View Full Version : Help refining Atanasia

01-07-2013, 02:36 PM
Fist of all let me say this site and some of it's tutorials have helped me immensely.

I'm currently working on a world map for a book based off of a campaign my friend has run and a,m looking for feedback and hopefully tips.

A bit of background, currently I'm using photoshop CS6 for all editing since I like the layers and ability to try different things. The author had a previously drawn map on 8.5x11 that I am trying to convert into something a little more styled to his venue. Having said that I"ve got what I feel is a decent start on the land masses, rivers etc but I'm struggling now that I get to the artistic side.

Personally I'm somewhat comfortable with CS6, I'm a hobbyist photographer and have done some side jobs in basic graphic design. I'm much more comfortable with contrast and clone than I am with brushes and painting. Graphic design work has been limited to page layout and business card design. This means I should be able to understand the majority of the lingo just not the application of technique. I know enough to know I don't know enough.

Let's start with the source material. Here is the original map.

There's a lot of country/border information crammed into a little space with what looks like some very unnatural boundaries. I started by making some natural boundaries to try and make it look a little more logical for a D&D campaign but there's still more work to do there. Any advice on that front would be appreciated.

After reading and working some with the general layout I've come up with the following general layout which we are both happy with.

I've stretched things out and added some more water content to try and make it less of a ball of rock and more of a world.

From there I've got to start working on the mountain ranges, forests etc. I've got quite a few brushes that I'm happy with and thanks the layers I can get these on fairly easily but from there I run into some issues. Texture and general ageing should be fairly easy based on previous experience. Here's a quick example of the style. I'm looking for more antique or fantasy and less atlas for the end result.

My main concerns are adding some color, realistic country borders, and possibly creating a map grid to give it a sense of scale.

I'd like to keep the colors muted or washed out to keep the worn feeling but I've not done much paint work in photoshop so any advice or direction to tutorials would be appreciated.

As mentioned, there's a lot going on here and some of it is arbitrary from the authors standpoint but I'd like it to make more sense than solid lines dividing countries.

Not sure if a grid makes sense but I"m looking for some way to give it a sense of scale. Would that be in the mountain range, forest scale if not the grid? I'm new to cartography in general and have done a lot of research on the mechanics (Lat/Long, Typography, general principles) but knowing how something works and making it work are 2 different things right now.

Thanks in advance for and all feedback, hopefully with your help I can share something wonderful when I'm done.
I will say I'm having enough fun with this project that I see quite a few more in my future when this one is complete.

01-10-2013, 11:19 PM
First, welcome to the Guild!

I think you're on the right path, generally. You've taken a rough sketch and turned it into some fairly natural and workable landmasses, and you can't go wrong with the aged and folded paper approach.

Now for some critiquing:
1. If those brown lines in the landmasses are meant to be rivers, I think you need to rework them immensely. I'd go into further detail, but if those aren't rivers I don't want to belabor points you may already be aware of r.e. river placement and flow.
2. Right now your coastlines are very dark and almost pixelated in places. You might try using a medium to dark brown instead of black, and adding a slight (0.25-0.50) Gaussian blur to them.
3. I would choose a different parchment type background. This one seems to be a greatly expanded copy of an original that was much smaller. It looks messy and not-very-parchment-like when viewed at normal zoom. There are much better free parchment wallpapers and backgrounds floating around the intertubes. Alternatively, there are some good tutorials here and elsewhere on how to create your own parchment.

As far as scale goes, don't knock yourself out over it. There are several people here (Hai-Etlik in particular) who are extremely knowledgeable about actual cartography, but assuming you're not going for ultra-realism, you could stop at something as simple as a plain old scale bar. If you want detailed advice on graticules, scale, projections and the like, I highly encourage you to PM Hai-Etlik.

