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Gamerprinter
03-11-2013, 12:27 AM
I'm beginning the latest version of the maps for the Kaidan island archipelago, the setting of Japanese horror for PFRPG. This will be released as part of the GM's Guide to Kaidan, featured in last summer's successful Kickstarter. While the setting and supplements will be published as softcover printed books by Rite Publishing, I am the creator and developer of the setting, as well as shared copyright.

The largest chapter of the GM's Guide will feature the gazetteer portion of the guide, which these maps are designed for.

Below is the southern third of the main island of Anshu, along with Ryuki island and the Nawa Islands. These are volcanic isles very much like Japan. I still have two more maps for two more thirds of the main island. This is hand-drawn at 17" x 38" then scanned and imported to Xara Xtreme Pro 4, my preferred vector application of choice. Beveled mountains, hills, uplands and the coast, as well as the chosen water color palatte was all applied in Xara. Trying to make the careful effort, this is about 2 hours work, including drawing and vector applications. The next part will be the larger and busier part of the map.

Note: this is terrain only so far, I've yet to place forests and labeling.

Enjoy!

GP

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Gamerprinter
03-12-2013, 05:30 AM
The central part of the main island of Anshu - terrain only.

GP

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kestrelgrey
03-12-2013, 05:37 AM
Wow, these are nice. I like how you've combined hand drawn elements with the vector beveling/shading and digital coloring; they work well together, and don't clash at all. I admit I was caught when you mentioned Japan (^-^), and so far the maps do remind me a little of Japan, which in my humble opinion is *excellent* ^-^ Good luck, they're looking great so far!

Gamerprinter
03-12-2013, 05:51 AM
Thanks, Kestrelgrey!

For those who don't know the Kaidan setting of Japanese horror is something I dreamt up as a homebrew campaign setting for PFRPG. So far I've published an introductory trilogy of modules (levels 5th - 7th) called Curse of the Golden Spear: The Gift (part 1), Dim Spirit (part 2), and Dark Path (part 3), along with 3 one-shot adventures: Frozen Wind (which is available as a free download), Up from Darkness, and Tolling of Tears. We've released 3 racial guides: In the Company of Kappa, In the Company of Henge and In the Company of Tengu, and 2 class/faction supplements: Way of the Yakuza and Way of the Samurai. We also have #30 Haunts for Kaidan - a collection of haunts especially suited for haunted Japan. Some time soon, I've got a Map product and Encounter location called Haiku of Horror #1: Autumn Moon Bath House. As mentioned coming in October will be two softcover printed books in a GM's Guide and Players Guide to Kaidan.

You can check all the Kaidan products at DrivethruRPG.com (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/index.php?cPath=4448_6626) - note GM's Day is still going on, so these are the best prices for Kaidan products throughout the year!

Sorry for the ad blurb, I just wanted to point these out for the newer members...

Although I still make maps for fun, for challenges and for commissions, most of my map making these days are for my own publications.

GP

Gamerprinter
03-12-2013, 01:23 PM
Added areas of woodlands onto the southern third of Anshu Island...

More coming...

Edit: I see I left a section of woods in black - will fix later.

GP

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Gamerprinter
03-12-2013, 06:39 PM
Isle of Anshu (center) with forest added...

GP

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Gamerprinter
03-13-2013, 04:01 AM
So I finished the lineart for the top portion of Anshu Island. Once I scanned it, imported to Xara, I realized that the seam wasn't seamless where this part and the center portion join. So I moved it an inch apart and decided to hand-draw the seam area of coastline, mountains and upland areas. I also found the missing peninsula on the lower left corner of the center portion map - so I can effectively create the island as one piece. Once those sections are done, I'll put the whole together and post here as a single map.

Note there are two more large islands, though both smaller than Anshu, I've yet to create, so that's more work for the rest of the week.

So as not to show up empty handed, I am posting the hand-drawn lineart scan of the top portion, as it is so far.

Enjoy!

