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plamadude30k
04-26-2010, 07:28 AM
Well, I had a ginormous post just before the server troubles detailing this next map, but it was all wiped out. I'll try to recreate it here, and hopefully this time I can be more coherent than last time!

These maps are part of a much larger worldbuilding project I began several months ago as support material for a novel I'd like to write. In fact, it was in preparation for making maps of this fictional world that I found the cartographer's guild in the first place. After only a month of membership here, my cartography skills still leave a lot to be desired, but I have learned enough that I want to give my world, Thraena, a try.

Here is a first map of the entire world, done in a satellite style. This map is only meant to give a sense of general climates-you'll notice there are no mountains, rivers, or forests. This map is not 100% accurate, either, but it does give some idea of climate.

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Ideally, I want to do several maps of this world-some geographical and some political. The first is an in-world style map, something the characters might have access to (or at least something like they would have access to) in the story. I did some research on old maps around the time period I was aiming for, and here's some of my favorite references:

Map 1 (http://www.raremaps.com/gallery/detail/18531/Universale_Descrittione_Di_Tutta_la_Terra_Consciut a_Fin_Oui/Forlani.html)

Map B (http://www.raremaps.com/gallery/detail/0090em/A_New_and_Correct_Map_of_the_Whole_World_Shewing_y e_Situation_of_its/Moll.html)

Map III (http://www.raremaps.com/gallery/detail/19029/Essay_DUne_Carte_Reduite_Contenant_Les_Parties_Con neuees_Du_Globe/Bellin.html)

In actuality, this first map I'm working on is from a period ~5-800 years before the story is set to start. This, however, would still be one of the most extensive maps of the world made by the time of the story. Between the time when it was made and when the story occurs much knowledge was lost, mostly due to a series of wars and a catastrophe caused by the Gods. This catastrophe is also the reason why, in the satellite style map there are a bunch of islands where on this map there is solid land just north of where the equator and prime meridian meet. Other inconsistencies arise from the fact that the world is still being explored at the time this map was created, and some coastlines are uncertain.

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The forests, rivers, and mountains are all pretty much done, barring some unforeseen revelation. You may notice that most of the southern, crescent shaped continent is left blank-this is not a mistake. This is for in-world political reasons, as the country on that part of the continent is not friendly at all with the country where this map was made, and does not allow explorers on the continent, nor even traders except for in a few port towns in the north.

A note about the compass: It's pretty simple, except for the device in the center. This is the device of the Royal House of the Kingdom of Arista, where this map was made-the Aristan pine, from which the kingdom takes its name-and the raven, the sigil of the royal house.

plamadude30k
04-28-2010, 03:21 AM
I finished off the major geographical features and as per a suggestion in my current finished map thread, I sought out an image of old parchment to overlay on top of the map to make it look a bit better.

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I think the look is really coming together, but there's one more element I'm considering which I'd really like opinions on, namely country borders. In several of the real world maps I referenced in the above post, there are vague colored outlines along political borders, and I'm debating if I want to try to recreate this effect. I've already tried several times, but to no avail-each effort just looks unnatural and stands out like a sore thumb. Any suggestions on how to do this? I would also appreciate any and all suggestions, comments, and criticisms.

Jaxilon
04-28-2010, 04:05 AM
OMG that's not parchment that's Human SKIN!!!

Just kidding but when I zoomed in it did kind of look like skin of some sort. :)

I think you are making good progress. Keep up the good work. I was confused a bit by the mountains in the sea but then realized they were just the beginnings of land that had only been seen from a distance? You might add a slight change of tone for the land just to make those a bit easier to understand. I can also see why you might not want to change the style of the map by doing so and whatever you decide is fine by me.

Not having done any political border type stuff I will leave that to some of the experts around here. Carry on fellow desert dweller.

plamadude30k
04-28-2010, 04:57 AM
OMG that's not parchment that's Human SKIN!!!

Just kidding but when I zoomed in it did kind of look like skin of some sort. :)


Ha! You're right, it is a bit skin-like. How creepy. Easily fixed, though:

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It's nice to see a fellow Arizonan here. You're the only other one I've encountered so far.

plamadude30k
05-04-2010, 12:44 AM
It's been pretty hectic recently, but I've managed some progress on the map. I've added labels for major bodies of water, and a nice description of the map. Please tell me what you think of the font-I tried to choose a simple, legible font that can be seen even at very small sizes. I'd like to know what people think before I move on to the huge task of putting in geographical and political labels.

