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The Eastern Territory (Bare Geography) by Will-Erwin The Eastern Territory (Bare Geography) by Will-Erwin
The Dominion of Man strives to live up to its name in this region, as human settlers strive against the rugged, unforgiving wilderness, the expanding Wolfen Empire to the north, the squabbles of petty lords and city-states, and the corrupting influence of an ancient evil slumbering beneath the land. This map shows the bare geography of this region from The Palladium Fantasy Roleplaying Game by Palladium Books, and was commissioned by a fan of that game.

This is a preliminary version of a map of the Eastern Territory meant to depict the natural geography of the land without any labels or icons getting in the way. As I complete this commission, I will include two additional versions, one of which will include natural geography labels, and another which will include the political geography.

I created this version exclusively in GIMP. I generally try to include new techniques into my maps. In this case, I experimented with the color curves function of GIMP. I used this to blend height maps of neighboring regions with the newer portions, but the most obvious implementation of this tool was where I lowered the height of the north-south mountain range on the map without significantly altering the lower-level terrain.

Palladium Books owns the copyright to Palladium Fantasy and the books that describe the contents of this map. Please do not use any part of this creation for any commercial purposes (unless you work for Palladium Books, in which case, please send me a PM).
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:iconavarus-lux:
Avarus-Lux Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2017   General Artist
this looks amazing, (as per usual ;) ), do you have a tutorial or a how to guide laying around somewhere to get someone interested in mapmaking started? your topology looks great especially the rivers and how the depth translates well here.

best i can do is something that simply looks.... flat :/ (best i can do: test of Worldmap Sobrietas, its a start tough...)
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sure! I have a video tutorial on my main page that can walk you through making a map of this general variety pretty quickly (should take you ~30 minutes). If you go to that video on Youtube, you'll find a link to another tutorial that's a bit more involved, but could help you make a good map similar in style to this one (or google it, it's known as the Eriond Tutorial).

All that said, there's really nothing wrong with the style of map you linked there. The coastal outline is particularly good, and I quite like your button icons. I enjoy making a more photo-realistic style, but there's a lot to be said for isometric styles. I highly recommend the Cartographers Guild website, which hosts a great many great tutorials on its forums.
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:iconavarus-lux:
Avarus-Lux Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2017   General Artist
the info is much appreciated, I will give these videos a good look.

and honestly, thank you... but while the map style may be good in and of itself.... my execution is just bad, it's a good start, but that's about it, a start...
I am currently looking at ways to improve my art in general. maps/blueprints styled stuff and pixel styled art is my schtick.

my preference for maps here, which i want to make in the future for my SaW universe (if i ever get that of the ground :P ), is the isometric point of view, but i like to include a good amount of more realistic looking features like yours right here, and to have any serious attempt at this i need to improve a lot, right now it is too flat and cartoony, as well as imho, flawed.  (ps, you can call it a realistic isometric style that i am going for i guess.)

either way, i'll bookmark the cartographers Guild website, thanks for the name, the tutorials there will highly likely help me further in my quest to become better :)

looking forward to more maps from you, they look great :D
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
First off, don't feel bad about where you start. I have an "Early Works and Experiments" folder you can peruse if you want to see where I came from. I spent an almost immoral amount of time on this map, and it's inferior to your effort in most respects. Even once I found some tutorials I liked, it took me several iterations to refine my process and build my collection of techniques, tools, textures, and icons.

I really did mean what I said about your map. Drawing coastlines that look realistic is something that's difficult to do and difficult to learn. I often don't trust my own ability to freehand them and rely on some noise and filter algorithms to give them a believable shape. Tutorials can be enormously helpful, especially if you find a style that you really like. Otherwise, it's a question of practice, attention to detail, and time. If it makes you feel any better, it took me seven iterative versions to get the terrain to look like this, and after I posted it, I found seven more errors to fix.

