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Caenwyr
11-23-2012, 06:14 PM
Hi there people!

In my previous thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/20001-foam-carthography.html) I already showed you a picture of the Twin Kingdoms, though I didn't go any deeper into it at that moment. I believe the time has come for me to show you another iteration of that map.

Perhaps I should start with a little history of the map. After all I've been working on it for several years now (rather uncontinuously, as the novel I'm writing, and the language I'm developing, are taking up much of my spare time already), and the world has undergone quite some change since I first put pen to paper. I won't go very deep into it, I'll just show you some pictures of how it was, ending with the one I posted in the thread referred to above. The images embedded are fairly small, but I've added a link in each title to the full resolution image, so you can zoom in until your head pops off.

iteration 1: (https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Eb2iCS-wJo5B71CrW2OMApcrFyaZjb5WTbm7alOLLGA?feat=directli nk)
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iteration 2: (https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/MpTznY4yi8V2Ba8gm8da75crFyaZjb5WTbm7alOLLGA?feat=d irectlink)
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iteration 3: (https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/DONs2VvAmjnYThf7s0J9cpcrFyaZjb5WTbm7alOLLGA?feat=d irectlink)
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iteration 4: (https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/UguJ955wiY8WoynBpM40fpcrFyaZjb5WTbm7alOLLGA?feat=d irectlink)
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iteration 5: (https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/2sGlp7q_yjfc4ZtDM2qMY5crFyaZjb5WTbm7alOLLGA?feat=d irectlink)
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Though I kinda liked the "topographic" colours of the 4th iteration, I wasn't at all pleased with the topography itself. Iteration 5 was the logical follow-up, this time using Arsheesh's amazing tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?18280-Award-Winner-Eriond-A-Tutorial-for-GIMP-amp-Wilbur). Alas the effect still wasn't to my liking, mainly because the rugged coasts in the northwestern corner of the map and the one to the south weren't all that rugged the way I had drawn them.

It was time for another update of the map. And because I didn't want to end up with those silly, oversized pseudofjords anymore, I decided to get my inspiration from the real world. Or to be more exact: from Google Maps. Every stretch of coastline you'll see below, was shamelessly stolen from real-life shores, ensuring the feel of reality. And while I was at it, I decided to draw the mountains again too. And oh, kick the cities around a bit. With new icons of course. And hey, why not throw in some forests too?

So basically I started with the modest ambition of redrawing my shorelines... and ended up redoing the entire map. Oh well, it's not like I have anything better to do, right? Right?

Not right, but I'm sure you're in the same situation when you're bitten by the mapping bug. Time or no time, you HAVE to make that map. And that's what I did. And here, after all this jibber jabber, it is:

geomorphology:
(https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/vDY9sBr7x2Ys8_R8ZWz3lpcrFyaZjb5WTbm7alOLLGA?feat=d irectlink)50191

cities and roads:
(https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/qO12hhRzi_xy57aqZJHFjpcrFyaZjb5WTbm7alOLLGA?feat=d irectlink)50192

And here are two possible representations of the political borders: a simple dashed line (https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/2kW69m_Yb7cT9o4gvFlaOZcrFyaZjb5WTbm7alOLLGA?feat=d irectlink) and coloured outlines (https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/U_OfuxVGg75mJJv8JLWvfJcrFyaZjb5WTbm7alOLLGA?feat=d irectlink).
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Which of the two do you like best? And more important even: do you like the look of this iteration at all?

Diamond
11-23-2012, 06:49 PM
The dotted line definitely looks much better, in my opinion. Just wish I could zoom in further to see more detail. Have some rep, nonetheless; it really does look fantastic.

Caenwyr
11-23-2012, 06:59 PM
The dotted line definitely looks much better, in my opinion. Just wish I could zoom in further to see more detail. Have some rep, nonetheless; it really does look fantastic.

You can zoom in all the way to infinity if you want - just click on the line above each picture! And: thanks a bunch for the rep, Diamond, I love it when that happens! ;-)

Caenwyr
11-26-2012, 06:00 AM
So I decided to go with the dotted borders, as Diamond and some others suggested. I adopted this style for the (smaller) borders between the different counties in both kingdoms - you'll see those as small yellow dots. I also changed the colour of the roads from red to black, so as to clash less with the overall greeish-blueish feel of the map. Lastly I added the names of the duchies, and that'll probably be the most visible change. I hope it's not too much. What do you think?

