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Ra-Tiel
07-14-2008, 07:48 AM
Good morning (or afternoon, or evening :P ) fellow cartographers.

I've started remapping a world from a heavily customized d20 game from long ago for an upcomming 4E Points of Light campaign. I'm primarily using Paint.NET - mostly because I just can't wrap my head around the GIMP interface. To create the basic shape and layout of maps I found a very nice tool: TerraJ (http://terraj.sourceforge.net/).

I'm looking for suggestions and comments, because I'm sure there's quite some room for improvement. :) Just as a warning: I'm colorblind regard most green and brown tones and some red and green tones. Especially the light versions of these colors are a complete mystery to me, so if you have color suggestions please use the HEX or RGB formatting so that I can get it right. ;)

So far I'm undecided what version I should use, the basic (colored) one or the aged version.

Also, putting in location names and other writings seems a tad more complicated than I thought. I tried putting in fonts directly, or on some sort of "background" (like a scroll image or shield image). When I wrote directly (without background) on the map the font was sometimes hard to read, no matter what font I used, while when I used a small scroll background it seemed to clutter up the map and distract from the important things.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings. Let the pictures talk. :P The first picture is the final, aged, map. The second shows the original from which I started my work. The third map is the colored version before aging.

Regards, Ra-Tiel.

PS: Regarding the scale... my maps are always measured in "scale of plot". I like to be able to resize the map on the fly if need be, without being tied down by some "1mile 10miles 100miles" scale bar. ;)

jfrazierjr
07-14-2008, 09:43 AM
Good morning (or afternoon, or evening :P ) fellow cartographers.

I've started remapping a world from a heavily customized d20 game from long ago for an upcomming 4E Points of Light campaign. I'm primarily using Paint.NET - mostly because I just can't wrap my head around the GIMP interface. To create the basic shape and layout of maps I found a very nice tool: TerraJ (http://terraj.sourceforge.net/).

I'm looking for suggestions and comments, because I'm sure there's quite some room for improvement. :) Just as a warning: I'm colorblind regard most green and brown tones and some red and green tones. Especially the light versions of these colors are a complete mystery to me, so if you have color suggestions please use the HEX or RGB formatting so that I can get it right. ;)

So far I'm undecided what version I should use, the basic (colored) one or the aged version.

Also, putting in location names and other writings seems a tad more complicated than I thought. I tried putting in fonts directly, or on some sort of "background" (like a scroll image or shield image). When I wrote directly (without background) on the map the font was sometimes hard to read, no matter what font I used, while when I used a small scroll background it seemed to clutter up the map and distract from the important things.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings. Let the pictures talk. :P The first picture is the final, aged, map. The second shows the original from which I started my work. The third map is the colored version before aging.

Regards, Ra-Tiel.

PS: Regarding the scale... my maps are always measured in "scale of plot". I like to be able to resize the map on the fly if need be, without being tied down by some "1mile 10miles 100miles" scale bar. ;)

First off, I rather like the shape of the world, it's very interesting.

Unfortunately, I don't know much about Paint.Net and most of the regulars here either use Photoshop or GIMP. I know we do have at least a lurker or two who use Paint.Net as I remember seeing some maps, so perhaps they can pipe up with suggestions.

My first thought is that your color and B/W versions have heavily pixelated lines, especially around land/water transitions, while the original done in TerraJ does not. Not sure if this is something in Paint.Net or perhaps the method it was saved to an output format for posting here. Or perhaps you increased the size from the original image?

Next on your main continent, at the NW corner of the "cracked" earth part(desert?) and at the very Southern tip of the same, there is a really hard line, so you may want to look at blurring this transition to the grasslands a bit more. This is not horribly bad on the B/W version, but on the color version, it is really jarring.

Finally, you should look to see if any other techniques would produce more distinctive mountains. If Paint.Net has forums, you might also want to check over there to see if anyone has done some top down mountains and could give you some pointers. Also, check some of the tutorials here to see if any of the techniques used to make mountains might have a close analog in Paint.Net that you can emulate.

As for the text and labeling and stuff, you really do need some kind of scale to be able to determine what is too much if you get my drift. Also, you could always keep your main map without labels and drill down to create regional maps with more detail such as names for town, mountain range, , desert, forest,etc.

Good luck with the rest of the map.