GP

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Ramah
03-13-2013, 05:53 AM
I love your lineart GP. It's beautifully inked, hand-drawn loveliness... so I do have to wonder why you love your bevels so much. A more computer-generated effect would be hard to find. In my opinion they don't gel with your lineart. But I know you use them a lot and I always like your maps so maybe I should just wait until you've finished. :)

- Max -
03-13-2013, 06:22 AM
My thoughts exactly. The drawing is pretty cool but those bevels and emboss effects... :$

Gamerprinter
03-13-2013, 11:46 AM
I can accept the criticism. I've always worked with lineart and bevels mixed. I know it's not for everyone, but I'm both an artist and not a lover of true old school maps. But there's lots more to come. Once I place the forests, the labeling will take over with lots of towns and interesting locations. My style is a hybrid digital and hand-drawn mix.

I thought about doing the map in the style of my original Yonshu Island map using ukiyo-e mountain symbols, but really while isometric mountain symbols also look good. They make placing locations behind them problematic, so I went with top down mountains instead.

I like the bevel and emboss effects, what can I say...

GP

- Max -
03-13-2013, 11:53 AM
I use to mix hand-drawn and digital work aswell but some effects may looks too much computer generated regarding the lineart imho. But well, since you like it, I guess it's the more important :) I'm looking forward to see how it turns with the stuff you still want to add. Afterall it's still a WIP...

vorropohaiah
03-13-2013, 03:43 PM
I like the bevel and emboss effects, what can I say...

hear hear! :)

Gamerprinter
03-13-2013, 10:58 PM
The main island of Anshu along with adjoining isles and islets are complete. I still need to place forests on the northern part, and it will be heavily forested compared to the lower latitudes south. I still have to create Genshu and Yonshu Islands which are pretty big, wider than Anshu though not as long (north to south), along with a dozen or so smaller isles. I will probably be done with all of it by Friday or Saturday, which is a long time for me in making a map. Note, while I will definitely be placing labels and cities, both provincial capitals and large port cities, as well as the imperial capital, but there will be much more as the gazetteer gets developed so I can place more detail locations in the map. Moving right along...

GP

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Brendini42
03-13-2013, 11:14 PM
that is really remarkable. the blending of hand drawn and computer elements are amazing

Sent from my Motorola Electrify using Tapatalk 2

Gamerprinter
03-14-2013, 04:50 AM
Anshu Island map completed - I added forests (conifers), and labels. Yonshu island next...

GP

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Gamerprinter
03-14-2013, 12:22 PM
Not sure of the chosen colors for the labels and borders...

Thoughts?

GP

- Max -
03-14-2013, 12:33 PM
The orange yellow colour is unusual but I like it on your map since I find it match the style you used on it. The borders are maybe a little too big? What bother me is that borders and labels seems a bit pixellated and have poor resolution when the map itself looks ok.

Gamerprinter
03-14-2013, 12:55 PM
Well I rescale the map prior to export next time to avoid the pixelization. It's not in the original file. Also though the borders are wide, I need to differentiate the borders from the roads not yet posted. The text also has a halo shadow behind it, that might make it look pixelated.

- Max -
03-14-2013, 01:00 PM
That makes sense :) Also the effect you put on the labels may reinforce the look pixellated.

Gamerprinter
03-14-2013, 06:29 PM
As stated, this style of map is not for everyone, but it's my own. After posting this map on my Facebook Page, this morning, Troll Hammer Games contacted me about doing commissions for a world map, a kingdom map, and possibly 37 city maps for their published setting. So, others seem to like the style as well. I've never been one to attempt to emulate someone else's style of mapping, always concentrating on developing my own unique style, which I have - as seen in this thread. Most of my Challenge winning maps also follow this style of hand-drawn and digital bevel composites.

Gamerprinter
03-16-2013, 05:39 AM
After some thought, I didn't care for my labels so I changed them. I made the borders less bold. I changed the city labels placed in small rectangles and smaller size, so I can later add mountain and river labels to accommodate the gazetteer information. I needed more room. The red city markers are castle towns, while the white markers are smaller towns. I added major roads on this map.

I didn't get to Yonshu and Genshu yet, as promised, but I had an exhausting last three days of work and working long evening hours on the map was too much for me. I should get some work done this weekend though.

