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elemental_elf
04-09-2008, 01:55 AM
Hi, this is my map of the continent Urstamalga. The Continent is inhabited by many races, notably Elves, Humans, Dwarves and Goblins. Yeah I know, a little cliché, right? Well, yeah, more or less. I have an excuse though (I really do!), see Urstamalga is a world that composes many different Kingdoms, Empires and people from a slew of campaigns I ran when I started to play D&D a few years ago. I crafted a coherent campaign setting derived from those little bits, simply for the heck of it, lol.

At any rate, I decided to go with a more antique-ish looking map, rather than what I usually create (more modern/Victorian-esque). I know the map isn't great and it needs a lot of work but, really, I need some advice on where to go and what to do.

Here's my map... well 2 of them. The first (the attached one) is a bare bones map, with little information. The second has a few capital cities with names, to show where I was headed with the map.

The Second Map (http://urstamalga.pbwiki.com/f/Map%2C%20Urstamalga%2C%20with%20Capitals%20.png)

Any and all help/advice you can provide is most welcome.

Thanks in advance. :)

Airith
04-09-2008, 02:27 AM
That looks awesome so far, I think the Second one is better (the font and city symbol mix well) although not that much different. Are you going to add other features? Like forests and maybe a desert area? Also just noticed that the desert name is missing on the Second map. Maybe a shoreline if you'd like. I don't have many suggestions on making it look more antique though :(

Also what program is that made in? I'd also like to see your Victorian maps, sounds intriguing :)

elemental_elf
04-09-2008, 12:57 PM
That looks awesome so far, I think the Second one is better (the font and city symbol mix well) although not that much different. Are you going to add other features? Like forests and maybe a desert area? Also just noticed that the desert name is missing on the Second map. Maybe a shoreline if you'd like. I don't have many suggestions on making it look more antique though :(

Also what program is that made in? I'd also like to see your Victorian maps, sounds intriguing :)


Thanks for the compliment :D

The program I use is CS2 (I can't believe I forgot to mention that!).

I do intend to add other features, mostly all the capitals and maybe 1 or 2 other major cities/forts per country. I also intend to add rivers (once I figure out how to make them look good) as well as forests, though there aren't any large enough that would be seen from a continent map :(

pyrandon
04-09-2008, 01:18 PM
Nice map! Clear and interesting, and I like the color pallette a lot! Good work.

Are you able to blur the line edges at all? They are a little too crisp for the antique effect, IMO.

Overall, a nice map!

RobA
04-10-2008, 12:09 AM
Nice map! (And a nice choice in using pbwiki, by the way :) )

I would figure out how to curve some of the text. They would look better in some areas IMOO - specifically for the anything angled currently, and to fit the terrain in other cases.

-Rob A>

Midgardsormr
04-10-2008, 08:33 PM
I think you should try to do something to create some variety in your mountain symbols. The hand-drawn style is terrific, but it's weakened quite a bit by the obvious stamps. The same could be said of the cities, but there aren't as many of them, so it's not quite as obvious.

I agree concerning curved text. You might also want to think about using an additional font for the smaller labels. Blackadder is very nice for titling and large labels, but I don't like it so well for detail work. I don't have another suggestion off the top of my head, though. Bard, maybe; it has the same rough look to it but no flourishes.

I really like this map quite a bit. I'd love to see it pushed just a little further. It might also benefit from a good, stylized border.

Torq
04-11-2008, 06:41 AM
I have only one question EE. How come you aren't yet involved in the World mapping project available on this very site? Hmmmmm? ;)

Torq

elemental_elf
04-12-2008, 05:01 AM
First off, let me say ' :o !' Thank you all for your compliments. I wasn't expecting them but I won't look a gift horse in the mouth :D I must apologize for my absence, I've had a busy week (2 Midterms and 1 Essay). Now that those are behind me, I intend to be more active in updating and responding! :)



Nice map! Clear and interesting, and I like the color pallette a lot! Good work.

Are you able to blur the line edges at all? They are a little too crisp for the antique effect, IMO.

Overall, a nice map!

Now that is the kind of advice I was looking for. It's always the little things that mess me over, lol! Thanks.



I would figure out how to curve some of the text. They would look better in some areas IMOO - specifically for the anything angled currently, and to fit the terrain in other cases.

-Rob A>

I don't know how to curve text in CS2... is there a tutorial you could direct me to? :?:


I think you should try to do something to create some variety in your mountain symbols. The hand-drawn style is terrific, but it's weakened quite a bit by the obvious stamps. The same could be said of the cities, but there aren't as many of them, so it's not quite as obvious.

That's easy enough to accomplish.; I was planning on doing this, some time but I never got around to it :D


I agree concerning curved text. You might also want to think about using an additional font for the smaller labels. Blackadder is very nice for titling and large labels, but I don't like it so well for detail work. I don't have another suggestion off the top of my head, though. Bard, maybe; it has the same rough look to it but no flourishes.

Yeah I was thinking along the same lines (in terms of changing the smaller font), glad to see I wasn't alone. I don't have Bard on my CS2, but looking through the available fonts, Monotype Corsiva seems to be very similar. Do you think that's a good font choice?


