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Preypacer
09-05-2011, 01:49 AM
Hi all,

Haven't posted here in a bit; the last time was to introduce a map in progress for a game project. I continued trying to plug away at it for a time, but was getting frustrated with the results and so decided to step away from it for a while, and work on other things. Had a computer crash in there, too... which is always "fun".

I'm back to working on it again, however, and in seeking "inspiration" for the 'style' of it. I've found exactly the style I would like to emulate for my map... and it's the one used in this one here:
38281

I absolutely love the hand-drawn style and have decided that's the way I'm going to go. I've tried the route of "pre-made mountain and hill icons" and have never been happy with the results. The same is true of the photoshop/gimp "bevel and emboss" approach.

I really love the hand-drawn look, and that map there demonstrates perfectly what I'm after.

I have PS. I have a Wacom tablet and I have the basis for my map in place. I've given it a go on my own and can not seem to get that same clarity in my lines and such that the map has, though. I'm wondering if there's a thread for that map's WIP, etc ... where perhaps its creator shares insights to their process that I might be able to use as reference? I'm not looking to copy their style, just to understand the process they used and apply it.

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Edit: I've since found a thread for the map, 'Mechanol (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?11927-Mechanol)' by Ramah that's also very close in style to what I'm looking to create, so I'll definitely be studying his work/style as well. I really dig the hand-drawn/detailed mountains, cliffs, etc.

Jaxilon
09-05-2011, 02:21 AM
That is one of Torstan's maps that he did for a game "World of Rhune". He posted it on his website (http://fantasticmaps.wordpress.com/worldmaps/jonrobertsmapwebres-2/).

As far as I know he did not do a WIP here since it was a commissioned piece but if you take a look at some of his other maps you will see some of this style and he may have mentioned things about his process in those. Alternatively, he's active here so if you have a question ask away and he will probably come by and offer up whatever help he can.

Clercon
09-05-2011, 04:27 AM
You might be intrested to know that Torstan who made the map has made the style available as an addon for campaign cartographer 3 by profantasy. The style is included in this years annuals and let's you recreate his mapping style. If you're interested to know what it looks like you can have a look at my finished map dragonbay kingdom. ( Click the finnished map link in my footer and look for the dragonbay kingdom link)

eViLe_eAgLe
09-05-2011, 04:42 AM
If you don't want to use CC3 I personally find it more confusing that Photoshop.
All I have to say is, talk to Torstan (one of my favorite artists :)) And get practice. Lots of it.

Ascension
09-05-2011, 01:14 PM
Big T has been evolving his style for years here at The Guild. You might get more information from diggin through his old maps and read the wips there and follow along as the style developed. For you to emulate the same style right out of the box will be extremely hard to do without the CC3 annual mentioned earlier. It will take a lot of practice on your part otherwise. Heck, I know what I'm doing but I could never replicate his style without years of practice and even then I'd fail. Style is sort of like a fingerprint; I can spot a Torstan map a mile away, or a Djekspek, or Schley, Ramah, Coyotemax, Red Epic, GamerPrinter, Aerius, Lazzaretti, Chris West, RobA, or whatever. Even my styles have their own fingerprint, many have done maps using my tuts but none of them look like a Big A map; close but not quite. One helpful tidbit is to remember that we usually work at double the size posted when doing hand-drawn maps. So you make a really big map with lots of blemishes and every single line stroke is glaring but when you shrink it down those blemishes become artefacts and nuances that can't be replicated.

Preypacer
09-05-2011, 02:28 PM
Hey all...

Thanks for the replies, and for providing the name of that map's creator.

I'm not looking to replicate his style exactly... It's more that I'm interested in a hand-drawn approach, and am curious of any tips or hints used in terms of brushes, layer settings, etc. etc. It's just that his map, as well as the one by Ramah I also linked, are great examples of the overall style I'm after.

I'm finding that in my experiments, what I'm drawing doesn't blend as nicely as what I see in his,and in Ramah's maps. So that's more what I'm after, I guess.

I'll keep working at it!

Thanks again.

jfrazierjr
09-05-2011, 02:54 PM
FYI, much of Ramah's mountains/hills are available as brushes... and many people have made wonderful maps using them...perhaps you should try the brush approach again with the right brushes...

