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Green-Pilgrim
11-08-2011, 10:23 AM
39772

ARGH! Stupid forums keep eating my post.

Ok - fourth time re-posting this so I'll sum it up.

Building a 'hand drawn' overland map using Gimp and "Tree Thing" tool.

1. Not sure about the look of the 'Green Mountains' down the center. Should I give them a different color to make them look more like 'mountains' or what?

2. Text on the map. Using a white halo to pull them out from the terrain so they don't get lost. How has everyone else solved 'lost text' as a problem.?

3. Want to add color on the coast and mountain to show variations in terrain. I'm using the base green to suggest a forested (but not as dense as the named forests) land but it can't all be woods. Suggestions?

4. Adding color to the water of the inland sea (left) and coastal areas (right) to make it more 'animated'. Just use a white 'noise' effect?

Thanks.

Green Pilgrim.

Green-Pilgrim
11-08-2011, 10:45 AM
Also...

What's your thoughts on using symbols like a tower or castle to show the different types of settlements rather than the traditional variations of circles that I'm using currently? Does it give a cluttered look to the map? Maybe use them on 'close-up' maps where I can show more terrain and details?

Thanks again.

Akerbeltz
11-08-2011, 02:50 PM
Hey! Looks like a good start.

1. Yes I would probably try a tan or greyish colour. I would also ditch the thin light outline on the peaks.

2. If you dislike like the halo effect you could try a scroll or similar graphic layered under each label, or just stick to a strong readable font and be mindful of the label placement, ie putting it beside instead of over dark features, and clearing the trees directly around the forest labels.

3. I think graphical elements would work well for a map like this, ie those little swamp grass things etc. But as for colours my thinking would go something like: dirty tan to represent plains, greenish light grey for tundra, dark greyish green for swamps, very light grey with a tinge of blue for ice/snow, but I would try to keep it all fairly subtle. I would also blend the darker green areas under your forests.

4. Well depending on what you want your end style to be like there are a couple of options. You could try adding a woodcut fade to the coastlines, there are a couple of great tutorials around. If you want a more "realistic" style try making a new layer either below your land layer or with your landmass set as a mask, then render clouds > white noise > randomize checked and the other settings cranked to max, set it to set it to like 30%O and try out some of the modes (overlay, hard light, soft light, etc). Also try a soft light blue or teal glow around the shore.

5. You could turn all your current dots to little towers or castles without the map looking cluttered, so I think that leaves it entirely a matter of personal taste.

Keep up the good work!

Green-Pilgrim
11-08-2011, 02:58 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I'll give the shore-glow / clouds trick a try and see what happens.
-GP

Green-Pilgrim
11-09-2011, 06:46 PM
Well, here's an update to the regional, hand-drawn map project.

The first thing I did was take a crack at the coastline and try and give it more of a feeling that the water actually had depth. I used a gausian blur between three different layers of blue to show gradation of color and I think it turned out rather well. I'm still not sure about the outline but it works for now.


39804

I used the same effect for an inland lake and added more forests. The "Tree Thing" tool is just too cool and I gave the region a drop shadow (and dropped its opacity) to give it a 'darker but not too dark' appearance.

I wanted to put additional, smaller hills to show the 'foothills' of the main mountain range and then added a large peak at the end. I think the layout works fine but I'm still concerned about the 'green mountain' look.

39807

So this is what the newest update looks like as a whole image.
39808

One thing thing that did catch my eye was a problem with the river that cuts through a cave in the northern cave. I'm not sure how to show that on the map. Currently I just have the river dead-ending into mountain since I'm not sure how to make it look 'cave like' on a map.

Additionally - does anyone have any suggestions for how I can give the representation of waterfalls?

Thanks for any comments.

-GP

Piscivorous
11-09-2011, 07:04 PM
Also...

What's your thoughts on using symbols like a tower or castle to show the different types of settlements rather than the traditional variations of circles that I'm using currently? Does it give a cluttered look to the map? Maybe use them on 'close-up' maps where I can show more terrain and details?

Thanks again.

I like the overall feel of the map, but the text is a bit over-bearing. The "Northlands" text in the northwest" looks very good compared to the white-highlighted text.

As far as symbols, that will be what I go with. Circles , squares and stars are boring unless you can really find a way to make them pop. There's a recent example of where they look very nice, I'll see if I can find it.

Edit: Here is what I am talking about: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?12005-Unnamed-Experiment

I think it is more a condition of the type of map. Since yours is hand-drawn, symbols will work better than geomorphic shapes.

Green-Pilgrim
11-09-2011, 07:49 PM
Thanks for the comments!

Yes, I agree with you that symbols are the way to go. I like how the one example that you mentioned used red stars and dots to 'punch' up the look of where cities were on the map.