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PS: I added a fullsize image immediately, instead of a link to the picasaweb page in the image title. That should make navigation a bit easier.

Eilathen
11-26-2012, 08:00 AM
Very very nice! I like it a lot...all of it. I have a hard time deciding which version i like best. I really hope we will se more of this world (in the other thread, you showed us the world-map. I hope you'll make detail maps of every part). Have some rep.!
Oh and if you feel like telling us about the world itself, go ahead, i am all ears :)

Diamond
11-26-2012, 04:28 PM
Yes! Very nice. For whatever reason I wasn't able to zoom in on the Picasa-hosted map, so thanks for posting the image here directly. I'd rep you again if I could...

Lalaithion
11-26-2012, 06:20 PM
Beautiful. I personally prefer the colored borders, they are more clear to see.

gbsilverio
11-26-2012, 06:52 PM
Very nice! My only addition is that I think it would look better if the oceans had some kind of texture. It still looks awesome without it, though!

arsheesh
11-26-2012, 08:45 PM
This is lovely work! The colors turned out beautifully (especially the sea, much better than mine). Really great work on this Caenwyr.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Caenwyr
11-27-2012, 04:24 AM
Very very nice! I like it a lot...all of it. I have a hard time deciding which version i like best. I really hope we will se more of this world (in the other thread, you showed us the world-map. I hope you'll make detail maps of every part). Have some rep.!
Oh and if you feel like telling us about the world itself, go ahead, i am all ears :)
Getting me started on the world is not the problem. Getting me to shut up again might be. Just ask me what you want to know, and I'll be happy to answer. Let me share the first words of my prologue with you, translated to English for your comfort (since I'm sure your Dutch is somewhat rusty atm :P). I'm sure there are numerous mistakes in the English translation, but I hope you'll get the general idea nevertheless. Here goes:


It was the last moon of winter. In the forests of Sarand hung a dense fog, snow lay in thick packs draped over the pine trees, slope after slope. The whole world was reduced to shades of black, white and icy blue. On the crest of a hill, in a clearing among the trees, stood an icy signpost: 10 miles to Tormic. Beneath it was a faded track where the snow was slightly less deep, as if someone had passed before the last heavy snowfall. Except for the signpost and the track, however, there was no trace of human civilization. A large raven came flying from the forest with lazy wing beats, looked around and then installed itself on the pole. Proudly he looked over the silent landscape - the king of a fallen world.
All rights reserved, of course. Caenwyr, 2012


Beautiful. I personally prefer the colored borders, they are more clear to see.
I agree that they're clearer to see, but I'm not sure about the aesthetics. I have come to think coloured borders would look better on a parchment kind of map, focused on politics, while this map is more about geomorphology.


Very nice! My only addition is that I think it would look better if the oceans had some kind of texture. It still looks awesome without it, though!
I should add some texture, shouldn't I? Any idea where I could get a nice wavy texture that doesn't distract the viewer from the land mass?


This is lovely work! The colors turned out beautifully (especially the sea, much better than mine). Really great work on this Caenwyr.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh
Thanks Arsheesh, that means a lot! Especially since it was your tutorial that started all this!

I guess the only thing left to do for now is the labelling of the rivers. Which will be a HUGE pain in the ass, I'm sure. According to this guide (http://www.cartographersguild.com/reference-material/12373-positioning-names-maps.html), I'm supposed to make my labels float along the riverbanks. I guess I'll have to break out Inkscape for that - there's no way I'm gonna do that kind of vector work in GIMP. *sigh* I guess the fun part is over, and the messy part begins :P

amberroberts09
11-27-2012, 07:06 AM
You have did a great work...!!!

Rhotherian
11-27-2012, 07:59 AM
This map is very nice.

On your question on the OP: which of those two last maps do I like best? I'll have to say I prefer the second (the one with the coloured borders). I'd just make the colour's of the nations stand out less or make them more transparrent. Either that, or I'd make the background map's colour less saturated. Just to make it less busy on the eyes. :)

Edit: On second thought, I like the colour the way it is now. ^^

Eilathen
11-27-2012, 11:25 AM
Getting me started on the world is not the problem. Getting me to shut up again might be. Just ask me what you want to know, and I'll be happy to answer. Let me share the first words of my prologue with you, translated to English for your comfort (since I'm sure your Dutch is somewhat rusty atm :P). I'm sure there are numerous mistakes in the English translation, but I hope you'll get the general idea nevertheless.

