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RobA
07-04-2008, 12:22 PM
As a follow-up to my hand drawn regional map here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1990) I am also making a world map (for a different trilogy-in-progress) for the same author.

This was based on a rough sketch of the continent shape, inland sea locations, and political boundaries. I threw in terrain features to help explain the political boundaries, and bounced ideas back and forth with the author, coming up with this draft:
4843

Agreeing on that, I have started the final map. It will need to be B&W suitable for printing. This has been done completely in Inkscape so far, making extensive use of the tapering river technique I posted in the tutorial section. (Here I differenced them out of the main continent shape):
4844

View full size (2000x3000) as the rescaled pop-up doesn't do it justice.

Next comes terrain features...

-Rob A>

jfrazierjr
07-04-2008, 12:37 PM
Very nice start. Can't wait to see more. Question on this for the printing: Does it have to be straight black and white, or can there be a couple of shades of grayscale in there as well?

Joe

delgondahntelius
07-04-2008, 01:16 PM
Couldn't help it rob... but...

that looks an awfully lot like;
4850
4849

RobA
07-04-2008, 02:15 PM
@Del - Funny stuff! I didn't think of that. I was thinking more of a "Timmy the Tooth" kind of thing.

@Joe - Not a clue! I assume books are all printed with offset printing. I have no idea if they can reproduce grayscale, or would be dithered B&W. I'm working on the latter assumption, but that could be wrong. Maybe a printer, publisher or author would know the answer!

-Rob A>

Gamerprinter
07-04-2008, 03:43 PM
It really depends. For most books, B/W without grayscale is what you can expect - in order to keep the price down.

However, an illustrated book (coffee table book, book of maps, etc.) full color and grayscale and be easily printed, but these books as substantially more cost to print.

If you're talking about typical fantasy literature that comes in hardback then to paper back, B/W is all you can expect.

Compare this to full color magazines. You'd think the cover price of $3 to $5 covers the cost of printing. This is not true. Most full color magazines cost $10 - $20 to print each. The advertising placed inside the magazine actually pays for the printing cost. The cover price only helps defray the cost of distribution. Full color printing for books are very, very expensive. Print-on-demand is essentially printing full color with a color copier/printer for short run, costs are still high, but actually not as high as if they were printed on offset printers for large distribution.

GP

RobA
07-04-2008, 04:26 PM
Thanks GP. The indication is it will be a typical fantasy hardcover, so B&W offset.
Size was passed on to me as:

Final print size will (hopefully) be standard hardcover, which is 15cm x 22cm pages, so with margins, we are looking at roughly 13x20 cm (roughly 5"x8")

What would you suggest the resolution of the image be for good B&W printing? My current image is sitting at 200dpi.

-Rob A>

RobA
07-14-2008, 09:09 PM
OK - I need suggestions!

I have tried a whole bunch of mountain styles, but nothing that I am happy with, that portrays the sense of scale, and fits with the clean land/river style.

This continent is about the size of Australia. Here is a rough comparison based on the information I have:

5249

Any suggestion on how to represent the mountain ranges - again, using B&W only, would be helpful.

Thanks,
-Rob A>

SeerBlue
07-14-2008, 10:01 PM
don't know if this will help, but for Raith of the FHCO we use 2 layers in Photoshop, bottom one black, top one white. He sketches in the shape of his mt chains in black on the white layer, and then uses one of the natural brushes in PS to erase the white from the white layer where he wants black. A pic is below. Don't know if this way is any better than just applying black to the white, but he gets better results this way. Don't know either if you can erase with vectors/whatever in this manner in ikscape.
SeerBlue and Raith Eliathy

delgondahntelius
07-18-2008, 10:30 PM
OK - I need suggestions!

I have tried a whole bunch of mountain styles, but nothing that I am happy with, that portrays the sense of scale, and fits with the clean land/river style.

This continent is about the size of Australia. Here is a rough comparison based on the information I have:

Any suggestion on how to represent the mountain ranges - again, using B&W only, would be helpful.

Thanks,
-Rob A>

Here some ideas .... just thought I'd throw something up there for you .... was quick and dirty ... but you get the gist


5354

RobA
07-19-2008, 09:59 PM
Thanks for the suggestions.

I finally decided to go with something relatively easy to do in Inkscape, using the calligraphy brush. Somewhat symbolic, old school fantasy map...

5372

I still have to add hills, etc and some additional terrain, but this seems to do it without being too cluttered.