On my newest update I withdrew the 'settlement symbols' so I could concentrate on the map itself.

jfrazierjr
11-10-2011, 08:51 AM
So... is that "river" going through the big mountain and ending at each coast? If so... well... thats probably not very likely(though not impossible!) in a real world geography sense unless this is an island and that's a straight instead of a river.

You mentioned somewhere something about a cave? Well... if you flip the elements(mountains and forests/shadows), then you have a light colored surface and you can then "draw" in the cave mouth fairly easily.

As for Waterfall, where is it located? a cliff or somewhere on a mountain? Show us where it will go and then perhaps we can make the suggestions. Likely you will need to do some "editing" of the existing mountains if that's where you want the waterfall to be in order to make it look good.

For me, the colors are just waaaaay to bright.

Green-Pilgrim
11-10-2011, 09:23 AM
So... is that "river" going through the big mountain and ending at each coast? If so... well... thats probably not very likely(though not impossible!) in a real world geography sense unless this is an island and that's a straight instead of a river.

You mentioned somewhere something about a cave? Well... if you flip the elements(mountains and forests/shadows), then you have a light colored surface and you can then "draw" in the cave mouth fairly easily.

As for Waterfall, where is it located? a cliff or somewhere on a mountain? Show us where it will go and then perhaps we can make the suggestions. Likely you will need to do some "editing" of the existing mountains if that's where you want the waterfall to be in order to make it look good.

For me, the colors are just waaaaay to bright.

The river that's going through the large mountain at the top from the inland sea was a project of the dwarves in the world's history. Similar to the Panama canal, the channel carved through the base of the mountain (a large tunnel) was then used to divert the river on one side of the mountain, through it, and then connect with an existing river on the other side to create a trade route.

I don't have a spot nailed down for the waterfall but the idea popped in my head and was curious how I would show it.

Thanks again for the comments!

-GP

jfrazierjr
11-10-2011, 09:55 AM
Ah... so that's two rivers, that are unnaturally merged.. but then the question is: since rivers form from rain runoff (or springs), are these mountains representational of a fairly large mountain chain enough create a deep enough channel for navigation? ie, is there enough water flowing into the newly formed channel to keep it filled from natural sources (or unnatural for that matter, such as a bound water elemental) Also, how do they deal with the currents(ie, going against them), especially if part of the route is underground(rowing, steam power, etc)?

Or, perhaps I am missing it since your description seems to indicate an unseen source of water above the map where at least one of the rivers originate.

As for the waterfall, once you get an idea for placement(you need either a cliff or two mountains joined together to form the "lip" as well as a mountain behind to form the water source), let us know... I see a few places that might fit the second approach with a small bit of moving around.

Oh yea, there is a "river" that splits from the top river, goes through forests and then joins another river near the bottom that empties into the sea.. Again, not a likely natural occurring formation.

Green-Pilgrim
11-10-2011, 01:17 PM
Ah... so that's two rivers, that are unnaturally merged.. but then the question is: since rivers form from rain runoff (or springs), are these mountains representational of a fairly large mountain chain enough create a deep enough channel for navigation? ie, is there enough water flowing into the newly formed channel to keep it filled from natural sources (or unnatural for that matter, such as a bound water elemental) Also, how do they deal with the currents(ie, going against them), especially if part of the route is underground(rowing, steam power, etc)?

We, the other world-designers and I, hadn't given it much thought but I would imagine that the Dwarves could have either used unnatural means to move people through the tunnel or possibly a locks / damns set up like the Erie canal where the boats were drug along from side roads. In this stage, however, that's more of a note in the description more so than a feature on the map. It does raise an interesting question that I can bring up at our next meeting. It should get them talking for a while. :) Thanks!



Or, perhaps I am missing it since your description seems to indicate an unseen source of water above the map where at least one of the rivers originate.

As for the waterfall, once you get an idea for placement(you need either a cliff or two mountains joined together to form the "lip" as well as a mountain behind to form the water source), let us know... I see a few places that might fit the second approach with a small bit of moving around.

The first waterfall is at the site where the second river on the right side 'emerges' from a mountain and flows, eventually, to the sea. This waterfall comes directly out of the cave entrance (again, cut by dwarves) in a style similar to the entrance to Lonely Mountain from the Hobbit.

39832

There's not much that I can do to show it on the map and I think that it will be one of those details that's added in later in the description or for a close-up map. I know, however, that there will be several watefalls in a map tile more to the south - but I haven't made those yet.




Oh yea, there is a "river" that splits from the top river, goes through forests and then joins another river near the bottom that empties into the sea.. Again, not a likely natural occurring formation.

That river, we call it the "Dragon Tongue River" is probably going to be rerouted so that it looks like it's fed from mountain run off on the left-hand side of the mountains. Rather than connecting to the large river at the top that wraps around from the inland sea to the coast (through the mountain tunnel) it will turn right and head into one of the small 'nooks' of the mountain range.

