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View Full Version : *** December 10 Mapping Challenge - Map a planet ***



tilt
12-06-2010, 01:37 PM
In the light of NASA's latest discovery we thought to go to space... or at least look down from it :)

Your challenge is to produce a planetary scale map.
The map should be drawn and labelled to provide as much information as you can about the planet while keeping the map legible: Examples of information you might wish to include are:
Topography
Climate
Political boundaries
Places of Note
Major geological features
Cities and towns
..and much much more

This may be a map of our planet earth to present to recently discovered alien life forms, or a map of your home brewed campaign or it might be a roadmap for Santa Claus. The choice is yours.

Any member of the Cartographer's Guild is eligible to enter the monthly challenge - one map per contestant.
No update to an entry will be permitted once the threads are locked for voting. Moderators will inform members of the impending lock down whenever someone remembers, which is somewhat iffy.
Challenge will be locked down on december 31st
so we get a clean start for next year.
All are encouraged to enter the monthly challenge. Only one (or maybe two) win the challenge each time, but everyone who enters learns something about their craft and makes the event more fun for all involved.

To enter, create a new thread in this forum and use the attachment manager to upload your works in progress. Precede every image with the text:
### Latest WIP ###
to allow the forum to pickup the thumbnail for the challenge thumbnails page.

Now go map and good luck all :)

VincentAlliath
12-07-2010, 02:55 AM
I've never done one of these challenges before... Could you explain what you mean by the "### Latest WIP ###"? Is that in the filename, or in the post title or just in the post?

Gamerprinter
12-07-2010, 03:58 AM
Once you post your Work-in-Progress map at any stage of development, post an attachment through the attachment manager as an upload from your PC or from a linked online location. At the end of the text portion of your post enter this: ### Latest WIP ###.

No its not a file name, you have to literally type that out exactly. A thumbnail scraper script is built within the Challenge threads, that when activated search through every Challenge Entry thread, and hunts for the last keyed ### Latest WIP ### - whatever the last image posted under that as an attachment will be captured and posted onto a Challenge Entry Thumbnail page that is created for each monthly challenge. This way visitors to the Challenge forums can view thumbnails of all available entries - with direct links to each thread so they can read the specific entry thread that features a particular thumbnail.

Savvy?

GP

VincentAlliath
12-07-2010, 05:15 AM
Got it. Thanks.

Hopefully my internet will reset soon and I'll get my download/upload speed back again so I can actually upload my WIPs.

Diamond
12-07-2010, 07:26 PM
Hurrrrm.... I think I will enter this. Hopefully it'll go better than the NYC entry... :D

If I'm interpreting this right, it looks like our first WIP/thread has to wait until the 10th to be posted?

waldronate
12-08-2010, 01:00 AM
Or any time in December 2010, perhaps?

Diamond
12-08-2010, 03:16 AM
Or any time in December 2010, perhaps?

Heheh, that too. the lack of a ' in '10 threw me. :D

VincentAlliath
12-08-2010, 12:42 PM
So, uh... my WIP is 20MB (8400 x 4000 pixels, .jpeg format) and that's just a parchment texture, an overlay (black where water is, white where land is), and a 1 pixel thick grid...

Should I just upload it to my own server (vincentalliath.com) and link to it?

I don't want to lose any of the quality, but I don't know of any better compression rates than what .jpeg provides.

I had a smaller map that was 4800 x 2400, but it was too small for me to get the icons and labels and actual land masses the way I wanted. I don't really want to go back to that one...

So yeah... upload it to my own server, I guess, and miss out on being on the thumbnails page properly?

RecklessEnthusiasm
12-08-2010, 01:05 PM
Vincent - You could perhaps post a lower quality version WITH a link to the high quality version, otherwise there might be an issue with the thumbnail scraper (it is always a bummer when one's image is a broken-link icon on the thumbnails page) . I also found a super cool web-based image zoomer here: http://zoom.it/ which might help people browse such a big/detailed image in a neater way.

Gamerprinter
12-08-2010, 01:36 PM
Well the board can host a thumbnail of that size of an image. Really 4000 pixels is larger than what the board can show, so 8000+ pixels, no way. Also if you look at the upload guide on the Attachment Manager, it will tell you 4.6 MB (?) is the largest file it can take, 20 MB, again no way. Since your image is that large, perhaps you can resize the map down to 1800 x 3600 pixels (approx) so we can view it here, but keep your original at your intended size. When you are finally done with the map, then upload to your site and provide a link to it.