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You may also notice that I changed the overlaying paper texture. I just thought this one looked better.

alizarine
05-04-2010, 02:02 AM
This is looking pretty good - that parchment texture does look nice. I'm not sure if this last map is supposed to be of several continents - without a scale to determine size it's a bit hard to tell if those mountains and forests are a bit small but they do feel that way (small, I mean). Other than that, the map is looking really good. The font was fully legible when zoomed in to full-size, and that boxed text down in the lower-right is a great touch. The land and bird inside the compass in the lower-left corner is a great little detail too. Looking forward to seeing more ^.^

- Alizarine

Coyotemax
05-04-2010, 02:47 AM
actually it shouldn't be odd to zoom in on parchment and think it looks like skin :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parchment :D

map is coming along very nicely!

plamadude30k
05-04-2010, 03:45 AM
This is looking pretty good - that parchment texture does look nice. I'm not sure if this last map is supposed to be of several continents - without a scale to determine size it's a bit hard to tell if those mountains and forests are a bit small but they do feel that way (small, I mean). Other than that, the map is looking really good. The font was fully legible when zoomed in to full-size, and that boxed text down in the lower-right is a great touch. The land and bird inside the compass in the lower-left corner is a great little detail too. Looking forward to seeing more ^.^

- Alizarine

It's actually supposed to be a map of the entire world. I'll work in a scale and label the latitude and longitude lines next, probably.

Oh, and it's supposed to be a tree and bird in the compass, but I can see how that could be very easily mistaken.

Locution
05-04-2010, 03:49 AM
Its coming along nicely

Natai
05-04-2010, 02:49 PM
Looks good so far, and the font seems to fit the style of the map nicely. I agree that the boxed text is a great touch; that alone gives you a feel of the world.

plamadude30k
05-04-2010, 05:48 PM
I just realized that I can't really add a scale bar; since the map projection is (nearly) equirectangular, the vertical scale differs from the horizontal scale, and the horizontal scale changes depending on where you are on the map. I can add latitude and longitude measures, though, which will indicate that this is the whole world (or nearly all of it).

plamadude30k
05-05-2010, 12:27 AM
I worked up a political version of the map with all of the major countries noted.

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I don't think this will be part of the final map, but it may be used as a reference for a possible D&D campaign I'm thinking of running in-world.

Ascension
05-05-2010, 12:47 AM
I think the coasts could use less uniform smoothness and more jaggedness but style-wise this looks ok. The colors and paper really sell it but I'd make a few tweaks. I'd drop the blue color out of the compass. I'd also increase the size of all of the little mountains and trees...I think you might find that nicer. No need to have a thousand mountains when a few dozen will convey the message of "mountain range here". Of course that would give you a more "LotR" style map but if you want something more antique and less medieval then I'd use simpler icons for mtns and trees and keep 'em small like this. For the text I'd make that smaller, make it dark brown or black like the other lines, put a tan outer glow on it that matches the paper color, and also pick a different font like Arabic typesetting or Aramis (they fit the antique style well) or a hand-written font for a medieval style. All in all, not too shabby, though, so keep at it and soon you'll be making some kick butt antique maps.

plamadude30k
05-05-2010, 01:19 AM
Thanks Ascension, I really appreciate all of the advice-especially from such a renowned community leader! I'd like to give all of your suggestions a try, but most of them seem pretty major, so it'll have to wait a week or two until my finals are over. In the interim, if I do find any time, I'm going to try and fill in labels and such.

Ascension
05-05-2010, 01:21 AM
Oh, I totally understand, you've got the basic style down here and that's what counts for the most. The details take a long time to figure out...I'm still figuring them out myself :)

alizarine
05-05-2010, 03:01 AM
That political map does look quite nice (Ascension covered all the points on that ^.^ ). The only thing I'd add is if you want to keep or add some color, think about light touches in a sort of watercolor style. You've got a great hand-drawn/pen+ink style going on without it looking too rough; adding light touches of color might separate the land and water tho' for when/if you go back to the geography. Of course, it's up to you - I just prefer a bit of color, and since you've got it in the compass you might want to think about unifying the whole piece with color; or simply remove the color from the compass, as Ascension suggested. If you're using Photoshop, there's some excellent hand-drawn-ink-style brushes for mountains, forests, &c. here at PickeBu's Deviantart gallery (http://pickebu.deviantart.com/art/Old-Map-Brush-Set-64151770). (the image is an example of the brushes "in action" - the download link the left side of the page is where you get a zip file of 3 brush sets). Hope this helps, at least for reference!

