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Sular
12-17-2007, 02:58 AM
For the past many months I have had been working on a collaborative world-building project (under the name of Darth Syntax) both as a general contributor and as resident cartographer. When the project began, I had only ever drawn maps by hand (mostly in the margins of my class notes or on paper napkins in restaurants) and making the move to photoshop was both rather daunting and bloody confusing. However, after a rather drawn out learning process I believe I have finally crafted a regional map that I am generally pleased with.

However, as I am no great expert with computer based cartography I would greatly appreciate any critiques, questions, and general commentary upon my map.

aeronox
12-17-2007, 07:56 AM
Very nice!

I like the overall shape of the land, and the way you've illustrated it.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Bevel & Emboss!

ravells
12-17-2007, 08:36 AM
Hi Sular, and welcome to the Guild. That's a fantastic map and it looks like you've tamed photoshop to your will - no mean feat.

I'm curious as to how you went about doing the forests. Did you use a dedicated brush and then do a layerstyles bevel and emboss on the result?

I have nothing more really to add except to say that this style of mapping (faux realistic) has become incredibly popular and you have done it real justice. How did you go about making the initial coastline and islands etc?

Once more, welcome to our little corner of cartograph-dom!

pyrandon
12-17-2007, 11:12 AM
Hello, Sular! Hey, nice first post. Very nice. I definitely understand that steep PS learning curve (I'm still on it!!!), but I'm sure that like me you would attest to the power of this tool over hand drawn.

My main issue with your map is that all the main features (esp. mountains and forests) appear to float above the land, rather than being part of them. The reason for this is, I think, twofold: first, the bright feature colors contrast so much against the land colors that the items themselves contrast; and secondly, the features' edges are so sharp (probably as a result of the bevel) that they do not flow into the land. So I wouod suggest playing with muting the colors or changing the palette slightly, and blurring or reducing the edges a bit. That may be a good first step.

I do like this map. Nice work!

landorl
12-17-2007, 11:30 AM
First off, it's a very good looking map, but I do understand what Pyrandon is saying. It would be nice if there was a little more gradual transition between the different areas.

NeonKnight
12-17-2007, 12:18 PM
That is a nice map, and a great first post. Listen to the others, the know way more about that software than I do!

nikonguy
12-17-2007, 12:48 PM
I see where pyrandon is coming from. Using the emboss tool in photoshop sometimes has the effects of making things look "plasticy" and hover as he said. The trick to getting it look believable is is a combination of color, shading, setting the emboss settings so they are not drastic and obvious. Eventually you get mountains that slowly raise out of the landscape without becoming separated from it.

As for the colors, and this is not a cheap shot at the CC3 crowd, just a gripe I've always had about some maps, they could use a little more muting. The colors are reminicent of CC3 style maps where everything is in Technicolor.

I use CS3 and Illustrator to do my maps, so I know it is no easy task if you are not familiar with all the options and tools. I say keep it up and learning the various aspects and filters. Your already on the right track, now it's just a matter of refining the subtlety of color pallets and playing with the settings so everything starts to look like it is part of the scenery.

One way to tackle the color problem is develop a file that is nothing more than a color pallete. As you find combinations that work, just paint small swatches of them and then label how you used them and with what brush. This leads to consistency. Then when you have a good deal of them, make a custom swatch set in PS that you can load up everytime you get the mapping bug.

Another minor suggestion would be adding a little "flavor" to your ocean. Search around on the forums for the Grundge brushes, they are may favorite for laying down an ocean that has texture.

But overall, I think the map is a great example of the abilities of PS as a mappers tool. It has an incredible coastal shape, one I think just about any of us can be envious of. I hope to see more of your work on this project and see how it develops. Just keep playing and making maps that YOU enjoy.

RobA
12-17-2007, 02:16 PM
Welcome aboard, Sular! and a great first post.

First off - Love the rivers. Great shape, nicely merging, following the terrain, and widening as they flow downstream. They might be a bit on the wide size, but the map has no scale, so that is just speculation. Always a trade off on this type of map between scale accuracy and conveying information. The rivers also get a bit lost in the forested areas which could be due to colour choice. Lastly, consider a slight pillow emboss on the rivers so they seem to sit into the terrain, and not be painted on the terrain.