One thing though, if you're file size is that big, chances are not many people will actually look at it, and if there's no thumbnail to view (at the sizes I mention above) then nobody will be able to give it a good chance for voting at the end of the month. You might not win, just because of that, which isn't fair perhaps, but your map size is forcing this upon you.

Honestly I create and print huge maps myself, but challenge entries... I never go over 3600 pixels x 2400 pixels ever. And I save all my files as JPG files with medium compression, so most files are less than 2 MB in size.

I get it, that you want a certain quality of map yourself, makes sense, but your size requirement, might not help you in the challenge

GP

VincentAlliath
12-08-2010, 01:43 PM
@RecklessEnthusiasm: That's a good idea, I'll check it out.

@Gamerprinter: You've got a point there, but I wanted it to be big enough that stretching it out onto Google Earth wouldn't completely destroy the quality.

I'm unemployed at the moment, and I'm not in school anymore, so I have plenty of time to actually work on and finish the map. It'll be done by the 16th or 17th and the rest will be touching up. It's not like I need to be in a rush because of other commitments or anything.

I'll try a few different things, though. Thanks for the suggestions.

Ascension
12-08-2010, 05:18 PM
Most of my maps here are 4000 x 4000, a handful are 3000, but in PS we have jpg quality sliders to make sure that we can get the megabytes down...not sure if you have this in Gimp. But the bottom line is make your map at your size, save 2 copies of it in jpg format (one actual size and one forum size) and just shrink the forum size one down to the size and megabyte limits here. So as not to get confused make sure you name them something like Mapbig and Mapsmall or MapA and MapB, etc. The one thing you have to remember when doing big maps is to make your fonts (on the original) double size so that when you shrink it down they don't get lost. Also, if you plan to have roads that are 1 pixel wide then make them 2 pixels instead so they don't get lost either when shrinking down.

jtougas
12-08-2010, 05:33 PM
Most of my maps here are 4000 x 4000, a handful are 3000, but in PS we have jpg quality sliders to make sure that we can get the megabytes down...not sure if you have this in Gimp. But the bottom line is make your map at your size, save 2 copies of it in jpg format (one actual size and one forum size) and just shrink the forum size one down to the size and megabyte limits here. So as not to get confused make sure you name them something like Mapbig and Mapsmall or MapA and MapB, etc. The one thing you have to remember when doing big maps is to make your fonts (on the original) double size so that when you shrink it down they don't get lost. Also, if you plan to have roads that are 1 pixel wide then make them 2 pixels instead so they don't get lost either when shrinking down.

Gimp does in fact have the ability to adjust jpg quality..

VincentAlliath
12-09-2010, 01:37 AM
But I don't think that adjusting the quality will actually do anything for me, considering the size.

Edit: Oh, and thanks for those tips, Ascension. I don't think I would have thought of that.

tilt
12-29-2010, 12:35 PM
Hi everybody - just popping in to remind you that the deadline is almost upon you - december 31st will the challenge be closed - just about before the guests arrive at my house - or if you're lucky, you'll have to sometimes january 1st :) ... Central European Time - so don't count on those extra hours, you'll probably be sleeping anyway :)

Jaxilon
12-31-2010, 05:37 AM
There are a lot of killer entries this month as usual. When the contest was started I felt it was beyond my reach. I was working on a commission and hadn't really done a big world map yet. So there I was barely looking at what was going on only to find myself, out of the blue, attempting a world map. It took me a bit to realize where the seed that sparked my creation came from and as soon as I realized it I felt I owed it to everyone who had inspired me, so I entered.

Whenever I enter one of these contests that have the likes of....well you all know there are some seriously talented contenders here....I always start out thinking, "Man, I hope I don't embarrass myself". ROFL! I know it is really not like that and everyone around here loves it when more people join in but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to feeling a tad intimidated when I see that certain of you folks are entering. Some of you have whipped me along when I needed to make something better and shared ideas on how you have done things. What is bizarre is that I know I can pick up a pencil and really draw well. It surprises me sometimes. All that makes me wonder if we scare off very many folks. I certainly hope not and anyone who's stuck around here for any time knows this is a great community.

So for any who want to join in but are feeling afraid they might look silly, why not go for it next month? Push yourself outside your comfort zone and put in an entry, at least enter the lite-challenge. You will learn so much by trying. You may not do great but if you are serious and keep at it, you are going to improve by leaps and bounds. I have entered several of these and even won a light compass once and yet I still go in every time thinking, "Man, I hope I don't embarrass myself." LOL, heck with that, just do it!