- Alizarine

plamadude30k
05-05-2010, 02:14 PM
If you're using Photoshop, there's some excellent hand-drawn-ink-style brushes for mountains, forests, &c. here at PickeBu's Deviantart gallery (http://pickebu.deviantart.com/art/Old-Map-Brush-Set-64151770). (the image is an example of the brushes "in action" - the download link the left side of the page is where you get a zip file of 3 brush sets). Hope this helps, at least for reference!

- Alizarine

Well, I'm using the Gimp, but it can import photoshop brushes, so I'll give those a try.

alizarine
05-06-2010, 12:49 AM
GIMP? wow - never really worked with the program myself, probably 'cause I'm too used to photoshop (too scared to try it, that is ^.^ ) I see what you're saying about the scale being a problem though. You might want to try G.Projector (someone uploaded an older version on the forums somewhere the newest version is here (http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/gprojector/)). Excellent program for setting up various (a lot) of map projections; that would help with the scale problem. Of course, you've got such a lovely map right now changing the projection might undermine that or change the look you're going for, so of course that's up to you. With or without a scale, this is looking good!

- Alizarine

Jaxilon
05-06-2010, 01:02 AM
it just keeps getting better.

plamadude30k
05-06-2010, 01:32 AM
...You might want to try G.Projector...

- Alizarine

Thank you so much-I've been looking for something that would do EXACTLY what this does for a long time now. Incredibly useful as I technically could do it by hand, but have not the stomach for such calculations, nor indeed the implementation.

EDIT: Oh, and as for the PS-GIMP changeover, I did it myself four or five years ago. I used to be a page editor on my high school newspaper and we used adobe products there, so I was used to PS (and InDesign, mostly). When I graduated I had to transition to GIMP because I'm a poor college student, and the transition was remarkably smooth. I won't say that I like the GIMP any better than PS, but I've certainly become very comfy with it. I've actually used GIMP to touch up some pretty pictures I've taken on big research telescopes after my science observing is over, and it plays nicely with .fits files (special astronomy image format), so I was extremely pleased with that bit of extra functionality. Really what I'm trying to say is that there's no reason to be scared of it. Also, it's free, so that's good.

arsheesh
05-06-2010, 01:36 AM
I like the parchment look you've got going on here, looks really good so far.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Riggamorphus
05-06-2010, 04:23 AM
I like how you captured the time period from looking at your reference links. The unfinished land looks good as not to mislead sailors as the 1565 map does! Skin tatoo maps, that would be a sight to see. But I see what Jaxilon meant. Either way looks really rustic. I like that. Oh ya, Im from Arizona too. Lets see how many people from Arizona we can get on this thread. Nice work. Looking forward to more.

Tom

plamadude30k
05-26-2010, 09:05 AM
The semester is over and I've finally got my internet back, so I wanted to post this regional map of a small bit of the larger map seen elsewhere in this thread. I tried to incorporate some of the suggestions I saw here earlier, so I hope you approve.

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I'm not entirely happy with several elements, including the text so far (which is meant to be decorative text, as opposed to the actual label text I'll have later), the compass, and the forests. Opinions on these elements would be especially helpful, but as always any comments and suggestions will be appreciated.

tilt
05-28-2010, 04:53 AM
looking really good, and like your writing. I feel however that the elements, looking beautiful one by one - don't fit together - the style of the coastlines are rather heavy in comparison to your mountains and woods.. :)

alizarine
05-29-2010, 05:40 AM
I agree with tilt about the coastlines being a bit overwhelming; they also appear sharper than the other elements. Even the lettering on the compass appears less sharp than the coastlines. You could either try lightening or blurring the coastlines slightly (or both); you could also try removing one of the outer lines? Maybe having only 1 line around the coastline, or 1 darker and 1 much lighter line would fit a bit better. This is looking very good other than the coastline, however, especially the shape of the land and the overall imagery. The parchment background, the text in the upper right, the compass and the border all fit very well and the map is coming along great.

- Alizarine

plamadude30k
05-29-2010, 08:24 PM
You're right about the lettering, and I have no idea why it's blurry, it's really strange. I'll see what effect removing the lines around the coast might have, I appreciate the suggestion. On the other hand, if I keep the coastlines like they are now, how would you recommend making the other elements more consistent with that heavy coastline?