View Full Version : The Solar System: September, AD 15605

07-05-2008, 12:56 PM
What DO you call a tutorial that's not good for anything except how to make one specific map?

07-05-2008, 01:01 PM
I would call it "a tutorial to make this map" and let others decide if they can use it for other things. ;)

07-05-2008, 01:48 PM
I'm in the initial brainstorming stages of this map. (Although I can already see the finished product in my head, I know damn well that such a project changes considerably as it grows.)

I'm thinking, I'll just use this thread as a Project Blog, and maybe at the end I'll post over in the Finished Maps area. We'll sort out whether to call it a "tutorial" later. Maybe others can pick up a few techniques here & there but I don't think it'll be much as a tutorial per se. Bah, giddy on my Featured Map scroll, maybe I was just hoping to get a Tute badge also. Hah.

The first thing I am concerned about is scale. Scale, in astronomy, is very difficult to deal with. If you get the orbit of Pluto into scale, you can't see Mercury and Venus. I am intending to abstract the scale completely. But, that leads to a parallax problem between planets. If I get all the planets into the proper zodiacal locations for 15605/09, but I discard the proprotionality of the orbits, then this graphic will only function accurately from the viewpoint of the sun; the angles and distances between any two planets will be utterly wonked.

Oooh, idea: maybe I can rig some sort of abstract logarithmic graphic element to represent the scale quantities that are lost by giving up the realworld orbital radii. Hmm! I have no idea what it would look like. That concept needs to cook for a while in the back of my head.

Another thing I am considering is artistic style. I want a semi-medieval, celestial spheres sort of thing, Copernican with a taste of Flammarion. This ought to be a lot of fun and I hope I can balance antiquity with futuristic scientificality. The one could easily overwhelm the other. Me wants both.

07-05-2008, 01:52 PM
some sort of abstract logarithmic graphic element to represent the scale quantities that are lost by giving up the realworld orbital radii. Hmm! I have no idea what it would look like.Ooh, it's clicking! I can feel it :) note to self: nonconcentric arcs! (Will I have any idea what that means a month from now? Even if I do, will it work? Stayed tuned, same bat channel.)

07-05-2008, 07:25 PM
I like the way you think:), it sounds very spontaneous. SeerBlue

07-05-2008, 08:27 PM
LOL, thanks, you make it sound like a good thing :)

A grid of sorts has manifested itself in the plan. Granted, it's a round grid, but a grid nonetheless. The X dimension is the planetary orbits, from 0 @ the sun to 100% @ the Oort Cloud. The Y dimension, which sadly enough begins with Z, is the Zodiac, from, well, hell I dunno where it starts, Sagittarius is at the galactic center so maybe I'll start there, but anyway it's a circle .. but if you unroll that circle, you'd get a 12-point line for Y, to go with the X orbits.

Now, I am a big one for using color to distinguish visual elements. I dunno what kind of color I will use across these two dimensions. I could alternate two colors across the Zodiac, making a stripey thing, purple-orange-purple-orange ... or maybe I can use yellow-orange for the summer signs and blues for the winter -- no that won't work, summer & winter are complements at the poles, there's no such thing as a winter month for the whole planet, hmm. I might start with white at the sun and work out through yellow and red and purple to blue at the fringe. That sounds good. But that takes the whole spectrum! What's left for the Zodiac?

Are you sure spontaneous thinking is the way to go?

07-06-2008, 03:09 AM
How 'bout some sort of colour shade to denote orbit distance on a log scale. You could do the inkiness of space in black and the relative size of moon or orbit as a blue shade?

or not,


07-06-2008, 11:06 AM
That's what my half-an-idea spectral orbit color was heading to, I think.

I can run a "to scale" color strip in the legend!

07-06-2008, 11:18 AM
I'm not sure what you mean about the moons as a shade of blue ...?

I was thinking about moons yesterday and I dunno what I will do with them. I don't want a string of moons off to the side of each planet ... that would be kinda ugly and what would I do with the 4 planets that have ring systems? (5 if you count Pluto cuz I added one there, a micro-asteroid-belt kinda thing). But if I show moons as orbits, that's a durn lotta extra circles all over the map. Doesn't Jupiter have like 60+ moons? I can't include that many anyway. Maybe I'll end up with a string. Shoot. I dunno.

Today I hope to learn the positions of the planets for the date in question. I have a copy of the awesome Starry Night astronomy software and I think I rigged it for AD 15605 once before. Wish me luck :p

Oh, new idea. I could write this map in the story as animated ink. Then the heroine could just set the date for what she wants, and all the planets move to the proper positions. She might even gripe about it not being to scale. Hmm, just a thought. The printed map, obviously, will be a still image. I'm not gonna do this as an interactive Flash video with a built-in astronomy database. Sorry, I ain't got the time and I ain't nowhere near good enough with Flash. It would be cool, though, huh.

07-06-2008, 11:19 AM
That means the date will be like a scroll-wheel odometer. Hah!

07-06-2008, 11:30 AM
Jupiter had 63 moons a few years ago, but I heard rumors that they discovered a bunch more.

07-06-2008, 11:33 AM
Check out this page:

It has links to all sorts of software for all different platforms.

07-06-2008, 12:12 PM
One aspect of this project that cannot (should not) be disregarded is this: the era is the 16th Millennium, and humanity has achieved levels of technology that easy allow the addition or elimination of small moons. That fact opens up a wide range of possibilities that could easily be 'abused'; e.g., I might succumb to the temptation to say that all the little Jovian moons were 'cleaned up' at some point in the storyworld's past, thus relieving the mapmaker (c'est moi) of the burden of detailing tons of little shepherds and microsatellites. Will I cheat so? I hope not. But, what can I do with 63 flippin' moons at Jupiter alone? Yeeks.

I also need to go through some of my canon material in search of permanent artificial satellites. I know I've mentioned some.

Now I'm wondering how to map the kingdoms of the Belt. Traditional borders don't apply because the component landmasses are all moving relative to each other. I might have to color-code them, too, or maybe stick little heraldry icons on them.

My god, this project is getting complicated fast.

07-06-2008, 12:20 PM
Very cool software link, thanks! I just tried one and it tells me Jupiter and Saturn are both in Pisces in Sep 15605. I'll try another, maybe, and Starry Night later too.

07-06-2008, 12:35 PM
A demonstration of astronomical scale, for you disbelievers out there ...

I can't even make this program (AlphaCentaure, 2nd freeware on the list linked above) display all the planets at the same time. Not that I expected to! :P

I'm glad, though, that it lets me set the date as high as AD 15,605. Some of the others I tried long ago would not let me go past AD 9,999.

07-06-2008, 03:04 PM
I'm really looking forward to seeing this one develop!

07-06-2008, 03:45 PM
Thanks ... um, me too :P ...

Another temptation I hope not to give in to is the use of photos for the planets. I want to do new stylized representations for them, maybe something kinda isometric ... OK, it's stupid to try to represent a sphere isometrically ... but you know, at a jaunty angle with some shading. Dunno what this will do to my color palette.

I also want to make new icons for the zodiac. it would be too easy to steal a set.

I want I want I want! I sound like my 2.5yr-old nephew!

07-06-2008, 04:05 PM
Oh, I know how to solve the "too many moons" problem! If this map is an interactive piece of animated-ink software, I can just have a variable-quantity moon display. Then the thing just defaults to the first, oh, say, 4-5 moons, or it has a basic starting setting for each planet, and then a little popup menu so the user can hide the moons, show all, show inhabited, show #?, select by name, etc.

This will be more of a screenshot kinda thing, than a paper map.

The project just took on a whole new dimension.

07-06-2008, 11:32 PM
Ooh, and I get to do the trojans, too. At the very least, Jupiter's L4 and L5, but maybe others. Neptune and even Mars have trojans. That'll help fill out the circles!

07-07-2008, 01:11 AM
OK, it's stupid to try to represent a sphere isometrically ... but you know, at a jaunty angle with some shading.

If you can pull that off, I'll be . . . suitably impressed.

07-07-2008, 10:37 AM
I always wanted to make an orrery in 3D. I have some cool ideas for a 3D piece for this map ... but I think I better stick with something I can accomplish in under 500 hours.