-Rob A>

Steel General
07-19-2008, 11:24 PM
Lookin' good Rob, great job! :)

RobA
10-17-2008, 12:17 PM
I have decided to take this in a different direction. Things are getting too unwieldy in Inkscape so I have switched over to Gimp.

Here is a (1/2 size) of where I am, with a different mountain and hill style (The water effect is just a placeholder and will be replaced with something more hand-drawn, eventually):
7182

Where I am stuck now is the circled area. The description I am working with is:

Frontier Area:
"with its massive canyons and rocky formations, is rough terrain. Think Grand Canyon/Mesa/Badlands with scattered woods and Texas-like prairie/desert."
I have come up with the following:
7183

but am not 100% sold on it, so suggestions would be appreciated...

Thanks,

-Rob A>

jfrazierjr
10-17-2008, 01:08 PM
I have decided to take this in a different direction. Things are getting too unwieldy in Inkscape so I have switched over to Gimp.

Here is a (1/2 size) of where I am, with a different mountain and hill style (The water effect is just a placeholder and will be replaced with something more hand-drawn, eventually):
7182

Where I am stuck now is the circled area. The description I am working with is:
I have come up with the following:
7183

but am not 100% sold on it, so suggestions would be appreciated...

Thanks,

-Rob A>



I think that looks great! How much size wise do you have to play with (in terms of area). I would say make the mesa's on top a bit smaller in total size and make more of them and throw a few more canyons in there. Granted, this is representational scale, but those mesas would be like 150 miles long (or so).


BTW, I rather like your water effect, so I don't think it "has" to change.


GRRRR.. I keep editing posts instead of quoting them!!! Damn these new Mod powers!

Karro
10-17-2008, 01:46 PM
I think that looks great! How much size wise do you have to play with (in terms of area). I would say make the mesa's on top a bit smaller in total size and make more of them and throw a few more canyons in there. Granted, this is representational scale, but those mesas would be like 150 miles long (or so).



Agreed. I think it looks good, and that it meshes well with the new mountain style.

Steel General
10-17-2008, 01:57 PM
I think it looks fantastic.

When I read the description you provided, the first thing I thought of was the way they drew cantons, mesas etc. in the old Looney Toons cartoons (especially the Road Runner).

RobA
10-17-2008, 02:20 PM
Thanks for the suggestion, JR! (or should I just call you Joe?)

I took your advice and enlarged the main plateau a bit... it has to fit between the river systems... I'll go back and try to change out the mesa's on top and make them smaller and more varied, though as you say it is representational...

I also filled in a large forest area using the random density fill script I created...The brush has 12 different shapes, but at this scale they all appear the same... I might have to change that...

Here is a detail of the forest area and the wider plateau...
7185

-Rob A>

jfrazierjr
10-17-2008, 02:38 PM
Thanks for the suggestion, JR! (or should I just call you Joe?)

I took your advice and enlarged the main plateau a bit... it has to fit between the river systems... I'll go back and try to change out the mesa's on top and make them smaller and more varied, though as you say it is representational...

I also filled in a large forest area using the random density fill script I created...The brush has 12 different shapes, but at this scale they all appear the same... I might have to change that...

Here is a detail of the forest area and the wider plateau...
7185

-Rob A>

Joe is fine. Or, if your in a rather flippant mood... you can bastardize it to jojo like Del does (it's ok with me....)

I just got to thinking.... IF this one is going to printed out in a book, you may want to view it at the intended size before spending to much time with a lot of detail work. Not sure if you have thought of that (I assume you have) but I bring this up for others who may be following the thread to think of if they also are doing some print work. I have found sometimes that stuff that looks good at zoomed out scale looks like crap zoomed in and visa-versa. And likewise, if its printed at small scale and all your details are lost (or worse bleed together!!!) then you have wasted a lot of time putting the detail work.

Of course, if your mapping for the sake of mapping the large scale version and the print version at print size looks good to... just ignore everything.

It's a shame you cant tell the distinct trees, though they look good anyway. I am almost thinking that having more than 2-3 distinct trees on a small scale print map might detract from the layout as the eyes focus on a pattern of different trees. hmm just thinking out loud. Note, this is not a critisism, but the trees remind me of the pushpins from mapping software applications to mark points of interest...heh...

