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Are these mountains/rivers realistic?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by OGone, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. OGone

    OGone Troubadour

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    I've made a really rough map of part of a world just so I can pinpoint where my characters are moving. I just went ahead and made a rough landmass then scribbled some tectonic plates, mountains and rivers over it.

    Just need a quick opinion if these plates/mountains/rivers are all positioned realistically so I can go ahead and start making an actual map. The key should be barely straightforward :D
     
  2. Jaredonian

    Jaredonian Dreamer

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    I don't see anything immediately obvious, though maybe some others who know more can. You seem to have avoided one of the most common mistakes by having your rivers merging together near their sources rather than having them split off towards the end. I don't know as much about mountains, but I could imagine a formation like that forming somewhere where three tectonic plates merge.
     
    OGone likes this.
  3. Nihal

    Nihal Vala

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    I'm no expert on maps. I can say, however, that rivers actually look like they split on the end in large scales maps, not the other way around and it's not really wrong. The big rivers are often formed by the junction of more than one smaller river, but those ones usually have less water flow, some being no more than creeks. They're thin and less noticeable than the main rivers, sometimes they don't even get draw on maps.

    I mean, look at those two maps:
    http://www.comiteibicui.com.br/imagens/Mapa_bacias_atual.jpg
    http://www.turismo-rs.com/imagens/rs-rios.jpg

    And the country map (the region is located at the bottom).
    http://www.brasil-turismo.com/mapas/mapa/hidrovias-brasil.gif

    Can you see how many rivers were cut out? Since usually when a river splits at the end the water flow is really high, the springs and creeks get risked from the map first, the major lakes and end splits, later.
    --

    Anyway, your mountains and rivers seems a little stiff, they all run to the same direction. I can show a trick to get organic shapes tomorrow if you want, I'm sleepy and without my wacom or PS at the moment.
     
  4. Nihal

    Nihal Vala

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    Ok, now I'm less sleep deprived, here goes my bad example of a trick to create organic shapes.

    (in case the gif doesn't work, open the image in a new tab)
    [​IMG]

    This is an efficient trick to get interesting shapes for free, without worrying they look too artificial. First, just let your hand loose, drawing circles, curves and "S".

    Then, you're going to use this mess of lines as a base to the flow of the mountains and rivers. You don't need to follow the lines perfectly, change the direction when you feel it's going yo work, use the doodles as base when it's convenient.

    That's it. Simple, quick, hassle-free.
     
    OGone likes this.
  5. OGone

    OGone Troubadour

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    Thanks for the tip, I don't use Photoshop much I need to figure out how to make the brushes give you that hand-drawn look.

    I'll use the scribble technique but this map was just a rough plot to figure out the basic location of the mountains and rivers I needed for the story. It's actually really far away (doesn't give that impression) so when I go in closer I'll make the rivers much more random and add more smaller streams and splits.

    I should explain the big pool on the right is not naturally formed so ignore that.
     
  6. Nihal

    Nihal Vala

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    I have a tablet, that's why it looks hand draw. It was draw using Paint Tool SAI, another digital painting program (cheaper and lighter). The PS was used only to save as an animated gif. :p

    Since you don't have tablet you can try to hand-draw your map, traditionally, then scan it. I think I've posted a tutorial of how separate scanned lineart from the white background, it will be easier than drawing everything with a mouse.
     
  7. Is that a desert in the south?

    I did some research for making a map for an RPG I run and I found out about something called "rain shadow". Basically, it's when mountains block rainy weather on the windward side, so one side of the mountain gets all the rain. I used that to decide where my deserts should be located. I had a major crescent-shaped mountain range to the north of a continent without any frigid zones. The rain would come in from the northern sea where the air was more humid, so I made the northern area between the mountains and the sea very green, and put the largest desert in the rain shadow south of the mountains.

    I also found out that rivers carry sediments from highlands, causing alluvial plains. So if you have a lot of rivers running down some mountains, the area below them will consist of rather fertile land.

    This all resulted in a - by my standards - rather realistic-looking map. I recommend looking up as much as you can about how landscapes naturally form.
     
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  8. OGone

    OGone Troubadour

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    I don't have a scanner either, unfortunately :( I can draw decently enough with a mouse for what I want, that map was done on a touch-pad, lol. Like I say I don't mind how it looks at the moment just using it as a guide for my story.

    That's what I was going for but I'm not sure if I did it right. Could I look the map you made for reference?

    The very southern part underneath the mountains is the desert, the other yellowy-gold part is savannah so the southern mountains are forming the "rain shadow".
     
  9. It's only partially finished but I'll see what I can do. Hang on.
     
  10. mbartelsm

    mbartelsm Troubadour

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    You need to consider that rivers take the shortest way down, if you have two parallel rivers it means there is higher ground between them. Also, is that a lake?
     
  11. OGone

    OGone Troubadour

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    Like the two on the right, can't I just pretend there are hills in between?

    Yeah it is a lake but it isn't naturally formed, part of a story.
     
  12. Codey Amprim

    Codey Amprim Staff Article Team

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    For a rough map, it doesn't look bad, to be honest. The rivers all seem plausible in my opinion. Most rivers begin from snowmelt from mountains, so you have that down pat.
     
  13. mbartelsm

    mbartelsm Troubadour

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    Thats exactly what I mean, if they run like that it's because there are hills in between
     
  14. Filk

    Filk Troubadour

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    Most lakes, but not all, have rivers flowing in and out of them. My first thought on your map was that I wanted to see that far left river flowing into the lake and continuing beyond as well. You don't need to change it, but I think totally landlocked lakes are uncommon.

    Mountains form where tectonic plates come at each other and push the earth's crust up.

    Cool map! Good luck!
     
  15. mbartelsm

    mbartelsm Troubadour

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    It's not common, but water could sink underground and come up near the sea
     
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