Coyotemax
09-05-2011, 02:59 PM
Yes, practice practice practice.
That's probably the most frustrating part for me too. The style I'm ultimately heading for (and my thoughts on this change daily!) is I think something between Ascension's latest and the one you posted from Torstan. I keep wobbling back and forth, and I know what will happen is that eventually I'll end up with something that's in the same ballpark but still uniquely me.

If it helps any, my progression since starting mapping (for hand drawn look anyhow) is kind of like this:
Followed tutorials almost to the letter, and used copy/paste from already existing maps to get mountains, trees, and symbols.
Used other people's mountain and symbol brush packs
drew out my own mountains and turned them into brushes to use them, my style but still easier than drawing out by hand
Incorporated Fluesopp/Ramah's forest generator
Realized that the best way to make something look hand drawn is to draw out the whole thing
Got frustrated with very slowly progressing map since I'm drawing everything from scratch
Got extremely pleased with hand-drawn results and forced myself to keep doing it no matter how frustrating it is

;)

Ascension's point about drawing at double size and shrinking the final piece does go a LONG way to turning those differences into a personalized look/style. Give it a shot, you'll be nicely surprised by the results.

Preypacer
09-05-2011, 10:58 PM
Yes, practice practice practice.
That's probably the most frustrating part for me too. The style I'm ultimately heading for (and my thoughts on this change daily!) is I think something between Ascension's latest and the one you posted from Torstan. I keep wobbling back and forth, and I know what will happen is that eventually I'll end up with something that's in the same ballpark but still uniquely me.

If it helps any, my progression since starting mapping (for hand drawn look anyhow) is kind of like this:
Followed tutorials almost to the letter, and used copy/paste from already existing maps to get mountains, trees, and symbols.
Used other people's mountain and symbol brush packs
drew out my own mountains and turned them into brushes to use them, my style but still easier than drawing out by hand
Incorporated Fluesopp/Ramah's forest generator
Realized that the best way to make something look hand drawn is to draw out the whole thing
Got frustrated with very slowly progressing map since I'm drawing everything from scratch
Got extremely pleased with hand-drawn results and forced myself to keep doing it no matter how frustrating it is

;)

Ascension's point about drawing at double size and shrinking the final piece does go a LONG way to turning those differences into a personalized look/style. Give it a shot, you'll be nicely surprised by the results.

Indeed... Though I gotta say, it's frustrating to me, having spent so much time on this one map (days worth of time, easily), and all I'm still left with is the base map, no different than what I posted on these forums some time ago. I can't even get a darn cliff to look good, yet there are people on here who seem to crank out amazing looking and highly detailed maps every few weeks.

I'm usually really good at shading, and have many years of experience in PS... For some reason, though I just cannot get anything to look good on this map. At all. Everything I lay down, no matter how much time I spend on it, just looks terrible... It looks completely out-of-place, like it doesn't belong there. I can't get it to blend.

Ugh. I'm a big believer in "try and try again..." but in this case, for some reason, I might just have to admit defeat and give up on the cartography thing. It's becoming more and more discouraging every time I spend an hour or more trying to lay down a small area of terrain, only to erase it all and shut down PS in frustration.

I don't know if I'm just being my own worst critic or what, but nothing I do is coming out even remotely the way I intend it to.

Anyway... not trying to go too negative here. I'm just really aggravated at myself right now, because I've done things far more difficult than this in PS before, and they came out fine. I don't know why this one task - creating one decent looking cliff area - is proving to be so difficult.

Ah well.

Coyotemax
09-05-2011, 11:53 PM
Days? I've been working on my current commission for what, 5 weeks now. I've only just become happy with the forests in the last few days :)

Stop trying so hard. let it happen. Sometimes too much effort is worse than not enough. Let your own style develop. Draw out your cliffs quickly, then start adding in the details around them. See what they look like after the forests and hills are filled in, and drop some delicate shading in for the extra details. Sometimes you find that things that look like "ugh" are "whoa nice" when contrasted with other elements. Believe me, I've spent YEARS trying to develop the ability to draw out what i see in my mind's eye. When I first started seriously drawing, it was VERY frustrating, i knew EXACTLY what I wanted. It wasn't until 4 years later that I drew out a piece that actually looked the same when i was done as when i first envisioned it. Don't let that stop you, let it fire you up and motivate you! Don't let the time it takes to practice and learn slow you down, value the time for what it is - you are getting to really understand how to draw and how NOT to draw what you see. The time you spend practicing is ALWAYS valuable, treat it like pure gold. You will look back on it years down the road and go "wow, I'm so glad I took the time to learn this". I know I do. And the patience you develop is a transferable skill, it will help you in ALL walks of life :)