PS. Other than any small tweaks at this point, my file debacle has totally finished my entry for me so I just want to be the first to say (or at least one of the first), 'Great work everyone, thanks for entering!'.

Ascension
12-31-2010, 09:06 AM
The main thing I get out of the challenges is discipline...there's a deadline out there and I've got to hit it. Except for this month. I'm still doing rivers so I'm still in the terrain stages.

Jaxilon
12-31-2010, 12:59 PM
I was wondering if it is worthwhile to have a lower sized image included with your entry for those with slow machines or poor Internet connections? I know the thumbnail gives some idea of what you have but it's really really small.

How many people actually come on here but can't download 4MB files these days?

jtougas
12-31-2010, 01:07 PM
There are a lot of killer entries this month as usual. When the contest was started I felt it was beyond my reach. I was working on a commission and hadn't really done a big world map yet. So there I was barely looking at what was going on only to find myself, out of the blue, attempting a world map. It took me a bit to realize where the seed that sparked my creation came from and as soon as I realized it I felt I owed it to everyone who had inspired me, so I entered.

Whenever I enter one of these contests that have the likes of....well you all know there are some seriously talented contenders here....I always start out thinking, "Man, I hope I don't embarrass myself". ROFL! I know it is really not like that and everyone around here loves it when more people join in but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to feeling a tad intimidated when I see that certain of you folks are entering. Some of you have whipped me along when I needed to make something better and shared ideas on how you have done things. What is bizarre is that I know I can pick up a pencil and really draw well. It surprises me sometimes. All that makes me wonder if we scare off very many folks. I certainly hope not and anyone who's stuck around here for any time knows this is a great community.

So for any who want to join in but are feeling afraid they might look silly, why not go for it next month? Push yourself outside your comfort zone and put in an entry, at least enter the lite-challenge. You will learn so much by trying. You may not do great but if you are serious and keep at it, you are going to improve by leaps and bounds. I have entered several of these and even won a light compass once and yet I still go in every time thinking, "Man, I hope I don't embarrass myself." LOL, heck with that, just do it!

PS. Other than any small tweaks at this point, my file debacle has totally finished my entry for me so I just want to be the first to say (or at least one of the first), 'Great work everyone, thanks for entering!'.

Absolutely Jax!! (Every time I post anything I say "I hope I don't embarrass my self..) :) but your right the challenges make us better and they are fun as well..

Immolate
01-01-2011, 11:58 AM
I am a colorblind map hacker with no significant artistic ability who bulls his way through maps by brute force and determination. I have picked up considerable skill in Photoshop by repetition and study in the little-over eighteen months since I started mapping with it, but there are millions who are better with it than I am by simple virtue of having accurate color vision. Anyone can be as capable as me with Photoshop with time and effort. I say this because I've won some contests in that time, not by virtue of my awesome talent, but by something else.

Every project is a product of inspiration. You come up with an idea in your head which is a amalgamation of maps you have seen and were impressed by and things you've seen or done or read about that made an impact on you. These things gel and you take that often-ethereal concept from your mind and try to transfer it to electronic media. Two things, both the quality of the original idea and the million choices that you make along the way, translate into the finished product.

But inspiration is a fickle mistress, and though every idea comes from the same mind and experiences, they are not equal. The really good ones, the winners, look just like the others when you first see them. You have to commit to them to see whether they are among the better ones. But even then, you rarely know which ones others will like until after the vote.

My advise is to enter early and often. Be absolutely ego-free when offered advise and always act on it if you can at least feel neutral or better about the results. This is key if you are not a genuinely gifted artist. Genius resides in the strangest of places and the ability to make a pretty map is no indication of whether someone harbors a bit of it and whether they are offering it to you in the form of advise. When someone says "maybe it would work better if you did this..." what they are really saying is that the thing they are suggesting you change doesn't look quite right to them. That's a big deal and should not be ignored, even if the commenter is not an accomplished amateur cartographer. You don't have to be chef to appreciate a good meal.

torstan
01-01-2011, 12:34 PM
Happy New Year everyone! I'll be closing this at 2pm EST (or thereabouts).

Jaxilon
01-01-2011, 03:42 PM
I agree Imm. I'll show my wife something and she'll be like, "What is it?" and I'll be like, "Son-of-a..." <back to the drawing board. lol

su_liam
01-01-2011, 11:03 PM
A legend is a good thing. That's one of the things that fell off my map in the last-minute rush :roll:.