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arsheesh
07-28-2013, 09:36 PM
Over the coming months I plan on adding some quick walk-throughs of various cartographic techniques. Some of these will be quite simple and require little to no prior experience with digital software. Others will require a bit more of a working knowledge of programs like GIMP and Inkscape. Hope these tutorials are of use to some folks.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

HERALDIC SHIELD MINI-TUTORIAL

Someone recently asked about how I created the heraldic shield in my Ruins of Dragonport map (http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/23952-ruins-dragon-port.html#post221631). Here is a basic walk-through of my work flow. I am assuming the reader already has a grasp of the basics of GIMP and Inkscape.

Coriolis
07-28-2013, 10:59 PM
Thanks!

Quick question: I'm having trouble spotting the refinements you made in Step 9, maybe because I'm using a laptop with an 11-inch screen. Where did you add in the contouring?

arsheesh
07-29-2013, 12:02 AM
My pleasure Coriolis. Looking at it now I see that indeed this is not very clear. I used a small round brush to go in and add more white paint in certain areas of the rim in order for the light to appear more natural and not so uniform. The idea being to better capture the simulcra of worked metal. Here's a pic where I've indicated the places where I've increased highlights (part of the problem is that you can't really make these out well in certain areas due to the light background):

56479

Azelor
07-29-2013, 12:26 AM
Very useful tutorial !

raymondroot
08-05-2013, 07:21 PM
ooooh soooo looking forward to the continuation of this thread

arsheesh
08-05-2013, 07:41 PM
Glad to here it. I was thinking for the next mini-tut doing a quick walk-through of how to use layer styles to create various map symbols (such as city and capital icons). Of course this will be old hat to experienced mappers but I thought it might still be useful to those new to digital cartography. Thoughts?

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

mariuccij
08-05-2013, 11:34 PM
Awesome tutorial! I've yet to really try this, your workflow looks simple and intuitive. Great results!

Coriolis
08-06-2013, 08:56 AM
Glad to here it. I was thinking for the next mini-tut doing a quick walk-through of how to use layer styles to create various map symbols (such as city and capital icons). Of course this will be old hat to experienced mappers but I thought it might still be useful to those new to digital cartography. Thoughts?

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

I'd find that very handy. I'm about ready to start doing exactly that for one of my projects, and it would be great to have some pointers from an experienced perspective.

dworldjumper
08-20-2013, 10:52 PM
Hi I am new to doing this stuff I use Gimp because it is free. I have noticed some of the Gimp tutorials are for older versions of Gimp. I tryed to do the Ascension's Atlas Style but it got stuck around step 2 or 3 and couldn't get further any suggestions?

arsheesh
08-21-2013, 04:54 AM
Well, it isn't "my" tutorial, but what I would suggest is to create a work-in-progress thread over in the Regional Maps section, throw up a screenshot and explain what precisely seems to be the trouble. This will give either myself or someone else seeing the thread a better sense of what exactly you are having.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

dworldjumper
08-21-2013, 09:34 PM
thanks y'all I will do just that and will hopefully make an awesome map thanks to y'all!!

Seraphine_Harmonium
08-23-2013, 04:29 AM
Glad to here it. I was thinking for the next mini-tut doing a quick walk-through of how to use layer styles to create various map symbols (such as city and capital icons). Of course this will be old hat to experienced mappers but I thought it might still be useful to those new to digital cartography. Thoughts?

Cheers,
-Arsheesh
Would this be applicable to GIMP? I would love to see a tutorial on those kind of map symbols!

arsheesh
08-26-2013, 04:08 AM
Would this be applicable to GIMP? I would love to see a tutorial on those kind of map symbols!

