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Prophet X
12-16-2012, 09:40 AM
Hello everyone. I have been interested in Cartography for long long time. Since I started writing my fantasy story I thought, "It may be a good Idea to where my Characters are. So I got poster board and started to build my world.

I am looking to possibly expand from hand drawn to computer generated but by my own design. I don't have a lot of money, so I was wondering if anyone knows any free or relatively cheap and easy programs to use for map development.

The more complex things I can do with it, but it still being easy to use would be great. If anyone has any ideas of a program like this please I would be forever in your debt.

Thanks

PX

Korash
12-16-2012, 10:48 AM
If you want free graphics programs I don't think you can go wrong with Inkscape and Gimp. Both are free and are, in their own way equal to Illustrator and Photoshop respectively. For Gimp we have plenty of tutorials, and after you go through some of those, trying some of the Photoshop ones (will require some translation and fiddling around to create effects that Gimp doesn't do) can yield great results. You can read more about these programs in the sticky thread at the top of this forum. Browse through the Tutorial forum to see what is available for Gimp and Inkscape and you will see what I mean.

Both of these progs will allow you to take the image of your poster board map and allow you to work with that. I must say that it will require some work learning the ins and outs of these programs, but not necessarily as much as you think if you follow some of the tuts, and you will be surprised to find out how nice a map you can make. :)

jbgibson
12-16-2012, 09:58 PM
Welcome, Prophet X -- you've come to the right corner of the web to learn some mapping, and "good" and "cheap" are not mutually exclusive! Korash steered you straight to the two most likely free apps to build a world totally from scratch. There's other free or inexpensive packages to do specialized tasks like eroding mountains realistically, or making PDF output. For a modest cost, Fractal Terrains can generate a whole world of random terrain, tweakable toward plausibility by hand.

First thing in picking a tool is picking a desired output -- what kind of style are you shooting for?