07-07-2008, 11:30 AM
I have ecliptic longitudes (and latitudes!) for all the planets incl. Sedna, Eris, Pluto and the top dozen or so asteroids incl. Ceres.

I was able to set Starry Night to view from "sun center" and set the date to 15605-09-15-1200.

The info is overkill ... Here's Earth ...
Looking: south west (223 degrees from North)
: 44 degrees from horizon
Field of View: 100 degrees (width)
: 92 degrees (height)
Limiting Magnitude: 0.4
Observing Conditions: Clear Sky Clock Online...
Universal Time: 9/15/15605 12:10:15
Local Time: 9/15/15605 12:10:15
Julian Day: 7420927.00712
Sidereal Time: 15h 57m 24.6s
Delta T: 567158.2 seconds
Location: Sun centre
Latitude: 0° N
Longitude: 0° E
Heliocentric X: 0 meters
Y: 0 meters
Z: -0 meters
Distance from Sun: 0 meters
Angle from Ecliptic Plane: -55.749 arcminutes
Phi: 86.580 degrees

Name: Earth
Object type: Planet
Rises: 9/3/15605 at 01:14:13
Transit: 9/9/15605 at 20:51:30
Sets: 9/16/15605 at 16:22:16
Constellation name: Virgo
Constellation common name: The Maiden
Constellation possessive form: Virginis
Azimuth: 263° 16.312'
Altitude: 15° 24.993'
Hour Angle (JNow): -8h 46m 57.6s
Elongation: 105° East
RA (JNow): 0h 44.373m
Dec (JNow): 4° 36.109'
RA (J2000): 11h 58.863m
Dec (J2000): 0° 44.030'
Ecliptic longitude: 11° 59.917'
Ecliptic latitude: -0° 0.000'
Galactic longitude: 275° 12.321'
Galactic latitude: 60° 44.611'
Distance from observer: 1.0077 au
Distance from Sun: 1.0077 au
Radius: 6378 km
Apparent magnitude: -3.82
Orbit size: 1.0000 au
Angular size: 17 arcseconds
Disk illumination: 100%
Planet oblateness: 0.00
Mass: 5.97e+24 Kilograms
Max magnitude from Earth: 0.00
Length of sidereal day: 23.9345 hours
Length of solar day: 24.0000 hours
Length of year: 365.24 days
Description: Earth, our home planet is the only planet known to harbour life and from fossil evidence has done so for 3.5 billion years of its 4.5 billion year life span. The surface of Earth is constantly being remade by atmospheric and tectonic processes, so unlike the Moon and other solar system bodies, the Earth is not marked by craters. Over seventy percent of Earth‘s surface is covered by water. The atmosphere of Earth is 77% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. Until the Apollo program in the late 1960‘s, we had never seen a view of Earth from the outside. The Apollo pictures reveal what a fragile and wonderful world we live on, a spark of life in the barren emptiness of space.
Heliocentric X: 0.98568 au
Y: 0.20949 au
Z: -14 km

I think all I really need is this part ...
Ecliptic longitude: 11° 59.917'
Ecliptic latitude: -0° 0.000'
Of course Earth's ecliptic latitude is 0. Earth orbit defines the ecliptic.

But, this being a flat map, I dunno if I will even include altitude above or below the ecliptic plane. Maybe as extra info. Maybe not.

07-08-2008, 11:48 AM
It's time to start laying out my workspace. I can print up to 11x17, and trim down to 10.5x16.5 with a bleed. But I have to count how many circles to fit into that space ... and I found this awesome pic ...

07-08-2008, 11:53 AM
Whoa... that is slick, informative, and useful all at the same time. Very nice find!

07-08-2008, 11:56 AM
Also, I had an idea. The circles to not need to be centered in the space. I can offset the whole thing, and crop down to the necessary elements, like the pic below shows all it needs to show, but the sun ain't nowhere near center. I think this will give the piece a nice touch ... a jaunty angle :P ... but it costs me some of the "celestial spheres" flavor ... oh well ... trade-offs ... I hope the celestial sphere flavor will be more in the graphic style rather than orbits centered on the page. Offsetting and cropping will allow me to cram more content into the space I have, because I won't be wasting space on empty stretches of orbit.

Of course, to do this, I have to plot out the circles first, and get all the elements in place ... well, the outermost ones, anyway. Obviously the inner planets won't affect this cropping idea.

07-08-2008, 12:00 PM
Whoa... that is slick, informative, and useful all at the same time. Very nice find!Yeh, I thought the heliosphere was a lot further out ... and the Oort cloud closer in. I just realized I bollocksed something in a previous chapter ... a guy out in the Oort Cloud received a message from Earth that would have taken many months to get there. Maybe I can come up with a clever explanation. We'll see.

Anyway, did you notice the logarithmic scale there? :)

07-08-2008, 12:14 PM
Hey Toff, I just noticed that "solomap - awesome pic you just found!"

A local copier salesman brought me that file and I printed it at 30 x 48 inches for him about two months ago. Strange to see it again, here! :!:


07-08-2008, 12:19 PM
printed it at 30 x 48 inchesCripes, I hope he had a hi-res version.

07-08-2008, 01:09 PM
Anyway, did you notice the logarithmic scale there? :)

Absolutely! That really put a lot of it into perspective for me, and I thought it was a brilliant way to represent the vast distances that are involved.

07-08-2008, 01:15 PM
brilliant way to represent the vast distancesWhoever invented the logarithmic scale was pretty clever, yeh. It wasn't that artist, though. Newton? Leibniz? somebody before them? I dunno. I oughta wikipedia it. I like math and its history. [ Edit: here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logarithm#History) it is. ]

Like I said, I intended neither a true scale (practically impossible) nor a logarithm. I intended to abstract scale completely as concentric, evenly-spaced rings. But I do hope to put a logartihmic legend on it somehow.

07-08-2008, 04:17 PM
Here's my beginning list of objects. This is enough to place them on rings and get a crop area.

================================================== ===========================
Name ___________________ Ecliptic Long. ____ Ecliptic Lat. _________ Distance
================================================== ===========================
####### Inner Planets ================================================== =====
Mercury ___________________ 87° 17.101' _____ -5° 56.598' _________ 0.4087 au
Venus ____________________ 226° 40.991' _____ +3° 21.200' _________ 0.7206 au
Earth _____________________ 11° 59.917' _____ -0° 0.000' __________ 1.0077 au
Mars ______________________ 64° 34.997' _____ -1° 23.898' _________ 1.4363 au
... 5261 Eureka @ L5 -60° __ 4°
####### Asteroid Belt ================================================== =====
Eros _____________________ 255° 10.477' _____ -8° 58.058' _________ 1.6259 au
Victoria _________________ 319° 36.238' _____ +7° 50.342' _________ 1.8307 au
Bamberga _________________ 323° 49.258' _____ -1° 16.942' _________ 1.9429 au
Vesta ____________________ 243° 38.104' _____ +3° 58.678' _________ 2.1536 au
Melpomene ________________ 264° 3.456' ______ +8° 34.401' _________ 2.4063 au
Hebe _____________________ 277° 4.106' ______ +9° 13.018' _________ 2.4301 au
Euphrosyne ________________ 99° 19.502' ____ +25° 21.104' _________ 2.4432 au
Astraea __________________ 240° 53.914' _____ +4° 39.351' _________ 2.5770 au
Amphitrite _______________ 310° 19.233' _____ -4° 58.875' _________ 2.6054 au
Ceres ____________________ 241° 13.550' _____ +2° 53.412' _________ 2.7396 au
Iris _____________________ 186° 39.066' _____ -5° 22.619' _________ 2.7563 au
Thisbe ____________________ 55° 21.088' _____ +4° 4.367' __________ 2.7849 au
Fortuna __________________ 207° 52.568' _____ -0° 26.622' _________ 2.8276 au
Interamnia ________________ 90° 32.733' _____ +3° 49.404' _________ 2.8730 au
Hygiea ___________________ 305° 25.948' _____ +0° 49.819' _________ 2.9684 au
Europa ____________________ 31° 39.305' _____ -7° 2.023' __________ 3.0122 au
Eunomia __________________ 192° 15.806' ____ -11° 41.267' _________ 3.1021 au
Juno _____________________ 272° 7.982' _____ +11° 57.020' _________ 3.1716 au
Psyche ___________________ 160° 15.229' _____ +0° 46.609' _________ 3.2178 au
Pallas ___________________ 267° 19.605' ____ +34° 1.932' __________ 3.2183 au
Sylvia ____________________ 27° 28.047' _____ -7° 31.305' _________ 3.2850 au
Cybele ____________________ 47° 27.988' _____ -2° 49.349' _________ 3.7311 au
####### Outer Planets ================================================== =====
Jupiter __________________ 227° 28.529' _____ +0° 36.113' _________ 5.1335 au
... L4 Greeks +60° ______ ~287°
... L5 Trojans -60° _____ ~167° ________
Saturn ___________________ 201° 22.883' _____ +0° 42.931' _________ 9.4172 au
Uranus ___________________ 123° 43.822' _____ -0° 10.735' ________ 20.0630 au
Neptune __________________ 346° 11.625' _____ +0° 48.935' ________ 30.3950 au
... L5 Trojans -60° _____ ~287°
Pluto ______________________ 9° 30.723' ____ +15° 35.366' ________ 31.1420 au
####### Distant Objects ================================================== ===
Kuiper Belt _______________ na ______________ na ______________ 30-55.0000 au
Eris ______________________ 81° 26.515' _____+35° 19.172' ________ 57.9250 au
Heliopause ________________ na ______________ na _______________ ~100.0000 au
Sedna ____________________ 259° 39.918' ____ +10° 5.418' ________ 738.1600 au
Oort Cloud ________________ na ______________ na __________ to 50,000.0000 au
================================================== ===========================
For further investigation:
Centaurs ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centaur _ (planetoid)
TNO's ...... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Neptunian _ object
Hildas ..... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilda _ family
================================================== ===========================