Karro
10-17-2008, 02:57 PM
It's a shame you cant tell the distinct trees, though they look good anyway. I am almost thinking that having more than 2-3 distinct trees on a small scale print map might detract from the layout as the eyes focus on a pattern of different trees. hmm just thinking out loud. Note, this is not a critisism, but the trees remind me of the pushpins from mapping software applications to mark points of interest...heh...

While I think the forest looks good, generally, one way to change this would be to extend the base of the trunks outward just a tiny bit, like a font serif. It would imply the ground in which the tree is planted.

StillCypher
10-17-2008, 03:14 PM
That mesa/canyon area is looking most excellent! I really like it. The trees, however... At the risk of sounding completely irreverent, the first thing that came to mind when I saw them was, "Oh, my! Balloons!" :D

jfrazierjr
10-17-2008, 03:24 PM
While I think the forest looks good, generally, one way to change this would be to extend the base of the trunks outward just a tiny bit, like a font serif. It would imply the ground in which the tree is planted.


I agree(that I liked flared tree trunks).. but at the scale the trees are in the image, I am not sure it would be noticeable in the final image.

RobA
10-17-2008, 04:38 PM
OK - I can see the pushpin issue :)

I saved the brush incorrectly and it was using the same circle every time :(

I went and distorted each brush image a bit, then added a serif/trunk...

How is this variation in comparison? (It is supposed to be a "dark woods"):
7189

-Rob A>

Karro
10-17-2008, 05:01 PM
Ah, yes, very nice, I think! The variation in the trees helps a ton! And I like the effect of the flare/serif on the base of the trunks.

jfrazierjr
10-17-2008, 05:27 PM
OK - I can see the pushpin issue :)

I saved the brush incorrectly and it was using the same circle every time :(

I went and distorted each brush image a bit, then added a serif/trunk...

How is this variation in comparison? (It is supposed to be a "dark woods"):
7189

-Rob A>


Nice.... I would give you some more rep... but can't right yet...Yer REAL close to tipping 200....

BTW, did you create an image pipe for the trees...? If so(or even if not), feel like sharing?

Karro
10-17-2008, 06:18 PM
Nice.... I would give you some more rep... but can't right yet...Yer REAL close to tipping 200....

BTW, did you create an image pipe for the trees...? If so(or even if not), feel like sharing?

But I can... it's only a measely point... but it's one point closer...

RobA
10-18-2008, 04:17 PM
BTW, did you create an image pipe for the trees...? If so(or even if not), feel like sharing?

In case you missed it, over in the resources forum (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?p=35308)...

-Rob A>

RobA
10-19-2008, 11:22 PM
Another update to show how I am using the tree brush.

7218

-Rob A>

torstan
10-24-2008, 07:16 PM
Its looking really good so far. How much detail is required in this?

RobA
10-24-2008, 08:04 PM
I don't know... It is for a book, too so a lot of detail will get lost I think.

The real detail terrain-wise still to add is marshland in the north and a jungle on the south east. Then political boundaries and labels.

Maybe cities, but I haven't been given that information yet.

- Rob A>

torstan
10-27-2008, 04:32 PM
I like it. I'm not sure how much the detail will survive the translation into the book format itself as Del mentioned. I like the escarpment to the east - that's a rather nice piece of artwork in itself.

I am a little curious as to why all the mountains have the shallow slop to the east and the sharp climb to the west :) I'm guessing this is just an artifact of the handedness of the artist.

I'm not crazy about the mid grey for the sea. It reminds me a bit too much of bad black and white Mac games from the late 80s - but that's just personal. I think the ripples would tell the viewer that was the sea without the need for the block of mid-grey. Anyway, as I said, that's just personal preference.

RobA
10-27-2008, 05:45 PM
Thanks for the feedback...

OK, now that you mention it I see it in the mountains. Yes it is an artifact of my stoking technique coming out :)

The sea.... that is just a placeholder layer from an old version ;) I'm planning to redo the sea and the shoreline stroke with a more hand-drawn look.

-Rob A>

RobA
02-25-2009, 12:38 AM
I'm still working on this... Here is another update with a few changes...