Lol...well, fire away, i am sure i can stop you if need be ;) More seriously: I'm an enthusiastic roleplayer (pen & paper) and therefore always interested in a world's history, its races and realms-write-ups. So if you feel like it, tell me about those fields of knowledge.
And you were right...my dutch is rusty. It is so rusty, it ceased existing :P But i can offer you german as a substitute :D

Caenwyr
11-28-2012, 07:09 AM
Lol...well, fire away, i am sure i can stop you if need be ;) More seriously: I'm an enthusiastic roleplayer (pen & paper) and therefore always interested in a world's history, its races and realms-write-ups. So if you feel like it, tell me about those fields of knowledge.
And you were right...my dutch is rusty. It is so rusty, it ceased existing :P But i can offer you german as a substitute :D
I should be able to say two or three things in German when really pressed - my father in law is German - but for clearity's sake, I guess the safest way would still be English ;). Okay, here goes!


History and politics

When it comes to history and politics, I really could go on for ages. I have a Short History of Araniell written down, but it takes up tens of pages and is in completely uncomprehensible Dutch. I'll suffice with an overview.

The Four Ages
The history of my world can be split up in four main periods. The Twilit Times is the period from before the oldest stories. All that remains of this time is the physical world, which is said to be wrought at the very beginning of the Twilit times. Mountains and rivers, forests and deserts were formed and danced throughout the Twilit Times, but when they found their final resting place, the second period began.

The Age of Legends is the period in which the Gods were physical entities on this world. They created the first humans and interacted with them face to face. There is said to have been a magical empire, ruled from a magnificent city called Ictarion, where Gods and men lived side by side. No one really knows where Ictarion used to be, no traces of it have ever been found. All we know is that it was a magical place, that only beauty lived there, and that it was eventually destroyed in a war between the Gods. When Ictarion fell, the Gods left the world in shame, and the Age of Legends came to its end.

The third period in history is the Age of Heroes. Some of the people living in Ictarion managed to escape, and they roamed the world looking for a place to settle. Many stories of their adventures and those of their offspring have survided until the time of the narrative, some of those recording encounters with mythical creatures such as dragons and unicorns. Some heroes died, some found mythical weapons and conquered strange peoples, others found love at the end of their journey, and built a home for themselves and their families. They are the ones that are said to have started many of the powerful houses in the 'now' of my story. The Age of Heroes does not end abruptly. It fades into the next, which is called the Age of Kings. It is in this age that the real History of my kingdoms starts.

I already told there were several powerful houses in what is nowadays called the Lands of Aran and Ilan. Aran is roughly the region east of the central mountain ridge on the map, Ilan is the region west of it. At the beginning of the Age of Kings, there were numerous little kingdoms spread over the map. Every powerful house ruled over its own little patch of the Lands, and was at constant war with its neighbours. Kingdoms fell and were absorbed, others grew and prosperred, only to wither during a Plague. Many of the ancient houses lost their independence or simply ceased to exist. Things went on like that for hundreds of years, until something happened in a quite place on a grassy shore.

A new Kingdom
Where now lies the city of Cailltir, in those days there was only gras. It was nothing but a stretch of flat land on the edge of the river Lia, ruled by an order of priests from an insignificant convent on a muddy island in the stream. The only reason why it was of any significance at all, was a merchant fair, which took place on that grassy riverbank every spring, and attracted merchants from all over Aran. The fair was organized by the order of priests, but the ruler in that part of the world was a man named Yvrid, reigning the kingdom of Tilia from his capital Tilbar. (Tilia took up about 2/3 of what is nowadays called Barann). Tilia had been at war with several of its neighbours for more than a generation now, and its funds were critically low. They decided to take over as much of the commerce as possible, and eventually turned their attention to the merchant fair on the banks of the Lia. Tensions were already palpable between the priests and king Yvrid, and they only rised when he decided to impose heavy taxes on all merchants coming to the fair. It was the year 2823, and the world was ready for a revolution. All that was needed was a spark. And the spark came in the form of a fairly minor incident: a Tilbarian soldier raping a merchant girl.

