Mosaic tiles and peeling paint: three special world maps
Does it happen to everyone or only to map-o-philes like me? You see a ship hull with rust stains or an old wall with peeling paint and you think, hey, that looks like a map. Oceans, continents, mountain ranges, archipelagos, with a little imagination, you can discover a complete fantasy world on such a weathered surface. Okay, most people will pass by without noticing. But for those who want to see it, there is a lot to enjoy.
Peeling world map
I decided to turn it around and created an image on which peeling paint patterns really shape the continents of our planet Earth. It looks like this:
This map has been rendered in 3ds Max. So it is a 3D model, but the relief is limited to a few subtly curving edges and corresponding shadowed areas.
For inspiration I looked at photos of a ship in the port of Rotterdam that could use some maintenance. But if you see shards of wallpaper on a weathered wall, that’s allright too.
As we see above, this green map has a blue counterpart, on which the oceans are like paint still sticking to the wall, while the continents are exfoliated.
My next world map project is of a very different order. This virtual mosaic is made of 31,250 virtual tiles placed in a 250 × 125 grid.
First I made an image in Photoshop on which I simplified the world map into a file of 250 by 125 pixels in 36 colors. In 3ds Max I projected that image on a mosaic with those same dimensions of 250 by 125 (tiles in this case). Also, this map is a 3d model, but here too, the relief is limited: some shadow and glow effects and purposefully arranged irregularities.
The whole is rendered in the unprecedented resolution of 16,000 x 8000 pixels. This allows you to zoom in on the details quite far without the image getting pixelated. Here, for example, we see North and Central America with a piece of South America, parts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Arctic region.
And we can get even closer to the mosaic. This is the area around the Mediterranean Sea, including North Africa and large parts of Europe. The Netherlands, country where the map was made, is as large as just one tile. One can even debate about which tile it is.. The United Kingdom is, of course, a little bigger, but still only 15 tiles.
When I put this mosaic on Facebook, there was some confusion about the concept virtual. What exactly are virtual tiles? I would say: tiles that are not real but seem very lifelike by careful application of shadows, glare and irregularities.
Okay, if you apply them as wallpaper in your workspace, it becomes a bit confusing …