Again, thank you all for you advice and help, I really appreciate it! :)

RobA
04-12-2008, 10:28 AM
I don't know how to curve text in CS2... is there a tutorial you could direct me to? :?:

Sorry - I'm a gimp user - don't know how to use that fancy adobe software >:)

-Rob A>

Midgardsormr
04-12-2008, 07:47 PM
Yeah I was thinking along the same lines (in terms of changing the smaller font), glad to see I wasn't alone. I don't have Bard on my CS2, but looking through the available fonts, Monotype Corsiva seems to be very similar. Do you think that's a good font choice?

I do like Monotype Corsiva, and it may work well since it has fewer details. If you want to pick up Bard, it's a freebie: http://www.fontfiles.com/Fonts/Detailed/70.html

pyrandon
04-13-2008, 12:59 AM
I don't know how to curve text in CS2... is there a tutorial you could direct me to? :?:


I don't think you'll need a tutorial. For fancy-schmancy text curves all you need to do is create a path (with the freeform pen tool, for example), then using your text tool, click the path and type: the text will sit on top of your path.

You could also, for less complicated curves, use the tool within the type tool (it's in the menu at the top-right when you are writing with text): with that you can do banner-type waves, arches, etc.

I hope that helps!

elemental_elf
04-13-2008, 05:16 AM
I do like Monotype Corsiva, and it may work well since it has fewer details. If you want to pick up Bard, it's a freebie: http://www.fontfiles.com/Fonts/Detailed/70.html

Thanks for the link! :)


I don't think you'll need a tutorial. For fancy-schmancy text curves all you need to do is create a path (with the freeform pen tool, for example), then using your text tool, click the path and type: the text will sit on top of your path.

You could also, for less complicated curves, use one of the tool within the type tool (it's in the menu at the top when you are writing with text): with that you can do banner-type waves, marches, etc.

I hope that helps!


... :D:D:D That is AMAZING! :D I had no idea my little photoshop could do that! Thank you! :)


ok, I updated the map slightly. The major changes were:

Blured and decreased the border size
added a few new icons
Changed the smaller text to Bard or Monotype Corsiva (still deciding which looks best)
used the fancy arch tool to arch a few words (maybe went a little arch-crazy though :)


EDIT: I'm going to either rid the map of those boats or change the icon some how... its way too glaring, IMO.

Midgardsormr
04-13-2008, 07:13 PM
I think I like the Corsiva better. Try changing the color of the boats' sails to a light grey, and apply the texture to them. That should make them merge a little better with the rest of the map. Maybe a slight blur, too.

Do the ships represent anything in particular? At the moment, they seem to be the only purely decorative objects on your map. They'll probably fit in better if you either make them mean something (major currents, perhaps) or add some more decorative elements elsewhere. Don't go overboard with that, obviously.

I once heard it said that a piece of design is done when there is nothing else that can be removed without compromising the image or the message.

Sigurd
04-13-2008, 08:00 PM
Very pretty map. I also like your colour choices.

My crit would be that I think you could have the land be less influenced by the seas cloud affect. I think it would make the land pop just a bit. The mountains and the text jump out a bit too much. I think all the work is there but you need to work with your layers to blend it to more affect.


Its really coming along.

If the boats are on a different layer you can always play with them to make them less jarring.


Sigurd

ravells
04-13-2008, 08:49 PM
Beautiful, but I would suggest one quick change: Invert the curve on the text of the Newland Isles so they follow the line of the islands. Really like the colours.

Fister
04-13-2008, 08:57 PM
Just want to say that I am a fan of your map and look forward to further updates.

torstan
04-16-2008, 06:24 PM
Very pretty! The only comment is that the line width on the cities, castles and ships is very thin compared the line width for the mountains and the text. This jars a little for something that looks hand drawn. I'd be interested to see what it looked like if these were a bit larger - say 50%?

For the ships I would definitely go larger - maybe even double their current size - and then try to blend the colours into the more desaturated palette you have for the rest of the map.

Looks great! Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

aeronox
04-17-2008, 12:50 AM
elemental elf:

create a path using the pen tool (make sure its set to Path, not Shape)

now, using the Text tool, click on the line (it should show a different cursor).

now type.

note: this also works for path-shapes (closed polygons) - it types within the region

elemental_elf
04-20-2008, 06:31 AM
First off, I must once again apologize for my long absence. I had another long week, 2 more midterms... Which begs the question, if you have 5 Midterms in a in a single class, are they really midterms? :?

At any rate, thank you ALL for your compliments and advice, I really appreciate them all! :)



Do the ships represent anything in particular? At the moment, they seem to be the only purely decorative objects on your map. They'll probably fit in better if you either make them mean something (major currents, perhaps) or add some more decorative elements elsewhere. Don't go overboard with that, obviously.

Originally they were just for decoration but I have to agree, they need a purpose. So I decided to add major sea trade routes to this update of the map, though I'm unsure if I will keep them.



I once heard it said that a piece of design is done when there is nothing else that can be removed without compromising the image or the message.

Then I am far from finished :)



Very pretty map. I also like your colour choices.