Update...

GP

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Gamerprinter
03-18-2013, 09:56 PM
Next update, the Island of Yonshu has been added and labeled. Note Yonshu is the island of Kaidan, that the entire Curse of the Golden Spear trilogy of modules introducing the setting takes place here.

I will be doing Genshu Island next. Genshu sits in the empty space at top left and top center. It's larger than Yonshu yet smaller than Anshu. It is largely wilderness with the lowest population of the main islands - it's cold here, like Hokkaido is, similar to southern Alaska in climate.

Just about done!

GP

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Gamerprinter
03-21-2013, 03:10 AM
Done for now! 8)

I added Genshu and placed it's labels. These are all the islands of the archipelago and all within the cursed empire of Kaidan. I'm not sure what I will do with the water (as you noticed I changed the color/style multiple times over this thread). I added a legend to describe the border, road and city symbols, and a scale in squares. I don't need a border as this will be an inset map in a printed softbound GM's guide to the setting - each page already comes with a border.

This same map will be sliced into appropriate rectangle divisions by province within the gazetteer portion throughout included with text describing the selected province - as a map/illustration. In those closer in map divisions, I plan to add river, mountain, village/town labels to each one. The labels are too small to read at this scale/dimension of the map.

The GM's Guide to Kaidan as well as the Player's Guide to Kaidan will each feature this map. The GM's guide will be 200 pages long, softcover, B/W interior book printed through Cubicle 7 Entertainment, this October/November - can't wait to see the release of both guides. I'm getting hardback covers of these books however.

Edit: I see some labels under a hand-drawing layer, will need to fix...

GP

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aquarits
03-21-2013, 02:39 PM
Wut type the map it is called GP? Using that topography symbols?

Gamerprinter
03-21-2013, 03:12 PM
Type? It is the hand-drawn/digital style of Michael Tumey (me). It's the map style I've developed over the past 6 years. It's just a top down view artistically created with hand-drawings and vector layers. I don't think this map has a type, beyond that...

GP

aquarits
03-21-2013, 03:31 PM
ok :D

I asked coz never saw something like this, looks like a lots of diferent features that fits really right. Looking me as noob :D i tried to ask to undertand the style. The GPMT style 8)

Gamerprinter
03-21-2013, 10:17 PM
ok :D

I asked coz never saw something like this, looks like a lots of diferent features that fits really right. Looking me as noob :D i tried to ask to undertand the style. The GPMT style 8)

I use Xara Xtreme Pro 4 (current version is Xara Designer Pro 6), which is $200, vector drawing application - something like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape. I use the software in my daily job as a graphic designer and digital printer for my own shop. Because I use the software in designing banners, signs, posters, etc, I am very familiar with it and use it very quickly. So it became ideal (for me) in using the software to design maps. While it's not as robust as Illustrator, Xara does things that Illustrator does not, and to me the bevel tools, shadow, transparency tools are great, fast and easy to use. Plus it's not a memory hog (though this map did make it close, having so many layers.

Since I run my own graphics shop, I have access to large format printers and scanners to assist my cartography process, which gives me an advantage for this kind of map design technique.

What I do is a 3 step process.

1. After imagining what I want to create, I use Xara to create the general coastlines, location of the mountains, hills, lakes and rivers. Then I print a large format b/w laser print at whatever scale I plan to create the map, either as a single print up to 36" x 96", usually 24 x 36, but for this map I printed 30" x 60" in five prints to cover the 3 parts of Anshu, 1 for Yonshu, 1 for Genshu (the three main islands of the map).

2. Once printed, I tape the prints, one at a time, onto a glass topped table (4 x 12 feet). I then cut a matching sized sheet of 18# translucent bond paper off a 36" roll (tracing paper). I tape that to the top of the printed map outlines. Now I use a micropoint pen (nothing fancy) and hand draw all the terrain features. Once complete, I scan the hand-drawn sheet at 200 dpi monochrome TIF format. I do this for each printed sheet until the entire map is hand-drawn.