What started as a mere revolt, killing a few Tilbarian soldiers and chasing away the others, caused a heavily undue reaction from the king. Instead of a few soldiers, he brought along every man he could miss to beat down the opposition. He thought the merchants would scatter soon enough when they heard he was approaching with his army. While about half of them did, the others, however, stayed. For a man had emerged from the masses. A man ready to fight Yvrid, knowing he could win. A man with the short but meaningful name Call. With the help of only a handful of merchant bodyguards, he managed to fire up the merchants to rebellion. The priests agreed to feed the rebels until the arrival of the king, but refused to turn their little island in the stream into a defendable position. Call understood, and envisioned another option. They had two weeks time before the enemy would arrive, far too short to build a real castle, but enough to build a motte-and-bailey.

Without going into any further detail, I can say they survided the siege that followed, though only barely. It was chance that threw off Yvrid that first time, and chance that led his other, older enemies to start a coordinated war against Tilia in the next summer, giving Call and his merchants the time to build the first permanent settlement on the banks of the Lia. He decided to call the place Sarassin, Freedom in the language of the Arans, but his followers came to name it simply Caill Tir instead, the city of Call. And that is how it came to be known to the world around. The fame of Caill Tir (or Cailltir) spread fast: a city that grew on the place of the first succesful rebellion against Tilbar! People looking for freedom came from all directions, and Cailltir started growing feverishly. When a few years later Yvrid had finally managed to fight off his enemies and came for Cailltir again, he found a small, bustling city where he left a handful of merchant rebels. That, and an army under its gates.
The battle for Cailltir raged well into the night, and things were uncertain for a long time. But eventually, as you can guess, it was the Cailltirians that won. Yvrid fled the battlefield before the end, and hid in Tilbar. Cailltir once again proved too strong for Tilbar, and this time the priests decided to reward the people of Cailltir. They declared the lands around the city a new and young kingdom named The Garden of Aran (or Arain Nial, which changed into Araniell over time), and proclaimed Call to become the first king.

The expansion
Things weren't over yet, rest assured. It took a third war before Tilbar was finally defeated, and quite a bit of treason and scheming (after all that's what makes a dull war story interesting), but eventually Tilia and all its lands came to Araniell. And that was only the start. Because in the course of the following centuries, Araniell not only managed to maintain its lands - it even grew. Sometimes by battle, sometimes by marriage, until it had conquered all the lands on that side of the mountains. And then it grew further.

What with Ilan?
The western kingdoms were still at war with one another when Araniell appeared at its doorstep. They tried their best, but failed to keep the Aranians out. Araniell washed over them like a giant wave, annexing one small kingdom after the other. They founded a new capital at the western ocean and named it Fyrnan. Their power grew and grew. And then, three hundred years after Call's rebellion, the expansion stopped. Internal troubles paired with several outbreaks of the Plague resulted in a breakup of the massive kingdom. In the east, most lands remained faithful to Cailltir, though there too were uprisings. But in the lands called Ilan, several regions managed to wring themselves free from the Arain oppression. Sarand was the first to go, but they were soon brought back into the federation with massive use of force. Cell was next, and they managed to fight off the enemy. And eventually even Fyrnan itself declared itself independent. If Araniell had been in any better shape, they would have reacted to that last outrage with massive resources. But they had internal battles to fight. Ilan broke away from the federation, and started an Arain-inspired rule, but it was far too late for that. While both kingdoms were still recovering from the last outbreak of the plague, five major Ilain lords came together, and founded the Council of Lords. Together, they would define the course of the kingdom in a way the weak Fyrnan king could never hope to acquire. They never really abolished the notion of a king so they kept him and his seat, but the real power from that day on lay in their five houses. When Araniell struggled out of the post-plague destruction, they found a neighouring country in pretty good shape, and a new enemy not to be underestimated. For what could one king begin against a Council of five?


Wew, that was quite something, wasn't it? If you're still reading after all this jibber jabber, I'll gladly go on a bit about the races in Aran and Ilan.


