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Bill Hooks
07-22-2010, 02:51 AM
Hi all,

This is a map I've been tinkering with since I started spending time on this site, and I finally decided I'd like to post it in the WIP forum. It started out life as a hex map for an RPG, where each hex represented more or less a week's travel and featured a unique destination. Then I thought, given that the way I was designing it made exact scale relatively unimportant, it would work just as well and look better as a realistic landmass divided into Risk-style areas. So that's what it turned into, and this first pic shows the stages it went through as I learned through the forum. The first stage is after having downloaded Ravenstar's calligraphic map symbols; the second is after having read Ascension's antique map tutorial; and the third is after, well, having read a ton more tutorials as well as researching historical maps and fonts on my own, as well as designing my own set of historical mountain brushes. Ironically, it now has an exact scale because that's part of the look.

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And now, this second (large) picture is the current state of the map. I'd be interested in any comments, critiques, suggestions, etc. and I can talk about techniques I used if anyone's curious. A couple of things I'll note: one is that I've got a couple of different sizes on the labels and forest symbols, and I'm curious what people's opinions are about whether these elements look better smaller or larger. Two is that I've got a lot of text over linework, which I'm planning to typemask (I did the word "Zind", near the right-hand edge of the map, as a test). I'm curious if anyone knows whether or not a non-destructive typemask is possible in Photoshop (I did mine by making a selection of the stroked text and using it to actually delete the linework -- one copy of it anyway).

Fonts used include the free downloadable fonts Opera Lyrics Smooth (area labels) and Decadence Condensed (large "ZAL ZIND" at lower left), as well as Garamond Italic, Didot Regular and Modern No. 20 Regular.

Sotfware used is Photoshop CS3, except that the map frame and grid lines were created in Illustrator CS3.

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Aelyn
07-22-2010, 03:57 AM
Hey Bill, nice work :) I really like to see the progress of your map, it sure looks like you learned a lot. The result is a pretty map, though I would probably make some minor changes.

For example, I like your mountains, but compared to the water lines around the coast they look rather dainty. Maybe you can make these lines stand out a little less? I'd also suggest you tone down the saturation of the map to some extend, it seems very bright. Old maps tend to lose colour. And now about the tags: Maybe you can simply add an outer glow or something so they stick out more? A light stroke could also do. If you want your map to be old, you should consider emulating ink bleed as well. (There are some threads about how to do that on the guild, I'm not an expert either)

Now enough of that grumbling! I really like everything around the Zal Zind name tag, it adds to the flair. Zalometers! My favourite word of the day, definitely. And your rivers seem to be very thought-out, I like that. They seem to pose problems for many people, but yours are great. Oh, and did I mention the mountains? ;) And about the forest: I prefer the size near Hjyford, but also the different sizes do add something to the map...

I'll rep you for it. Take it as a bribe to make you tell me how you made the Illustrator stuff, as I'm just beginning to use Illustrator and could use some tips now!

Coyotemax
07-22-2010, 04:10 AM
You can totally do non destructive typemasking.

What I've been doing is to keep the paper in their own layer group (call it parchment), everything else in another layer group (call it Linework), then the text layers in a group overtop everything else (call it text, obviously). Once I have all the text placed, I select it all, expand by a few pixels, feather (or not, depending on the map) and then apply that selection as a mask to the Linework group. Voila, anything within that group is now masked out around the text. You can also take the opportunity to fine tune the mask with a small brush where needed..

Sapiento
07-22-2010, 04:27 AM
Fine map, Bill. I like the overall feeling it has. One thing you might change: in the map title one sentence lies over one of the latitudes which looks a little bit odd.

RecklessEnthusiasm
07-22-2010, 05:49 AM
I have a question for you--did you do the outlines by hand, or did you use a brush with the 'direction' angle option to get all those concentric lines? I've been trying to make a brush that does exactly that kind of land-border in a really easy automated way, but for some reason I just can't get the brush right--I'm interested in your settings, if you did it that way.

Coyotemax
07-22-2010, 06:00 AM
If you're using photoshop, you might be interested in this method I came up with: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?6630-Fun-with-Gradients-Putting-rings-around-landmasses-in-antique-maps

there's also a lot of other ways to approach it as well, the most popular version involves copying the shape, expanding the selection and filling on a new layer, then adding layer styles while setting the fill to 0%.. repeat that a few times and you get a nice set of rings.

Bill Hooks
07-22-2010, 03:19 PM
I used basically the method Coyotemax links to, except with varying line spacing instead of opacity.

@Aelyn: I'll try to think of some Illustrator tips, but I'm actually not that great with it . . . mainly I only use it to build vector objects and then place them in Photoshop.

Steel General
07-22-2010, 04:15 PM
I like the last of the 3 versions best - nice job, but it seems a bit 'over saturated' to my eye *shrugs*

Aval Penworth
07-22-2010, 07:16 PM
For what it's worth, I agree with the general commentary. Really liking the big version. Great map, cool names. Could benefit from some desaturation though.

Bill Hooks
07-22-2010, 08:07 PM
Did a quickie desaturation -- how's this look?

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Aval Penworth
07-22-2010, 08:36 PM
Hmm, The colour does look nicer toned down. Perhaps you could bring down the yellows a tad further.

On closer inspection I am also seeing some obvious tile edges in your paper texture. Rep for the progress so far though.

RobA
07-22-2010, 08:55 PM
The desaturated looks better on my screen....


-Rob A>

Diamond
07-22-2010, 10:20 PM
I don't know if it's just my computer, but I'm only getting the dreaded Red X of Doom when I try to view your two larger maps. From what I make out on the thumbs though, they look damn nice.