View Full Version : Unnatural/Natural components of maps

04-09-2012, 04:18 PM
A while back, I have posted an opinion question about how you all create your maps; geology or higher power. Many of you answered with high-power, which is perfectly fine. But I have a situation that I thought would be perfect for a story I have been working on.

For those who loved James Cameron's Avatar, one of the things I liked about the film is the natural beauty of the film. Exotic but beautiful. I pose this question in reference to a moment within the film.

How would you draw a floating island or piece of land floating - by some unnatural/unexplained force - on a map? How would you label it as such?

04-09-2012, 04:51 PM
In profile. :)

04-09-2012, 05:03 PM
In profile. :)

That really doesn't help much.

04-09-2012, 05:09 PM
I think he means from a sidelong view. a 3/4 view also works well for such things. If you are wanting to do it from top down then it will be challenging. Drop shadows are going to have to be spot on to get the point across.

Also, your labels can help. "The flying Rock", "Helium City" or some other giveaway name like that.

Cunning Cartographer
04-12-2012, 04:54 AM
The other day I was looking over some ISO dungeon maps and thinking "these are pretty, but how are they even useful".... and now I see how :) A secondary picture is pretty much the way to go to set the tone (I play VTT so I use tone images all the time to get the idea across of a setting before loading up maps). to try and do this with JUST the map is going to be harder than that, but not impossible.

Some ideas on how to demonstrate it:

- Experimenting with the shadow. If you made the map a sunset/sunrise picture so that the light source is coming from a side on position as oppose to directly above, you can show that the shadow isn't connected to the rock at its base giving the effect that it is floating. With some long shadows from things actually on top of the landmass (rocks/trees/buildings, etc.) it will show that you do actually know that shadows should be connected, so obviously the big shadow has been disconnected for a reason!
- Have something running from one side of the landmass and underneath it, like a road or a river (something that wouldn't/shouldn't have any breaks in it). It's doing to difficult to demonstrate that the road or river goes under the landmass as opposed to around its base but might work as an added element to show the the terrain under the landmass is passable.
- Use some semi isometric perspective techniques (see BigBlueFrog's current Lite Mapping Challenge (http://www.cartographersguild.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=43882) from this month) then you may be able to play with the image and give the right impression.

04-12-2012, 06:06 PM
We had a challenge once and someone did a floating castle where it was sharp but the background was all blurred and it worked a charm. I recall a chap called Torq did a battlement map with various layers to it all blurred at different amounts and it looked great too. So thats one way to cover it. Also, you can do clouds under the castle. Tho they do have to look like real clouds in order for the effect to work else it looks like fog.

04-15-2012, 10:57 PM
I managed to figure out how to do the floating islands in CC3: a separate land sheet and special drop shadow on it.

One of the things I find fun when writing stories is to make the world I write unbelievable while making it possibly believable. After all, when writing stories that involve dwarves and other terranian species (underground folk), we have to mention their cities of stone under the mountain. Obviously, the best way to map it is to put a special icon on the map to indicate a dwarven structure. However, one of my lazy friends wants to know how to map an underground map.

What he likes to write is a two-shelled planet. Obviously, my answer was to do the maps individually. But he presents to me with the frustrating question; how can I superimpose the two maps so they look seamless?

Can I ask for common sense from this world?

04-16-2012, 11:32 AM
Superimposed maps creates an interesting problem ...

Perhaps two versions of the map.
Map 1 clearly shows the upper 'world' with a ghost of the lower 'world' overlaid on it.
Map 2 clearly shows the lower 'world' with a ghost of the upper 'world' overlaid on it.