Races and peoples, and some more history

When it comes to races, there's only really one in my world, and that's humans (at least at the moment, no one knows what I'll come up with along the way). There are wizards and seers, but those are just humans with a talent for magic and a feel for the etherial world (also called the Sphere). While humans have existed for thousands of years, wizards and seers were a fairly recent phenomenon, a slowly growing community that mostly kept to themselves and gradually split up in two factions: those that used their powers to create Order, and those that preferred Chaos. Originally this schism was on a mere philosophical level, but when the chaos faction started working themselves up in the hierarchical ranks of the 'mortal' world, somewhere in the first half of the third century after Call's rebellion, things started to look ugly for the mortals. Eventually this resulted in a Magical Advisory Council that managed to turn itself into the only advising body of the king of Araniell, which in its turn inevitably led to a cataclysmic civil war, ripping the kingdom apart. The mortals would never have won the war hadn't the Order faction come to their aid. They made a device called the Agnion, capable of tracing any etherial activity. With it, they managed to virtually exterminate the Chaos faction, though there were heavy losses on the Order and mortal side as well.

When the war was over, the Aranians decided they would never suffer the oppression by wizards again, and closed down all etherial institutes, including those of the remainders of the Order faction. The Order wizards, reduced to a tiny minority again, went underground, and devoted themselves to study, while the rest of the world slowly rebuilt itself from the ashes of the war. When years turned to centuries, eventually everyone, even the wizards and seers of the Order faction, came to believe the Chaos faction was destroyed. But was it really? Because after all, the extermination only happened in Araniell, didn't it?




And that, my friends, is the starting point of my novel. If you want to know anything more, I suggest you wait until it's published (if that ever happens) and learn Dutch in the meantime :D

Caenwyr
11-29-2012, 02:33 PM
Time for another updated that is actually related to cartography ;).

Changes since my last update:

changed some of the roads in the western part of the map (several major roads (large black dots) have become provincial roads (smaller dots)
named at least some of my rivers. Boy, such a pain in the ass, all that "text align to path" crap. Bleh!
moved most of my city names around, so as to position them closer to where they belong according to that horrible (but unfortunately quite correct) guide I reffered to earlier
added some texture to the ocean. While this only took about 5% of my time, it is probably the most visible change



### LATEST WIP ###

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I'd be much obliged if you guys would comment on any of the points I listed above. I'm pretty unsure about each of them, to be honest. Let me know what you think!

Caenwyr
11-30-2012, 08:53 AM
A short intermediate update, with some more adaptions I did to my seafloor bumpmap.

### latest WIP ###

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All critique is welcome, as always!

Rhotherian
11-30-2012, 12:50 PM
The coastlines are still pretty pixilated, though. The sea at Cailltir is also missing. Also the big lake at the north of the map lacks a name. And I still prefer the one with coloured nations (the inside of their borders, at least) - for one, that makes it easier to see to which nations the various islands belong, as well as making it easier to make out where the nations are without having to zoom in. Then I'd also use series of circles or just plain lines instead of series of squares to mark the borders, as the squares kinda make the map seem angular when zoomed in (along with the pixilated coastlines). Other than that, I generally approve. ;)

And lovely info you've got there. :)

Eilathen
11-30-2012, 01:36 PM
Cool, thanks for the World Fluff! And the map keeps improving. Looking forward to more.

Too bad i'll never be able to read your novel. But if you ever make an rpg for your world, see to it that it gets translated to english ;)

Caenwyr
12-21-2012, 11:32 AM
The coastlines are still pretty pixilated, though. The sea at Cailltir is also missing. Also the big lake at the north of the map lacks a name. And I still prefer the one with coloured nations (the inside of their borders, at least) - for one, that makes it easier to see to which nations the various islands belong, as well as making it easier to make out where the nations are without having to zoom in. Then I'd also use series of circles or just plain lines instead of series of squares to mark the borders, as the squares kinda make the map seem angular when zoomed in (along with the pixilated coastlines). Other than that, I generally approve. ;)

And lovely info you've got there. :)
Thanks for the helpful comments, Rhoterian! It took me a while, but I finally managed to update my map. Changes are:

softened the coastlines. Thank god I did. I hadn't noticed the change, but apparently I changed my Land Mask somewhere along the way, and winded up with a pixelated version of it. I went back to the original path selection, and quickly corrected it
named the lake to the north. Should've done that way back. While I was at it, I also added names to the different seas/oceans surrounding the mainland. I'm not sure about the looks of it just yet though. Let me know what you think!
adapted the borders. I still mean to go for the line look instead of the colours, but I took your suggestion about the squares and replaced them with dot-dash lines


### LATEST WIP ###

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All critique is welcome!

Diamond
12-23-2012, 11:37 PM
Much better look on those borders.