I'll echo Don's comment on the transitions being a bit harsh. Along with thin might be to try a different texture for the hills. Currently they come across as small mountain ranges. Perhaps they are too "lumpy"?

Finally a question - why the tipped orientation - not North up? Since the landmass is clipped off, I can't think it was to maximize the image on page size...

-Rob A>

Sular
12-17-2007, 04:29 PM
Hi Sular, and welcome to the Guild. That's a fantastic map and it looks like you've tamed photoshop to your will - no mean feat.

Thanks for the kind welcome.



I'm curious as to how you went about doing the forests. Did you use a dedicated brush and then do a layerstyles bevel and emboss on the result?

The forests were done with the maple-leaf brush that lurks in the brushes menu at 10px. Then the layers were beveled, embossed and generally styled to get something approaching what I wanted. Finally, the whole thing was set as an overlay.

I'm still not completely happy with the forests, but it is much better than the old maps (which now seem to me to be rather embarrassing)


How did you go about making the initial coastline and islands etc?

The coast line and such were originally drawn with a 3px round brush in black and then later filled in with the color that is now doing time in the deserts. As the outline and the fill were on two different layers. For this map I simply used the fill layer as the basic shape, which has given the map its current outlineless character.


--


Hello, Sular! Hey, nice first post. Very nice. I definitely understand that steep PS learning curve (I'm still on it!!!), but I'm sure that like me you would attest to the power of this tool over hand drawn.

It is a bit of a beast, but the existence of layers alone make it an indispensable tool.



My main issue with your map is that all the main features (esp. mountains and forests) appear to float above the land, rather than being part of them. The reason for this is, I think, twofold: first, the bright feature colors contrast so much against the land colors that the items themselves contrast; and secondly, the features' edges are so sharp (probably as a result of the bevel) that they do not flow into the land. So I wouod suggest playing with muting the colors or changing the palette slightly, and blurring or reducing the edges a bit. That may be a good first step.

I see what you mean, and the non-smoothness of the features has been something of a sticking point for me. I did manage to add a rather nice Gaussian blur effect to the hills which helped them out quite a bit. Sadly it so far has not fixed either the mountain or forest issues yet.

As to the color palate: Yeah I know its a bit bright and I am attempting to tone things down a bit (this map is vastly more muted that my original ones so clearly I am moving in the right direction). If you or anyone else has some suggestions of what tricks might work to tone things down without a complete re-draw I would be grateful.

--


I see where pyrandon is coming from. Using the emboss tool in photoshop sometimes has the effects of making things look "plasticy" and hover as he said. The trick to getting it look believable is is a combination of color, shading, setting the emboss settings so they are not drastic and obvious. Eventually you get mountains that slowly raise out of the landscape without becoming separated from it.

You both have provided excellent advise, and I will be tweaking the features over the next several days in the hopes of getting a more 'connected' looking map.



As for the colors, and this is not a cheap shot at the CC3 crowd, just a gripe I've always had about some maps, they could use a little more muting. The colors are reminicent of CC3 style maps where everything is in Technicolor.

I use CS3 and Illustrator to do my maps, so I know it is no easy task if you are not familiar with all the options and tools. I say keep it up and learning the various aspects and filters. Your already on the right track, now it's just a matter of refining the subtlety of color pallets and playing with the settings so everything starts to look like it is part of the scenery.

One way to tackle the color problem is develop a file that is nothing more than a color pallete. As you find combinations that work, just paint small swatches of them and then label how you used them and with what brush. This leads to consistency. Then when you have a good deal of them, make a custom swatch set in PS that you can load up everytime you get the mapping bug.

The color palate idea is an excellent one, I think I will go about creating one (along with a brush set and so on) so that I don't have to have several maps open to get all the features right.



Another minor suggestion would be adding a little "flavor" to your ocean. Search around on the forums for the Grundge brushes, they are may favorite for laying down an ocean that has texture.

