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View Full Version : [Award Winner] Making Map Borders in GIMP



arsheesh
06-20-2011, 08:06 PM
There seemed to be some interest on the topic of how to make map borders using GIMP, so I decided to write a mini-tutorial on the Subject. Below I've included a png of what the completed map borders should look like. This is not intended as an exhaustive treatment of the topic, and if anyone would like to add their own tips and tricks to this thread please feel free to do so.


What You Will Need::

In addition to using GIMP 2.6.1, I also make use of a plug-in called Layer Effects (http://registry.gimp.org/node/186), which is a script that attempts to emulate some of the features of Phostoshop's Layer Styles. I will also be using a Slate pattern, which you can find below. To import this to GIMP, click on the image and save it as a file somewhere where you will know where to find it. Then reopen the image in GIMP and save it as a .pat file in the "Patterns" folder of GIMP (I'm using Windows 7 and in my directory it looks like this: Computer > (C:) > Users > Owner > .gimp-2.6 > Patterns). Close and reopen GIMP, and the Slate pattern should be in your patterns dialogue.

Hope this is useful to some of you out there.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Ascension
06-20-2011, 08:50 PM
Those look super sweet, man.

jtougas
06-20-2011, 10:06 PM
This is really great arsheesh. Maybe now I can finally make a decent border. :) Have some rep. :)

*EDIT* I guess I recently whacked you with my stick of repping and can't do it again. but consider yourself "repped".. :)

Jaxilon
06-20-2011, 10:53 PM
Thanks so much bro. I'm totally psyched to use this next time around. One area I haven't spent any real time on is making borders for my maps so I'm very glad you did this.

I'm going to take my rep stick now and club you like a baby seal :)

edit: OUTRAGEOUS!! I'm unable to hit you now....musta been the politically incorrect comment, lol

arsheesh
06-21-2011, 12:07 AM
Well thanks guys, I do appreciate the kind words (and the attempted rep), but I'd also like to know if you guys have any constructive feedback on the tutorial. I tired to make it accessible to both those who were bran new to GIMP as well as those of you (and by that I of course mean you Jax and JT) who are old hands with the software. However if you come upon any vague or missing instructions as you're reading through the tut would you mind letting me know? Thanks.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Ascension
06-21-2011, 12:27 AM
I skimmed it but didn't read it word for word and it seemed fine to me. I saved it and will read it through tomorrow.

arsheesh
06-21-2011, 12:34 AM
Thanks A, your feedback is always valuable.

ravells
06-21-2011, 05:48 AM
Fabulous! I don't use Gimp, but it looks very easily translatable into photoshop. Love that slate texture too which I've nabbed.

Steel General
06-21-2011, 08:49 AM
Nicely done Arsheesh, maybe someday I'll actually get to put it to use (after its converted for Photoshop).

Ramah
06-21-2011, 11:01 AM
Nicely done tutorial, Arsheesh. :)

I'd like to say though, that although it might not be real-world historically accurate (no idea, I'll take your word for it) but I prefer my checkered graticule edging to have mismatched corners. I tried it both ways when I originally did one and I just preferred the looks of it that way.

Ascension
06-21-2011, 05:13 PM
I prefer little squares in my corners so we're all different. Read through it all and I didn't see anything missing. Nice tut, man, very explanatory...I like to know why I'm doing things instead of just following along and hoping it turns out.

PS - if you find this tut good give it a rating and maybe we'll be able to give out a new tut award (been a long time since we've done that).

arsheesh
06-21-2011, 06:43 PM
Unfortunately I'm not really familiar with Photoshop, otherwise I'd have written a PS compatible version of the tut. But like Ravs said, I'm sure a conversion wouldn't be too difficult (on the contrary, you could probably do quite a bit more with this in Photoshop). In fact, I just looked at 290Blue's latest WIP (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?15013-Talon-City-States&p=156867#post156867) and it looks like he figured out how to convert the tutorial over to PS.

As for mismatched vs matching checkered neat-lines, I was offering that advice as more of an aesthetic preference than a recommendation based upon historically sound cartographic practice (e.g. for a historic counterexample check out this 1780 map of Italy (http://www.artviva.com/maps%20old.htm)). So calling the mismatched borders style a "mistake" was perhaps not quite fair, or accurate. If you like that style, go with it. Also, thanks again everyone for your feedback on this tutorial.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

290blue
06-22-2011, 04:24 AM
Thanks for the excellent tute arsheesh, it's very thorough and easy to follow.

It's mostly a simple conversion to photoshop; most of the commands are the same or very similar. The only tricky bit is that PS won't let you shrink a selection if your selection is the whole image for some reason (not sure if this is me or a quirk of PS). I had to expand the canvas bit by bit, first to the top of the neat lines, then to the bottom of the frame, then to the final canvas size, making paths along the way, in order to get it all in the right place.

