge, plus the chart lines and hand written notes give it a lot of character it didn’t have in the previous iteration. I think the only thing I’d suggest changing is the outer border treatment – you’ve got a nicely authentic look going, and the precisely edged lightness difference there has a decidedly digital feel.
Thanks Arsheesh. I love drawing them that way. Takes a while though, lol.
I can’t stop: Another Update
I redid the border and background, added some folds… I think I’m going to finally leave it alone, but we’ll see. Perhaps I should start working on the next one instead :P.
Just keeps getting better Gaaran! Pretty soon people are going to be seeking you out for commissions.
Haha, I’d be totally fine with that ;). Thanks Sheesh!
Very nice! I especially like the folds. That’s a great touch.
Poutine, I have every confidence that you can do this too. Just head over to the Cartographers Guild and spend some time over in the tutorials section. There are tons of great walk throughs to help you get started.
Gaaran that’s an awesome map!
Arsheesh I’m intending to sign up so I can check out your map, just been rather busy lately.
No prob DM, I’ve actually got it up on the Maps section of my site now so if you want you can check it out there as well.
I’ve gotten started on a second map for my campaign setting, this one for a less populated and wild part of the world. I’ve been having trouble deciding on a good method for depicting the desert, but what’s in there now isn’t too terrible. I also can’t find a set of icons that I like for the cities that matches the rest of the design. Any thoughts or suggestions for those or other things would be more than welcome :).
Cormand and Barithani
Looking good Gaaran. I don’t know of any dessert symbols off the top of my head, but I know that several people have uploaded symbol sets over at the Guild. Might search around in the Mapping Elements section… wait, I’m there now and I see you’ve left a post of your own. Guess you’ve probably already been through whatever the Guild has to offer. Well, you can always create your own. It’s actually not too difficult. There are some tutorials on how to do it over at the Guild. Best of luck.
Nice work. For deserts, I’ve always just favored some stippled looking noise – grit kind of stuff. You should be able to get that out of the normal brush system in whatever software you use I imagine.
Good call chainsaw, I’ll play around with it and see what I can come up with, but the problem I had with that, was the overlay texture to make it look like weathered parchment makes it hard to see the gritty noise… although I suppose i could just use a small solid brush and jack up the scattering. I’ll try that :).
How about the city icons? I’m not 100% sold on them, I like them, but I don’t think they quite fit the style. Any suggestions?
Arsheesh I’m at a loss for words. That’s a friggin awesome map!
Also is anyone else here a fan of the tv show Arrested Development? I just thought of the time when Buster, who had taken a few thousand dollars in cartography lessons, picked up a map and said, “Well this blue stuff here must be the land…” hehehehe :)
Haha, DM, that show was fantastic!
Okay, I’m trying to work out the icon scheme for my map, I’m terrible at drawing, but I want kind of unique hand-drawn style icons, so i’ve been trying to find some online and make them fit the scheme. Here are a bunch of different sets that I’ve come up with (I’m leaning towards ‘F’ and had I found those icons first, I probably would’ve just used them). Icons – the icons on the right are just come examples of “locations of interest” icons.
I will be using them on the Cormand and Barithani map. What do you guys think? I always have the option of just using symbols, but I thought these would be more fun.
Okay, so I put in the new icons, and I like the look of them, but something just doesn’t seem quite right, and I can’t put my finger on it. Any thoughts?
I see what you’re feeling there Gaaran, and I see two things that might be generating the dissonance. One thing is scale. I don’t think anyone’s expecting the icons to be presented to scale, but they do feel too big to my eye. The other, and harder to remedy, is perspective. Your terrain icons present one fixed perspective – almost directly side on to the feature, with a flat presentation of each element – and the towns and things use a different one – more of a three quarter view with a much greater sense of depth inside the element itself.
That’s it chainsaw! Thanks, I had been staring at it too long to see it. I think I’ll just have to go back to using symbols to represent the locations as I did on the other map. There was nothing wrong with it, I was just looking for something to spice it up a bit. But that disparity takes away from the over all look of the map. Thanks again for the input.
Started work on another map. This one is of Lothgar, a dessert Empire. In case some of you can’t see the attachments over at the Guild, here is pic by itself.
Just an update, I finished work on the Lothgar map. You can find a link to the final map either at my Deviantart Gallery, or at the Maps page of my site here at the Portal.
Wow, congrats Sheesh, that’s awesome! Did you find the client via the cartographer’s guild?
Also, check out the final version of my hand-drawn style map. I got it printed out 20“x30” and it came out great!
Oh, also Sheesh, I was wondering, which tutorials from the Cartographers’ Guild did you use to develop that style of map? I’m just curious, cause I’m looking to update my world map as a whole, and I love the look of your most recent maps. I know you’ve done a lot of work to make it your own, but a starting point would be nice :).
Hey thanks Gaaran. Your map is looking really sweet as well! The background & sword were nice touches. As far as the client, yeah they saw my Veskar map and sent me a PM about the commission. As for tutorials, well, I began by messing around with Jezelf’s PS map tutorials, but honestly allot of the techniques I developed on my own through trial and error: I don’t really know of any tutorial that discusses them. If there is enough interest perhaps I’ll write up a tutorial (if I have time before I start my PhD). However, A2area has also put together a really good tutorial on working with PS, Fractal Terrains and Wilbur that you might find of some use.
Thanks for the info Sheesh, I’ll have to take a look at those other tutorials! In the meantime, I completed my second hand-drawn style continent map. The continent of Cormand, and the island nation of Barithani: link (Don’t mind the nav lines that appear through the lakes and rivers, I noticed them… but I don’t feel like fixing it right now). That’s two down and three more to go…. jeez, that’s gonna take a while. :)
I love the style of your maps Gaaran; they’ve really got that Tolkienesque quality about them. Also, the parchment looks great. Did you use a stock parchment texture for it?