View Full Version : Hello. I'm here for software advice, mainly

11-30-2011, 10:50 AM
My name is Stabbey and I'm from Canada. I like looking at maps as well as making them.

Right now I'm working on a novel, and it gets hard sometimes trying to work things out without having a map at hand. I do have Photoshop, but there's only so much I can do with that. I asked on another forum about good map-making software, and I was pointed at this forum as one of the places to go for information.

I guess I should post the rest of this in the software forum, but I may as well. The novel will need maps for many diverse places, from the interiors of mines, to towns, a country, a continent (maybe even an entire planet, although only the one country will need much detail), and even the interior of a spaceship. Reading around, I think Fractal Mapper 8 (http://www.nbos.com/products/mapper/mapper.htm) comes the closest to providing all of that, but I'd like to ask more questions before buying it.

EDIT: Oops, I thought the forum ate this, so I tried to re-post it. I looked away and missed the message about a moderator needing to approve a thread. Go ahead and delete the re-post, mods.

11-30-2011, 09:18 PM
When you say that there is only so much you can do with Photoshop, do you mean that you have limitations in terms of skill or the software's capabilities?

I either case, I think there are resources here that can minimize those limitations. I own Campaign Cartographer 3, which is roughly similar in capabilities to FM8, but I haven't really used it in a couple of years because I find that Photoshop can do everything it can do and more.

That isn't to say that there is not a great deal of utility in more focused software, but perhaps you should ask for some guidance to work with what you have before you spend money on more software. After all, if you find that Photoshop is, after all, suitable for your needs, you can spend that money on a Wacom tablet instead!

Anyway, ask your questions, and you'll likely find plenty of people eager to answer!

12-02-2011, 01:26 AM
Welcome, Stabbey. If you rummage around in all the finished maps and WIP threads, you'll see there's a whole lot of overlap in what different packages can do. And for that matter a bunch of us throw multiple graphics packages at the same map, drawing ;-) on each for its strengths. Unless you just want to, that kind of eclectic workflow need not cost the moon - there's free or inexpensive apps in most of the general categories.

Say you want to do a continent -- what to use is as dependent on the style as anything else. You mention all the possible scales you have in mind - do you have favorite styles as well? Too, you don't make clear whether the maps would be for you as author, for the reader, or both. Drawing with a small B&W page in mind does impose some constraints. If you publish online, you may have a bit more flexibility.

Like Midgardsormr said - ask some specifics, and you'll get a multitude of suggestions and comparative opinions.

12-02-2011, 04:24 AM
Hi Stabbey, you'll find lots of food for thought in this thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?1033-New-to-Digital-Cartography-Software-General-Information).

12-02-2011, 05:02 AM
welcome to the guild - a good place to start is in the tutorials section - here you can see some of the things you can get out of different programs. I personally use photoshop (and a little illustrator) for all my mapping needs - just a question of skill and patience.. try and try again ;)

12-09-2011, 11:40 AM
Welcome to the Guild!

Steel General
12-10-2011, 07:44 AM
Welcome Aboard!