I will be attempting to flavor the ocean a bit more (perhaps in a nice mint. . .) although that is rather lower on the priority scale than fixing the terrain features at the moment. Eventually I would like to attempt (once again) a sea-floor map, but that is probably a ways off yet.



But overall, I think the map is a great example of the abilities of PS as a mappers tool. It has an incredible coastal shape, one I think just about any of us can be envious of. I hope to see more of your work on this project and see how it develops. Just keep playing and making maps that YOU enjoy.

Thanks again for the praise of the coastline shape. I'm rather proud of it myself.

--


Welcome aboard, Sular! and a great first post.

First off - Love the rivers. Great shape, nicely merging, following the terrain, and widening as they flow downstream. They might be a bit on the wide size, but the map has no scale, so that is just speculation. Always a trade off on this type of map between scale accuracy and conveying information. The rivers also get a bit lost in the forested areas which could be due to colour choice. Lastly, consider a slight pillow emboss on the rivers so they seem to sit into the terrain, and not be painted on the terrain.

The rivers are more impressionistic than to full scale, but I am glad they look all right.

As to the whole scale of the thing, I will be adding one at some point, along with a key. Just to get a rough idea however the whole map is (I think) about 5,000 miles or so wide.




Finally a question - why the tipped orientation - not North up? Since the landmass is clipped off, I can't think it was to maximize the image on page size...

-Rob A>

The unusual orientation is an artifact of how the map for the whole project was originally laid out by the initial creator. The world was divided into triangular regions, each of which would be claimed by a different author. I have control of two contiguous regions in the southern hemisphere which make up the map here. The angle of the original map segments is what caused the usual orientation.

--

Thanks again for the critiques and comments. I shall be tweaking the map accordingly.

ravells
12-17-2007, 05:04 PM
As a quick colour fix you could just use the desaturate colour adjustment on various layers?

pyrandon
12-17-2007, 06:18 PM
Yes, as ravs says, you can click on the layer of, say, the forests, and then go to Image>Adjustments. Use Hue/Saturation, Brightness/Contrast, or Levels to play with those colors. (You can also use Curves if you feel like playing a lot; it's a beast to figure out, for me at least). If you don't want to do an entire layer, you can also surround things with the marquee tool to only mess with certain sections: surround whatever you wish, then Image>Adjustments.

Also remember that if you Layer>New Adjustment Layer you can also you can also do these things in a "non-destructive" manner--meaning the original maps' colors are in tact, with the effect applied over top. This is a nice safety net to use. :)

Make sure to keep us posted with posts!

Midgardsormr
12-17-2007, 06:55 PM
I like the high-altitude lakes. That's a feature I've not seen on many maps yet.

A suggestion to help your features blend together better: Try feathering the edges a bit. I don't know where that function is found in Photoshop; I haven't used it very much, but I used to use it with great frequency in Corel PhotoPaint. It will keep the peaks and ridges crisp but blend the lowlands into the flats.

Overall, I like your awareness of different biomes--I also noted the glaciers in the south. Good job!

Sular
12-17-2007, 07:06 PM
Well, I've done some of the tweaking that needed to be done, although I still have quite a bit more to go. The hills have been blurred and there has been some general desaturation of color. However, I've got a scale and the beginnings of a key which hopefully will make the map a bit clearer.

--

Midgarsormr, I'll look for an edge feathering tool for the mountains. From the sound of things, that might just do the trick.

As to the high altitude lakes, I'm glad that they show up well enough to be noticed. I like them as well, although they began life as the lazy man's way of filling in unsightly gaps in the mountains.

GlennZilla
12-17-2007, 07:06 PM
Not to threadjack, but I find that I always use an adjustment layer. I like being able to trash the experiement without going back to square one, or even reverting to a previous saved copy.

As for the Curves dialog it's mostly based around how the line is shaped and interacts with three points along the line, Black, White and Middle Gray. Think of it as a graph of how you want to adjust the contrast and brightness of the image.

Just want to make it brighter? Simply click the middle of the line (middle gray) and drag it higher in the "graph". This will cause a shift to make more shades the lighter side of middle gray. Similarly you can cause curves in the line to force the shades near the ends to compress, making more white or black areas, thus increasing the contrast between the two.