07-08-2008, 05:41 PM
The first thing to do, though, is count the rings.

if I space the rings equally, the sun would be a point in the middle.

2 Sun -- I don't want to crowd the sun too much, so I will give it the first 2 rings.
1 Mercury
1 Venus
1 Earth
1 Mars
2 Asteroid Belt -- 2 rings for the belt, to leave plenty of room. I have kingdoms in the Belt.
2 Jupiter -- likewise 2 each for the gas giants, as they have trojans and/or major moon systems. Dunno what I will do with this room yet specifically.
2 Saturn
2 Uranus
2 Neptune
1 Pluto
1 Kuiper Belt
1 Eris
1/2 Heliopause -- there's nothing here, really, but I want to leave space for a demarcation. It's cool.
1 Sedna
2 Oort Cloud -- 2 rings, for space to put stuff in.

22.5 rings total. My celestial spheres!

Now to drop my planets in place, based on their ecliptic longitudes in September AD 15,605.

07-08-2008, 05:57 PM
The ring assignments ....

07-08-2008, 09:35 PM
Crapweasels ... I flubbed Neptune's double allotment.

Well, it gives me a chance to redo the spheres as equally spaced. I'm not sure I like the way the inner planets get cramped in that first version -- it's reminiscent of real life, which I was hoping to posterize into nothing. I kinda like the "everybody even" concept, totally equitable abstraction of scale. But on the other hand, I also like the variation in the unequal ring spacings. I like things to be unequal sometimes, not overly ordered and regimented. Hmm! Grr. Time to make up my min-n-nd. Poor Charlie, tough decision! (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113117/)

I'm leaning toward the unequals (repaired below, on the left). I think the medieval "all spheres are equal" is not gonna survive. Oh well! Cake and eat it, right?

Isn't it funny how you hit all these particular stages in a project, when things get decided, and they really can't be changed afterwards. Too bad! I really strive for "tweak it later" flexibility, but it just can't be had sometimes.

07-08-2008, 09:46 PM
This is so not a tutorial.

07-09-2008, 12:07 AM
In a half-hearted attempt to rescue this throg (thread/blog) from complete deviation from any sort of tutorial value at all, I thought to do a screen shot or two and describe how I am accomplishing some things. So ...

My next task was to place my planets around the rings at their ecliptic longitudes. I distilled the numbers I needed from the previous list, rounding to the nearest degree. Then I put a white dot on each orbit ring. (This means ecliptic longitude zero is straight down. I'll rotate the whole system later anyway.)

I've found that one easy way (there's many) to rotate an object around the edge of a circle (an orbit) is to create another set of dots mirrored on the other side of the origin (the Sun's postition). I filled the mirrors with a different color; you'll see why in a moment.

Then just group each planet with its mirror, and when you choose the ROTATE tool, it automatically sets the pivot point at the sun, which is the common center of the planet & its mirror.

So, just punch the desired rotation into the Transform panel, and woohoo, here's Mercury and Venus already rotated, and Earth just done too, still selected and its rotation shown in the panel.

After they're all rotated, I'll just select all the gray mirrors and delete them (or better yet, defill & destroke them to retain rotatability). If they weren't a different color, it'd be a nightmare to pick the mirrors out from the real planets, because you'd just see a whole lotta white dots rotated all over the system ... try it; you'll see. :P

This is in Adobe Illustrator CS3, btw.

07-09-2008, 12:20 AM
Now I've got them all placed.

If I keep a minimum amount of space around each planet (the ugly green circles), I can crop off a lot of the system on the top. Sedna threw a monkey into the wrench, and prevents me from cropping anything off the left. Oh well.

Dare I check how the positions compare to the previous screenshots from that other astro calculator?

07-09-2008, 05:56 AM
Keep going, I'm finding this a fascinating read! I can't comment because I've got nothing constructive to contribute, but I'm enjoying the education!

07-09-2008, 08:37 AM
Just brainstorming, another way to represent the planets symbolically and still hint at the scale is to offset the orbits:


BTW, toff, this thread is an interesting read!

-Rob A>

07-09-2008, 11:33 AM
hint at the scale is to offset the orbitsThat's a very cool idea, but I don't think I can use it this time because I have "full-orbit" elements such as the Asteroid Belt, which will be shown in its entirety, and it'd look, um, shall we say, "too jaunty" if it weren't centered on the Sun. But still, I like your idea a lot and I might swipe it for some other project some time. Cheers! That's clever.

07-09-2008, 11:54 AM
Houston, we have a problem! (Sorry, you knew I had to say that eventually.)

But seriously ... I did double-check my Starry Night data against the AlphaCentaure screen shots, and they DO NOT JIBE. Sorry for the poor quality of the screenshot in some places, but you can read it if you look close. I did.

Now, here's the thing. This is why I became a serious, dedicated skeptic a few years back. In general, we do not experience things first-hand. We get told about them, we get data from sources that are at best first or second hand but sometimes have gone through the-Devil-knows-whose hands (and agendas). Where did Starry Night and AlphaCentaure get their epoch tables and algorithms? Who wrote the calculation functions? WHOM SHALL WE TRUST?

I think I will download a couple of those other freeware astro proggies and see if I can get some other reports for planetary positions in September 15605. But ... still ... same question: whom do we trust? Maybe half of those programs are using a particular set of data or formulae that contain errors, and even though I get shown the same thing by 3 programs, they're all wrong. You know, like, "Oh sure, that's because of the Schmarks dataset from 1982, everybody knows he was getting a divorce and he had a drug problem, he totally screwed up his math, but it got printed in the journals before anybody caught it and printed retractions and corrections, and people who don't know any better are STILL using those tables, there must be a hundred astronomy programs out there that don't work because of this data -- they're all wrong! LOL!" ... And let's not leave out the fact that I, as cosmically aware and infallible as I am, might not even have used the programs correctly.

I am probably going to trust Starry Night simply because it's more evolved. It just looks more trustworthy. I know that means basically nothing. But at some piont, you just have to decide whom to trust, and just move on.

Here's how the planets compare between my Starry Night ecliptic longitudes and my Alpha Centaure screenshots ...

Mercury pretty close
Venus pretty close
Earth pretty close
Mars a little off
Jupiter way off
Saturn way off
Uranus pretty close
Neptune pretty close
Pluto way off

07-09-2008, 01:31 PM
I think I will download a couple of those other freeware astro proggies and see if I can get some other reports for planetary positions in September 15605. But ... still ... same question: whom do we trust?On second thought, to hell with it. I'll go with Starry Night. I got better things to do with my time than triple-cross-check this data.