If you can, post your work as you go, get critiques, sometimes you're not as bad off as you think you are. I've learned to value the feedback I get from this site, there are some DAMN fine artists here and the fact that so many of them are willing to take the time to really look at what you post and offer honest well thought out feedback, well, my word of the week is "awesome". :) I try to give back to the site as much as I get out of it, both on an individual basis and site level, and it honestly helps me improve - by reviewing other people's works and looking for ways I can offer helpful criticisms, it actually makes my own work better. I'm not just looking at my own work and going "how can I do this better" - I'm looking at other pieces and going "how could that look better" - and then I keep my thoughts in mind for my own work too!

My current map for example - i was all set to go through and do finely detailed line work to emulate shading effects. I posted up what I had and a whole bunch of comments came back saying "wow, those mountains are lovely they way they are". I stopped, took another critical look, and I had to agree. Now I'm doing the shading on a different layer, I'll let the colours do the talking. That saved me probably 3 days of work ;) I spent probably 2 weeks working on the forests before scrapping them entirely and redoing them. I just couldn't get them to look like I wanted them too.. but then I noticed one tiny little detail that changed everything.. when I drew in the edge details, I tended to draw in a half circle and then continued the drawing outward.. not sure how else to explain it, but it just didn't look RIGHT. I actually grabbed my eraser tool and erased the bits off the end so the stroke was about 1/4 as long, and suddenly they looked AWESOME. that was JUST the effect I was after. I couldn't draw the details in directly to save my life, but if I drew them the way my hand wanted to and went back over with the eraser, it got the effect I was after..

Don't be afraid to ask for help and advice. Sometimes an extra set (or 12) of eyes will spot something you miss.

Preypacer
09-06-2011, 12:31 AM
Good points, Coyote... Thanks :)

I guess the reason I haven't posted anything here yet, beyond the starting landmass is... well.. for one, I haven't had anything else to show lol.

But further, to me... I'd rather let people critique something that's at least approaching what I'm after. This way they look at it and "get" where I'm going with it. If what I'm drawing isn't even close to resembling what I *want* it to look like in the first place (which is the case right now), then the feedback - while helpful in itself - would be guiding me in a direction I probably don't want to go in...

Not sure if that makes sense.

As an analogy, say I want to draw a really great apple, but what I upload looks more like a peach. The feedback I get would most likely be on "how to make it look like a really good peach" which, of course, wouldn't be very helpful to me drawing an apple... Of course, apples and peaches are absolute, definable things. Cliffs, mountains and such aren't quite as "specific"... which makes it more difficult.

What I'm finding the most trouble with, I think, is the clarity of things. Like, when I look at those sample maps from my original post, everything looks so clear and "crisp" where it should... and blends in really well with the background where it should. The cliffs just "blend" right into the map... it looks like it should. I can't get that same effect. Every time I draw it, it either stands out like a sore thumb, or it's so blended that you lose the effect... I'm having trouble finding that middle ground, even playing with different shades, different pen pressures, different layer blending modes, etc. It's completely eluding me right now... and again, I'm usually pretty good with that kind of stuff in PS.

Hopefully when I do finally find the right combination, I'll be able to remember what I actually did so I can replicate it...

Coyotemax
09-06-2011, 12:43 AM
so what you do is upload an example of what you have so far and say "i know it looks like a peach, but how do i make it look line an apple??"

remember that the final product you are looking at is the culmination of days or weeks of work to get it to look just right - and that in turn is based off years of practice and style changes.

i have faith in you. hell if *I* can learn to draw, ANYONE can.

jfrazierjr
09-06-2011, 08:44 AM
Show us some of your attempts.. you noted especially issues with the cliff, so as CM said let us see what you have/are trying and we might be able to get you back on track.... also note that sometimes things don't look right in isolation, but once you put other elements around them, the original thing you though was bad starts looking "right" all of a sudden.


@CM, I actually LIKED the trees you hated... but your new ones are cool too(I like the others more though)....