Then again after 3 years as a graphic designer, I still manipulate the curves dialog box in my dreams.

RobA
12-17-2007, 08:29 PM
Then again after 3 years as a graphic designer, I still manipulate the curves dialog box in my dreams.

GlenZilla is bang on. Anything you can do with brightness, contrast, and gamma corrections you can do with curves.....and then a whole lot more. The curves tool is definitely a worthwhile tool to master.

-Rob A>

aeronox
12-17-2007, 09:19 PM
To improve the 'contrast' between mountains and land (and mountains and ice):

1) Decrease layer opacity to around 80%
2) Use a blurry eraser and dab at the edges

To make your mountains less 'plastic', give it texture. Add a Layer Style->Pattern overlay (on darken), or modify your Bevel/Emboss to include Texture.

I don't like your new map - it lacks colour! Just add a little yellow/orange to the desert, some green/yellow to the trees. Make your rivers a darker colour so they don't get lost.

But the biggest tip is: Opacity, opacity, opacity. Let no overlay be absolute 100%.

Sular
12-17-2007, 10:32 PM
I think I have finally got the mountains looking a bit for acceptable. I took aeronox's advice and added a texture to them which seemed to prevent them from going wonky when I applied the blur to them. I've also reduced the muting of the color so its still a little bright, but I think I can live with the current incarnation for a while.

I should probably attempt to finish the political map at some point as well.

Thanks again for all the comments and the like. I'll be working on numerous other maps, so I am sure more will appear for comment.

su_liam
12-18-2007, 03:41 AM
As to the high altitude lakes, I'm glad that they show up well enough to be noticed. I like them as well, although they began life as the lazy man's way of filling in unsightly gaps in the mountains.

Well, in real life, lakes are God's way to fill in unsightly gaps in mountains.

nikonguy
12-18-2007, 10:50 AM
Looking good, the mountains and color are starting to come together in a more cohesive manner. As for the suggestion that many have been making about working with adjustment layers, I don't think that can be stressed enough. It makes things really easy to fix later.

On a side note, love the comment about lakes being gods way of filling in gaps in mountains! It reminds me of a comment Ansel Adams once made about working in the dark room, "Burning and Dodging are my way of fixing God's mistakes in exposure!"

su_liam
12-18-2007, 12:35 PM
It kind of reminded me of Greece when I first saw it(specifically the Pelleponesian Peninsula), but now that I look at that chunk of the Great Frozen South, I realize it is more like Cape Horn, only more so. Dangerous storms there I imagine. Seafaring could be exciting.

When I wrote my previous message, I considered replacing, "God," with, "Nature," or some such to avoid offending anybody(I feel as if I've been annoying a lot of people lately), but it lost it's punch. Besides, if brilliant folks like Einstein and, now I know, Adams can say God, why not me? ;)

EDIT: One thing I wanted to add. There's a nice little java-based gis app called landserf that does things like finding pits(which, except in deserts, turn into lakes) channels and ridges and building slope maps. It's somewhat technical, but, even I, a rank novice, find great utility in using it to build masks for photoshop operations. Just apropos of filling holes with lakes. :)

RobA
12-18-2007, 02:09 PM
...from going wonky when I applied the blur to them...

I think he meant to blur (feather) the edges, not blur the mountain layer itself.

-Rob A>

pyrandon
12-18-2007, 04:45 PM
When I wrote my previous message, I considered replacing, "God," with, "Nature," or some such to avoid offending anybody(I feel as if I've been annoying a lot of people lately), but it lost it's punch. Besides, if brilliant folks like Einstein and, now I know, Adams can say God, why not me? ;)

First, I can't think of how you've been offending anyone as of late, su_liam. Say polite as always, help when you can, and in general get along, and all's well. Secondly, don't be afraid to state your beliefs in passing here--as long as you are not blugeoning anyone with them, of course, which is against our Guild rules. I can't see that the word "God" used in passing would be offensive. But hey, good of you to think about your posts and your integrity that carefully, though.