10702

-Rob A>

Ascension
02-25-2009, 12:52 AM
I like the sharper contrast on this one and the stitched rings but I think I like the last ocean (flat gray) although I'm sure that you have more planned so it could be a moot point. Still a very droolable map :)

Steel General
02-25-2009, 07:19 AM
I had pretty much forgotten about this, and how well done it is.

torstan
02-25-2009, 12:44 PM
Nice update. I like the new sea, but I'm not convinced by the dotted stroke lines around the shore. It looks a little too patterned whereas the rest looks hand drawn.

jfrazierjr
02-25-2009, 01:39 PM
Nice update. I like the new sea, but I'm not convinced by the dotted stroke lines around the shore. It looks a little too patterned whereas the rest looks hand drawn.

I agree..... perhaps dumping that element or using a low displace filter to get a bit of randomness to the "stoke"??

RobA
02-25-2009, 02:54 PM
here's a small displace...

10712

enough?

-Rob A>

jfrazierjr
02-25-2009, 03:57 PM
Ummm... are my eyes just messed up, or did you invert the cliffs from the previous versions? Originally, it looked like a mesa rising up from the ground on the mid right side. Now it looks like a cliff depressed? Of course, my eyes hurt today, so I could be just seeing things...

torstan
02-25-2009, 04:09 PM
Still not keen on the dotted outlines I'm afraid, but I'm happy to accept that it is just me :)

RobA
02-25-2009, 04:53 PM
@jfjr - you noticed! I was able to reuse by switching the N and S sides as the author wanted the region as a mesa filled valley not a plateau.

@torstan. I'm with you there. I need to figure something else out... Maybe it is the regularity of the spacing that looks off...

Gives me an idea.

-Rob A>

Steel General
02-25-2009, 06:23 PM
@jfjr - you noticed! I was able to reuse by switching the N and S sides as the author wanted the region as a mesa filled valley not a plateau.

@torstan. I'm with you there. I need to figure something else out... Maybe it is the regularity of the spacing that looks off...

-Rob A>

I thought something looked different, but I couldn't figure out what it was... and I agree that it may be the regularity of the spacing that makes it look "un-natural".

jfrazierjr
02-25-2009, 07:44 PM
lol... it took me 5 minutes solid of looking to figure out exactly what was different....

RobA
02-25-2009, 09:56 PM
OK, Another update... how are the coast lines now?

-Rob A>

Karro
02-26-2009, 10:12 AM
I think those shore outlines are a bit better now. I think you're right in that the spacing and line-length was a major factor in making it look artificial. Another minor factor could be the direction of the line, that is, whether the lines follow a perfect curve around the shore, or whether some are a little off. But I think that's relatively minor thing that would probably take more work than it's worth to do.

ambessalion
02-26-2009, 11:56 AM
what program did u use? that's the kind of stuff i want to do for my project

jfrazierjr
02-26-2009, 12:20 PM
what program did u use? that's the kind of stuff i want to do for my project

If you read the first post or two, I think he said he used Inkscape, but RobA also uses GIMP quite a bit, so it may be a combination of the two.

torstan
02-26-2009, 12:49 PM
That's certainly helped. I think one thing is that the even spacing makes it look very top down which sticks a little with the isometric view of the rest of the map, also, it's darker than the rest of the sea details, perhaps a lower opacity would fix this?

Here's a small example of what I mean about the even distance of the lines:
10753

Steel General
02-26-2009, 02:39 PM
Is there any way to do a 'opacity gradiant' (for lack of a better term) over the layer with the lines?

RobA
02-26-2009, 04:05 PM
Is there any way to do a 'opacity gradiant' (for lack of a better term) over the layer with the lines?

Sure.... from where to where?

Also - Torstan, I took your idea and ran with it... what about this (a full scale sample.. I've been posting 1/2 scale images so far...)

10764

-Rob A>

torstan
02-26-2009, 04:12 PM
Ah, now you're talking. That's looking good - I like the full scale of this too.

Steel General
02-26-2009, 05:35 PM
Much better now, and wow those palm trees are really well done! I knew they were nice but at full rez they really pop.

Ascension
02-26-2009, 05:42 PM
Not sure if this would be overkill but what about adding a lil wiggle into that "stitching"? Would probably make it look like waves on a beach but maybe it might work...just a thought. Looks amazing nonetheless.

RobA
02-26-2009, 07:17 PM
I'd have to think about getting in a wiggle... possibly using a distort map...but for now I'll tell you the secret of getting a nice random non-uniform stroke like it has. It was a pretty clever idea I had, if I do say so myself!

1) Create a gradient composed of (somewhat) randomly spaced black and transparent areas. The plan it to check the "use gradient" check when stroking, so this will make up the dashes of the line. I filled a dummy image with black and transparent bands, then made a snaking path around this, then used my sample a gradient along a path script to build the gradient.