Coyotemax
09-06-2011, 08:54 AM
@CM, I actually LIKED the trees you hated... but your new ones are cool too(I like the others more though)....

it wasn't so much that I hated them, they just didn't match the style I was trying to achieve. Remind me sometime, I'll come back to them (actually really easy to do, i created a brush preset in photoshop that makes them a snap to recreate)

torstan
09-06-2011, 11:39 AM
Hey there. I'm really glad you like the map! I'll see what I can do to help explain the steps I took to create it. This was a step along the road to a pseudo-isometric style and it was pretty long run to get this done as it was a new style.

First off, post a link to your WIP thread so I can see where you've got to. Other than that I can give you general tips. My workflow for a map like this is:

Draw in the coastlines and get a selection that includes all the water (usually magic wand and then expand selection by 2). I use a 5px hard round brush with pressure sensitivity for the size for all my line work.
Save the selection
Draw in the rivers
Line work on the mountains. First lay in the spiky top outline. Then go back and draw in the lines flowing down the sides. Make them a little jagged, and try to have one ridge line look like it connects to the next mountain in the chain to create a visual of a connected range of mountains
Line work on hills and forests. Try not to be too careful with forests. They're an impression of burgeoning flora, not a load of individually drawn trees.

Next up is the colouring.
Add a parchment background at the base
Set up one set of layers for the sea, and another for the land - use the selection you saved to tell between them

I'm going to just talk about the land - the sea is mostly done with gradients and nice big brushes.
Set up a colour layer and block in the colours of your land. Your parchment is brown so that's a good base. Take the tops of your mountains to grey. Tundra is a grey-blue. Plains are a yellow-green and forest a green -> blue green. Use a large fuzzy brush >100 px at least. This isn't precise stuff - you don't want hard edges on your colours.
Add an overlay layer. Pick a dark blue for shadow and a bright white with a touch of yellow for a highlight. Use a hard round brush with opacity set to pressure sensitivity and lay in your mountain light and shade. This just takes practice, but what you want here is the sharpest contrast at the peak, fading out towards the base. Darken your forest. Switch to a grungy brush with pressure sensitivity for opacity, and low opacity (maybe 20%) and add some texture to the rest of the regions. Use a bright white-blue to brighten up the tundra, snow and desert.
Add another overlay layer. Use a hard round with pressure sentivity for size, and perhaps an opacity of 50-80% and pick out details on your mountains. Use a grunge brush with scatter, colour jitter and low opacity to add texture to your forests. Lay some shadow round the edge of the forests to guve the illusion of some volume to them to stop them looking flat. Add texture to any area that feels it needs it.

That should get you 90% of the way there. I hope that covers a lot of the questions you had, but feel free to give me a shout if there's anything that doesn't make sense.

Oh, and the most important thing is that the line work pulls the colours together. The colours can (and should) be quite messy. But the hard edges of the lines give the colour structure. It's that interplay that gives the integrated hand drawn look and allows elements to flow into each other. Don't colour inside the lines.

Edit: I added some screenshots of the map with the various layers in order to show how the map was built up. I hope those are useful. Note all of these are at working resolution - so appear here 3x larger than they'd appear in the final printed product.

Hugo Solis
09-06-2011, 01:56 PM
To all the described abode, pour in big doses of FANTASTIC with a little sprinkled AWESOME and voila, you have yourself a great map :)

Djekspek
09-06-2011, 05:12 PM
Thanks for sharing torstan, always love to hear about workflow! cheers, DJ

torstan
09-07-2011, 11:46 AM
Just a note to say that I uploaded some screenshots to my walkthrough to show more clearly the steps in order.

Jaxilon
09-07-2011, 12:16 PM
Thanks for the workflow. I'm always looking to hear better ways to do things. One thing I wanted to double check and maybe everyone already knows this but me: Do you work at 3x the size of your final output all the time? If so, do you just zoom in and draw/paint or do you start at a 3x resolution and then shrink the image at the end? (hopefully that made sense)

If I were to do that I think it might improve my own images now that I think about it.

torstan
09-07-2011, 12:32 PM
So I work at 100% of my final size. I know others work larger.

The difference is - print resolution is (normally for me) 300dpi. However computer screens are around 100dpi. So I work at computer resolution - 100dpi - which means the details look 3x larger when I'm working on them than they will when they are printed out. I've set up a shortcut so that I can always quickly switch to print resolution in photoshop to check what it looks like (View->Print Size). You can set up a keyboard shortcut for it using Edit->Keyboard Shortcuts

Gamerprinter
09-07-2011, 12:54 PM
So I work at 100% of my final size. I know others work larger.