Sorry if that's a threadjack. Just wanted to add a couple thoughts here. Now, on with the maps!! :)

Sular
12-19-2007, 05:08 PM
It kind of reminded me of Greece when I first saw it(specifically the Pelleponesian Peninsula), but now that I look at that chunk of the Great Frozen South, I realize it is more like Cape Horn, only more so. Dangerous storms there I imagine. Seafaring could be exciting.

I'm glad that the Peloponnesian peninsula and the far south of South America are both suggested by the map. I drew quite a bit of inspiration from those places as well as the coast of South-East Alaska when designing the general look of the place.

And as to seafaring, it is indeed "interesting" as well as vital to the people who live in this part of the world. I wanted to have a region that would require the use of boats.



When I wrote my previous message, I considered replacing, "God," with, "Nature," or some such to avoid offending anybody(I feel as if I've been annoying a lot of people lately), but it lost it's punch. Besides, if brilliant folks like Einstein and, now I know, Adams can say God, why not me? ;)

I certainly took it in the Einsteinian spirit; I also had a rather good laugh over it. No worries on my account.



EDIT: One thing I wanted to add. There's a nice little java-based gis app called landserf that does things like finding pits(which, except in deserts, turn into lakes) channels and ridges and building slope maps. It's somewhat technical, but, even I, a rank novice, find great utility in using it to build masks for photoshop operations. Just apropos of filling holes with lakes. :)

I might have to look into that, although my knowledge of java is precisely nil.

--

Well, I'll keep working on the map. I'm fairly happy with the terrain for the moment so I am migrating to the political map. It is currently taking more time than it really should, but thats the way of things I guess.

Sular
12-19-2007, 08:53 PM
Well, I've got a draft of the political map done. There are rather a large number of smallish nations so I hope the map is readable. I've left quite a bit of the map open, mostly out of a desire to keep some "unknown" regions.

Yandor
12-20-2007, 01:09 AM
Just a thought, but I noticed a few of the politcal zones, to be very close to the same color, so it made it hard to actually visually see the difference right off hand with out having to compare the colors...

The Cartographist
12-20-2007, 02:55 AM
Sular - Really like the map. It looks like a boardgame to me (maybe not your intention, but I LOVE boardgames).

Some thoughts:
- DON'T like the general gray color of the land. It is depressing to me. I think that you should bias it toward a tan color. (Just my two cents worth.)
- I like how you've used color at the political boundaries--especially how the color fades out as you move away from the boundary. BUT (and again, this is probably because I don't like the gray) I think that you should fade to a more washed-out version of the border color vice to the gray at the country interiors.
- Because of your emphasis on the sea and seafaring in general, I think that a political map would benefit greatly from markings depicting which countries hold sway over which water, or what the common trade routes are, etc. Politics does extend to the ocean as well!

Sular
12-20-2007, 03:16 AM
Sular - Really like the map. It looks like a boardgame to me (maybe not your intention, but I LOVE boardgames).

I too love board games and so your comment is high praise indeed.



Some thoughts:
- DON'T like the general gray color of the land. It is depressing to me. I think that you should bias it toward a tan color. (Just my two cents worth.)

I agree with you here. I'm working on a "warmer" looking map which I hope will look more appealing.



- I like how you've used color at the political boundaries--especially how the color fades out as you move away from the boundary. BUT (and again, this is probably because I don't like the gray) I think that you should fade to a more washed-out version of the border color vice to the gray at the country interiors.

That's a very good point about the colors. I'm not sure how I will address it at the moment, but I'll try to come up with something.



- Because of your emphasis on the sea and seafaring in general, I think that a political map would benefit greatly from markings depicting which countries hold sway over which water, or what the common trade routes are, etc. Politics does extend to the ocean as well!

Do you have any ideas on how to go about this artfully? Everything I've tried looks like a bloody awful mess. Lines going everywhere (even when only major trade routes are featured), weird unpleasant looking maritime dominions, and all manner of aesthetic unpleasantness.

--

Well, back to work then.

The Cartographist
12-20-2007, 03:44 AM
Do you have any ideas on how to go about this artfully?

