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View Full Version : *** March Challenge VOTING - Mapping in Black and White ***



torstan
03-29-2012, 12:51 PM
This month's challenge was to create a map in only black and white. Antialiasing is the only greyscale allowed. The guild members rose to the challenge brilliantly! Check out the full set of entries here:


March Thumbnails (http://www.cartographersguild.com/forumdisplay.php?83-Current-Mapping-Challenge-Thumbnails)

Please vote for your 2 favourite entries. The voting will end in 4 days time. Remember to rep those you vote for.

jfrazierjr
03-29-2012, 01:03 PM
That was hard.... there were at least 3 entries that were excellent, so it was hard to narrow down the 2nd/3rd ones, as well as several that were very good.

Joshua
03-29-2012, 01:45 PM
Yeah, this indeed was a difficult choice. There were A LOT of excellent quality maps. I ultimately voted based on the concept of the challenge regarding ebooks... I've seen maps resolve not so well on some ebooks--even greyscale ones--so I voted based on which ones in my opinion would display the best on an e-reader, followed by which ones I felt were most innovative and appealing. That was the only near-objective benchmark I could think of. Well, in terms of the e-reader display aspect. :)

Wannabehero
03-29-2012, 04:37 PM
Just amazing results this month. It was very hard to pick only two.

maxsdaddy
03-29-2012, 08:38 PM
Holy schmoly! I think this challenge brought out the best in alot of the great artists here. This challenge could have run for another month easy. I hope it gets a refresh down the road. Hats off to all the entrants! I hope to see a few of the entries colored and posted later.

EricPoehlsen
03-30-2012, 03:54 AM
The pitcity by lukc was a great concept. First vote on that. Second was not so easy, some nice entries this month again.

Troedel
03-30-2012, 04:06 AM
Diamond had me again, clean but interesting. The Pit City is a good idea and executed perfectly. He knows his scanner ;)

ravells
03-30-2012, 06:37 AM
This was so hard to vote on. Well done everyone who took part, rep all around.

Gidde
03-30-2012, 08:59 AM
What a great challenge. It was very hard to only pick 2! Rep for everyone, loved all of these maps :)

Ramah
03-30-2012, 01:16 PM
Some really great entries as usual but I had a surprisingly easy time of voting for once. Diamond and Lukc's maps just had that little bit extra for me. Good luck all who entered. :)

Lukc
03-30-2012, 01:26 PM
I wished I had 3 votes too ... Vectorgrass, Altamira, Canada, all beautiful maps.

rpgmapmaker
03-30-2012, 08:50 PM
Great job to everyone who competed! This forum is Awesome! Sapiento's would have been pick 3... it was hard to vote just twice.

Hai-Etlik
03-31-2012, 03:27 AM
A very hard choice, but here's a run down of my thinking on each of the other finished maps with my votes highlighted.

March Challenge Entry - The Principality of Altamira by Diamond

I quite like it, but there's a kind of graphical mismatch in the degree of aliasing that makes the elements not look like they fit together. The pixel perfect outlining of the text also kind of conflicts with the rough looking font used. The mountains are superb.

March Challenge Entry - B&W try-out by Djekspek

It's a bit small and simple compared to the other maps, but absolutely gorgeous anyway.

March Challenge Entry - Tåvnar by EricPoehlsen

I really like the hand drawn looking mountains and symbols, but they clash with the sharp, polygonal rivers and the compass.

March Challenge Entry : Serpent Isles by lostatsea

It's an interesting idea, but you have a lot of grey in there that isn't really in keeping with the theme, and tossing a halftone filter over a grey scale image does seem little a bit like it's trying to bypass the spirit of the rules. It also makes for poor contrast which makes the map harder to read.

March Challenge Entry - Rudvik: City of the Pit Lord by Lukc

The drawing is incredible and I wish i could manage anything remotely like it, but then the text spoils it by looking so out of place. Also, with the perspective effect, the scale bar seems pointless; the scale of deeper portions would be smaller than higher portions, so there is no single scale for the map for the scale bar to indicate.

March Challenge Entry - The Land of Danor by rpgmapmaker

I like it, although I have the same criticism about the outlined text as with Diamond's map. The coast outline has noticeable raster aliasing. Some of the symbols look like they were drawn at different scales and a few of them are rather noticeably repeated.