We're always told to get a second opinion in medical matters. But what if the first doctor was right, and the second one's wrong? Even a third opinion doesn't really help much: there are times when the majority's right, and times when it's wrong (bin thar dunit). Again, it comes down to where you place your trust. Don't tell me you never disregarded the adivce of "all your friends" and did something your own way, and afterwards you were glad you did. It happens!

Bottom line, I doubt any of us will be around in the year 15,605 ... nor will this map. Too bad, huh, on all counts.

07-09-2008, 04:52 PM
I said I want to crop & rotate the system so it's not just concentric circles spreading from the middle of the page. I tried a few cropping rectangles, but I am not able to offset the sun sufficiently for my taste. It really has to go diagonally, not just off to one side, X but not Y.

I think the only option is to make up some new fictitious orbits beyond Sedna and position some objects out there, either natural or artificial, that expand my content in that direction, so the sun gets offset in the other direction. At least I'm at a stage where I can still dink with the orbits! I know full well that the orbit set will become immutable soon enough.

07-09-2008, 05:19 PM
Well, that helped a little. I think this gets me with reach of the fudge factor, anyway.

Movin' on! ... what's next, I don't even know ... but I can't wait to do it!

MAPMAKING IZ DA BOM can I get a Amen.

07-09-2008, 05:32 PM
... what's next, I don't even know ...

Planet icons
Asteroid icons
Asteroid kingdom heraldry
Private heraldry (eg. House Linzin @ Triton)
Orbit track graphics
Logarithmic scale for orbits (color spectrum?)
Zodiac boundaries
Zodiac icons
??? Latitude indicators
??? Orbit overlap (currently have no data!)
Moon menus
Planetary display menus
Options menu (units, scale, etc.)
Place asteroids per longitudes
Place artifical objects (incl. Oort-1 station)
??? and don't forget those "to be investigated" links!
I always forget tons of stuff on these stupid lists ... but this ought to be enough to keep me busy for an hour or two.

07-10-2008, 09:57 AM

07-10-2008, 10:30 AM
Trojans????And Greeks. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_(astronomy))

07-10-2008, 10:58 AM
Okay Toff, as you look to be the expert, something I have wondered for a bit, do the asteriods, which I now know are Trojans, Greeks, and even Hildas, rotate around the sun at the same rate as Jupiter, or does Jupiter go crashing into the odd one now and again, and how would one transit such a thing if it did shuffle them around once and awhile,,,I know I could probably look it up myself, but I have an inkling your answer would be more entertaining.
SeerBlue, interstellar rock. on the knowledge scale

07-10-2008, 11:18 AM
A friend of mine once called me "a jack of all trades but master of none." I think he nailed it. I dabble in many things but I'm no expert anywhere.

Objects at L4 and L5 points, commonly called Trojans (and there are a LOT of them (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_objects_at_Lagrangian_points), because any 2 bodies have L points; Mars has Trojans; Saturn and her moons have a couple Trojan systems), orbit at the same speed as the parent. Jupiter's Trojans follow along behind Jupiter, and the Greeks precede Jupiter, equidistant, equivelocitous.

The Hildas are different. I had never heard of them before. They apparently move around between Jupiter's L4 and L5 areas (not points! just CLOSE to the points!) and some other spot of equilibrium on the far side of the sun from Jupiter ... but in a faster, closer orbit. I don't profess to understand this at all. If they orbit faster than Jupiter, how can they "congregate" opposite the sun or near L4 and L5? Don't make no sense to me. I hope to find time to read about it further.

The band New England had a song called "L5" :) but their biggest hit, "Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya," is a way mo betta song.

07-10-2008, 03:15 PM
Ahhhh I never knew that! My traveller knowledge hath been expanded!

07-10-2008, 03:20 PM
If they orbit faster than Jupiter, how can they "congregate" opposite the sun or near L4 and L5? I think their aphelions congregate. I'm still a little fuzzy on it. It's definitely the coolest astronomical phenomenon I've heard of since the halo orbit.

07-11-2008, 03:58 AM
A little OT, but I thought I'd share this link here for those who are interested - it was today's Astronomy Picture of the Day:


/end derail

This is a great thread. I'm having fun reading up on the progress.

The Cartographist
07-11-2008, 08:33 AM
Toff - Great thread. One - for following the progress on the map, and Two - for all the extraneous fluff. Nice.

07-11-2008, 11:36 AM
What can I say, I'm a fluffy kinda guy. Glad you like it so far! Free popcorn refills in the lobby (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAtDLwFlfOc).

Meanwhile ...

From my giant To Do list, I chose to map the Zodiac wedges next. We normally think of the Zodiac as 12 equal slices of the pie in the sky, but the official constellations themselves do not occupy equal arcs along the ecliptic. In fact, Ophiuchus (I knew about that one) and Orion (news to me!) also cross the ecliptic.

Wanting nice lopsided unequal areas rather than a pie sliced equal 12 ways -- like I said about offsetting the Sun, and varying the spacing between orbits -- I could not pass up the chance to use the wonky distribution of the Zodiac. So I figured I would determine the actual arcs of sky that each Zodiac constellation occupies.

Now, the thing is, the sky changes over time; I mean EVERYTHING in the sky changes over time. The Pole Star is only temporarily occupying a position very close to Earth's north axis. The whole galaxy is spinning. All the stars are moving. I can't just take a current constellation map and read it. I have to fire up Starry Night again and set it for 15605.09.15.1200. Which I did. And let me say, please, again, Starry Night (http://www.starrynightstore.com/17235.html) is really awesome software. I finally got the durn thing to work in Vista (argh @ Microsoft) thanks to a recent update.

So I put myself in the middle of the sun in 15605 and looked at the constellations (1st screenshot). I couldn't find, and didn't expect to really, any way for Starry Night to give me the exact boundaries of the Zodiacs where they cross the ecliptic. Constellations are oddball shapes, and who cares where they meet the ecliptic? I dunno, maybe Starry Night could tell me, in its vast "overkill" datafeeds. To be honest, I didn't even look. It was easy enough to zoom way-y-y in (2nd screenshot, showing Orion's occupation of the ecliptic) to show subdegree divisions in the ecliptic grid, whereby I was pretty easily able to read, to the nearest degree, the ecliptic longitudes where of the constellations' borders. And I'm rounding off to the nearest degree for this whole project, anyway. I don't need the precise minutes & seconds.

And to double-check that I had 15605 data, and not 2008, I set it back to today, and looked at the constellations, and sure enough they were not where they will be in 15605. Yay, Starry Night!

Ah, now I just realize ... Orion does not cross the ecliptic in 2008. But by 15605, it will. Hah, no wonder I didn't know about Orion! See, my cosmic awareness is intact! Infallible as the Pope! Faster than a speeding, oh nevermind. Besides, Cetus threw in another twist that I didn't know about: it crosses the ecliptic (in 15,605 AD, anyway) in the middle of Pisces. Cetus means Whale. If I missed a whole whale, I can't brag too loudly about cosmic awareness, can I. Whole whale. It's fun to type, anyway.

Here's what I wound up with:

343º-019º Leo
019º-063º Virgo
063º-088º Libra
088º-093º Scorpio
093º-111º Ophiuchus *non-Zodiac
111º-145º Sagittarius (115º Galactic Center)
145º-173º Capricorn
173º-198º Aquarius
198º-235º Pisces (212º-214º Cetus)
235º-258º Aries
258º-293º Taurus
293º-295º Orion *non-Zodiac
295º-323º Gemini
323º-343º Cancer

So now I'll map them out in Illustrator, as wonky wedges. Not sure how to do that Cetus interruption yet. Got a vague idea ...

07-11-2008, 02:25 PM
OK, so I sliced my pie into unequal wedges based on the longitudes of the constellations (screenshot 1). The gray is Cetus inside Pisces. The blue is direction of the Galactic Core.