RobA
06-22-2011, 04:53 PM
Nice tutorial!

I caught one typo "weal" instead of "wheel".

Interesting way of making the grid/checkerboard. Here is how I do it...

I look at the image size (i.e. 1800x1240) and decide how many checks/divisions I want. In this example, I'd pick 18 and 12. To get the corners all black, these need to be odd, so 19 and 13. I create a new layer that size and render the checkerboard pattern like use suggest but 1x1. I then scale this layer to the size I need it making sure interpolation is none. This will enlarge the layer to the size needed and avoid fuzzy lines.

-Rob A>

arsheesh
06-22-2011, 05:32 PM
Well that makes sense, hadn't thought of doing it that way. Thanks for letting me know about the typo. I've caught a few of them since reading it through again, so I'll probably correct these at some point and upload the edited tut.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

jfrazierjr
06-28-2011, 11:00 AM
Very cool stuff. If you(being the tutorial reader) make maps of several "standard" sizes, it would probably be useful to save different renderings of the frame(s) in your most common sizeed maps for quick and easy use. Just make the map, and plop down the pre created border on top. Of course, this assumes the border creator also select's the interior and replaces it with transparency prior to saving.

arsheesh
06-28-2011, 10:08 PM
Not a bad suggestion. Having a set of frame templates would certainly be a time saver. On the other hand though, you might also want to experiment with new designs of your own.

cheers,
-Arsheesh

Katto
06-29-2011, 02:07 PM
Very good tutorial and also a nice layout btw. Repped and rated!

arsheesh
06-29-2011, 07:37 PM
Thanks Katto! Regarding the layout, I borrowed some ideas from Tear's wonderful Saderan tutorial.

arsheesh
08-04-2011, 05:05 PM
I've just finished editing the original tutorial; hopefully I caught all the minor mistakes. Thanks Rob and Jax for pointing these out.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

siby
03-13-2012, 06:00 PM
Thank you for this helpful tutorial. As a noobie cartographer I gobble up all the nuggets of wisdom from you veterans.

arsheesh
03-14-2012, 05:53 PM
Well I'm glad you found the tutorial helpful Siby, and thanks for the feedback.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

jtougas
10-12-2012, 12:11 AM
So I know I should have responded to this WAAAAAY back :) but I just realized that I hadn't. I love your tutorials. So well written with excellent explanations (so that it's easy to adjust the results) and a great format. Thanks again !!

arsheesh
10-12-2012, 12:49 AM
Oh, that was kind of you to say JT, thanks man. I've just spent the day marking crappy essays for a stage 1 Ethics course I'm tutoring (so far, 5 out of the 6 essays have been fails), and this really brightens my day.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

jtougas
10-12-2012, 03:16 PM
I'm glad I could make your day better. :)

Miranda Hartrampf
07-11-2013, 11:12 PM
I literally found this right when i needed it! Thank you so much - ill have to adapt for photoshop! But thats okay, i so much love your tutorials there so clean looking.

arsheesh
07-13-2013, 12:40 AM
Thanks Miranda, I'm glad to here that the tutorial is helpful to you. BTW, where in Oregon do you hail from? I'm originally from Sandy Oregon but lived in Corvallis for 5 years before leaving the State. Now I'm living in New Zealand and loving it but Oregon will always have a privileged place in my heart.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Miranda Hartrampf
07-13-2013, 01:08 AM
Thanks Miranda, I'm glad to here that the tutorial is helpful to you. BTW, where in Oregon do you hail from? I'm originally from Sandy Oregon but lived in Corvallis for 5 years before leaving the State. Now I'm living in New Zealand and loving it but Oregon will always have a privileged place in my heart.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

I'm in Oregon City, so we would have been neighbors!

arsheesh
07-13-2013, 01:12 AM
I'm in Oregon City, so we would have been neighbors!

Very cool. I do miss Oregon something terrible. Been away now for about 7 years and it is still home to me.

JefBT
04-06-2014, 06:34 PM
Thank you for this amazing tutorial, I could make an wonderful border in minutes.

Here is what I've done:

http://www.cartographersguild.com/members/jefbt-albums-studies-picture63005-ive-done-map-study-only-i-used-some-great-tutorials-guild-tried-some-kind-random-pseudo-random-heightmap-generation-i-like-results-lot-feel-free-use-map-any-non-commercial-pourpose.png

Simply amazing tutorial!

arsheesh
04-07-2014, 12:34 AM
That turned out great JefBT! Glad you found the tutorials useful.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh