View Full Version : May/June Lite Entry - Lighthouse Chart

06-10-2013, 06:04 PM
I'll try something simple, since the end of the contest period draws near. Another entrant sparked my interest when he noted he was annotating where his lighthouses were... I said to myself "and for some navigators, all they would need is locations and specs on the lighthouses". Well, that and any major obstacles like LAND :-).

So I grabbed some snapshots of sky-with-clouds, picked a likely one, slapped a bit of blur on it, and posterized it. I ran the number of levels up and down till I saw a pleasing set of random coastlines. If I cared about onshore topography that could have given me some semiplausible contours, but this is a dirt simple - no, saltwater-simple effort, so the zero contour would be enough: coastlines. But then one other band looked like reefs, so I kept it too. Filled lower bands with water color, upper with land-beige, and because my method gave a crisp pixellated shore, I aliased a coastline with 'find edges". Oh, after I manually etched a stretch of barrier islands on one coast - the sort of thing a simple cloud-generation won't give you.

Which gave me this:
### Latest WIP ###


Now all I need is a bit more time to play, I mean map, and maybe I can finish an entry.

06-11-2013, 12:46 PM
Nice start, hope you can get it finished in time.

06-11-2013, 11:58 PM
OK, so with a variety of lighthouses indicated, and a few lightships...

### LATEST WIP ###

Ai-yi-yi... 80 or 90 of them. Why do I do this to myself?

Next up, the light pattern of each. I'll intentionally do it a little differently than Earthly charts do... at least for starters.

06-12-2013, 01:53 AM
You WILL have a couple extra days, just FYI. I won't be able to get enough free time to close things up and set up the poll until probably Sunday morning or early afternoon.

06-13-2013, 01:42 AM
And with the various light/dark patterns:

### LATEST WIP ###

06-13-2013, 02:57 PM
That's a lot of lighthouses!

06-13-2013, 05:41 PM
Yeah, it seems like a lot. I was thinking I'd have to set the scale fairly small to justify all them. Maybe 400 to 800 miles across this map. But my instincts were based on *surviving* lighthouses. Back in the day, some stretches of coast warranted a beacon every ten miles, with clusters at complicated inlets and harbors that would be WAY out of line with what I'm willing to depict :-). Take a look at the lighthouses of Newfoundland (http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=115131657453505441948.00046ec8724714df66416&ll=49.767074,-56.513672&spn=7.325065,12.502441&t=p&z=6) or the lighthouses of Maine (http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=115131657453505441948.0004589bab77a630b49cc&ll=44.386692,-68.873291&spn=4.365231,7.305908&t=p&z=7) for instance.

So I'm going to set an era of maybe 1850-1900 equivalence, and I'll say these are just the principal open-sea navigation beacons... for harbor lights, see additional sheets. And maybe the width of this chart is more like 100-120 miles. I can't pretend it's much of a navigational aid anyway, unless I show channels and depths. <shrug> Maybe it's for canoeists, not ocean liners.


06-15-2013, 12:34 AM
A bit of a legend, marked channels and some fixed-beacon navaids. Some people develop a conlang for their worlds. If conlang = "constructed language" then this is more like sklang ( = "sketched language"). The scale is sketched too - "imperial leagues" are somewhere in the Earthly kilometer - mile - league range, but there's no need to get any more specific.

### LATEST WIP ###


Next up, some more labeling, and seashore cultural elements.

06-15-2013, 09:30 PM
Not a WIP for contest purposes, since it's not a pretty stage, but I thought I'd show how I go about getting curved labels, without much effort. My main tool is Serif PhotoPlus, but it doesn't do text-along-curve. Serif's DrawPlus does, even their free "Starter Version" which is what I used. So I import to DP a flat version of the map as a single layer, then type a bunch of names in two large, somewhat spaced-out text blocks. If you look too close at the language you'll think it's ME who's spaced-out :-) - remember this is neither an earthly lingo, nor a particularly coherent invented one. Here they're in Times Roman - I'll hopefully remember to shift to Garamond or Georgia or whatever I was using in PhotoPlus, before I rasterize and export. I just select all the text in a block, shift to the node tool, and hit 'text along user shape'. Then I drag nodes till I like the curve - doing one up and one down gives me a nice array of possibilities. Eventually I'm going to be selecting single names and dragging them to wherever I need a slant like just *so*. What a cape or bay is named will be dependent on what fits... can't do this quite so cavalierly when there's predefined geography to be mapped.

Since I have as base the exact map I have divvied into layers over in PhotoPlus, I'll be importing the labels over there, as one properly registered and arranged array.


Huh - now I look at it, seems like I've distorted the whole thing to a curve, instead of getting the text to sit upright along curves. Dang - gotta get that right.

06-16-2013, 03:28 AM
Oh - it was just compressed E-W - no problem. Anyway, here's my "simple" effort finished:

### LATEST WIP ###


My computer with 8MB RAM crashed a while after post 8 above - fortunately I had a file saved elsewhere. I finished the silly thing on a 1MB RAM machine, which was an exercise in patience :-/ .

My oversimple way of getting a flock of curved labels obviously meant not all would be ideally curved for aesthetics. But I think the result is better than if had to make do with straight and simple slanted labels.