But, I suddenly realized, I got yet another monkey wrench here. I was kinda thinking to mark the constellations along the outside edge, like text around the rim of the pie plate, so to speak. But lookit my proposed crop of the orbits ... most of the edge of the pie plate is not visible! Only Cancer, Gemini, Orion, and Taurus display out at the edge (screenshot 1). Shoot. So, I have to brainstorm some way of marking the Zodiac wedges inside the orbits of some of the planets. Perhaps I can apply some partial transparency to the orbital tracks.

Of course, I might want to have some kind of orbital track graphic to start with, before I make it transparent. So maybe next I will thunk up the beginnings of a graphic identity. Suddenly I realize I have a lot of object to place yet, too -- I can't transparencize (is that a word?) the orbital tracks if I need them for objects! So next I guess I will start placing objects ... THEN, I can worry about where the Zodiac names can go, between objects. Yeh. Um. Maybe.

Oh. Duh. Why not mark the Zodiacs along the outside edge of the crop area? Hmm. Maybe.

07-11-2008, 08:24 PM
A little progress ... placed the main Belt asteroids. Crowded! And these are just the realworld main Belt asteroids ... I still need realworld trojans and fictitious artificial objects.

Also, I was just watching a cheesy astronomy show on TV, and I realize that the shading for the planets really ought to be based on the sun in the center. So much for the jaunty angle! But maybe I can tilt them a little bit into gibbous. That'll help.

07-12-2008, 09:30 PM
Dinking with the orbit tracks.

What I had in mind was some old 1930's piece of pressed & enameled tin, like an old toy. Vaguely, I think Kevin Kline was playing with a vintage racehorse toy in Dave. Some old clunky thing like that, is what I want my map to look like. Medieval, too. Yeh, medieval early 20th century. You know.

So I was dinking around in Photoshop ...
Copied my tracks from Illustrator, pasted them into Photoshop @ 300 dpi ... big file!
Added some noise, pixellated @ course dots, maybe I used my "worms" action on them too.
Added some edging with a layer effect, and also some inside fading.
The fading wasn't working on the small tracks, so I made a new layer for it. (suppressed in the marquee, for a before & after kinda thing)
Now some dirt! Good old difference clouds!
And make sure the dirt is only along the edge ... voila.

Well, I might dink more. But it's getting there.

07-12-2008, 09:31 PM
pix 4, 5, 6 ...

07-13-2008, 09:30 AM
Yum yum yum yum yum!

07-13-2008, 01:45 PM
This thread, and the LHC one, have reawakened my sense of wonder at the "out there". Thanks toff and torstan.

07-13-2008, 07:43 PM
Glad you like it so far. I hope it will finish out nicely.

Meanwhile, for the story ...

================================================== ====================================
FROM/TO ___|_ Rings of Saturn _|__________ Io ____|_______ Ceres ____|________ Mars __
===========|===================|================== |==================|================
Titan _____|__ 0.008094008 au _|_ 5.313132633 au _|_ 7.523863720 au _|_ 10.50541091 au
___________|______ 1210846 km _|___ 794833328 km _|__ 1125553991 km _|__ 1571587102 km
___________|____ 0.0673158 lm _|______ 44.188 lm _|_____ 62.5741 lm _|_____ 87.3708 lm
===========|===================|================== |==================|================
Rings of __|_________ X _______|_ 5.311954336 au _|_ 7.524210785 au _|_ 10.50802281 au
Saturn ____|_________ X _______|___ 794657057 km _|__ 1125605912 km _|__ 1571977837 km
___________|_________ X _______|_____ 44.1782 lm _|______ 62.577 lm _|_____ 87.3926 lm
===========|===================|================== |==================|================
Io ________|_________ X _______|_________ X ______|_ 2.559599670 au _|_ 6.516402266 au
___________|_________ X _______|_________ X ______|___ 382910660 km _|___ 974839903 km
___________|_________ X _______|_________ X ______|_____ 21.2875 lm _|_____ 54.1953 lm
===========|===================|================== |==================|================
Ceres _____|_________ X _______|_________ X ______|________ X _______|_ 4.173665495 au
___________|_________ X _______|_________ X ______|________ X _______|___ 624371471 km
___________|_________ X _______|_________ X ______|________ X _______|_____ 34.7113 lm
================================================== ====================================

07-14-2008, 01:20 PM
So I was thinking about how to do the planets, and suddenly I realized, I have fictional planets! I have to make them from scratch.

I was vaguely thinking to use photos -- I know, I said I didn't want photos! lemme finish! -- start with photos and create stylized versions via photoshop filters or autotracing or who knows what (my technical term for this process is "dinking") ... but then, I can't use the typical photos out there because they're all, as they said in Snatch, "at a funny angle." Equatorial views would look just STUPID in a birdseye map. But all polar views would look just stupid anywhere.

Finally I decided I need all the planets back at that jaunty angle, somewhere around 45° ... and my chances of finding 'start-with' photos of the planets at 45°, without shadows(!) (because the shadows all have to point away from the sun) is very VERY low, and my chances of finding pix of the fictitious planets, at any angle, is very VERY close to zero.

INSPIRATION STRUCK LIKE A BALL PEEN HAMMER: Get Mercatorish surface maps for the real planets, make such maps for the fictional planets, map them onto spheres, and then I'll have a whole consistent set of planet images that I can stylize away from photographicality via dinking.

So I have begun to gather up surface maps of the planets (screenshot 1) and map them onto spheres (screenshot 2).

I'll make fictional planet maps easily enough with some noise & filters. I need to make some representations for asteroids and space stations, too. They'll be small, so they can be simple, so they ought to be not too difficult.

Then I get to dink :)

07-14-2008, 01:31 PM
That's looking very cool. What's the 3D program?

07-14-2008, 01:46 PM
Happy dinking! This is looking glorious!

07-14-2008, 02:15 PM
Then when I render the planets, I can shade them (white inset) and position them around the sun with the shadows on the far side. This is totally not the final shading, and I know the planets are in the wrong place ... but I'm just checking to see if it looks anywhere near decent. I think the idea is sound.

The 3D program is this one (http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?id=10369488&siteID=123112), very expensive to license but fortunately I have access to a few things at my day job. I have looked into Blender (http://www.blender.org/) and I might have to switch to it for various reasons. Bad news is, hate to abandon all the investment in Max's learning curve. Good news is, Blender is free. There's a boatload of proggies that will map onto spheres, though. A zillion boatloads.

07-14-2008, 03:03 PM
I somehow wanted to separate the rings from the planetary spheres, but I think that would just be too abstracted. I think I have to concede to visual expectations on that point.

07-18-2008, 01:08 PM
Got a set of planetary surfaces. Made the fictional ones.

Not worried about tiling, because I can rotate the seams to the back.

Can vary the single asteroid by rotating to different views & adjusting levels up & down, to make a dozen different ones to be scattered around. That ought to be enough.

Gotta get some rings data & images now.

07-18-2008, 03:20 PM
Mapped all my surfaces onto spheres. Thought the shadows would cover the polar distortions, but they don't ... so I'll have to tweak the surface maps to repair that. I can almost remember how to do it, something about Photoshop: Distort: Polar Coordinates, on half the image ... meh, I'll finger it out.

Also, not happy with using Photoshop's shadow effect. I think I will have to light these guys in 3DS Max, especially once I get the rings placed around the gas giants.

07-20-2008, 11:30 AM
Toff, there is a post here (http://forums.planetside.co.uk/index.php?topic=2311.0) about the Panorama plugin for photoshop, which BigBen at Planetside forums uses to adjust planet/moon texture maps.
His zip contains the plugin and a pdf on it's use.

07-21-2008, 01:25 PM
SCREWWWWWW (http://www.theusdaily.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=458389&type=Science) :?

07-21-2008, 05:44 PM
I think what I will do is make names for boatloads of Kuiper & Oort & Transneptune objects. If "Makemake" was previously 2005 FY9 (or whatever), then ya gotta figure by the 16th millennium they'll probably have named all the objects I am gonna show on my map. Some of them might even be gone by then. This will let me escape from worrying too much about the objects that exist right now, or in the near future.

Meanwhile ... new render attached ... Thanks for the panorama link but it's not the seams I worry about, it's the pinched poles ... and I think by adjusting the sun I've made it irrelevant.

