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 Post subject: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:23 am 
Sanci
Sanci

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2006 1:05 pm
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Location: Liverpool, UK
After looking Zompist's maps and various other maps (especially those from the AkanaWiki), I would like to know how to create a decent looking map. I want to go for the more Atlasy type look than a fantasy world look. Which tools do most people use? I would really like to know how that Akana map was made. Any suggestions/tips would be very appreciated. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:52 am 
Avisaru
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Either: Buy a tablet, use inkscape, and be very patient;

Or: Kidnap HandsomeRob and refuse to release him until he's done your maps to your satisfaction. This is more expensive and may get you into a bit of trouble, but the results will justify every penny.

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 Post subject: Re: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:02 am 
Smeric
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Photoshop, Inkscape, an utter shitload of time. If you're unable to procure PS, GIMP can substitute, but...gl figuring it out :S (personally I find PS and GIMP about equal in the mystic qualities of their operation, but at least I can figure out how to draw a straight line in PS). Also Inkscape is free, PS isn't, so...take your own conclusions :D

But especially an utter shitload of time.

Also, a bit far down the road from the HOW I DO DRAW?!?!?!?! stage (I'm barely out of it myself), but Nae has a lovely map-making tutorial.

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 Post subject: Re: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:14 am 
Sanno
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Well, as Zompist says, you need a decent graphics program (GIMP is free, but a lot of people sneer at it), a lot of patience and a lot of practice. You don't need a tablet, but I'm sure they make things easier. Then follow some tutorials. Zomp has a couple on his website, and there are a load at the Cartographers' Guild. As an example, I created this map with the help of a few CG tutorials- particularly for the mountains.

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 Post subject: Re: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:22 am 
Sanci
Sanci

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2006 1:05 pm
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Location: Liverpool, UK
Dewrad wrote:
Well, as Zompist says, you need a decent graphics program (GIMP is free, but a lot of people sneer at it), a lot of patience and a lot of practice. You don't need a tablet, but I'm sure they make things easier. Then follow some tutorials. Zomp has a couple on his website, and there are a load at the Cartographers' Guild. As an example, I created this map with the help of a few CG tutorials- particularly for the mountains.


That's the type of map style I'm going for, I eventually want to be able to shade it in to show language/dialectal groups. What program did you use to make that if you don't mind me asking?


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 Post subject: Re: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:35 am 
Smeric
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Paint.NET is also decent and free. It's probably not as powerful as GIMP, but it has a more Windows-like interface so it might be less annoying.

I use all three ... GIMP, Paint.NET, and Photoshop (but it's an extremely old copy of Photoshop, 5.5 iirc), and don't have a tablet or even a working scanner but I manage to do OK by zooming in to very high levels and drawing with the mouse.

I'm planning to try a 3D program such as Neverwinter Nights 2's map editor to get realistic-looking mountains, but haven't gotten that far yet since I'm mostly worrying about political maps.

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 Post subject: Re: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:47 am 
Avisaru
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Location: Reykjavík, Iceland
I use Photoshop and Illustrator, but then again, I'm a graphic designer so I have to have those. Get the free stuff, Adobe is evil.

But in the end it's not about what tools you use, it's about skill, patience and taste. A lot of maps are beautifully drawn but get ruined by bad typography. Others get ruined by their horrible colour schemes. Yet others are just plain ugly. Look at maps, read books about map design and map typography. Practice. Don't assume your first map will be your final.

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Last edited by vec on Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:49 am 
Sanno
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Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:30 am
Posts: 939
Location: Tübingen, Germany
Davoush wrote:
I would really like to know how that Akana map was made.

I posted the current version of that map to the AkanaWiki, but I can't tell you how it was made because I only added some finishing touches (in Photoshop, but most of that was simply adjusting the colors). The guy who created the first version of it (A pocketful of songs., who doesn't seem to visit this board any longer) never said much about it. From the style, I guess he drew the coast and height lines in Inkscape or Illustrator, and then edited stuff in GIMP or Photoshop. I have used his basemap for some historical/linguistic maps, for instance these, where I've added colors, borders and text in Photoshop, using a soft brush (controlled by a graphics tablet), the freeform selection tool, and lots of layers (with layer style effects where appropriate). I've learned all the techniques from tutorials on the web, first from Zompist's tutorial, and then several from Cartographers' Guild. For drawing mountains, I'd recommend the "Saderan" tutorial on CG, which is easy and very good. It gives maps roughly similar to Dewrad's one.

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 Post subject: Re: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:23 pm 
Avisaru
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I'm still looking for a decent reverse-quantisation algorithm, with which I could do some really nice shading.

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it was labelled" orange marmalade," but that is unutterably hideous.


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 Post subject: Re: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:42 pm 
Lebom
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Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2003 2:57 pm
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Location: London, UK
My old map-making tutorial from way-back-when, saved for posterity in a dusty corner of the interwebs


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 Post subject: Re: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:07 pm 
Sanci
Sanci

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Liverpool, UK
Thanks for all the advice, have started messing around with GIMP a bit, haven't got very far yet. Does anyone know if it's possible to draw contour lines in GIMP? and how? (or would inkscape or something else be better suited)?


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 Post subject: Re: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:44 pm 
Lebom
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:54 am
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Dewrad wrote:
As an example, I created this map with the help of a few CG tutorials- particularly for the mountains.


That's really nice. I'd appreciate a description of how you created the shaded relief, if you don't mind.

Also, I second Dewrad's recommendation to check out Cartographer's Guild. They are a very friendly and helpful bunch.

bricks wrote:
Or: Kidnap HandsomeRob and refuse to release him until he's done your maps to your satisfaction. This is more expensive and may get you into a bit of trouble, but the results will justify every penny.

Hay


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 Post subject: Re: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:49 am 
Avisaru
Avisaru

Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 1:47 pm
Posts: 734
Location: Leiden, the Netherlands
I reccomend you to use a vector-based program. This is because they are easier to change, and can be zoomed in at any level for greater detail. The size of a vector image is only relative; it can be amended without any loss of quality at all, because vectors are sets of objects rather than just a set of pixels. Vector files aren't even made up of pixels at all.

Inkscape (freeware) and Adobe Illustrator (not freeware) are the main choices here. Seriously, in Inkscape, whipping up a basic map isn't really that hard at all. I never used Illustrator, but it's probably Inkscape without the stability issues and a LOT more neat features.

Vector files (.svg) can be exported into bitmap files (which are your run-of-the-mill graphics, like .png, .jpeg, .bmp, .gif etc.) but it's practically impossible to turn any bitmap type file into a vector file, bar extremely simple bitmap images.

You should only use photoshop if you want a 'pretty' map. If you just want a functional, but neat looking map that shows where what, use Inkscape.


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 Post subject: Re: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:00 am 
Smeric
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Illustrator has a pretty good bitmap > vector conversion ... I've used it. Inkscape's isn't that bad but requires high color contrast to produce usable maps (otherwise you just end up deleting most of the paths, which still isnt terrible.) I used to have an .ai file of a photograph that I was going to use on a portfolio someday (just to say "look, I can use Illustrator!")but it seems to have gone missing.

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 Post subject: Re: Maps - How?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:18 am 
Avisaru
Avisaru
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Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 6:13 pm
Posts: 251
Location: The Southland
I trace my outlines black/white in Gimp, then vectorize in inkscape. Works suprisingly well, just start out with a very hi-res image.


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