March Challenge Entry - The land of Vectograss by Sapiento

More drawing which I'm completely unable to do and so very impressed by. The hatching pattern is very good. Not as good as the real thing, but still very impressive for being just a repeated pattern. The bone-scale is a nice touch and the only real criticism I have is that the font doesn't really go with the rest of the map.

Lukc
03-31-2012, 03:44 AM
In my defence, I will argue that the use of Rockwell - a very nice, modern slab serif - was perfectly intentional, as was the jarring effect. Two (well, maybe three) things motivated me to use this font: a) an indication of the dissonant nature of the setting, which mixes dwarven and human influences, as well as sci-fi and fantasy, and b) legibility issues on an dithered (or should that be unti-aliased?) b/w map. Finally there is, of course, issue c) I was running out of time. Could I have used a different font? Yes, I could have. Would it have helped a potential DM printing this map? Well ... I doubt it. With the DM (i.e. me) in mind I also left white spaces in the corners for additional notes.

However, I may be completely wrong on the issue of the fonts! :P I will probably endeavour to make a colour version of this map at some point and I will be very happy to hear any and all suggestions.

As to the scale, I perfectly agree it is pointless, which is why it is based on an arbitrary and indeterminate measure - the valley cubit.

Hai-Etlik
03-31-2012, 04:21 AM
As to the scale, I perfectly agree it is pointless, which is why it is based on an arbitrary and indeterminate measure - the valley cubit.

Pointless wasn't really the right word, technically it's just wrong but I was trying not to be too blunt about it. However long a valley cubit is, the scale can only be correct for certain parts of the map, and not for the rest.

Lukc
03-31-2012, 05:07 AM
Pointless wasn't really the right word, technically it's just wrong but I was trying not to be too blunt about it. However long a valley cubit is, the scale can only be correct for certain parts of the map, and not for the rest.

Well, I agree, it is 'wrong' in the sense that it is only correct at a certain elevation and distance from the center - but how would you go about giving some sense of scale? In the same way you have "panoramic" views of cities and tourist destinations where a rough guide to the distance, say from the Church of Alpha to the Castle of Omega, gives the visitor an idea of how long they will have to walk.

Would it make more sense to note something along the lines of, "Ye river here be 100 valley cubits wide"?

Gidde
03-31-2012, 09:34 AM
Not to jump on Hai-Etlik's point here, but for my two cents, I think it would indeed make more sense. And for the record, a color version would be awesome.

lostatsea
03-31-2012, 12:38 PM
Hi everyone . This is a long one Sorry !:P First let me state that I Knew the kind of reception My entry would get. I knew it would be confused as a Grey-Scale. I have “Different” tastes. At the picnic where everyone else is eating a vanilla ice cream cone I have the sundae with Hot fudge Marshmallow sauce, nuts and sprinkles. I don’t go against the flow just to go against the flow. I just have much different tastes. It show in my “works” . I didn't expect it to fair well ! :D It was quite a learning session for me and PS.Well worth the time and effort.
When this contest IDEA was posted I stated I was looking forward to seeing how others would "Attack" the limitations of this contest .The entries are all technically excellent . But I was hoping for more than the typical hand drawn line art effect. Nothing wrong with that style just too Vanilla for me!

I voted for Rudvik: City of the Pit Lord by Lukc because of the different approach of its unique perspective And REAL Hand drawn Look.
I voted for The Principality of Altamira by Diamond because it has his usual great composition and attention to detail.

Hai-Etlik



March Challenge Entry : Serpent Isles by lostatsea

It's an interesting idea, but you have a lot of grey in there that isn't really in keeping with the theme.

Actually if you save the attachment to desktop and use a viewer that zooms to more than 100% you will see that the only “REAL” greys are the HUTS, the TREES and the “Watermark”. The Greys in the Huts and Trees Are from PS anti-aliasing the brushes. The watermark is Black but in order to “look” right the opacity is greatly reduced Thereby causing the grey color. I was willing to be disqualified on this account for the sake of the “EFFECT”.
If the “Theme” is to look like a hand drawn line drawing in Black and White then I Missed that condition in the Challenge description. Also That would eliminate Your entry as well as Yours doesn’t meet those conditions either.
Earlier versions of my entry had a different resolution which show the Black and White clearly at 100% . But It was hard on the eyes! :) I tried to balance the aesthetic of the 37% and the 100% view. Looks Grey now at both those Resolutions.