07-21-2008, 05:46 PM
Argh, what did I do to poor Pluto's map? LOL! First he's bumped out of planethood, and then I mirrored a third of his terrain. Poor guy. You'd think the Lord Of The Underworld would deserve better.

07-25-2008, 04:10 PM
Quickie update.

First, modelling the planets has turned into one of those time-sucking subprojects, especially the ring systems. I have a proven, workable procedure, though, so it's just a matter of processing all the numerical data and various image maps. If I can, I'll step through Uranus or Neptune, for blog/tute purposes. I did Saturn, though, as I think you've seen. Working Jupiter now.

Second, I have decided that I've just about had enough of trying to procure real-world object rosters and ephemera. It's the far future, so (a) mankind will have exerted a lot of energy into naming or even removing some existing objects, and making new objects; and (b) nature herself does horrible things to planetary rosters, so if (when) somebody next finds some new dirty snowball behind Sedna, I really won't care that it's not on my map, because it can just be assumed that the snowball was melted down for minerals, or got hit by an Armageddon asteroid, or whatever. It is time to FICTIONALIZE! which is both easier than research and far more fun. So there.

08-09-2008, 01:15 PM
PRODUCTION SCHEDULE (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=29008&postcount=4) (cross-post)

03-01-2009, 04:29 PM
You guys think I have forgotten this, huh. I have NOT! I just ain't worked on it, being all swamped etc. I reallllllllly want get back to this and finish it in time to include it in my little magazine, with the last chapter of the Tour Of The Solar System.

Speaking of which ... I just shipped the 3rd of the 5 chapters. Has anybody read any of it?

1 Titan http://links.mysteryandmagic.com/Dark_Vision_Chapter_27_Leapfrog_Part_One_Titan.pdf
2 Rings http://links.mysteryandmagic.com/Dark_Vision_Chapter_28_Leapfrog_Part_Two_The_Rings _Of_Saturn.pdf
3 Io http://links.mysteryandmagic.com/Dark_Vision_Chapter_29_Leapfrog_Part_Three_Io_&_Intermission_Klish.pdf
4 Ceres [working!]
5 Mars [working!]

03-06-2009, 01:36 PM
Planetary Rings

When last I left off, I think I was working on the planetary rings. Recently I took two good-sized steps forward on this little map project.

First, I realized that ring systems change significantly over time. This is 13,000 years in the future, so I do not have to match the current appearances of the ring systems of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. I will match Saturn's, though, because it is familiar and characteristic to modern viewers ... and, plus, I already have a bitmap for the color & transparency :) ... but, yay, I don't have to find actual accurate bitmaps for the others. I can just wonk them up in Photoshop. That's gonna save time & number-crunching!

Second, I had a method for converting the color & xpncy maps into radils (rings) for rendering, but I since developed a better method, inspired by an offhand comment on some old newsgroup. Anyway, here's how I am gonna make rings.


You have to have color & xpncy maps for your rings. I don't remember where I found Saturn's color map on the web, but it was out there. The map has to be scaled from the center of the planet out to however far a radius you want the rings to be visible to. In my map, it worked out to 9,000 pixels, nice high resolution. The bitmap only has to be, I guess, in theory, one pixel high, but I'm scared of single pixels so I cropped it to 10 pixels high. Call me crazy.

(The sizes screw up embedding the images on this page, so I will just put links ...)

Next, fire up your 3D app, which if it ain't http://autodesk.com/3dsmax then maybe this procedure won't work. Awesome software -- high learning curve, monstrous price tag, some funny quirks, but awesome. End plug, and no I don't work for them. Anyway ...

1) Start with a sphere. The radius should be the edge of the ring system as measured from the center of the planet.


2) Make a material with your two bitmaps: diffuse color from your color bitmap, and transparency (opacity, whatever your app calls it) from your transparency bitmap. ... Notice that the color bitmap for Saturn has black where there's no rings, because there's no color there, of course. This tends to darken the rings overall, which I compensated for by brightening the xpncy bitmap. It'd probably work better (or be more accurate, anyway) if I brightened the color bitmap or just used a nice pale tan/orange/beig stripy color bitmap without any black in it at all, because the xpncy bitmap is where you really want your "empty space" data. But whatever, this works fine. Do NOT add ambient/self-color to the material, if you want the planet to cast a shadow on the rings (which you do want, trust me).


3) Apply the material to the sphere using a PLANAR uvw map.


4) Depending on your geometry, you might need to rotate the uvw map. You want it on the top of the sphere.


5) Like an infinite god, smash the sphere down flat to zero vertical dimensionality.


6) Stick your planet in the middle (this one's not to scale), add a sun light and some stars in the backdrop, and render!



So now I'm off to make some ring-system bitmaps for the other gas giants ... and then I can move on to some new part of this sprawling project!

03-06-2009, 01:57 PM
That is really sweet! Thank you for the tutorial.

03-06-2009, 02:10 PM
Thats cool - nice pic at end too.

Interesting refresher on the old scale astro problem. Did you catch my silly vid about real planet scale in our system...

I don't recommend anyone doing anything bigger than a planet and immediate satellites of at a real scale.

03-06-2009, 02:15 PM
Don't talk to me about scale :? ... It's been the largest spear in my side for doing a map of The LATTICE (http://lattice.mysteryandmagic.com).

Steel General
03-06-2009, 02:36 PM
That looks really good.

03-06-2009, 05:28 PM
Crap, the bitmaps distort by the sine, though. Crap.


And it was such a wonderful, easy method! ... lol ....

03-06-2009, 06:13 PM
w00t, I can correct for the trigonometric distortion, yay!

Cripes, that was kinda like Hubble being nearsighted. Remember that?

I guess I need to redo that microtute.

03-06-2009, 10:10 PM
Well, instead of redo the whole thing, I can just show the procedure for fixing the distortion. It's simple & short.

1. Here's the problem. The view of the linear bitmap gets distorted when wrapped from pole to equator. The further we get to the edges, the more it shrinks. (Damn spherical geometry!) We want some space for the planet (and between planet & rings); that's black ... then we want three equal-sized rings: blue, red, and outer green.



2. Here's the solution. First, reverse the direction of the bitmap, so the planet-center end is at the outside of the rings, and the outside-ring end is in the middle of the planet. See, the outer green ring is into the planet. The black "empty space" part is out at the edge of the ring system.


3. Render it from the top. Cut a slice from the middle to the edge. Now we have a "reverse-distorted" ringsystem bitmap.



4. Replace the original ring color bitmap with the corrected (reverse-distorted) bitmap. (Undo the 180 rotation in your W dimension if you have to). Voila! The rings are the proper width, now!


04-12-2009, 01:57 PM

Sep-Oct Wayfarer #32 √ Chap.27 1. Titan
Nov-Dec Wayfarer #33 √ Chap.28 2. Rings of Saturn
Jan-Feb Wayfarer #34 √ Chap.29 3. Io
.................... √ Chap.30 .. Klish
Mar-Apr Wayfarer #35 X Chap.31 4. Ceres (Midnight City) - almost done
May-Jun Wayfarer #36 - Chap.32 .. Ceres (The Cereal Reverence)
Jul-Aug Wayfarer #37 - Chap.33 5. Mars - incl. Solar System Map!

04-29-2009, 12:57 PM

Sep-Oct Wayfarer #32 √ Chap.27 1. Titan ......................... download (http://links.mysteryandmagic.com/Dark_Vision_Chapter_27_Leapfrog_Part_One_Titan.pdf )
Nov-Dec Wayfarer #33 √ Chap.28 2. Rings of Saturn ............... download (http://links.mysteryandmagic.com/Dark_Vision_Chapter_28_Leapfrog_Part_Two_The_Rings _Of_Saturn.pdf)
Jan-Feb Wayfarer #34 √ Chap.29 3. Io ............................ download (http://links.mysteryandmagic.com/Dark_Vision_Chapter_29-30_Leapfrog_Part_Three_Io_&_Intermission_Klish.pdf)
.................... √ Chap.30 .. Klish
Mar-Apr Wayfarer #35 √ Chap.31 4. Ceres (Midnight City) ......... download (http://links.mysteryandmagic.com/Dark_Vision_Chapter_31_Leapfrog_Part_Four-A_Ceres_%28Midnight_City%29.pdf)
May-Jun Wayfarer #36 - Chap.32 .. Ceres (The Cereal Reverence) .. in production
Jul-Aug Wayfarer #37 - Chap.33 5. Mars .......................... incl. Solar System Map! (I HOPE)

05-02-2009, 12:48 PM
I have 3 months MAXIMUM to finish this thing. So I had best ghet my ducks in gear again.

iirc, I was on the planetary rings. So I'm off to find ring bitmaps.