Joe

Ra-Tiel
07-14-2008, 10:21 AM
First off, I rather like the shape of the world, it's very interesting.
Thanks. TerraJ generally produces some very good basic shapes imho, much better than pretty much any other free fractal generator I've seen so far.


Unfortunately, I don't know much about Paint.Net and most of the regulars here either use Photoshop or GIMP. I know we do have at least a lurker or two who use Paint.Net as I remember seeing some maps, so perhaps they can pipe up with suggestions.
No problem, but thanks for the input. I'll be looking around for those lurkers you mentioned. :D


My first thought is that your color and B/W versions have heavily pixelated lines, especially around land/water transitions, while the original done in TerraJ does not. Not sure if this is something in Paint.Net or perhaps the method it was saved to an output format for posting here. Or perhaps you increased the size from the original image?
That's from the Fragment filter I used to get the texture effect on the water bodies. I wanted to apply some blur to that afterwards, but then somehow forgot it. :( Mea culpa.


Next on your main continent, at the NW corner of the "cracked" earth part(desert?) and at the very Southern tip of the same, there is a really hard line, so you may want to look at blurring this transition to the grasslands a bit more. This is not horribly bad on the B/W version, but on the color version, it is really jarring.
The "cracked earth" part is meant to represent the ancient battlefield where Bael Turath (tiefling empire) and Arkhosia (dragonborn kingdom) duked it out with each other in the 4E canon. The fluff from the 4E core books mentiones that during the latter phases of the conflict both sides used terrible weapons that devestated large regions and made them basically barren forever.

But thanks for pointing out these "hard lines". Making the map as well as aging it took basically my whole sunday afternoon, and when I realized I messed that part up I was too lazy (and tired) to go back and redo a whole hour's work. :|


Finally, you should look to see if any other techniques would produce more distinctive mountains. If Paint.Net has forums, you might also want to check over there to see if anyone has done some top down mountains and could give you some pointers. Also, check some of the tutorials here to see if any of the techniques used to make mountains might have a close analog in Paint.Net that you can emulate.
Thanks, I will definitively look into the tutorials here if I can yoink something for Paint.NET. ;)


As for the text and labeling and stuff, you really do need some kind of scale to be able to determine what is too much if you get my drift.
What exactly do you mean?


Also, you could always keep your main map without labels and drill down to create regional maps with more detail such as names for town, mountain range, , desert, forest,etc.
Good idea, if only I wouldn't suck so much at making local maps. :P But I'll definitively look into that and experiment around with the idea. :)


Good luck with the rest of the map.
Thanks! :D


Joe
Regards, Ra-Tiel.

su_liam
07-14-2008, 02:03 PM
I have to say global maps like this don't need scales so much assuming they are of Earthlike size. Now it might be a good idea to tell if this is actually a million mile diameter Dyson sphere around a small red dwarf star, "Those large islands are only a little bigger than Africa."

Ra-Tiel
07-14-2008, 04:01 PM
I have to say global maps like this don't need scales so much assuming they are of Earthlike size. Now it might be a good idea to tell if this is actually a million mile diameter Dyson sphere around a small red dwarf star, "Those large islands are only a little bigger than Africa."
Yes, Aeryl is meant to be a "normal" roughly earth sized world. Should have mentioned that earlier. Sorry about the confusion. :)

Anyway, I redid the water and tried something else for the "blast" effect and the mountains. What do you think?

I'll be doing an "aged" version later. :D

jfrazierjr
07-14-2008, 04:30 PM
Yes, Aeryl is meant to be a "normal" roughly earth sized world. Should have mentioned that earlier. Sorry about the confusion. :)

Anyway, I redid the water and tried something else for the "blast" effect and the mountains. What do you think?

I'll be doing an "aged" version later. :D

Mountains look much better. I think I rather liked the first approach with the blasted area just because it had a nice physical distinction from the normal "green plains" areas that most of the rest of the continent has.

Ra-Tiel
07-14-2008, 05:25 PM
Mountains look much better. I think I rather liked the first approach with the blasted area just because it had a nice physical distinction from the normal "green plains" areas that most of the rest of the continent has.
Played around with the "blast" thing some more. ;)

Also, did an aged version of the current map. :D

Ra-Tiel
07-14-2008, 06:43 PM
And another aged version. This one's done with the previous "blast" graphic.

Ra-Tiel
07-15-2008, 12:08 AM
I finally experimented a bit with different fonts and settings. How about this font/color/style combination regarding readability?