View Full Version : Beginning cartographer looking for pointers!

Piri Reis
03-18-2013, 10:18 AM
First things first: I'm new here so greetings to all you cartographers!

I'm not really into cartography as a hobby in itself - I'm more of a worldbuilder myself. My artistic abilities are limited to making simple heraldic banners in GIMP or drawing stick figures in paint. But since maps are an integral part of the worldbuilding experience, I dabble in cartography from time to time. And time and time again, I have failed to produce a satisfying map. I used to use Campaign Cartographer but I don't really like the program that much anymore.

I don't know if this is the right forum to post this, but I'm looking for pointers and tutorials. Especially tutorials for GIMP. I've almost given up on the software - there's no tutorials out there! The one that looked most promising was removed and would be posted on another site - alas the link gives me a 404. Bugger.

I could also make the switch to photoshop, but I'm a little worried about that. It's a great software and there are plenty of tutorials out there, but it puts a strain on your computer and (or so I've heard) likes to freeze more than once in a while.

So does anyone know of any good GIMP tutorials (I've checked the list here but I haven't really found my cup of tea yet) and what do you think about photoshop mapping?

To give you an idea of what I'm looking to create: a more or less tolkien-esque map like the one's made by European and Arabian cartographers (such as Piri Reis) in the renaissance. The scope would be fairly large (not an entire world but a continent with lots of kingdoms, empires and other landmarks). More general pointers and tips for beginners are welcome too!

Thank you!

- Max -
03-18-2013, 11:00 AM
Welcome aboard! I would't call Piri Reis or renaissance cartographers tolkien-esque o_O :D about softwares I started with gimp a few years and now I'm working with photoshop and I wouldn't go back to gimp ( which is still a pretty good software) I have no particulat problem using photoshop. If you have some decent Ram and not a crappy graphic card I guess it will be ok. Btw you should be more accurate on what kind of tutorial you are looking for so people can help you better :)

03-18-2013, 12:37 PM
One thing to keep in mind when you go looking through the tutorials, is that each tutorial teaches you how to do something a certain way. It could very well be that you are looking at the final product of the tuts and saying to yourself that "that is not what I want" and then move on to the next. While it is also most likely that while the final result is not to your taste, it does not mean that you cannot learn something of the techniques used within the tutiorial to create something completely different. There are MANY great tuts here, but you do need to look at what they are teaching you, as opposed to what they produce in the end. You might like the final style or not, but you can still learn something of a new way to do something that you DO like.

Any hoot, Welcome to the Guild, The Mappiest Place on the Web :D and enjoy your stay.

Piri Reis
03-18-2013, 02:35 PM
I decided to try out photoshop and mess around with it a little. Found a pretty good tutorial too. Just a question though: when they say "2000x2000, 330ppi" in the tutorials (for when you make the new file) I assume they mean 2000x2000 pixels, 330 pixels per inch? Because it's defaulted to centimeters for my photoshop and if I go 2000x2000 centimeters with 330ppi it gives me a file size of 150gig... which is just a little much!

- Max -
03-18-2013, 02:51 PM
Yes it's 2000x2000px, 300 pixels per inch and you can just chosse what measure you want on the PS window when you create a new file or set it in the parameters (Edition/preferences) If you need more details on size/resolution, check this thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/general-discussion/22664-dpi-scanning-image-sizes-doubts.html#post210620), especially Hai-Etlik post who summit up very good.

Piri Reis
03-18-2013, 03:26 PM
Thanks a bunch! Also (this is most likely just wishful thinking) but is there a site that gives a (brief) summary of changes to the photoshop system. I'm using CS6 for instance but the tutorial I'm using (Ascension's antique map tutorial) explains the process for an older version. I've had trouble finding the airbrush and (still unresolved) have no idea where to find square brushes in CS6. It's so frustrating I'm considering looking for an older photoshop version (but I don't even know the one he used for the tutorial).