I also need to put the wings on Ceres.

Once I finish the planets, moons & other orbiting objects, I'll get back to doing the map layout.

05-02-2009, 02:48 PM
Wow, when you spend months away from a project, it really tales a long time to get back up to speed, huh. How inefficient!

05-02-2009, 02:50 PM
Agreed. I start out "just taking a break" and it ends up more like a permanent vacation...so hard to get things fired back up again.

05-04-2009, 12:18 PM
After way too much work and confusion, I have done the ring-map compensations:

06-27-2009, 09:45 PM
Notice I'm not calling it "Production Schedule"; and this is why: I've decided to split the Mars chapter, like I've split the Ceres chapter. But I don't know if it'll be 2 or 3 pieces ... or, hell, 4, who knows. I have a lots of threads going that I might want to tie up on Mars. I dunno yet. Also, it'll push my timeframe for the Map Of The Solar System, because it won't be done in 6 weeks at the rate I'm going, and I really don't want to skimp more than I have to on this one. Yes, this is my master plot to string you guys out until the end of the year or beyond! Mwahahah!

But, I'm posting the newly completed Chapter 32. The newly completed Map Of Ceres goes with it. So, at least I'm making some progress and producing some work, nay? That's what it's all about, after all.


Sep-Oct Wayfarer #32 √ Chap.27 1. Titan ......................... download (http://links.mysteryandmagic.com/Dark_Vision_Chapter_27_Leapfrog_Part_One_Titan.pdf )
Nov-Dec Wayfarer #33 √ Chap.28 2. Rings of Saturn ............... download (http://links.mysteryandmagic.com/Dark_Vision_Chapter_28_Leapfrog_Part_Two_The_Rings _Of_Saturn.pdf)
Jan-Feb Wayfarer #34 √ Chap.29 3. Io ............................ download (http://links.mysteryandmagic.com/Dark_Vision_Chapter_29-30_Leapfrog_Part_Three_Io_&_Intermission_Klish.pdf)
.................... √ Chap.30 .. Klish
Mar-Apr Wayfarer #35 √ Chap.31 4. Ceres (Midnight City) ......... download (http://links.mysteryandmagic.com/Dark_Vision_Chapter_31_Leapfrog_Part_Four-A_Ceres_%28Midnight_City%29.pdf)
May-Jun Wayfarer #36 √ Chap.32 .. Ceres (The Cereal Reverence) .. download (http://links.mysteryandmagic.com/Dark_Vision_Chapter_32_Leapfrog_Part_Four-B_Ceres_%28The_Cereal_Reverence%29.pdf) & Map Of Ceres (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?p=68010)
Jul-Aug Wayfarer #37 - Chap.33 5. Mars (Fear & Terror)
Sep-Oct Wayfarer #38 - Chap.34 .. Mars (part 2)
Nov-Dec Wayfarer #39 - Chap.35? . Mars (part 3?) incl. Solar System Map! (I HOPE)


07-10-2009, 05:17 PM
Five days ago was the first birthday of this thread! OMG! Is there a Procrastination Clinic available in this Guild?

Last night the ideas were asploding in my head for the next & last stop on the tour: Mars. I pre-titled the next chapter "Fear & Terror" (guess why, lol) and I had a cool idea for one of Mars's moons for the next cover, which works into a story thread that I established wayyyyyy back ...

Anyway, long story short, I think I need to include MOONS in this map. I mean, seriously, what good is the Solar System without moons? Earth has quite a characteristic one; the first stop in our tour was a moon of Saturn; and the Galilean moons of Joviter, omg, who can leave those out?

So now that I've stopped dicking about with the 4 planetary ring systems, I find I still have the moons ahead of me. :\

I won't do *all* the moons, of course. There's literally dozens. I'll have them mostly turned off on the map, but some turned on. I dunno which yet. Whichever ones are super cool, I guess.

Also, I added some specular highlights on the planets, which I think makes them look kinda like painted wooden balls, which I think is cool and just what I want for this piece! :)

07-10-2009, 05:39 PM
Oh, and I put Ceres in there properly, with wings.

07-10-2009, 05:45 PM
Looking forward to that mars cover :)

07-10-2009, 06:05 PM
May i just make a slight constrictive suggestion?

The planets seem a bit glossy, you may wanna make some specular maps, oh and some lack total atmospheric glow, you could do that aswell.

07-10-2009, 06:08 PM
I considered that, but I am going more for a "marbles on a track" feeling.
It's kinda vague in my head and I dunno if I can pull it off.

From the beginning, I threw (most) realism out the window. Scale was the first to go: not just orbital radii, but planet sizes too.

07-10-2009, 06:10 PM
What cant you pull of?, if it is the atm glow i can prepare a general file for you to modify to suit your needs.

07-10-2009, 06:13 PM
No, I dunno if I can pull off the weird "toy" effect I am trying to imagine.

What do you use for atm glow? I use a falloff map in 3DSmax. I think it worked OK on the Midnight City cover. I tweaked it in Photoshop though, and added the sun-haze edge.

07-10-2009, 06:17 PM
yup a falloff map & a few gradient ramps to control atm color and density.

umm good luck with the toy effect, i dont gather what u exactly mean.

07-10-2009, 06:38 PM
Neither do I. LOL.

07-11-2009, 09:16 PM
I managed to laze away the entire day just dinking with the moons. I *have* to stop this part of the project and move on. I just hope I don't get dragged back here for more dinking. I'ma die dinking, I know it. It's worse than procrastination. At least when you procrastinate, you know it. When you dink, you think you're actually working! CG needs a Dinking Clinic.

Anyway, I pray pray pray that this is the final set of astronomical bodies for the map. Now I can move onto dinking around with the layout & other elements!

Also, I had planned to put wayyyyy more asteroids than will fit. So I reduced them down to the ones I picked here. I included some smaller ones instead of some larger ones. I think they'll be options in a menu somewhere maybe.

07-11-2009, 09:49 PM
I'm totally with ya on the muckin around thing...if I would just do it and leave it instead of playin around I could cut my time in half.

07-20-2009, 03:15 PM
I've cut out all my planets as little round "paper dolls" to be dropped into Illustrator as PNGs.

I guess next I need to do something with the Zodiac wedges.

Then I'ma have to rotate the whole thing before I start laying in the info ribbons. I'm not sure how I'll handle the layers ... meh.

As a happy coincidence, as I work, WCPE is playing Holst's suite, "The Planets." :) A long-time fave, even if is it wayyy modern (I prefer the classical and romantic eras).

07-20-2009, 04:12 PM
I feel more design brilliance in the making.

07-20-2009, 05:43 PM
The Planets is good, naturally Mars is the best and darkest part (right up my alley)...Jupiter is ok but Mercury and Neptune kinda lose me.

07-20-2009, 05:51 PM
LOL, I thought you meant my little render pix. I was all WTF ...

07-28-2009, 04:24 PM
OMG, I just have to use this texture across my solar system map ....
(from highresolutiontextures.com)

07-28-2009, 04:30 PM
I thought this was beer foam or latte art at first :) I might have to use this somewhere too.

07-28-2009, 04:59 PM
You are going to use pancakes in maps? :P

07-28-2009, 05:03 PM
I *knew* I recognised that texture from somewhere....thanks Gand!

Hah! The answer is in the filename! Just downloaded it.

And you can do some funky stuff with a pancake I can tell you!

07-28-2009, 06:19 PM
It's sort of like making your own clouds :) Gotta get me some pancake mix.

07-30-2009, 04:47 PM
To me, it looks like a good base for creating landforms on a Mars-like planet. Some tweaking here and there, and crazy layer styles and/or blend modes, and I think it could work well. I see a huge shield volcano-type thing, personally.