, and tossing a halftone filter over a grey scale image

Running Data package through a GIS program Seems to be the same thing.


Here's a test run of the stippling algorithm with 20000 points and 20 iterations. It took several hours. I may have to come up with a more efficient way to do this.

The original WIP was done in RGB Then the Individual elements were run through a halftone Filter many hand input settings were tried to explore the limitations and try to find the optimum effects for each element. It took several hours with varied amounts of success !? It was then converted to Grey-scale In order to shrink the file size before converting it to Jpeg at reduced Quality to get it under the posting size limit. Hardly the push of a “Magic” button and Viola Done.


does seem little a bit like it's trying to bypass the spirit of the rules.

“Bypass the Spirit of the contest “ Talk about a grey area!:? Some might say taking a already started And posted Color map and Keeping its Basic form changing it to Black and White and changing up the “stippling algorithm” Seems vaguely to violate the Non- previous work “rule” . (Yes I know there was more to it than that ! ) But then again most the rules in these contest Have been bent at one time or another for the sake of an interesting challenge. I am all for that ; It's all for fun Right ?


It also makes for poor contrast which makes the map harder to read.
Perhaps.

If I have any thing against your own entry, It is that the tree patterns Seem abit too dense ; this to me makes the map look crowded . Also harder too view specific details. This maybe Mathematically correct according to the data but still detracts from the map Aesthetically. IMHO.

If there "Seems" to be a Tone in this post there is. Tone begets Tone !

ravells
03-31-2012, 02:49 PM
Peace everyone.

http://i.imgur.com/JzXHB.jpg

cereth
03-31-2012, 02:54 PM
Peace everyone.

http://i.imgur.com/JzXHB.jpg

Lol Ravells :)

Lukc
03-31-2012, 03:26 PM
I also call for peace :) but I only post my avatar kitty ... :)

Meow.

Hai-Etlik
03-31-2012, 04:06 PM
I also call for peace :) but I only post my avatar kitty ... :)

Meow.

Maybe I should just give up on saying anything about other people's maps.

torstan
03-31-2012, 04:22 PM
These are valid points, and everyone should feel free to make reasonable critiques of others work. However, always appreciate that whatever someone else posts has taken time, effort and lot of thought to put together. As with other forums, critique others as you would wish to be critiqued yourself.

For what it's worth, I personally judge 30% opaque black to be grey, and not to be within the remit of the challenge. However we do not normally disqualify entries to contests. The community tends not to vote for those entries in the end, which does a good job of policing different interpretations of the rules.

I'm happy for members to stretch the limits of what can be done, and this contest showed a range of different ways to interpret the restrictions. I'm very happy to see that creativity being stretched, rather than find people trying to guess what will and will not be allowed. One side effect is that some results will be out of line with what others believe to be the 'spirit' of the contest, including myself. I think this is a good thing.

So I hope people do not stop stretching the boundaries, and I also hope people will not stop calling them on it when they feel they cross the line. As long as it remains good natured and in the spirit of constructive and friendly competition, it'll only make us all better illustrators at the end of the day.

EricPoehlsen
03-31-2012, 06:11 PM
I think that the challenge forums are the place for the most direct and harshest critique. Everyone posting something here should expect that. What is to be expected, are honest and true critiques with a reasoning. It does not have to be positive or even constructive but if someone says 'I do(n't) like it' I want to know why.

Diamond
03-31-2012, 06:48 PM
I for one value any and all critique and criticism. I knew I had aliasing issues, but I had no idea how to fix them, despite several experiments. If other people point out problems that I knew existed, it reinforces that there were problems, and helps remind me to learn and fix 'em next time. :D

rpgmapmaker
03-31-2012, 07:32 PM
March Challenge Entry - The Land of Danor by rpgmapmaker

I like it, although I have the same criticism about the outlined text as with Diamond's map. The coast outline has noticeable raster aliasing. Some of the symbols look like they were drawn at different scales and a few of them are rather noticeably repeated.


Thank you for the critique! I did all of those things! you have a good eye. Now that I have a drawing tablet I hope I can draw things in the computer all the same scale and not have several scans that are drawn and re-sized at different times to try and fit them together. The repeating was on purpose though. I have seen many maps from novels that have repeated elements. I may have done it too much... anyway thanks again for the honest and helpful critique. Don't stop giving your opinion.


