How do I design a new continent for my world, Terrenden?
(I still have a couple of undisclosed continents, but I'm getting closer to putting the whole world together - something I really need to finish!)
The story here is that I'd had a design for my continent of Alacantis before, but I decided I didn't like it and wanted to start off with something totally new. So, I thought that it was a good excuse to take you along with me and see how I design something new from something totally old.
First, I browsed through various island maps on Image Search on Google. I put a whole bunch of images into my "maybe" file, but here's the one I decided to play with.
Cortes Island - and the islands around it. This is sandwiched between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia. I thought it was an interesting little group of islands - and something I've never really used in my stories. So, this was the winner.
(map from Google maps - used for educational and creative purposes)
ONE. Preparing my canvas. Define edges
- "Add alpha channel" (right click on the layer in the layer dialogue.)
- Then I look at those funny little peninsulas and work out which ones would be part of my land and which ones would not... I took my GIMP paintbrush and ran along where I wanted to break it off.
- Next, I take my magic wand tool (fuzzy select) and select bits to delete so that I'm left with my islands plus some sea around it.
- I decide my orientation. I normally flip and rotate a fair amount until my land has only a passing resemblance to the original.
TWO. Define land and sea (sounding like Genesis here...)
- I use my color select tool to select the blue. Then, I invert the selection so that the land is featured. (Or everything that's not part of the blue section anyway.) Then, I delete (and bucket fill the same area with a green - one of the options in the bucket fill tool box allows me to fill everything in the selection at once.)
- Everything else gets filled with a blue.
- I had to play with the eraser tool a bit to get rid of letters, etc, that extended over the water. (I might have done this in the next step...)
- Now, I duplicate the layer, by right-clicking over in the layer dialogue.
- In my "water" layer (lowest layer), I color select the land and delete it.
- In my "land" layer, I color select the water and delete it.
- This is about where it's good to use a texture for your water and land if you want. I also ended up making shallower water around the islands - that was partly accidental because of some of the lettering that was difficult for me to get rid of from the original map.
THREE. Add some 3D effects
- in the filters menu, there's a "decor" selection. I choose "bevel" and select about 9 or 10 for the number. I want to work on my actual map rather than a copy, so I select accordingly.
- I add two new layers above my land layer - one with the "multiply" mode applied to the layer (to darken) and one with the "overlay" mode (to lighten).
- With opacity (on my paintbrush) set to about 20%, I brushed a black shadow around the bottom and right edges to each island. (On my multiple/dark layer.)
- I come back to the overlay layer and brushed another 20% stripe around the top and left edges to each island.
This is what I have up to this point. Honestly, this is the most tedious part of the project. It gets faster from here!
(This post is crossposted at Steemit, Whaleshares and WeKu.)
author/designer at A'mara Books
photographer/graphic artist for Viking Visual
now also on: Whaleshares and WeKu
Banner by @shai-hulud