The difference is - print resolution is (normally for me) 300dpi. However computer screens are around 100dpi. So I work at computer resolution - 100dpi - which means the details look 3x larger when I'm working on them than they will when they are printed out. I've set up a shortcut so that I can always quickly switch to print resolution in photoshop to check what it looks like (View->Print Size). You can set up a keyboard shortcut for it using Edit->Keyboard Shortcuts

Which is why I prefer vector apps. I don't have to think in terms of hardware limitations. When I create a map in a vector program - i think in real world scale terms, not in pixels. Pixels are irrelevant - it is only a concern at final use output requirements (whether for VTT or print). So I create my map at whatever perceived scale I want, then when its completed I export to a bitmap format, and only at that time do I determine whether something needs to fill a standard screen, whether the viewable area is one portion of the greater map (for VT app to describe a larger area), or whether I need to print to 24" x 36" or 8.5" x 11".

It is only at output does the actual pixel output matter at all - at least regarding vector apps.

One great advantage, is I can create a map once. If I need to print it I export at hi res, at appropriate scale. If after the fact, somebody asks me to create a VT, version I just create the properly scaled one from my vector file. I can even do it the other way around first in VT scale, then at print scale later.

If I am working with an image editor only, I have to make the scale at least to the largest dimension I plan for final output, giving me room to reduce without loss in quality. If I only create a screen resolution version, trying to go from that to print scale is very problematic, and probably means I have to create the map again from scratch to accomplish this. For this reason, alone, I don't create maps in image editors.

torstan
09-07-2011, 01:11 PM
But that's a little deceiving. What I' talking about isn't truly a raster vs vector question. I'm not rescaling here at all. I'm talking about the amount of detail per inch - and that's an issue for vector as well. If I create a vector map and I export it so that when printed it would be 1 inch across that's probably going to be unreadable. If I export it at 11 inches across it might look great, and if I export it to print 32 inches across it's going to look very sparse and you're going to see some of my shorthands that might look great smaller, but look a little rough when viewed close up. I'm not sure that really changes between vector and raster. You still need to have some idea of the level of detail you're going to want in an area within the final product.

Gamerprinter
09-07-2011, 02:09 PM
I don't think its deceiving.

When I create any map, I'm only concerned with what's in the map and what details I want to show. What its going to look like in print or on a monitor is not even in my trail of thinking. I don't even consider that until the map is finished. Since I'm not going to print larger than 36" x 48", I don't need to worry what a square inch of detail is going to look at billboard size - as I don't rescale anything that big. The scale difference between 36" x 48" vs. screen resolution is in my mind an achievable result in whatever map I am making at the time - when I don't consider final scale at all. I only have to roughly get an idea on resolution.

Very often I am creating a map, and I only find out later that the publisher intends to include a large scale print, as I usually assume that the map will only be featured at full letter size. However, when I design my map, I don't do it with the intention that this will be for letter scale. I either export as 100 ppi, 300 ppi, or whatever.

All my maps I work at 18" x 24" scale or larger without a concern for pixels at all. Its only when I do the final export that pixels are even entered into the equation.

torstan
09-07-2011, 02:21 PM
Ah ha. It's the working size of 18" by 24" that I was after. There's an implicit assumption of scale in any design. Shrinking 18" by 24" down to letter sized just about works, but smaller than that and I'd expect it to start looking very cramped after export.

RobA
09-08-2011, 05:56 PM
I don't think its deceiving.

When I create any map, I'm only concerned with what's in the map and what details I want to show.

Though this falls apart for labeling, iconography and so on. I can not accept that you label a map the same whether it is for 24x36 print or letter size print - one designed is horrid at the other.

-Rob A>

Redrobes
09-08-2011, 09:35 PM
I can see both sides of the arguments here and both have some valid points. I think GP has a range of scales of which between them his argument holds but outside of this range it does not. Between a certain level of scaling then with vector you don't have to consider the pixels because the raster engine part of the app doing the vector work will handle it all for you. With a raster app you can scale it but there can be some issues with raster scaling so you have to care more generally. On the other hand, artistically there are limits (especially at the scale smaller end) where its just not artistically viable to have so much going on with a map scaled too small.