Caenwyr
12-31-2012, 11:56 AM
And here's another update of the map. I basically changed all the mountain ranges in the temperate zone (less snow seems more realistic). I also made some changes to the region around Cerval (roughly in the center of the map) since that region is important for my story. I'm sure you'll notice the changes when you look for them - really closely ;).

### LATEST WIP ###

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As always, all critique is welcome! Oh, and a happy new year to you! :D

Larb
12-31-2012, 02:41 PM
Looking pretty spectacular I have to say. I wonder if the place names white glow might look a bit better if it was a little stronger as it's quite a spindly typeface. That's about the most critique I can muster. =P

LonewandererD
01-01-2013, 09:45 AM
Very nice, I get a nice sense of this being large scale (something I lack in my maps)

-D-

rjames112
01-01-2013, 12:57 PM
I'd love a bit more detail on how you got such great work done. Particularly the borders, towns, and labels.

Caenwyr
01-10-2013, 09:50 AM
I'd love a bit more detail on how you got such great work done. Particularly the borders, towns, and labels.
Hi rjames! Thanks for the question. I'll try and give a neat explanation of each of the things you asked about.

BORDERS

These are actually pretty easy to do. I did them in GIMP (like almost all of the work). The very first thing you need to do is trace the places you want your border with a path. Once that's done, it's time to pick the colour you want the borders to have (I'm sure you know how to do that in GIMP, just make sure you have your colour of choice set as the foreground colour). Once you've done that, select your path and click [Stroke Path] in the tool options dialogue. You should get a window that gives you all sorts of options.
For the dotted borders I first created a small round brush with spacing set to 200, and then went back to the Stroke Path dialogue and selected [Stroke with a paint tool] and [Paintbrush].
For the dashed borders I went for another approach. Instead of [Stroke with a paint tool] I chose [Stroke line], opened the [Line Style] drop down menu and chose one of the many options given there.

Just fool around a bit to get familiarized with the many options of this little window. Once that's done, you should end up with some neat looking borders!

The last thing you might want to do is add a bit of a shadow.
Copy the borders layer, and make everything black. The easiest way to do this is to go [Colors|Brightness-Contrast...] and slide the Brightness slider completely to the left, and the Contrast slider completely to the right. Click [OK] to close the window.
Next, go [Filters|Blur|Gaussian Blur...] and play around with the number of pixels. Which number you pick largely depends on t he size of your dots/dashes
When that's done, move the entire layer a few pixels to the right and down (I moved every shadow layer in my map two pixels to the right and one down. Make sure you don't overdo it, or the effect will look silly. Most important of all is that you drop your shadow With respect to the direction of the light on your mountains, if those happen to be shaded as well)


TOWNS

I'm guessing you're referring to the icons I made? Well, I wish I could explain you how I did them, but unfortunately they're the result of quite a bit of messing around with Inkscape, which went horribly wrong a few times, had modest successes and finally ended up, quite surprisingly, looking the way it does now in the map. I'm afraid I can't possibly tell you how I went about it anymore. Try for yourself, I might say. But you can spare yourself the trouble by just Googling "glass ball icon" or something like that, and picking one you like. Don't mind the size, you can always correct that afterwards. What's left is making them in different sizes in order to fit to the different city types you have (royal capitals, duchy capitals, county capitals, big provincial cities, smaller towns, villages, ...). Personally I went for only three levels, but you know the credo: why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary ;)!

LABELS

To be honest, I'm still struggling with those myself. Picking the right font is a hellish job. Really. You can check out websites like Dafont (http://www.dafont.com) or FontForge (http://www.fontforge.org), insert a placename and scroll through the results. Other than that, you could try messing around a bit with the ones already installed on your system by changing the font in your wordprocessor. Like I said, it's a hellish job.

Once you've chosen your font (or several, since you might chose to have a specific river font, a cities font, a regions font, a large water bodies font etc), make sure they're installed correctly on your system. Close and restart GIMP to make sure the font archive is up to date, and start adding your labels. Make sure you skim through this guide (http://www.cartographersguild.com/reference-material/12373-positioning-names-maps.html) first, otherwise you'll probably have to do all your positioning work twice - like me, that is.

