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Idabrius
06-12-2008, 11:49 PM
So, as I work on this large main map file I've had to increase the px per inch from 100 to 200 in order to get in to do detail work. I have a lot of trouble redrawing maps on different scales as I can never replicate what I've done before, so I've been suffering through this continuously blown up map. You can clearly see where stuff has gotten pixelated (though the forests use fill layers, so thankfully they survived)

Anyway, any feedback on the map or tips on how to replicate mapping results over a period of maps are all appreciated!

Sigurd
06-13-2008, 01:24 AM
Good coastline. Leaves lots of room for useful landmass!

I find the stylish font very hard to read though. Simple and clear is often much better than stylish and dense.

Getting consistent maps on a project has to be a project goal from the outset. You have to be able to redo everything you did to each landmass. Pay attention to what you're doing and record a shopping list of steps you took to get the map mostly done at least on the regional level. In the map above for example try and paint all of the plains before moving on to the cities and detail. Then you can apply that step to your next map and it will seem more like a new but similar plain.

I constantly look for ways to do more with less. Especially before I get to the detail, I try and simplify my process so I can remember it and repeat it more easily. You can always add detail and uniqueness later. Work on structure first. Decide on a light source for a whole project and dont change it. That will confuse\disturb the viewer. By convention light usually comes from the North West and many viewers expect that. You can change any convention you want but take notice of the way that affects your work.

Sometimes you have to half finish a couple of maps to make sure the look is consistent before you can finish any one.

I find generating\drawing as big an area as possible helps a lot. Try to work from large and detailed to small and even more detailed. High pixel counts also help alot - try to work at the limits of your computer.

Then start every new map as a slice of the old one. That helps every thing line up and gives you very useful references for creation.

If your maps are in no way connected that's fine too. Some mappers use a common frame for all their maps - reuse a compass rose and legend style. Take a look at the world building project here on the site. Lots of mappers with different styles each working on their own slice of a shared world.

Hope some of this helps. Happy mapping.

Did you ever check out the photoshop tutorials at http://www.zombienirvana.com/ ? Thats a similar style you might find useful. Also check out the tutorial section here - its really worth a look. I absolutely have no right to call myself a great mapper around here but I'm improving :). There are so many great maps being made on this site. Poke around. Join a contest and read some comments.

You can always donate a map to the world project. That's a great way to find appreciation and advice.

If you say what software you use to map with people might give you more useful help.


- Sigurd


I'm sending you some reputation cause I like your forests. They have trunks. Gotta have trunks or they're only bushes. Cant make ships from bushes! Whats the point in that?

Idabrius
06-13-2008, 09:26 AM
Thanks man, I'm gonna try to go back and replicate the work at a higher pixel count with a pre-defined color palate rather than vomiting up whatever I have selected at the time (not PRECISELY how I chose my colors, but when I moved from 100 px per inch to 200 I totally lost my color palate file - it had been some time since I worked on it and... yeah)

I used that ole standby of render clouds w. a threshold layer to fill out the coastlines, so that's actually going to be at least a tad random every time I work on a new map, which isn't really thrilling me right now. I'm going to take a look at other folks' coastlines (the ones that were done with GIMP in one of the tutorials look really good. I'll just have to apply similar techniques in Photoshop) for l'insperation.

jfrazierjr
06-13-2008, 10:45 AM
Good coastline. Leaves lots of room for useful landmass!

I find the stylish font very hard to read though. Simple and clear is often much better than stylish and dense.

I have to echo this sentiment. Hard to read. I LOVE the annotations though, that really gives this character.




Decide on a light source for a whole project and dont change it. That will confuse\disturb the viewer. By convention light usually comes from the North West and many viewers expect that. You can change any convention you want but take notice of the way that affects your work.

I agree 100%. With that in mind, you might want to add just a hint of shadow to your forests on the same side as the mountains to make the illusion even more real. Ditto the escarpment at the top of the map. Anyway, play with it and see if you like the result...



I'm sending you some reputation cause I like your forests. They have trunks. Gotta have trunks or they're only bushes.YES!!!!! If you have hand drawn ISO type mountains, your forests should not be a flat. Tree trunks ROCK!!!!

On a side note, I see that you have some bleed over of the brown into the underlying ground level. This makes a much more natural look IMO. However, this then jars with the hard lines of the black shadow part. If you are up for a few minutes of playing around, I would suggest using the smudge tool to blur some of the black down and to the left and down and to the right into the brown a bit. This will really make the shadows seem to melt into the landscape.

jfrazierjr
06-13-2008, 10:48 AM
Oh, and I really like the missing parts of the map being missing. At least from a players map/hand out, this is really nice as it shows them a general shape of the area but no details and they/you can fill in from the master map as they travel, perhaps even make them update the map themselves as they would "in real life".

Joe

Idabrius
06-13-2008, 11:59 AM
Alright, I'm going to upload a newer version to the first post momentarily. I've rebuilt the map from scratch on a larger scale and I'm trying to use a more unified color palate.

Also, taken the suggestion and gone over the roads with a low-power smudge and then once again with a low-power blur.

Hopefully the text is in a more legible scheme - the smaller the text has to be, the simpler a font I've used. I'm trying to stick with all "hand-written" style fonts, though; the look of typeset letters is somewhat jarring to me on a map that's supposedly been hand-drawn. That is, I suppose, this is an in-character map that can actually exist in the setting, rather than JUST a players aide.

I've tried to preserve as much of the original coastline and dimensions as possible, keeping relative positions as unchanged as I could. Lords Bay IS a lot different, but I was experimenting with that area and I'm more fond of the second result.

The town & village markers may seem weird, so I feel I should explain the teeniest thing about the map; it is depicting a land where the ruins of past civilizations are so ubiquitous that the very villages and towns are built on the sites of older ones and are mostly constructed of reclaimed stone. Thus, the large pillar-like portion of the symbol is actually supposed to represent a broken column.

Idabrius
06-13-2008, 03:12 PM
Updating the index post with an even later version of the map; I've been working since this morning, and I think the palate is coming out much better.

However! It's crowded. Too crowded, some may say. Text is bumping up against other text an' such. Trying to think of a way to deal with this without re-building the entire thing from scratch.

jfrazierjr
06-13-2008, 03:43 PM
Updating the index post with an even later version of the map; I've been working since this morning, and I think the palate is coming out much better.

However! It's crowded. Too crowded, some may say. Text is bumping up against other text an' such. Trying to think of a way to deal with this without re-building the entire thing from scratch.

Argh... where did the mountains go??? heh.. I am sure they will make it back into a latter revision.

Not sure if you noticed, but your two new lower west forests lack tree trunks.

As far as the text goes, you could try using text to path if Photoshop supports it, which I would expect it does. I don't know how to do it since I use GIMP but you can curve your text along a path to make it somewhat flow with things and not quit so clumped if you want. I am personally ok with the current layout of text

Speaking of paths, your roads have some outcroppings where you joined two lines. Notably, near the southern city and the two northwestern most cities. I would suggest using paths to make the whole thing and then adjust the curves and stroke the path the get the final thing down.

Joe

Idabrius
06-13-2008, 03:58 PM
Those forests are far from ready (if you look closely, you'll see that there are half-trees at the edges of the blurbs) because the method I used to do them is so time intensive. My eyes started to give out from making tiny mask adjustments and plunking down tree-trunks, so I've left that area unfinished for now.

Yes, the mountains are coming back! As is the sort of ridge-line denoting Riggsland. I think I'm going to try a different stroke pattern for the two highways, as I need to put some smaller roads and trails in.