Since with my app it has infinite zoom then I truly do have to map at all scales from a map where there is detail which would all be compressed inside 1/10th of a pixel at some scales right up to labels such that one letter is larger than the whole screen full of the map when viewed at the other end of the zoom scale. I think that's a good chunk of the reason why some of my maps don't looks as artistically pleasing as many on here. All my labels are of vastly different sizes. In many cases, I favor the utility of having the zoom over the art.

So merely by being in vector does not absolve you from that dilemma since its an artistic choice.

The reason why one ought to work with raster images at a scale at least double to the final is detailed in my tut (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?2596-Award-Winner-Bitmapped-Images-The-technical-side-of-things-explained.) with the posts about aliasing. However since we know that Torstan generally uses his own artwork throughout the map then its unlikely that he would encounter any aliasing issues. When pasting in tokens, photos and especially line art and 'double especially' hatching or half-toned work then your gonna be in big trouble if you don't work at higher res than the final. If the half-toning was all in vector lines and dots then its a matter of how advanced or competent the rasterizer of the vector app is when dealing with it. If its good then you don't have to care about the pixels, if its not good then you might still have to. The thing is that if you dont work at double res or more with halftones or hatching and then you get to the end there is nothing you can do to fix the problems of the aliasing in hatched areas.

I don't have anything of value to say about the art side of things but from a technical stand point people should work with raster images at a res more than the final. Anything like double or more is probably adequate. With vector you don't have to care.

Were making a map at MeDEM and its 40,000 pixels square and we have just run into a problem with photoshop not keeping pixel level detail when using some transformations because we were not working at double res. Obviously double 40K is too much so we have to just lump it but the issues still arise no matter how big the map is.


If I am working with an image editor only, I have to make the scale at least to the largest dimension I plan for final output, giving me room to reduce without loss in quality.

Generally not true. There is always a loss in quality when scaling down, raster or vector because even with vector it has to be rasterized for the printer. If you started with a poster sized raster image and scaled it down using a good algorithm to page size it would have no difference in quality to a vector drawing scaled to the same size. The exception to this is if your 'printing' it with an X-Y pen plotter instead of an inkjet/laser printer etc.


If I only create a screen resolution version, trying to go from that to print scale is very problematic

Agreed, generally true for raster images (but see below), less so or not at all for vector.


and probably means I have to create the map again from scratch to accomplish this. For this reason, alone, I don't create maps in image editors.

Maybe - If you created the map to look good at page size in a vector app and then scaled up to poster sized then it might not look good either. From a technical standpoint the vector lines would be clean but I think the point Torstan and Rob is saying is that you would just have a clean but bigger print of it rather than it artistically being laid out to look good at that scale. There are applications now that will upscale bitmapped images with vector style transformations which would make lines sharp again and fix all the issues that you are referring to so as to make less of a difference between raster and vector. Such as this one (http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/kopf/pixelart/).

Scaling lines and shapes is definitely better with vector but vector doesn't do photos or painterly style brush strokes like watercolors and traditional art. If your map is lines and shapes of solid or gradient colors (math constructs) then sure vector app is the tool of choice. If your using a tablet and making extensive use of blends, sprays and other more traditional styles then the choice is not at all clear.

The upscale range of a raster photo definitely has limits. The upscale of a vector set of lines does not. The down scale of both raster and vector is very similar. Vector does lines, raster does lines and photos. Therefore so long as you have enough res to cope with the largest scale you need then there is an advantage to using raster. But if your scale range is large and you don't have photos then vector is better. They each have their merits and you should know when to use each.

Xara is a dual vector and raster app and combines both and is very capable app. But when you import raster elements into it then it has those limits as discussed above. When you don't import bitmaps into then it has the other limits as discussed above. The idea that one is always superior to another is absurd. If that were the case there would only be one type of paint app and the other type would have been consigned to the history books.

Jaxilon
09-09-2011, 02:54 AM
Hehe, wow...I feel like I inadvertently kicked open a can of worms. Fascinating discussion and makes sense that we all have reasons for what we use. Me, I use Gimp because I didn't have anything when I started out and the price was right. I also tend to see raster based images as more artsy and vector as more precise. I often use Inkscape for labels because they come out nice and crisp. Most of the art I see from vector based apps tend to look a bit on the cartoon side due to the lines and all being so crisp. I'm sure there are exceptions to everything but this is how it seems to me who doesn't know a whole lot about all that. Of course, I have had to work on tightening up my work so it was more clear...maybe I should be using a Vector program, lol.