I for one value any and all critique and criticism. I knew I had aliasing issues, but I had no idea how to fix them, despite several experiments. If other people point out problems that I knew existed, it reinforces that there were problems, and helps remind me to learn and fix 'em next time. :D

Here Here! Any and all critique and criticism are welcome.

I know how to get rid of gray pixels ... I did not do it on my map because it would have looked wired... yours holds up very well to the possess. for all who are wondering.

Save your files with the "Save For Web" (in PhotoShop not sure how in GIMP). This gives you the ability to save files with only the colors you want. This also greatly reduces the file size.

43553

Here is my map and Diamond's map saved as .gif with only two colors (000000 and FFFFFF).

4355543552

I hope this information helps someone.

-RPGMM

jfrazierjr
03-31-2012, 07:54 PM
Here Here! Any and all critique and criticism are welcome.


Agreed. Personally, I feel quite dejected when no one takes the time to say anything about a map I have started and posted a WIP. I have way to much going on in my life, so anything anyone says to try to be helpful actually helps motivate me at a point when I need it. I wish I could crank out maps like many of you guys here, but I just get side tracked way to easily and without a driving motivator("hmm.. have you tried to do X? I think that would make it look better"), it's way to easy for me to let things slide. As an example, I have a region map in the WIP forums that I started over 3 years ago for my campaign. However, since my players are still underground(started there) and won't be going above ground for the next year or so, I have little motivation to do more on the map without some other external force at work....

Diamond
03-31-2012, 09:53 PM
@RPGMM: Huh. That actually did hold up pretty well. A little scraggly but not too bad at all.

@jfrazierjr: I'm guilty of that. Sometimes I just don't know how to articulate what I want to say about a map, and so I say nothing at all. I'll try to work on that.

Schwarzkreuz
03-31-2012, 10:03 PM
Critiques are one of the reasons I am here on this Board. Without it I would not have been so productive first in a long time. Well the written word can sometimes be harsh in different ways and I appraciate everyone who takes a moment of his/hers lifetime to comment on others work, but I guess sometimes things can get a bit hairy. Lets put our energy into the next competative fight of the Challenge.

Jaxilon
04-01-2012, 12:00 AM
Sometimes it takes me a long time to craft my wording so others clearly understand what I am trying to say. I wouldn't waste my time picking at them for no reason. Knowing how quickly things can blow out of proportion over the Internet I seldom get into the details unless I have the time to try and do it right.

People who know me know I won't blow a hole in someone's boat just to be a jerk. I don't offend a lot of folks in life and I get along with others. If someone has an issue with me everyone is left scratching their heads as to how that happened. Of course, some people are just looking to be offended and for them, once I figure that out, I couldn't give a rats patoot. Having said that pretty much everyone here is helpful and well intentioned when they point out something in your work. I appreciate it even if it does make me redo something I just spent two hours on because it is going to make the piece better.

So I'm with you guys and love to get some feedback. I like to try and explain my thinking on how I vote but I don't always have the time and energy. :/

One final thought - I have in the past received comments as to why someone didn't like my entry and I would have loved to had that during the WIP process instead of after the lock-down. I think it can, especially if the one posting is also in the challenge, feel a bit like a low blow when it comes in after the fact. I mean, had they said something a week prior you could have a chance to change it. Still, you have to appreciate that someone was willing to even give your piece enough thought as to say something worthwhile about it. Understandably, if you are also in a challenge you could be busy right up to the cut off and not had any time to look at other's WIPs, much less critique them. As well, if you are not involved in the challenge you may only come through during the voting process and that is to be expected. In the end, any feedback is a favor.

cereth
04-01-2012, 12:57 AM
I love all feedback I get, both positive and negative. I have learned so much from this community and value everyone's opinions, even when I disagree. I have placed second in so many map challenges that I've lost count, but it always forces me to go out the next month and push myself a little farther.

Lukc
04-01-2012, 10:16 AM
I have to agree. I hope I did not come across as being opposed to Hai-etik's critique of my work. On the contrary, I took it quite seriously and I agree that he has made several very valid points. On other items, I responded with my reasoning behind some of the problems that eventually arose - such as the question of map-and-font - this is something that has interested me for a long time and in my challenge entry I picked a solution, which ended up looking dissonant.