Practically, maybe. Artfully--doubtful. ;)

I think that you could slightly shade the oceans toward the color of that nation's boundaries. Again this keeps with the border shading aesthetic and "expands" the reach of the countries into the oceans they "control" -- although ocean control is nebulous at best.

Different issue: Looking back at your map, I've come to dislike the color of the ocean as well. Similar to the gray, it is drab, even depressing, to me. It would, I think, also inhibit my suggestion above. I think that if you lightened the shade and brightened it that you would have a blue that is more pleasant to the eye AND one that would more easily accept being washed-over with country-specific shading.

ravells
12-20-2007, 06:52 AM
Beautiful. As TC said, this would make a beautiful basis for a boardgame. I like the muted colours of the land and sea, but that's just a matter of individual taste, I guess. What I would suggest is that you could afford to town down the size (but not the intensity) of the outer glow of the text. The purpose of the outerglow is to make text legible against a background which is cluttered or of a similar hue. Once the outer glow is large and intense enough to achieve that aim, it has served its purpose and doesn't have to be made any larger - unless there's some artistic principle to be served, I guess.

The Cartographist
12-20-2007, 07:16 AM
While it burdens me to do so (;)), I have to agree with Ravells on this one. I think the outerglow could be toned-down a bit.

On another note - Also like how the rivers widen as they approach the sea.

pyrandon
12-20-2007, 06:27 PM
I'm not sure the political water zones is a good idea: I worry it could confuse the map. I believe this is why on all but very specialized maps you do not see cartographers depicting maritime zones of control. But still, may as well try it and see how she goes! You can always turn that layer off later. :)

Nice map! Coming along well!

RPMiller
12-20-2007, 06:59 PM
Oh, you know what you could do? You could make the political water zones appear to be below the surface of the water. That would keep them from being confusing yet get the point across.

Sular
12-20-2007, 08:20 PM
I've done a new political draft which is both considerably "warmer" in color and draws a bit more on the whole board game look. I am not sure whether I will keep the rivers and the like visible in the final version, but for now they are there.

I'm still working on getting the political zones on the water to look decent, so it may be awhile before they make an appearance.

OneSeventeen
12-20-2007, 11:07 PM
If you do keep the rivers in, I'd minimize them somehow... Maybe just make them all a uniform, very thin thickness. Maybe just drop their opacity down some. I just feel like they stick out quite a bit. I think the information is valuable, but since it's not primary, I'd find a way to make them look, you know, secondary.

I really dig the color of the ocean on this one. It makes the colors of the nations really pop out. Cool map.


117

The Cartographist
12-21-2007, 02:58 AM
Sular - Couple of thoughts:

Really like the direction your map is taking. Very nice indeed.

I agree with 117 - attempt to minimize the rivers somewhat.
Maybe just make them all a uniform, very thin thickness. Maybe just drop their opacity down some. I think that he is spot-on with this one.

Reiterating what Ravells said earlier - I think that you should minimize, slightly, the outerglow that you have on the text. A little thinner would still maintain the text legibility but lessen their impact on the look of the whole map.

My personal opinion is that the ocean is a bit too dark. If you could brighten the shade just a bit, I think that it would appear not-so-grim.

Finally, you said:
I'm still working on getting the political zones on the water to look decent, so it may be awhile before they make an appearance. I don't think that you should wait; the whole point of the Guild is to offer suggestions for WIPs. You might find that someone has suggestions on how to make what you've done to this point better. (You might also find that everyone agrees that listening to that Cartographist guy's advice about putting in political zones in the water was a REALLY bad idea.)

RobA
12-21-2007, 11:20 AM
117 is right on the rivers. Mayby just removing the stroke and leaving the river would help...

-Rob A>

ravells
12-21-2007, 12:22 PM
Definitely make the rivers thinner unless there's a reason for their visual dominance. Outer glow on text could also use a bit of toning down to my eye (again, unless there is a reason not to).

I love the brown sea. I think this is the first map I have seen posted on the board where the sea has not been either white, blue or parchment colour (whatever it happens to be). It never occurred to me, until I saw your map that one could make the sea any colour at all as long as it fits in with the rest of the colours. So...thanks for that lesson!

I think these maps will look great when you have them next to each other which will really show off the different colour schemes you've used.