2) select the land mass (I grabbed it from a channel I had saved)

3) Toggle quickmask mode.

4) Gaussian blur the quickmask, using a horizontal value twice the size as the vertical value.

5) Threshold the quickmask, setting the black level to 1. This enlarges the selection to the outer edge of the blur.

6) Toggle quickmask off

7) Convert the selection to a path (this smooths it out a bit) and clear the selection.

8 ) Stroke the path using the paintbrush tool, hard edged brush, slight jitter, with "use gradient" checked. Changing the "length" in the use gradient will adjust the dash spacing.

9) repeat from 2 blurring different amounts and different brush scales and gradient length.

-Rob A>

torstan
02-26-2009, 07:34 PM
So how did you get it to spread wider E-W than N-S? By using a left right motion blur on your quick mask before using threshold?

RobA
02-26-2009, 07:39 PM
In gimp you can specify different horizontal and vertical blur amounts in the gausian blur dialog.

-Rob A>

torstan
02-26-2009, 07:43 PM
Of course. I just never do. Thanks for pointing out the obvious! (and for the excellent tips on the coastline strokes)

RobA
02-27-2009, 12:27 PM
One more change - how is the water with a mask applied... better?

10787

-Rob A>

Karro
02-27-2009, 12:33 PM
Oh yeah, the ocean is tons better this way!

torstan
02-27-2009, 01:27 PM
I like it but I'd go finer grained with the mask - at the moment it looks a little like you have mountain range sized super waves!

RobA
03-04-2009, 05:17 PM
Almost finished (I think)...

Here is a crop at full scale showing the ocean waves with a smaller mask and a ripple added.

Also - a while back I asked how to depict reefs. I found an old chart reference that shows them as + inside of a boundary, so tried this... thoughts?

I also wanted to depict desert in the SW and wend with a stipple... not 100% sold on it... maybe little dunes might better?

-Rob A>

jfrazierjr
03-04-2009, 05:24 PM
Almost finished (I think)...

Here is a crop at full scale showing the ocean waves with a smaller mask and a ripple added.

Also - a while back I asked how to depict reefs. I found an old chart reference that shows them as + inside of a boundary, so tried this... thoughts?

I also wanted to depict desert in the SW and wend with a stipple... not 100% sold on it... maybe little dunes might better?

-Rob A>

I always love it when you post more of this piece... I am not a fan of the plus signs... since you already have the ripples around the reefs, either leave it empty or perhaps a line (squiggly??). The desert is fine, but if you want to go with a mix of dunes and stippling, I think that would be fairly nice, just mask away a section of the stipple and put in a few sandy dunes.

Karro
03-04-2009, 05:45 PM
My first thoughts are roughly the same as Joe's.

I think the reefs show themselves well in the wavey outlines, and the + signs aren't needed, and take away from the artsy-ness of the map. Just leave the wave outline, and I think we'll get the idea!

When I was younger, I like stippling to represent deserts. Here, I'm not sure it works, but I'm also not sure a dune-look would look any better. Maybe try what Joe suggested (a combined look) but otherwise, I think it's probably as good as it gets.

torstan
03-04-2009, 05:47 PM
I like the new sea mask. Close up the vertical jitter on the waves is a bit large and makes them look very spiky, but this gives a great look zoomed out a little, where this just gives them a bit of fuzz.

I'm not too keen on the plus signs, but I'm lost on how to depict reefs. Maybe a line with cross bars on it at regular points and some smaller ripples? Right now the surrounding ripples give the reefs the same status as the coastlines. I'm not sure that's quite right.

As for the dunes, I like it. The stippling is a little black and hard for this map - it's the only thing I can see with an edge that hard. I'd blur it a (very) little. I'd also suggest spreading out the mask E-W to fit the iso view. Currently the pattern has the same dimensions NS as EW which doesn't quite look right.

Otherwise, coming along nicely. Looks good.

torstan
03-04-2009, 05:52 PM
Some more thoughts on the dunes. I was wondering about this so I had a quick experiment. Here's the results:

10896

This was done with a 3px fuzzy brush with a spacing of 200 and a jitter of 1. I liked the stippled dunes personally (the second one).

Ascension
03-04-2009, 06:03 PM
To me the stipple looks like a steppe or tundra region...just me tho. I like that stippled dune idea.