Thanks again for the feedback. Keep 'em coming!
-Gp

furiousuk
11-10-2011, 02:51 PM
The river to the right of the central range, below the canal/river, splits on it's way to the sea just to the right of the solitary mountain before hitting the lake. It's highly unusual that rivers would split like this, unless, of course, you have a cracking and original back-story that explains it.

I like your map features though, the forests look good although I wonder if you could use a different tree type as they creep towards the higher ground? Your mountain range and foothills look cracking, the green is a little unusual at first but it gives it a slight eerie glow. Good work.

Green-Pilgrim
11-10-2011, 06:03 PM
Hey - I had a weird idea and tried to substitute the green 'base' color of the grass and things with a parchment layer. What do you think?3983739838

jfrazierjr
11-10-2011, 08:00 PM
not so bright... looks much better.... I would still like the water darker though...

Green-Pilgrim
11-10-2011, 10:57 PM
So perhaps I should move the darker blue segments closer to shore or just turn the light blue band into a darker shade?

Green-Pilgrim
11-10-2011, 11:20 PM
39846

This is the new version of the eastern coast with the darker 'sea' water.

one of the problems that I see with making the sea darker was that I have to figure out how to blend the light blue of the river with the dark blue of the coast.

Thoughts?

Piscivorous
11-10-2011, 11:25 PM
Disperse the river into the sea by making a graduating halo effect. As the fresh water flows from the river into the sea make a dispersion where the differences in colors slowly meld rather than abruptly changing.

Green-Pilgrim
11-10-2011, 11:57 PM
Something like this?

I blurred the light blue of the rivers into the dark blue of the sea a bit and see how that turned out. 39847

Piscivorous
11-11-2011, 12:16 AM
Exactly. Blurring and feathering will probably do the trick!

jfrazierjr
11-11-2011, 07:48 AM
Yep.. much better.... tip: the smudge tool is my favorite item in GIMP. I personally would still like all of the water shifted a bit more in shade, but that's just me. BTW, the change to add the parchment texture instead of the flat green, I can't even being to express how much that one little change has made this map so much better.

Green-Pilgrim
11-11-2011, 09:06 AM
Yep.. much better.... tip: the smudge tool is my favorite item in GIMP. I personally would still like all of the water shifted a bit more in shade, but that's just me.

I'm not sure that I understand what you mean by 'in shade'. darker?

BTW, the change to add the parchment texture instead of the flat green, I can't even being to express how much that one little change has made this map so much better.

Yeah - once I put the parchment as a layer and cleaned up the mountain range - it just looks so much more like a hand-drawn map. I think that I'm going to continue with using that parchment as the basis for my additional maps with the idea that someone has made the map in black ink (to show the basic features) and then gone back over it with watercolors to show features like forests, rivers and water.

Has anyone else tried that 'look' of watercolor over ink?

furiousuk
11-11-2011, 09:24 AM
I'm also learning the many benefits of a well-placed smudge!

I like the river run-off into the sea, my first thought was to have the mouth of the river darker to match the sea colour but the way you've done it is far better.

The two rivers on the left that run parallel to each other, shouldn't there be some indication of small hills separating them? It looks like they should run together (just before the 2nd turn to the South maybe). Also, it runs through the small hill range, I think more indication of the valley that it must cut through might work.

I also like the look of the parchment, good choice

Green-Pilgrim
11-11-2011, 09:28 AM
Yep.. much better.... tip: the smudge tool is my favorite item in GIMP. I personally would still like all of the water shifted a bit more in shade, but that's just me.

I'm not sure that I understand what you mean by 'in shade'. darker?

BTW, the change to add the parchment texture instead of the flat green, I can't even being to express how much that one little change has made this map so much better.

Yeah - once I put the parchment as a layer and cleaned up the mountain range - it just looks so much more like a hand-drawn map. I think that I'm going to continue with using that parchment as the basis for my additional maps with the idea that someone has made the map in black ink (to show the basic features) and then gone back over it with watercolors to show features like forests, rivers and water.

Has anyone else tried that 'look' of watercolor over ink?

Here's a new stab at the colors for the water. I took them to more of the 'blue' side than teal. Comments?
39849

Green-Pilgrim
11-19-2011, 09:50 PM
I'm trying to fill in the grid square south of the previous map and the mountain range just isn't looking right. 40088 Between the mountains in the north and those here in the south, they should make, essentially a "reverse J" shape that stretches down to the small landmass in the south east section of the new map.

Since the northern mountains taper down to tiny 'hills', I guessed that the mountain range would then increase back up to a similar mountain 'peak' in the south. Again, it just doesn't look right for some reason.

Suggestions?

jbgibson
11-28-2011, 12:56 AM
Might it work better if more of the peak symbols overlapped? Right now it looks more like a collection of separate spikes, than a coherent range. The little ones also look like different-scale full-size mountains, rather than foothills - maybe use more rounded symbols for them? Just a thought - ymmv.