View Full Version : talent?

01-14-2013, 12:13 AM
does anyone draw maps using talent or are all of these maps computer generated?

Freehand 5.5
01-14-2013, 12:19 AM
Yes it is true, drawsalot. All maps in this forum are generated by pressing buttons in computer programs. ;)

01-14-2013, 01:03 AM
Varying amounts of talent are applied to get the maps you see. There are a few apps that will generate decent maps with but a FEW buttons being mashed, but you can bet the ones that make your jaw drop are the result of thousands of buttons, expert digitizer penstrokes, and hours upon hours of thinking. Talent, 'n other words. Gobs of it. Some of the Guildspeople here are so loaded with talent that it oozes from them as they walk, leaving talenty-footprints all over their respective home cities. Would-be mappers seek out these footprints and mop them up, to distill sufficient reflected glory to produce the odd dungeon diagram or campaign chart. Wish I lived near enough to follow some with a sponge - I could use an infusion of the mapmuse essence.

If you're implying that the ones involving computer actions are somehow deficient in talent whilst those involving pen and ink might be more talent-driven, well just look at my output. The paper-based ones are bottom-shelf material, while the digital ones are... well, bottom-shelf material too. :-). So maybe I am not a stellar example. At any rate, the simplest of tools on the computer, say, MS Paint, have been used to give us some of the loveliest examples of cartographic excellence. Your member intro notes you've been drawing maps a good long while - are yours all on paper? Fear not, we are not a digital-only bunch; the computer-born and -borne ones predominate just by self-selection (you are using a computer to see this, therefore you are some level of computer person, etc). We LOVE traditional media as well! Show us something from your portfolio. Also fear not that your work will suffer by comparison - we're an appreciative lot. I for one am convinced I can learn something from about anyone's works, whether noob or master, whether crude or deft.

From yet another angle, various denizens of the CG disclaim any artistic ability, yet they create maps varying from serviceable to sublime. Their point, once any false modesty is discounted, is that this stuff can be tackled as a craft as well as an art. Really, there are those here who also practice cartography as science too - not so much the fantastic subjects as the real-world ones of geology, oceanography, and the like. You find herein tutorials freely sharing the expertise of all those levels - art, craft, and science. You note you're impressed with what you see - pick a likely tutorial and dive in. I bet you can craft something that'll please yourself any those about you, even if the ways & means differ from what you're used to. What computer graphics apps might you have access to?

In one respect every last map you see here is computer generated - after all even the paper ones get to your browser by way of scanner or humble digital camera :-).

Oh, and welcome to the Guild!

01-14-2013, 01:05 AM
Most everything I have done is by hand (usually with a drawing tablet). I wouldn't want to put up something as my own if I didn't make it myself. I have however learned to use textures as well as some of the filters to speed things up a bit. I wouldn't consider that computer generated or talentless though. Most experienced photshop/gimp users can spot excessive filter usage anyway so I for one try to limit their use or use them in a way that doesn't take over the artwork I've put in.

We have also had quite a few traditional media challenges where the art was done with pencils/paper/watercolor/whatever and scanned or photographed so yes, there are quite a few people with talent if that's what you mean.

Even those who can't draw however still have to be able to create the shapes, lighting and other things to make really good maps. I don't know of any software that automatically creates great maps on it's own. There are some "stamper" type maps which don't require artistic ability as far as being able to draw but even those can be fun to look at.

01-14-2013, 01:33 AM
What are you implying? That those of us who primarily use photoshop or Gimp or whatever are somehow lacking in talent? Nice. Welcome to the Guild.

Freehand 5.5
01-14-2013, 02:34 AM
Let's not forget, that talent alone is not the way to a good artwork. It is only the basis. Talent makes roughly 5% of good graphic work.
The rest is years of continuous learning and training in drawing, painting, typography, calligraphy, programs and input devices.
It's also the knowledge of choosing the right tools for each project.

But on the other hand, I have to say, that a complex and completely hand drawn and hand written map without mistakes is yet a sign of extreme mastery.
Clicking on readymade icons in applications and taking back every step is not what I would call high expertise in mapmaking.
That's like putting a frozen pizza into the oven and call it cooking.

In the end, a computer made map may be a very good piece of work. But a hand drawn, written and colored original is a piece of art.
Just my 2 cents.

01-14-2013, 02:35 AM
I actually think that a gorgeous map done by hand requires more talent than a similarly gorgeous map done by computer, though its just an opinion with little proof to back it up. I think its more to do with the amount of tools at a gimp/PS user's disposal like masks, layers, filters, textures etc. which can often add so much with little more than a click of a button. things like wave lines, which cn be done witha simple selection/expand command on computer take so much longer by hand.