3. From my primary design PC, I import the TIF scans into Xara Xtreme to a preset design area to hold the entire map (in this map's case 60" x 96"). Once in Xara I can apply a 'stain glass' transparency filter - which makes black 100% solid and white 100% transparent. I use a pen/drawing tool in Xara and mouse to trace all my hand-drawn lines. Once the shape is created, I apply a color scheme (usually a soft watercolor palatte), apply that to the shape, then use the bevel tool to create then adjust the shape until I'm happy with the look. Then I move it behind the hand-drawn image, and can now see what you see in the map. I usually feather the edge of the shape so it blends better with the background textured shape. I continue this process until all lined shapes are complete.

In this map's case, I create the forests as separate drawn lines on tracing paper taped on top of the previously hand-drawn terrain. That way I can cover some of the hills, mountain bases, avoid the rivers, lakes and coastlines. Then I scan, import to Xara and finish as the previous pieces.

The salt marsh areas of north eastern Yonshu and marshland in south central Genshu, and the forest 'leaf' textures, are hand-drawn areas made into a repeating texture and applied as a 'stain-glass' transparent layer on top of the forest shapes.

I apply labels and grid last, along with the title block, and for other maps' cases any borders - that's the whole process.

Does that help?

GP

aquarits
03-21-2013, 10:24 PM
yes :D interesting and cool :) Nice job going here ( liked the places with some cliffs/ beach in the coast)

BTW some labels are with transparency and other under shape/icons :)

Gamerprinter
03-21-2013, 10:31 PM
Yes, I caught those misplaced labels - what happened is some of the islands (shapes and scanned image) weren't grouped, as I should have done. When I was placing the grid down, putting it on top of the backwater was easy, but the light blue, coastal/interior waters wasn't all one shape, so were on different layers, and I was having a tough time getting everything in appropriate layers - I got lazy and messed up. Next time I'll group necessary parts of the maps then all the pieces, so they could be in a unique layer separate from the water background and labels on top.

I already fixed them and sent it off to the writer. I will probably post the corrected final version in the Finished Maps Forum, eventually.

GP

Greason Wolfe
03-21-2013, 10:55 PM
Well, I, for one, always enjoy watching your work, GP. As for the bevel issue . . . Whether others like it or not doesn't matter so much, as long as you're happy with it. It doesn't bother me in the least. I think it looks fine just the way it is, and I'll be watching/waiting to see the other islands as you develop them.

GW

Jaxilon
03-22-2013, 02:36 AM
Very nice GP, somehow I missed this thread until just now so I read through the whole thing. I like how it turned out. I think it works very well for the setting you built and think it would serve very well.

Thanks for posting the WIP and I'm glad I didn't miss it entirely.

Gamerprinter
04-16-2013, 12:17 AM
So continuing work on the provincial maps of the Kaidan setting of Japanese horror for the Gamemaster's Guide to Kaidan (scheduled for release in Oct/Nov 2013), a question came up regarding some of the labeling nomenclature.

The suffixes: -yama (means mountain), and -gawa/-kawa (means river), and most every mountain is suffixed with yama, while most rivers are suffixed with gawa or kawa. Should I still be labeing rivers with "R." after the name, and "Mt." before mountain names?

I think, if my reader is educated enough on the Japanese language, this might seem redundant. However, trying to meet the expectations of less knowledgeable people (even though yama and gawa/kawa is discussed in the fluff of the productions). So I've opted to keep all the "Mt." for mountains and "R." for rivers.

The posted map below is the province of Oniba, on the island of Yonshu (the smallest of the 3 large main isles of Kaidan). Oniba is the governing prefecture, under the surly hand of Lord Hachiwara - a very militant control freak (and a dread wight). The other 3 provinces of the island have authority figures in charge, however, none have the military might to defend themselves and relegate authority to Lord Hachiwara under certain circumstances. This province was where the bulk of the second and third modules of the Curse of the Golden Spear intro trilogy of adventures set in Kaidan, occurred.

As an aside, the green labeled "Komushiokoku" near the center of the map in the forest area refers to a region of wooded marshland known as the "Kingdom of Flies". Komusihokoku is the transliteration of that name phrase.

Thoughts?

GP

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