Yep. I began working on it and then got caught up with other life demands. Hope to have it done by next week. Again, this will be a "quick" tutorial, nothing too in depth or fancy. More on this soon.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

arsheesh
09-08-2013, 11:43 PM
Here is the second installment in the miscellaneous tutorials series. Many of the more experienced members here will already be familiar with the techniques of this mini-tutorial, but I think it might still be useful, especially for newer members.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Tulgurth
10-20-2013, 07:56 PM
Hey Arsheesh I was just wondering what version of Gimp you are using. I tried to follow the simple steps above for making the icon symbols above. However when I go into GIMP I am not seeing the menu routing you are referring to.

Little bit of help please with some clarification on that. Would be greatly appreciated.

Jacktannery
10-21-2013, 03:56 AM
These are great Arsheesh.

Tulgurth I think Arsheesh might be using the popular Layer Effects plugin, which replicates Photoshop filters, and which works on all versions of Gimp. Download it for free here Layer Effects | GIMP Plugin Registry (http://registry.gimp.org/node/186)

Tulgurth
10-21-2013, 11:31 AM
Kewl thank you. I have been picking up the plugins as I need to, apparently this is another time when I need too. LOL

arsheesh
10-21-2013, 05:23 PM
Hey Arsheesh I was just wondering what version of Gimp you are using. I tried to follow the simple steps above for making the icon symbols above. However when I go into GIMP I am not seeing the menu routing you are referring to.

Little bit of help please with some clarification on that. Would be greatly appreciated.


These are great Arsheesh.

Tulgurth I think Arsheesh might be using the popular Layer Effects plugin, which replicates Photoshop filters, and which works on all versions of Gimp. Download it for free here Layer Effects | GIMP Plugin Registry (http://registry.gimp.org/node/186)

Yup, that's the one. Thanks Jack.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Tulgurth
10-21-2013, 07:33 PM
Fortunately for me I still have questions and 2 people who can probably answer my questions for me. Thanks by the way Jack, that was a winner. But on to the next step, sorry guys I am a noob at this and working on my first digital map. Now that I have the symbols looking the way I want, how do I apply them to the map?

Nevermind, I figured it would be to use it as a brush. So I went searching for how to make a brush in GIMP and guess, I found your post concerning not coming out in the FG color. Well I followed the instructions there and VIOLA !!!!! I now have a brush that makes the symbol I want. YEE HAW !!!!

arsheesh
10-21-2013, 10:29 PM
Fortunately for me I still have questions and 2 people who can probably answer my questions for me. Thanks by the way Jack, that was a winner. But on to the next step, sorry guys I am a noob at this and working on my first digital map. Now that I have the symbols looking the way I want, how do I apply them to the map?

Nevermind, I figured it would be to use it as a brush. So I went searching for how to make a brush in GIMP and guess, I found your post concerning not coming out in the FG color. Well I followed the instructions there and VIOLA !!!!! I now have a brush that makes the symbol I want. YEE HAW !!!!

Very cool. That's what I ended up doing as well. You could also just create a shape you want to use as an icon (as a separate document), copy it to your clipboard, and then paste it in your map document to all the locations you want the symbol to appear. From there you just follow the instructions in the mini-tut to turn the shape into a symbol.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Tulgurth
10-22-2013, 02:34 AM
I went the brush route and when I tried to use the mini-tut my lack of patience about killed me. However the first atempt did not turn out so well. I did the mini-tut before turning into a brush and it made the brush application of the symbol semi-transparent and it was hard to see. But I do have another question for you and hopefully you can point me in the right direction.

I am using the map for a RPG, and because of where it is being placed I am restricted to file size. TO help combat this I am re-scaling to the map to 1/3 its original size, 2k x 1k scaled. However when I zoom into the map it gets distorted. Is there a way to combat this so the map maintains its lack of distortion when I zoom in? Man I hope that made sense.

Jacktannery
10-22-2013, 03:17 AM
I am using the map for a RPG, and because of where it is being placed I am restricted to file size. TO help combat this I am re-scaling to the map to 1/3 its original size, 2k x 1k scaled. However when I zoom into the map it gets distorted. Is there a way to combat this so the map maintains its lack of distortion when I zoom in? Man I hope that made sense.