Often when you spend a long time working on something, you become blind to problems and errors. A second, third, fourth point of view helps so much to improve the quality of work that it's quite amazing. So, to all who take the time to comment and analyse: thank you!

Hai-Etlik
04-01-2012, 07:18 PM
I have to agree. I hope I did not come across as being opposed to Hai-etik's critique of my work. On the contrary, I took it quite seriously and I agree that he has made several very valid points. On other items, I responded with my reasoning behind some of the problems that eventually arose - such as the question of map-and-font - this is something that has interested me for a long time and in my challenge entry I picked a solution, which ended up looking dissonant.

Well it was the "call for peace" bit that bothered me. Up until then I had thought things were well, peaceful and going well. When You posted that I thought you were saying that you thought I was being hostile in my criticism.

Lukc
04-02-2012, 03:13 AM
Well it was the "call for peace" bit that bothered me. Up until then I had thought things were well, peaceful and going well. When You posted that I thought you were saying that you thought I was being hostile in my criticism.

No, I didn't think you were being hostile at all - ravells just posted a pretty picture of a kitty and doggy and I have a kitty for my avatar, so it seemed to fit in. Personally I always find your comments and critiques enlightening because, frankly, you know so much more about GIS and the mathematics of cartography than me.

Hai-Etlik
04-02-2012, 03:47 AM
No, I didn't think you were being hostile at all - ravells just posted a pretty picture of a kitty and doggy and I have a kitty for my avatar, so it seemed to fit in. Personally I always find your comments and critiques enlightening because, frankly, you know so much more about GIS and the mathematics of cartography than me.

Heh, well, I seem to have provoked a whole page and a half of extra comments in this thread over a misunderstanding then.

Hai-Etlik
04-02-2012, 04:19 AM
I know how to get rid of gray pixels ... I did not do it on my map because it would have looked wired... yours holds up very well to the possess. for all who are wondering.

Save your files with the "Save For Web" (in PhotoShop not sure how in GIMP). This gives you the ability to save files with only the colors you want. This also greatly reduces the file size.

I did something similar with mine. The symbol layer had to be rasterized separately from the rest in order to keep Inkscape from choking on the 80000 or so discrete symbols. So I exported that from QGIS at 600 DPI, then reduced the colour depth in GIMP, exported the rest to an SVG, and loaded the two into Inkscape.

This led to a mismatch between the look of the antialiased vector elements and the non-anti-aliased raster ones. So I exported from Inkscape at 600 DPI, loaded into the GIMP again, reduced colour depth to 2 again, and saved that for printing (I designed it for printing at 22x17in). Then returned to greyscale, and and resampled to 200 DPI to get a consistent but anti-aliased look. Finally I reduced colour depth to 8 which kept the file size down without any significant visual impact.

Gidde
04-02-2012, 09:17 AM
Thanks for the step by step on that, Hai. This is a pretty important process for all of us wannabe novelists who are in here trying to make maps for our writing!!

TheBigBlueFrog
04-02-2012, 09:45 AM
Hi, I'm new here. Just voted for Lukc's Rudvik: City of the Pit Lord. The forced 1-point perspective got me. It makes me want to walk around the place.

Diamond
04-03-2012, 12:32 AM
Ah, so close... I think I was within 3 votes at one point. :D

Congrats on the win, Lukc; very well-deserved!

Gidde
04-03-2012, 12:37 AM
Congrats Lukc!

Morgan
04-03-2012, 01:19 AM
Congratulations to Lukc for winning the contest and to all the other mappers for their great entries. Loved this challenge!

Lukc
04-03-2012, 02:29 AM
Thanks for the votes, it really means a lot, and congratulations to everyone who took part!

And again, apologies to Hai-etik for starting a controversy that was so miscommunicated :o

Sapiento
04-03-2012, 03:38 AM
Congrats! Well deserved.

ravells
04-03-2012, 04:14 AM
Congrats, Lukc!

Hai-Etlik
04-03-2012, 04:22 AM
And again, apologies to Hai-etik for starting a controversy that was so miscommunicated :o

I'd say that was more my fault than yours. Congrats on the win.

torstan
04-03-2012, 11:39 AM
Congrats Lukc! A shiny golden compass is winging it's way to you as we speak.

Lukc
04-03-2012, 01:28 PM
Yay! I'm a compassiferous entity 8)