My crit would be that I think you could have the land be less influenced by the seas cloud affect. I think it would make the land pop just a bit. The mountains and the text jump out a bit too much. I think all the work is there but you need to work with your layers to blend it to more affect.


I'll look into changing/modifying this in the next update :)

Ok, here's what I updated this time around:
I lightened the text to make it 'pop' less
I changed the Ship's coloring (though it may still be too bright)
I added a light line indicating major sea trade routes
I added a whole slew of new towns and capitals


You may also notice that I added a second map, this one has my first (and VERY amateur) attempt at making rivers. I really have no idea how to make them look good, so ANY and ALL advice on Rivers is oh so appreciated! :)

SpamValiant
04-20-2008, 08:42 AM
Really enjoying seeing this come together.

I like the trade routes, they seem to make sense of the ships without being obtrusive - I was worried when I read the post that you'd have overdone it but actually it looks good.

The new towns are great. I have to admit that that whilst trying about a dozen different approaches to town icons for my challenge map this month (from simple dots up to individually drawn towns), I looked at a lot of maps on this site. Looking at yours again now I'm convinced I must have taken a strong inspiration from your original batch of towns, hope you don't mind:D For my second nation I drew a more European style town icon, which looks like the same direction you've taken with your forts (entirely innocently I assure you), so apologies if you think the whole thing looks a bit fishy.

Either way, this is coming together nicely, and the new variation in icons really helps to break things up and make it look more like a map and less like a game board, something I'm still struggling with...

torstan
04-20-2008, 09:26 AM
Personally I like the rivers as they are. They're clear but don't dominate. Your layers have got a little messed up on the bottom left though - the area names are under the rivers.

Midgardsormr
04-20-2008, 04:57 PM
Rivers are my personal bugbear, also. I think yours look quite good on this map--they match the hand-drawn style nicely. You might play with the blend modes or opacity to give them a more painted look.

As you add details, the identical mountains are looking more and more computer-generated to me. Take a look at Hapimesis' video tutorial:
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1669&highlight=tutorial

You didn't mention whether or not you're using a tablet--you'll probably need one for best results with Hap's technique. I know I found it close to impossible to accomplish with a mouse. Others might have a steadier hand than me, though.

elemental_elf
05-13-2008, 07:31 PM
Sorry for the long lull in my updating but college has been quite hectic as of late.

Thank you for that link, Midgardsormr! It was most enlightening and quite helpful! :)

Having said that, the entire system frustrates me to no end! No matter how much I tried, my mountains never looked good... I mean they looked... awful! :x So I decided to start on a fresh canvas and use that new mountain making system on a more detailed sub-section of the map. I decided to use the island I named Lushan, because its mountains were not connected to any other range by way of it being an island :)

So I tried it and well, I'll let you guys be the judges of how it came out (could go either way really).

A quick note about the Empire that rules the island, its a very ordered society, as can bee seen by the roads, and the placement of the larger towns and villages. Each town/village is connected via a road system that encircles the entire island, as well as a single road leading through the country side to a large watch tower on the Fenshi Wall, which protects the more densely populated eastern half of the island from the more wild and less civilized western half. Further, the Empire is geared towards trade, both domestic and foreign, this is why the major towns & villages are all placed on the eastern coast; not only to maximize trade with the western nations but also to allow trade to pass up and down the island with ease.

Sirith
05-14-2008, 11:34 AM
Nice looking map! I have a few points:

- I compared the mountains to your previous map (because you mentioned them, heh). I like them. Your previous mountains were too repetitive, like others have mentioned, but these look really good! :)
- this is purely preferential, but I find the texture a little too obtrusive, it steals my attention away from the map itself..
- I like the idea behind placement of cities :)

elemental_elf
05-14-2008, 05:42 PM
Nice looking map! I have a few points:

- I compared the mountains to your previous map (because you mentioned them, heh). I like them. Your previous mountains were too repetitive, like others have mentioned, but these look really good! :)

Thank you for the compliment, its good to hear that my attempt was successful! :)


- this is purely preferential, but I find the texture a little too obtrusive, it steals my attention away from the map itself..

Really? I sort of liked the Burlappy feel of the map but I can definitely see yopur point of view. I'll change the texture and we'll see if it looks better :)


- I like the idea behind placement of cities :)

Thanks :)

jfrazierjr
05-14-2008, 05:57 PM
Really? I sort of liked the Burlappy feel of the map but I can definitely see yopur point of view. I'll change the texture and we'll see if it looks better :)

I also like the look. Heh... I was more confused by the grid lines until I figured out what they were...

Joe

Midgardsormr
05-14-2008, 09:54 PM
My late grandfather had a map of the Philippines painted on burlap that he acquired during WWII. On that map, the water was not painted and the burlap was obvious. The paint on the islands "webbed" across the fibers, obscuring the texture, but not completely eradicating it. As the map has aged, the paint has come off in many of those areas, but the fibers are still stained with the color.

It's a really neat map--I'll try to remember to take my camera with me and get a shot of it next time I visit my grandmother. If she's still displaying it, that is.

Anyway, this looks much like the painted areas of my grandfather's map must have looked when it was new.