For country borders, I would say look at atlases, both current and historical, and see how geography, politics, and time frame help create borders. If you look at old maps of the Holy Roman Empire, for example, those borders are a nightmarish tangle based on intermarriage, feuds, trade quarrels, and a hundred other factors. Contrast that with maps of the USA, where wide open spaces and (relatively) few competitors led to lots of straight-line borders.

For color on your map, assuming you stay with an old-timey parchment look, I'd stay with muted, subdued colors, nothing garish and bright. Lots of browns, maybe some maroon and washed out blues and greens, depending on what you end up with. If the map turns out more political, concentrating more on borders vs natural features, then concentrate most of your color to helping pick out borders. If you want to focus more on terrain vs divisions and borders, then tone down the focus on the borders, keeping them simple, and concentrate most of your color and attention on the forests and mountains. If you want both, that's a little more tricky and the best thing I can tell you is to just keep experimenting until you get something you like.

Have fun, and good luck! And have some rep for jumping right in with the maps on your first post!

01-11-2013, 02:28 AM
Hello and welcome to the forum....

01-11-2013, 08:33 PM
Thank you for the welcome. This forum is a nice place to start building a knowledgebase for cartography. Hope to be able to post some refinements soon.

01-11-2013, 09:40 PM
I find it works best to leave any fancy textures and whatnot for after the map proper has been finished. I often work in pure black an white until then. You might find this helpful, particularly if you plan to use this map in a novel where you will often be quite limited graphically. When you do add textures, distressing, and whatnot, it's best to be subtle so you don't wash out any important details. You should also try to think about how the "in character" cartographer would have made the map given they probably wouldn't have used Photoshop. Getting rid of the "done on the computer" look is quite tricky.

In a similar vein, you'll need a good idea of the graphical context available to you, and the particular needs of the map. Deciding what gets shown and how is a big part of what makes cartography difficult. A map in a book often won't have room for a lot of detail. You might even have to resort to multiple maps covering different feature sets, or extents in order to convey everything.

Having existing geometry that was drawn without consideration for being on a sphere may hurt your ability to make things work realistically. Particularly if you want to use a graticule, scale, compass rose, or similar indicators of precision. It might be easiest to just abandon any modern ideas of precise scale maps if it fits the setting. (by "campaign" I'm assuming you were playing a high fantasy RPG, probably D&D or a derivative?) Plenty of maps, particularly the few that were actually made in the actual medieval period, were not remotely like modern scale maps. They were more rough diagrams of how things were connected, as far as the people drawing them knew.

Rather than borders you can often get by with just area labels. This is trickier than point labels, but it does look quite nice if you can get the hang of it. Even point labels can be hard to do well though. Labels are one of the things that really make a professional cartographer stand out. It's also one of the things that is really hard to get a computer to do well. The trick with area labels is to try to span the area in a nice smooth curve and to use letter spacing rather than scaling or stretching. You also need to use a proper text along path tool not an envelope deform, otherwise you'll distort the letters which really looks bad. I don't know much about Photoshop, but if you can't do this effectively there, Inkscape is free and is great for labelling maps.

01-15-2013, 11:59 AM
Thanks for the advice.
Yes this is for a D&D campaign he was running. I hadn't really thought about the period correctness of scale. That's a great point.
The textures and other refinements were mainly for him to get an image in his head. I am still working the black and white right now. What I posted here was straight from computer with little work on making it look authentic. I will most likely print it out and trace it hand drawn then scan it back in. Slightly convoluted but makes the artwork easier for someone who is trying this for the first time.

As for the naming I will look into inkscape. Another tool is never a bad thing.

This first run was an attempt to get the world view, if he wants more detail like City locations I'll try points for the larger cities/landmarks and break it into separate maps for regions if he needs more than that. Now that I've got my hands on this project I like the idea of trying to go through the whole thing, and he can pick and choose what he needs for final publication.

05-24-2013, 01:41 PM
Nice map is making and so superb and hard working on it but i do not know that why these scale map is make?Because i am not architectural but nice mention in the map like..Forest,ranges mountain and many other things...Nice scale map...