PDA

View Full Version : What I've Learned: Map Making is Hard!



Murcu
04-12-2011, 10:55 AM
Several hours of insomnia convinced me to tackle making a map again. I really have to, now, anyway, as my story is nearing 15, 000 words and I still don't have a clear image of the location of every single thing. Plus I haven't even started my story yet, that's technically all background information written into a very organized outline. But enough about boring things, on to my map!

In any case, several hours or fiddling around on Gimp (I'm a complete and total noob to 'shopping of any kind), and I managed to produce this piece of junk.

Sorry it's so bad, but it's basically my first ever attempt at making a map. BE GENTLE, IT'S MY FIRST TIME.

Hai-Etlik
04-12-2011, 03:58 PM
Particularly as your goal seems to be a functional map to organise your thoughts, you might want to try using vector graphics. Inkscape is a good place to start. http://inkscape.org/

jtougas
04-12-2011, 04:00 PM
It's really not that bad at all. I would however avoid the "perspective" on the text labels. :)

Ascension
04-12-2011, 05:04 PM
I don't see anything wrong with it...looks fine to me.

Murcu
04-12-2011, 08:24 PM
Thanks guys! I'll try Inkscape. When I was reading about it I just assumed it wouldn't be available for stupid mac machines like this one, but now I see that it is. Thanks again!

EDIT: Sorry to be so stupid! I can't find a inkscape tut for map making anywhere, including the tutorials forum. Any link or pointed finger would be appreciated.

Hai-Etlik
04-12-2011, 11:07 PM
Thanks guys! I'll try Inkscape. When I was reading about it I just assumed it wouldn't be available for stupid mac machines like this one, but now I see that it is. Thanks again!

EDIT: Sorry to be so stupid! I can't find a inkscape tut for map making anywhere, including the tutorials forum. Any link or pointed finger would be appreciated.

Well, start by doing the general tutorials that come with it under the help menu. Then play with it a bit and explore some of the other options and you should start getting ideas for how to put a map together. Tools you'll particularly want to look at after the basics are:

Tweak (Looks like a wave on the toolbar) This gives you a somewhat 'physical' way to shape and manipulate things.
Spray (Looks like a spray can) This lets you quickly spread out a large number of symbols. To make a forest, make some tree symbols select them all, then 'spray' (I'd recommend you use the 'clone' mode for this)
The Arrange and Distribute dialogue (Under the Object menu)
The Restack Extension (Extensions -> Arrange -> Restack) This (written by a Cartography Guild member) takes a bunch of objects and 'stacks' them based on their position.
The Fractalize Extension (Extensions -> Modify Path -> Fractalize) This lets you make nice crinkly looking rivers and coastlines really easily.

If you want to get really fancy, try playing with Path Effects, Filter Effects, and the XML editor.

Also, there is at least one Inkscape tutorial out there, I know as I wrote it: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?5823-Quick-and-Easy-rivers-in-Inkscape-with-Fractalize-and-Tweak&highlight=inkscape+river

Murcu
04-13-2011, 12:36 AM
Thank you SOOOOOO much!!