Take the Saderan tutorial, for instance, anyone with absolutely no knowledge in PS can create a good-looking map just by following instructions verbatum. though having said that it takes talent to turn something mediocre into something truly lovely. things like choosing the right typography, borders, map elements, symbols, keys etc. as well as other artistic embellishments are things that apply to hand-drawn and computer generated maps just the same.

01-14-2013, 03:22 PM
I was writing a long, long, paragraph, but it didn't really make alot of sense, instead here is my short opinion.
As Freehand says (i'd be personally have the percentage a bit higher.) - it isn't soley based on talent, but the experience and knowledge of the person who uses the said program
Take my friend for example - she can draw anything at all on paper - but as soon as you put her on a computer with a mouse or tablet, the only thing she can draw is a square, a very, very weird looking square.
Another good thing to have in mapping is patience, i've seen some AMAZING maps made by people who've spent literally a few years working on them, like nursing a baby. Of course, i've never attempted that, the longest map i've ever worked on was Urem Irnar, which spanned a few months because of lack of inspiration (Another huge thing, for me atleast.)
So, to sum it up. Alot of people have talent here - take Arsheesh, Ascension, and a few others who make satelite style maps, they don't draw them, but they do make them.
They just have talent in another way.. And patience, experience, and training - of course.

01-15-2013, 12:05 AM
I have yet to see a computer generate much of anything worth looking at. Okay, maybe fractal flame animations and their relatives, but even those are human-made art. The craft is merely in the math rather than in the pixels. And don't tell me a mathematician can't be an artist; I have a print of Euler's relation hanging on my wall (justinmullins.com (http://www.justinmullins.com) if you're interested in that kind of thing).

01-15-2013, 12:07 AM
I had a really long reply planned but I'll just say that I don't believe in the whole talent thing. To me there's ability and then there is imagination. Anyone can learn the first one and that includes being able to draw almost perfect photographic renderings of someone in pencil on paper. It's just drawing what you see. Photoshop or whatever is just another tool that you learn to use.

I hate the whole "talent" thing. Too many people are discouraged from drawing and the like because they are told they don't have talent, when the reality is they were just never taught how to draw what was in front of them or told that it was something they could learn.

01-15-2013, 06:16 AM
i think that i wasnt clear with my question and the way i said it offended some people so ill ask it agian using differrent words and try to be more clear :

" is there an area on this website that i can go to that is set up for people like myself who make maps using the artistic skills theyve developed in theyre lives in the area of the fine arts i.e. drawing and painting because so far as i can tell this whole website is for people who make maps using computer programs"

- Max -
01-15-2013, 06:27 AM
There's no specific area but you can find hadn-drawings/paintings maps in all the forums (sometimes they're labelled hand-drawn in thread title). A search request can maybe give you answers.
By the way I see a lot of people using a mix of hand-drawing and digital work, Both areally aren't incompatibles. Plus, having called your thread "Talent?" with your following questions just implied that those who are using computers to make maps lack of talent, so I can really understand that some fell offended, just saying.

01-15-2013, 10:07 AM
I don't believe Using a tablet or Software takes from talent, It just takes away the Work part of it. You may have a special way to draw wavy lines, but when you draw 1,000 of em its not talent. Its work. The computer takes the work part away, Not the talent. I hand draw then Trace mine in CC3, And I'm currently trying to figure out how to do something I can't figure out. Learning programs seems to be a talent too. One I don't have. Just my 2 cents as well.

01-15-2013, 10:15 AM
There are some tutorials here focus on hand-drawn maps (that term is the best one to search on, though). There are also ones that offer suggestions on migrating skills from physical media to virtual media (undo and layers are soooo much more convenient than an eraser and sheets of vellum, in my opinion).

The technical/inspirational wars are good ones to avoid, if possible. Folks with extensive skills in a form (be it GIS, painting, programming, layout, or others) tend to be rightfully proud of those skills and usually respond badly to the suggestion that those skills might be trivial. Even if you do it inadvertently, you're likely to find yourself swimming in a sea of venom spewed by one camp or another. All skills take a whole lot of practice. Some tools can ease the development of some skill sets, but I've not yet found a tool that will do all of the work for me. And if I did, would I have any legitimate claim to its output as my own?

