I want to begin the series with the creation of the world, because the continents, coastlines, bodies of water, mountains, and many other geographical features play an incredibly important role in the shaping of languages, specifically during their dispersal. There is a lot to explain, though the point of this article is to begin with create the continents in this mythocosmography.
To start off with the size of the Photoshop image we will work with, there are images of a map of Earth which range in size, however the most important part is the ratio between the length and the width. This image of Earth has the maximum size of 5400×2700 pixels. So that will be the size.
It is very easy to create the geography as a giant splotch, however geography is so much more dynamic than that, especially when you can clearly see on Earth’s geography that there are numerous forms of landmasses. There are continents that share the same shape, such as western South America and eastern Africa; and there are large islands such as Australia, Greenland, and Madagascar.
As for the process of creating the world itself, I do not want to turn this first installment into a how-to tutorial, since there are many YouTube videos that have varying ways of illustrating a map on Photoshop or by hand. This video shall give you a basic summary of how I was able to make this map out of smudges of paint.
My Method of Creating A World
I used Adobe Photoshop 21.0.2 for this map. Although I mentioned I would not turn this installment into a tutorial, I will summarize what I did in steps, as it is shown in the video.
- As soon as I was done smearing and smudging differing amorphous forms of oil paint, I took a picture of it.
- The image was then uploaded on Photoshop, where I used the Magic Wand Tool to delete the white space.
- I used the mask tool to delete the yellow/green smudges, in order to evoke more jagged coastlines.
- I made adjustments to the landmasses, by resizing and repositioning them until I got them to more desirable forms.
- As per the YouTube map-making tutorials, I created a new grey Normal layer set in the Cloud render (25% bright) and a grey Hard Mix layer (25% bright).
- Holding the CTRL button, I clicked on the landmasses layer until the selection lines formed the shape of the landmasses.
- Then, clicking back to the Hard Mix layer, I used a brush tool in the color black and set at Multiple and 50% flow. I used the scattering brush, which you can find on the default brush selections or you can make one your own. I brushed all over within the landmass selections until I was content.
- As soon as I deselected with CTRL+D, I pressed the CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E in order to merge all of the visible layers into a single layer.
- Again, I clicked on the icon of the previous landmasses layer with the CTRL button. Then I right-clicked and selected “Select Inverse” in order to select the rest of the image outside of the landmass selection. I deleted it. Be sure to remove the visibility of the previous layers in order to get a good picture of the landmasses.
- As soon as I did so, I can see now that the coastlines are complicated with many small, coastal islands–just as I intended.
- I widened the upper perspective in order to match Earth’s hemispheres. I will also make use of the default Earth model, since it will give me an idea about what each continent would actually look like, whether it has to do with the position in the hemisphere or how close/far they are to/from the Equator.
- I finished making any adjustments until I was completely satisfied.
As you may notice, there are similarities in the coastlines on–what we will call for now–Continents 1, 2, and 3. It can be deduced that there has been tectonic activity akin to those between South America and Africa. This is due to the fact that both of these continents share a plate. Although the smallest plate, it is constantly in motion, moving at 3 centimeters every year. Of course, as expected, this results in earthquakes along the eastern South American coast.
As such, it would not be surprising to see earthquakes along the coasts of these continents.
This would exactly be the case of the island-continents 6, 7, 8; which appear to have splintered off from Supercontinent 4. This would resemble the Indo-Australian Plate. The same shift occurs with Continent 5 splitting from Supercontinent 4, though still retaining some form of connection.
What Would These Tectonic Plates Look Like?
I am, of course, not a geologist, so this may not be perfect, but this would definitely be the best way to describe the shapes and positions of the continents.
I do not want to emphasize the world as a whole, since it would be too complicated to start with. Rather, I want to start small. Specifically, I would start with a small section, and then gradually expand to include the other landmasses until I manage to include the entire world. I will take into regard the biosphere, the human sphere, and the weather.
So consider this installment to be a sort of prelude to what is to come.
Until then, we will focus on this island’s biome on Continent 2.
- Bird, Peter (2003) An updated digital model of plate boundaries.
- “Indo-Australian Plate: Tectonic Boundaries and Movement.” EarthHow. January 5, 2021.
- “South American Plate: Tectonic Boundary and Movement.” EarthHow. January 5, 2021.