I suggest you place your city names horizontally - the guide I mentioned above will tell you the same. Those are easy enough to do. Don't mind the white glow, we'll take care of that later. Region names are usually diagonally placed, and on a certain curve. In order to do that, you'll have to get yourself acquainted with things like "text along path". It's all very nasty business to get it right, but unfortunately it's quite important. Hell, it's not even that difficult, but I'm feeling horribly lazy today, so I'll have to point you to an external source. Try reading this article (http://thecoolmama.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/using-gimp-to-create-an-artistic-regional-rpg-map-pt-5.pdf), and focus on the section "Adding Labels to Your Map". It's a long stretch of instructions, but I'm sure you'll get the idea soon enough.

Okay, so we have our labels, and we know which ones we want to have a white glow around them. Actually, the white glow can be compared with the shadows I explained earlier. The easiest way to do this (you don't want to add this glow to each label seperately) is to make all layers in your image invisible, except for the layer(s) with the labels-to-have-a-nice-little-glow. Go [Layer|New from Visible]. A new layer will appear called Visible. Rename it (by double clicking on it) to "Glow". Now it's time to make the Glow layer perfectly white. To do that, we first make it completely black (I'll explain that in a minute). Of course, if your labels already are black, just ignore the following instructions. If they're not, go [Colors|Brightness-Contrast...] and slide the Brightness slider completely to the left, and the Contrast slider completely to the right. You can't simply slide the Brightness slider to the right, because that will have all kinds of strange effects (try if you don't believe me). So the best thing you can do is make them all black the way I just said, and then go [Colors|Invert] to make them white. Once you're there, the only thing left is to blur the Glow layer. You know the drill by now: [Filters|Blur|Gaussian Blur...] and just play around with the number of pixels a bit. It won't hurt to take the same amount you used for the shadows, a bit of consistancy is great in a map if you ask me.

Now the next thing I did was to duplicate this white, blurred version of my labels, in order to double the effect. You can chose for yourself whether you like that or not. If so, merge the two layers by selecting the upper one and going [Layer|Merge down].

The very last step here is a fun one. Lower the Glow layer to just below the labels, make the other layers in your image visible again, and enjoy the feast. Tadaa!




Let me know if this was helpful at all!

Caenwyr
01-30-2013, 03:57 AM
Okay, here I am again with another update of my seafloor. I sincerely hope it'll be the last one: rendering those in Wilbur takes hours, even with the 64 bit version and a quad core. But if you still have remarks, I'll gladly look into them nevertheless.

I also added more names to the different seas (the inner sea in the north included).

One last thing: I'm still not sure how to label the mountains without blocking the view. I kinda fell in love with how they look, so the subtler the better, though I still would want them to be legible. Argh, the dilemma! Any suggestions?

###LATEST WIP###

51681

As always, thanks for watching!

- Max -
01-30-2013, 11:49 AM
To be honest the sea in the previous update was better imho. Transitions between pale and dark blue looks a bit harsh and seems odd :/ And I don't think that putting labels over your moutains will really block the wiew when looking the whole map. Try it on some of them and see if it matches your mind...

Caenwyr
01-30-2013, 04:43 PM
To be honest the sea in the previous update was better imho. Transitions between pale and dark blue looks a bit harsh and seems odd :/ And I don't think that putting labels over your moutains will really block the wiew when looking the whole map. Try it on some of them and see if it matches your mind...

You know what Max, you're absolutely right. I haven't had the time to look into those mountain labels just yet, but I managed to adapt the ocean layer so it still reflects the geomorfology of my last update, but now uses the colour scheme of the update before that.

###LATEST WIP###

51685

Let me know what you think!

- Max -
02-05-2013, 04:03 PM
Sea looks indeed better like this imo

TheHoarseWhisperer
03-22-2014, 08:59 PM
This map is looking good, Caenwyr.

I have to admit I've never been too keen on that mountain style (is it the bevel/emboss layer style in PS?), although you've done a better job than others, I think. It wasn't until now that I realised what the problem with that mountain style is: the lack of shadows. To show you what I mean, I've taken the liberty of drawing shadows on one of your mountain ranges; I think it is an improvement. What do you (and everybody else) think? (In case it isn't obvious, my intervention is on the mtns NW of Barann)

And just to clarify, it took about 3 minutes in PS with a low opacity, low hardness round brush, and painting in black on a layer set to Multiply.

EDIT: and I just found out that I've gotten confused about which Twin Kingdom's map you are currently working on, so I hope my comment is still useful to you.

THW

Caenwyr
03-23-2014, 06:51 AM
Hi THW, I absolutely agree. In fact, this is exactly why I decided to go for the handdrawn look ;)