01-15-2013, 11:00 AM
Talent = (Sweat + luck + tools)/ time

01-15-2013, 12:35 PM

In actual answer to your redifined question, No, there is no area specifically for works in one media or another. It might be usefull, considering the sheer quantity of tutorials we have, if the Tutorial forum was further divided along those line, but I am sure that that would be a real hassle to arrange at this point, due again to the numbers involved.

I think the Guild prefers to focus more on the end result, no matter what the media, than on what the map was done in. If your weapon of choice was a loom and shuttlecock, and you were able to create a decent map with it, I don't see anyone here turning that map away from our doors. In fact it is just those sort of maps, those done with unconventional tools, that garner lots of interest, if not praise. I remember seeing one done in Excel of all things and I for one would LOVE to see a tapestry map ;)

In short, it is the map that is important here, and I have yet to see anyone be put down for having used Paint and Brush, Pencil and Paper, Computer and Tablet or even Styrofoam to create that map.

01-15-2013, 03:17 PM
Heck, for some maps I go through about 5+ programs before i'm happy with it.

01-15-2013, 03:32 PM
Styrofoam seams like an awesome medium now that you said something about it. And a Tapestry map.. I think I'de Just die If I saw one. I LOVE tapestries.

01-15-2013, 05:28 PM
Bayeux Tapestry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayeux_tapestry) I like to think of this as a map of history Majere :-)

01-15-2013, 11:35 PM
Also check out the "May 2012 Challenge (http://www.cartographersguild.com/mapping-challenge-archive/18851-***-may-challenge-voting-draw-map-hand-***.html)" as everyone's entry was hand drawn. The link only gives you the artist's names and the maps they created unfortunately it was before we started putting the links into the voting thread. So you may have to search for them but that shouldn't be too awful.

01-16-2013, 12:46 AM
Hi drawzalot, welcome to the forum. Are you interested in traditional media only? Or are you also interested in hand drawn work that's created by using a graphics tablet? If you narrow down what you're looking for, I'm sure people here can help you find the resources you're interested in.

01-19-2013, 06:25 AM
I think that to join this discussion you'd need to define talent. Is talent only the work of an hand-drawing artist? Sure one could argue that he's more talented then a artist who paints in Photoshop but then again one could spin in the other way around at the same time.

I, for one, can't draw if my life depended on it. I can draw stick-figures, that's it. Though I'm working in Photoshop and developing the skills I need from computer-generated techniques. Does this make me less talented then a guy who draws an exact replica of my map by hand? Maybe.

However, does it not go the other way? If a hand-drawn map gets redone in Photoshop, for example, in the same way, doesn't that praise go the other way? I'd say it does. So one has to define talent, for we are all talented in our own way when it comes to this.

Let's not talk about the guys who can do both, they have cheat-codes irl :P

01-19-2013, 12:04 PM
“Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

same thing apply to art and design...

and not everyone can be an artist, but everyone can create things if they desire... what level of accomplishment are you looking for to define as talent?

01-20-2013, 12:27 AM
A computer is a tool and the means by which one can make a work of art. But you need an artist to use it.
A camera does not make a portrait. It's the skill and knowledge of the artist's eye of the photographer that composes, adjusts, captures light and color to his preference.
A typewriter does not write a novel for you; neither does a word processor. It may offer new tools of memory as well as fonts and page layout and organization, but it's still a tool for the artist.
As a computer artist, I can tell you that even the simplest landscape done in a 3D program requires knowledge of light and shadow, camera optics, and composition. We don't draw our materials in the traditional sense, but we do choose and calculate the color, specularity, transparency, paint our own bump patterns, create our own photo textures or adjust others, study rock formations, the optics of glass and crystal, the effects of gravity on soft objects like hair and cloth, and understand how to control the color and pattern in everything we use in a scene. All this within a machine that has limitations of speed, working memory, and storage capacity. And no matter how well versed we are in technology, sometimes the stupid machine is just plain temperamental.
In postwork, we have to see in our mind the perfect image, and find the imperfections the computer program produced. Once they're identified, we use virtual brushes that are just as varied as real ones, match color and grain, and practice the photographer's art of adjusting color, contrast, brightness, exposure, lens correction as well as choosing filters, adjusting sharpness, producing blur, cropping, and printing. The program doesn't do that for you. You have to have the artistic knowledge and skill first. The final image does not make itself. There is no "Make Art" button.
We paint, we sculpt, we arrange, we light, we create, even if it's sometimes with base models or props that are purchased. So we are artists.
In my case, I don't have the ability to transfer a mental vision to paper or a flat surface. But I can see it in my mind's eye and use the computer the way a photographer uses a camera.