Is there a tool which

  • takes a simple image with closed curves (like 2 circles),

  • and then "mapifyes" the image by making those circles into coastlines?

I know it's a bit vague, but what I mean is that instead of a black curve, it would have a "hand drawn feeling", or maybe even some efect which resembles coastlines, etc.

It would be nice for prototyping and even for a being base for the detailed, final version of the map.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding! I provided an answer. However if occurred to me afterwards that there might be a reason you want to start with circles and distort them rather than simply hand drawing from the start using a mouse in a drawing app. Perhaps you could explain? Thanks. $\endgroup$ Mar 11 '19 at 9:27
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    $\begingroup$ If i understand you correctly, you want to start with a smooth shape and then distort it so it 'looks more natural' (aka add randomness)? If that is right, then in audio and image terms you are talking about adding noise $\endgroup$
    – dot_Sp0T
    Mar 11 '19 at 10:45
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps you could use something like Minecrafts World Painter tool? worldpainter.net (youtube.com/watch?v=7FiZPC1Rv4g) Looks like you can draw islands from circles, and then get very complex later on! $\endgroup$
    – Smock
    Mar 11 '19 at 12:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Smock - that looks like a useful answer. Do you want to put it as such? Comments can sometimes disappear. If you don't want to I'll add it to my answer and credit you for finding it. $\endgroup$ Mar 11 '19 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ Happy for you to add it to yours - it's not really enough info to be a full answer imo. I'm sure I've seen other world building tools using images (for minecraft and other games) $\endgroup$
    – Smock
    Mar 11 '19 at 13:17

Frame challenge

If you mapify a circle then it seems to me that you have little or no control of the final shape. Why not simply draw the outline yourself? *

If you use Windows for example then the original Paint app allows you to hand draw using a mouse. This gives a perfectly adequate coastline appearance IMO. Any simple draw or sketch program should have the same capability.

The following map took me less than 30 seconds using Windows Paint. That includes drawing, colour-filling, saving and uploading.

enter image description here


It occurs me that not everyone has the mobility to hand draw a shape. I apologise to anyone that applies to for making the assumption. I will look for other solutions and add them here.


As commented by @Smock, there is,

World Painter TUTORIAL - How To Create Custom Minecraft Maps!


I'm sure interesting coastlines could be achieved by making use of

Fractal Explorer in Gimp https://docs.gimp.org/en/plug-in-fractalexplorer.html


enter image description here

Information that may be of interest

Fantasy maps and mapmaking tutorials by Jonathan Roberts http://www.fantasticmaps.com/2013/01/drawing-realistic-coastlines/


There are two obvious options here, one is campaign cartographer 3.

That uses styles to turn any shapes you like into coastlines, however it is very hard to both learn and use.

A simpler alternative is just to use Photoshop and again use layer styles.

With a combination of inner/outer glows, shadows, drop shadows etc you can make very convincing walls, coastlines, etc I make most of the maps for the RPG adventures I write that way.

You can even apply filters to the end result to make them seem like various drawing styles.


I found one which greatly suits my needs, and it has got a free version, and also a very cheap premium version:


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    $\begingroup$ Tudvari - I think your answer would get more votes if you included some images you made using that program. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Mar 12 '19 at 1:13

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