Nice find!


08-01-2009, 02:18 PM
Somehow, my "orbital tracks" ended up with unequal spacing between :\ so I'm redoing them. That's OK because I want to work the pancake texture into that part.

Funny how much of a project you can spend lots of time on, only to throw it out.

Also, I gave up the rotated canvas. I'll just work straight to the page, now. it worked for Ceres but it was becoming too much of a hassle to do the borders at an angle. But STARTING from an angle gave me the necessary crop area, so it wasn't a wasted effort.

08-06-2009, 12:34 PM
LOL. Suddenly I remembered that I need the sun in the (offset) middle of this thing.

So I grabbed some images of the sun & composited them and ran out some glow streaks.

I tried to give the middle of it some luminance. Luminance is tough in printing. All you can do, really, is reveal the white paper underneath. Any imagery or ink you add just reduces that whiteness. It amounts to "add darkness everywhere else."

Too bad I don't have luminous ink.

08-06-2009, 01:35 PM
Somehow, my "orbital tracks" ended up with unequal spacing betweenOh, I see how that happened. Doh. I spaced them equally on-center, but they have various widths. Crap ... even my redo is wrong. LOL.

08-06-2009, 02:04 PM
That is one amazing sun, Töff!

You should consider a brief tutorial on how you created some of these celestial bodies, sometime.


08-06-2009, 02:08 PM

Didn't I include how I made the planets, earlier?

Basically I jsut got surface textures (most of them easily found thru Google) and wrapped them around spheres in a 3D app (in my case, 3DS max 2010). I gave the spheres some specularity to make them look more kinda like painted wooden balls.

Pretty soon I need to start dropping them into the map and rotating them into position.

But I gotta get the stinkin' orbital tracks regimanted first. Sheesh. Devil's in the details, ya know?

08-06-2009, 07:03 PM
D'oh! You did already cover it; I had completely forgotten.

Can't wait to see the planets in their tracks.


08-07-2009, 11:03 AM
That is one amazing sun ... a brief tutorial

For the sun, I just layed 2 or 3 different pictures of the sun over each other, fiddled with the modes (like Screen or HardLight), and masked them up.

For the rays, I made a layer, added a boatload of noise, did a radial zoom blur, then masked its edges ... then used it as a mask for a pure red layer.

For the middle glow, I just bumped the levels way up (and masked the levels adjustment layer).

Here's the PSCS4 file if anybody wants to dig into it and see: http://www.adrive.com/public/a72806b072085bd3ac3da5187d27c3b22d16ac2787fb2ee47f 1897395eaad6e8.html

Basically, it's just the approach of "lemme dick around with this awesome tool and see if I can make something that looks half decent."

08-07-2009, 11:19 AM
So, the new orbital tracks ...

I finally got them spaced equally. I know, there's some gaps. But those are for the Kuiper Belt, the Oort Cloud, and the Heliopause. I think. I don't remember. Anyway, they were intentional. The Asteroid Belt and the gas giants all have double-wide tracks.
I used those tracks to mask that awesome pancake texture. I had taken that texture into Photoshop and thrashed it for a while, trying to disguise it -- turned it blue, did funky shading -- but honestly, it's just too cool a texture not to use as is. I know, it's kinda obviously a pancake here, but by the time everything else gets layered in, it won't be so obvious.
Then I want to give the inner edge of each track a highlight, and the outer edge a shadow -- the idea being that the sun in the middle is gonna light their inner edges -- get it? I couldn't find an easy way to do that in PS. I'm all about doing things the easy way. I could done it one track at a time, through some clever slection & deselection and masking etc., but I wanted an easier method. I went back to Illustrator and just made a gradient fill with a buncha whites & blacks, their points aligned to the tracks. It's not perfect, and I might fiddle some more ... or I might not.
So, my funny gradient as HardLight on top of the pancake, and it looks like I wanted it to, kinda 3D.
Then for kicks I ran black & white lines around the middles of the tracks, and blurred them, to make it look like slots where the planets roll or slide or whatever. I might fiddle more with the slots, too.

08-07-2009, 11:20 AM
The zodiac shading is gonna help disguise the pancake around the outer edges.

Here's a rough view.

08-07-2009, 12:14 PM
I threw a few planets on there.

It almost starts to look kinda cool.

08-07-2009, 12:19 PM
Oooh that's pretty!

Steel General
08-07-2009, 12:22 PM
Really neat stuff...but Holy Gradients Batman! :)

09-02-2009, 12:14 PM
I am moving onto the Moon Ribbons.

They have such a cool name, I just hadda post it here!

Steel General
09-02-2009, 12:24 PM
That is a cool name, so what are they?

10-07-2009, 10:36 AM
New ring discovered around Saturn is largest in Solar System



10-07-2009, 10:38 AM
That is a cool name, so what are they?They are holders for the moons, to extend from the planets. I don't want to muddle the overall concept with moon-orbit rings around each planet. I'll just extend a little strip from a planet and lay its moons out in a row. Not sure if I will align each moon ribbon to its planetary orbital tracks or all of them to the map frame itself. Gotta play with it.

10-07-2009, 06:26 PM
I know they are named alphabetically by year of discovery, but I don't remember what letter they are up to, I want to say G but probably wrong there. Cool.

10-13-2009, 11:26 AM
This is how people travel where I come from.

http://photos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs250.snc1/9735_1238132390171_1135104191_30747286_121384_n.jp g

10-13-2009, 04:42 PM
Terrell Owens could use one of those instead of his hyperbaric chamber. Wait, so could I :)

10-18-2009, 04:11 AM
Strictly speaking, you cannot avoid time dilation, but I assume what you mean is that if you took a gravbubble from Earth to a nearby star system some 11 light year away, spent a year exploring that system and came back, you'd be about 23 years older, just like the folks at home. This severely limits the usefulness of your fast gravbubble drive unless you use sleeper ships or humans are nigh-immortal and have high boredom thresholds. I wouldn't want to spent years in a cramped spaceship with no outside contact, only to be an old man when we reached our mission objective 40 light years away. This is not necessarily a bad thing, I just wanted to make sure you were aware that avoiding relativity effects in this way hampers rather than encourages exploration beyond the nearest stars. Probably not going to find a habitable world this way (and only very maybe one that can be made habitable with awesome future tech) unless you use one of the outs I mentioned. (Nor does there appear to be any reason why being in a gravbubble should influence relativistic effects.)

Your solar system is starting to look pretty amazing.

10-18-2009, 11:11 AM
The idea is that, because the person is not moving within the gravbubble, there's no time dilation. But I'll also admit that I've reintroduced the concept of the ether into that particular future-speculative storyworld. Also, humans are are both near-immortal (advanced med tech) and they have sleeper tech of many sorts available if they want it, including a time-stoppage-by-balanced-supergravity technique. But yes, we travel at the speed of light, without time dilation, is the bottom line. Note that it does take time to accelerate up to the speed of light; but, because you are only moving a near-massless point, and you're not experiencing that acceleration inside the bubble, you can push as hard as you want with your engine. I think the fastest I've used so far was 133g, which reaches lightspeed in 2.5 days. I have a calculator for it here: http://lattice.mysteryandmagic.com/reference.g.html#gravityengine

10-18-2009, 11:18 AM
Time dilation is a factor of the passenger (and therefore the vehicle) experiencing acceleration up into significantly relativistic speeds. That takes an immense amount of energy, and it also exposes the vehicle (and therefore the passenger) to hazards such as a few molecules of dust hitting your ship with the force of a hydrogen bomb. It's really just not the way to go.

Of course, we don't have gravbubbles or warp drives in real life, so the only practical method of space travel we have in the foreseeable future is extreme velocity, so we'd better learn how to deal with it. The Bussard ramjet, while designed as a fuel-gathering system, has the interesting side benefit of removing space dust from your path.

Of course, science is making incredible theoretical leaps, which usually translate into practical technologies. So maybe we will have warp drive ships or wormhole gates or something equally cool. Heck, we have Kirk's communicator now. With apps! Who'd'a thunk that would become a real thing back when we were eating burgers on TV trays in the late 60s and watching Joan Collins get run over by a truck.