The Cartographers Guild has a lot of fantastic tutorials for doing isometric maps. Rendering the mountains is a pretty key part of it, but if that's something you find a bit intimidating, you can effectively do that with some of the tools you can find on that website. Isometric isn't really my cup of tea, but I love the thematic elements that tend to come with that approach. A well-done isometric map will ooze themes and artistic flair. Maps like this tend to be more matter-of-fact with the basic map, so I try to use my fonts, frame, icons, and text to inject some of that artistry.

I'm not familiar with SaW, but I hope to hear about it becoming a smashing success. Have a great day!
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:iconavarus-lux:
Avarus-Lux Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2017   General Artist
Thank you very much for your supporting words :squee:
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:iconaltarior:
Altarior Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2017   Digital Artist
Loving your maps as usual! I particularly like the underwater texture on this. How did you make that? Same way you make mountains? I'm always a bit unsure of what to so with the water on my maps, and this looks SO good! :O
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! It took me a long time to work out this technique for producing water effects, and the process itself is a little complicated. I may try putting together a short tutorial on it sometime, but for now, I'll give you a cliff notes version (I use GIMP, fyi):

First, you have to create a grayscale height map of your underwater areas, where low areas are darker and higher areas are brighter. There are two components to this. The first is a combination randomly rendered cloud layers that uses the difference mode a few times. This creates a hilly kind of texture. The second component is the continental shelf that raises the area just around the land, and the trick is to keep this area consistent, but with a slightly ragged, yet soft edge; there are a couple of ways to do this, but once you have it, you put your shelf layer over your cloud layer and you play with the opacity of the shelf layer until your shelf looks just slightly higher than the highest hill. Then you create a new layer from the visible. That's your bathymetry height map layer.

Second, you need a bump map layer. You create a new layer above your bathymetry height map, fill it with grey, and then use a bump map filter with the bathymetry height map as the reference layer. Then you change the mode of this bump map layer to overlay.

Finally, you need a water color layer. You create a new layer on top of all of this, select a very dark blue, and fill it in so that it doesn't cover any land, just the water. Then you drop the opacity of this water color layer so that you can see the underlying bathymetry.

I hope this helps. If not, well, just badger me a bit, and I'll see about doing some step-by-step instructions.
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:iconaltarior:
Altarior Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2017   Digital Artist
Thank you so much! Sounds like a lot of steps, but I could follow pretty well. Still, would absolutely LOVE to see a tutorial too! :eager:
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:iconnukapooka:
NukaPooka Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Those foresty areas ( atleast i think those are forests) how do you specifically create those?
Been using Wilbur and gimp a while and been playing around.
Just wondering how you developed that?

Mape looks awesome as always
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the interest, and it's no problem. I follow an Arsheesh tutorial pretty closely. The only change I make to his approach is at the end. Once the forests are finish, I add the following steps:

1. Save the file in GIMP.
2. Shift-click on the eye icon for the top layer of the forest colors so that only that layer is visible.
3. Make all the other layers associated with the forest visible (three color layers, the bump map layer, the underlying woods height map layer, and the shadow layer)
4. Select the top layer, right click, and select "New from Visible"
5. Select the new visible layer at the top, Select All, and Copy this layer. Alternately, export this layer as a PNG.
6. Undo all the steps you've taken, or simply load the saved file.
7. Paste in the visible layer at the top of your terrain. Alternately, open the exported forest layer.
8. Adjust the opacity of the forest layer to whatever you desire.

I add these steps because it allows me to show more of the underlying terrain, and because the forests that result from the tutorial are a bit too dark for the maps I like to draw.

If you don't care about showing the underlying terrain but you want the woods to be brighter, you could also try something like creating a new white layer that covers only the trees/forest, setting its mode to Overlay, and adjusting its opacity (or duplicating it) to brighten the woods. Or you could simply increase the vibrancy of the color layers when you make the woods.
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:iconnukapooka:
NukaPooka Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Thank you so much! 
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:iconwill-erwin:
Will-Erwin Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My pleasure. Oh, one final step I forgot between steps 6 and 7: hide all the layers that make up the forests. THEN paste in the combined forest layer.
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October 31, 2017
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