There are a number of ways to measure file size Tulgurth, and to have file-size limits. For example, you might mean (a) a limit in pixel dimensions (X pixels wide by Y pixels tall) or you might mean (b) a limit in terms of KB/MB of data for the map as a whole. They are not the same thing. Using GIMP, when you EXPORT a map or other image you have many choices to reduce file size.

1. The best way for (b) is to export in a highly compressed LOSSY format. I recommend exporting the image as a .JPG at 80%-90% quality (using the slider). You can aim for a specific file size (b) by ticking the preview box in the gimp export dialogue. Export as an 80% jp, then as a 90% jpg (with diff name - doh), then open both the jpgs side by side and see if you can tell the difference. Often you can reduce as image size (b) by about a tenth or more with no visible loss of quality in this way. Note that because your jpg is lossy you should not depend on it for long-term storage as it will degrade when manipulated (&saved) so make sure to keep your original gimp files safe and make new .jpgs as required rather than amending your existing jpgs.

2. The other way is to scale the image in terms of pixel size, reducing the amount of pixels across and tall. You of course want to make sure to keep them in proportion. Reducing the pixel size (a) will inevitably lead to a reduction in file size (b).

Hope that helps.

arsheesh
10-22-2013, 03:23 AM
I am using the map for a RPG, and because of where it is being placed I am restricted to file size. TO help combat this I am re-scaling to the map to 1/3 its original size, 2k x 1k scaled. However when I zoom into the map it gets distorted. Is there a way to combat this so the map maintains its lack of distortion when I zoom in? Man I hope that made sense.

I think I understand and unfortunately there isn't really anything you can do about this. You see GIMP is a raster-based program, meaning that it renders images through the use of pixels. So when you zoom in beyond 100% the image starts to become grainy or "pixelized". There really isn't anything one can do about this except to render the image at the appropriate size to begin with. On the other hand, if scale-ability is a big factor then you could try using a vector based program such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape to render the map. Vector programs, unlike bitmap (raster) programs, do allow for scale-ability, since the information for the image is not stored in pixels but rather in the mathematical structure (e.g. lines, points, curves, shapes etc) of the image.

EDIT: Just saw Jack's post. This is good info if you are trying to decrease the data size of the file while maintaining the original dimensions of the image. This may offer a solution (or at least a partial solution) to your problem. However the issue with scale-ability will always remain whenever you use a raster program.

Cheers,
-Arsheesh

Tulgurth
10-22-2013, 12:04 PM
Actually you both got it. As Jack mentioned of re-scaling the map while saving as a .jpg I did this already while saving to this format. My original map size is 6000 pixels x 3000 pixels. When I save into .jpg I use the default 85% that comes up for it and go from there. So that did help some as far as his explanation went, but what i was referring to was what Arsheesh was referring to in his post. Do you know of any tutorials here on the guild website that could step me through this process?

Thanks again guys, I apprecaite it

EDIT: I just reread what you said Arsheesh and that sounds like you are talking about doing it all from the very start of the map creation process. UGH !!!!

arsheesh
12-01-2013, 07:52 PM
Hi all. So this will be old hat to more experienced members, but for those just starting out, below is a quick walk-through of how to make curved labels using Inkscape. Though there is a way to accomplish this in GIMP, there are a few advantage of using Inkscape. First as a vector program you are capable of non-destructive editing. If you later want to go back and change any of the label names you can easily do so while preserving the original paths. Second, I've found that Inkscape produces a cleaner looking result than GIMP, which tends to cause text to become pixalated after any transformations are made to it. Third, you have more control over path placement in Inkscape than GIMP. One thing to note however is that if you intend to export the labels to over to another program (such as GIMP or PS) you must first hide all layers in Inkscape except the one your labels are on and export only that layer.

Also, I'm just starting up a blog about fantasy cartography and game design and I'll be including this and related tutorials in it. So if you like what you've seen so far, come check out what I'm doing over at ars phantasia (http://arsphantasia.wordpress.com/).

Cheers,
-Arsheesh