I do think the abilities GP mentioned are pretty sweet but not enough for me to want to change what program I use.

I think RR did a nice job of breaking down pros and cons. In the end art is made from whatever tool you want to use whether it is a plastic knife or an industrial air gun.

I will however, have to make some images at twice their final size and see how that works out for me. Now if I can just figure out how to do that I will be set :)

Redrobes
09-09-2011, 10:13 AM
I think that's it. You need to pick the tool for the job. Its about knowing which tools give what results and with what limitations. Only by understanding all the limitations can you avoid the pitfalls associated with each. Mappers here tend to have a style. Each style suits a kind of app and people will favor the app which meets their style needs the best. And when a map has a mix of style elements then use a mix to tools for the parts. Lettering being one example where a lot of people like to use a vector app even when the base image is something done with a raster app.

Working with an original raster image 3x res is not required some of the time. Its about knowing when it will be required tho. Its about knowing what kinds of patterns will cause you grief if you scale it. If my tut I linked to does not explain it enough then I can do some more examples. In terms of zooming up a raster 3x on screen with a magnifier type tool and working same res but with bigger screen pixels well that's different. I cant comment about that and its up to you. With vector, as GP said, you don't have to worry about it at that stage. But you will have to worry about the overall image when you have finished the map and scale the final for screen view or print. Y'know, it would make for a good post to see how well vector apps actually do rasterize hatching and halftone at a scale where it might be a problem.

jfrazierjr
09-09-2011, 10:25 AM
I have not played with it, but on Linux there is an older Version of Xara available in .deb format for free.... I have no idea what features are missing compared to the latest version or the Pro version, but will give it a try sometime.

Preypacer
09-09-2011, 10:48 PM
Hey all...

Well the discussion's taken quite a turn since my last post! lol

There's a lot of individual points to try and respond to well... individually.. So I'll just respond by saying Thanks! to everyone who's provided words of encouragement, advice and suggestions...

I will make it a point to block my "Ctrl-A -> Del Key" reflex when something I'm doing isn't coming out the way I want it, and instead post it as an image here for some feedback.

On terms of the discussion of software... I'm currently using PS... albeit an older version (CS2); it's the last version I was able to buy. It's out-dated, but it works fine. I'm really, really trying to learn GIMP... but it's just such a strange program and, I guess, I'm so used to the shortcut keys and locations of different tools and such in PS that it's difficult to make that change. GIMP's layers system really messes with me, for another example.

I am however intending to use Inkscape for labeling and anything that needs to be sharp and crisp. Thanks to Inkscape being a sort of Illustrator/Photoshop hybrid, I should be able to work with the vector elements and make them look like they 'fit'.

Anyhoo.. Thanks again!

Ascension
09-09-2011, 11:48 PM
Don't worry about using CS2, I'm on CS and it works just as good, too.

jfrazierjr
09-10-2011, 03:58 PM
On terms of the discussion of software... I'm currently using PS... albeit an older version (CS2); it's the last version I was able to buy. It's out-dated, but it works fine. I'm really, really trying to learn GIMP... but it's just such a strange program and, I guess, I'm so used to the shortcut keys and locations of different tools and such in PS that it's difficult to make that change. GIMP's layers system really messes with me, for another example.

There is a plug in for GIMP somewhere that re-arranges the menus and some of the tool text to make it closer in appearance to make it easier for people to convert. It also changes some of the keyboard shortcuts. Of course, if the shortcuts are the main thing for you, you can do those fairly easily in a manual way.

Midgardsormr
09-10-2011, 04:44 PM
Or you could just stick with Photoshop. If you already have it and are used to it, the only thing I can think of wanting the Gimp for are RobA's scripts and the Image Hose.

jfrazierjr
09-10-2011, 08:03 PM
Or you could just stick with Photoshop. If you already have it and are used to it, the only thing I can think of wanting the Gimp for are RobA's scripts and the Image Hose.

Well.. to be fair, the ability to use colored brushes IS a tremendous time saver for throwing together a quick map that looks pretty darn decent... And as you said, there are some really great scripts out there...

jbgibson
09-11-2011, 11:50 PM
Do you mean Gimpshop (http://www.gimpshop.com/)? Never used either, but I remembered the melding.