Sular
12-21-2007, 04:53 PM
I love the brown sea. I think this is the first map I have seen posted on the board where the sea has not been either white, blue or parchment colour (whatever it happens to be). It never occurred to me, until I saw your map that one could make the sea any colour at all as long as it fits in with the rest of the colours. So...thanks for that lesson!

Thanks. I actually got the idea from the mat of a framed map of Europe I have on the wall. It seemed to work quite well.


--

And we have a new draft ready for comment. I've reduced the rivers, fixed the text a bit and added major trade routes, cities, and a border. I still have some tweaking to do on the border, and I am not entirely happy with the trade routes. They were all done by hand and thus are a bit more uneven than I would like them to be, but as I have no idea how to make photoshop produce a curving dotted line, it will serve.

pyrandon
12-21-2007, 05:18 PM
IMO, this map took an incredible turn for the better since two posting ago. The color scheme, the rivers, the reduced outer glow...I think this is a great, great map. Wonderful work, Sular. You really took it to the next level.

I think you are almost ready for fine finishing touches (textures, blurring, warmth filters and such). I do not like the font you have chosen, but I can't say why other than it's too modern adn roundish for the rest of the map. That may be just my bias, though. (Also not saying you need to go 18th century calligraphy either, though).

This is great work!

Sular
12-21-2007, 08:56 PM
I've done some more minor tweaking. The font has been changed, the scale redone, general color scheme adjustments made, and so on. I'm rather happy with the map at the moment.

The Cartographist
12-22-2007, 02:43 AM
Sular - REALLY nice. The map is beautiful. I concur with your earlier comment about the trade routes, but, frankly, so what if the dashes aren't perfectly uniform. It was hand-drawn afterall.

Another thing: Looking at the full package, with all of the additions that you've made, I don't think that you need the political zones in the oceans. Not at this scale. Perhaps, if you were to do smaller scale maps of some of the archipelagic regions, you might want to add it, but with this map, why? It's not necessary.

mmmmmpig
12-22-2007, 02:59 AM
Have you tried importing the trade routes from Illustrator or some other vector program that handles dashed lines? If you have Illustrator, open up a jpeg of the map, and crank out the lines with the pen tool and then dash them til your heart's content. Select the linework copy and then paste in PS. Select as pixels and viola, linework dashed and ready.

That is how I would do it.

These are really looking nice. Anyone who deals with these maps should be thankful that you have put this amount of time and energy into the product.

RobA
12-22-2007, 10:27 AM
I must say, this has come quite a long way from the first incarnation of your political map! Bravo!

I'm not that familiar with photoshop, but can't you create a series of paths and stroke along them with a brush to make the dotted/dashed lines? IIR, create a custom brush and make it a squished square, then set the spacing to > 100% to get the spacing you want. Lastly, go into the shape dynamics, and set the control mode (method?) to "direction". You might have to turn jitter of, too.

Not sure what version that was for, though...someone else should be able to confirm.

-Rob A>

Baziron
12-22-2007, 12:49 PM
Oh yes, this is really good.

@RobA: Thanks for providing a hunch of how to make PS do dotted lines. I'll give it a try ASAP, having had trouble with that myself.

ravells
12-22-2007, 04:48 PM
Gosh that's utterly beautiful. The map looks perfect to me. The only thing that looks a bit jarry (not sure why) is the border. I think it just looks a little big and clumsy next to map itself. Also just check the line width of the borders, the Adir city states one is heavier, but there may be a reason for this.

this map is just wow, though. Fabulous work.

Sular
12-22-2007, 08:31 PM
Thanks to everyone for your help with the maps (especially the political one). I'm quite happy with it and although I am sure it will undergo some minor tweaking, I think it is essentially finished.

I will be doing more detailed maps of Ilaros and its countries and regions in the future and other maps from this project may make their way to the the fora for comment.

Thanks again.

Eilathen
12-23-2007, 08:08 AM
I will be doing more detailed maps of Ilaros and its countries and regions in the future and other maps from this project may make their way to the the fora for comment.


Well i really hope they will all make their way to the forum. Keep them coming...