To my eye, calm, clear, seas have a distinct look to them. A shallow aqua that deepens to blue. The gradual reduction of seafloor clarity at greater depths. A faint web-like reflective surface.
Photo by Mark A. Wilson, Wikipedia.
It doesn’t even have to be a real aqua environment, as artist Alexandre Chapelin shows us.
But maps that I see of the oceans, or deeper waters, don’t really look like that. For all the efforts in getting brown-to-green terrestrial colors and textures just so, the glassy, translucent, semi-transparent medium of the oceans seem neglected by comparison.
Here is a How-To for creating some oceanic cartography for the sheer aesthetics of it, which you can take for whatever it’s worth.
A hillshaded surface is the first step in getting a rich texture to underpin the bathymetry we’ll use in the following steps. Feel free to just get lost in the awesome…