View Full Version : Reintroduction, and a world too

12-19-2013, 12:00 PM
I wasn't sure whether this should go in the finished map section, here, or the member introductions (since it's been so long), so I figured I'd just leave it here.

Hey fellow cartographers, it's been a while. Since there's so many new faces around, I'll start off by reintroducing myself, and give an update on life. I joined in 2009, which was also grade 9 for me, but I've been doing the whole paracosm (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracosm) thing for much longer. I guess map-making sort of influenced my decision to go into graphic design when it came time to pick what I wanted to do in university, and I was fortunate enough to get into the York University/Sheridan College Bachelor of Design program in Toronto (my application portfolio had at least two maps in it).

Currently in second year, and thinking about going into web design/user experience. I am working on a Pathfinder campaign for some friends of mine, so here's what I've got so far. Ideally, I'd like to have it as a website that you can click on to zoom in to the different regions/cities. Done in photoshop and Illustrator. I'm thinking calling this one Aiad. Still more to do though.

World Map








12-20-2013, 12:25 AM
Sketch for a city map that I'm working on. Located at the entrance of the bay in panor, above those little islands.



12-20-2013, 02:57 AM
Welcome back Rythal, glad to see you here again after a long spell. Your new world looks great too btw. I'm sure it will be a hit with your party. I hope the campaign lasts a while, if only so we can see more of your work in the near future.


12-20-2013, 06:06 AM
Nice map. I like your style : a sort of very pleasant "fantasy satellite map" imo. The only things that disturbs me is your too bright borders.

12-20-2013, 02:22 PM
Thanks for the feedback! I'm also going to try a colour fill with black borders set to overlay.

Edit: Small sample of a few of the nations. might be a bit too saturated.


12-20-2013, 05:37 PM
I really like your dark oceans Rythal, but some of your lettering is a little hard to read. Lovely stuff!

01-06-2014, 05:45 PM
This is a bit information heavy, granted, but ideally the user will be able to turn on/off the different layers

@PWkerns: I still haven't gotten around to solving the type legibility issue, but I have not forgotten it. will address in the next update.

All Layers


Trade Routes only


Political only


Thank you all for your feedback! keep it coming please :)

01-06-2014, 07:01 PM
I don't think trade routes + political map causes as much interference as you assume it does. If anything to me it adds context.

Love how it looks. It feels very visceral to me, maybe because of that wonderful saturation.

01-06-2014, 08:26 PM
Welcome back! Also... fantastic stuff! I love this kind of detail in these kind of maps. I really dig the look of your trade routes too.

01-06-2014, 09:42 PM
Well, it's interesting to look at, in an extremely saturated way. It seems like you've got more contrast dedicated to decorative textures than to meaningful parts of the map though which makes it hard to read. Besides being hard to read, the labels could also be placed better. Smaller text, higher contrast, wider spacing, and try to be consistent about size, being curved or not, and most other properties across feature classes (of one sea has a cuved label, all seas should have curved labels) Area features usually look best when they have a slightly curved label stretched to span the extent of the feature. http://www.cartographersguild.com/reference-material/12373-positioning-names-maps.html?12373-Positioning-names-on-maps=#post133147 is an excellent resource for labelling.

The "trade routes" are a bit odd too. Now maybe your world has highly rigid long distance oceanic ferry routes important enough to go on a reference map like this. That seems unlikely though. Nearby coastal communities can be reached from each other, with longer trips possible if both ports are large enough, or if you have your own ship, or are willing to pay someone with their own ship enough, and the details of where you can get, and how quickly, cheaply, and safely you can get there, will all vary with the weather, the season, politics, etc. That the locations are on the coast really ought to be enough. Those lines convey far more rigidity that you probably intend while trying to convey something that out to be obvious, and produce a lot of clutter in the process. You might want to cut it back to just roads.

01-07-2014, 10:30 AM
Much thanks for the detailed critique Hai-Etlik. I wasn't sure about the shipping routes, so I think I'll just leave them out. I also toned down the saturation a bit, warped the nation names, changed the texture, and fine tuned the nation colours. hopefully this version looks a bit more refined.


01-08-2014, 01:59 AM
Much thanks for the detailed critique Hai-Etlik. I wasn't sure about the shipping routes, so I think I'll just leave them out. I also toned down the saturation a bit, warped the nation names, changed the texture, and fine tuned the nation colours. hopefully this version looks a bit more refined.


It's up to you to decide what you think is refined, or whatever it is you are after. I'm providing advice for what I think would improve it, and I am basing it on some experience with real world cartography, but it's up to you to decide if that advice actually helps you accomplish what you want. I my express things more directly for the same of convenience but there's always an implicit "if it helps you get what you want" in there.

"Warp" is a bad thing for text. It doesn't seem to be hurting you too much here, but "text along path" (or whatever Adobe might call it) is the way to go for curved labels. You don't want to distort the individual glyphs, only move and rotate them.

You might want to use some double curves, and try to pick curves that spread over the shape of the feature they are labelling by adjusting letter spacing. Unless the feature is significantly curved itself, you probably want just enough curvature to break the straightness of the label. If you can't fit a label inside the feature, fall back to treating it more like a linear feature (what you've done in "Milicia" is good) and if that doesn't work it's generally best to treat it like a point feature ("Cenia" might work better as a horizontal label next to the island rather than across it) Ideally you should be able to remove the borders, and still have a pretty good idea of the shapes of the features just from the labels. The tricky part is in fitting in labels for overlapping areas. Having a label cross over a coast line is something to be avoided, although sometimes it is unavoidable.

To get really good labelling, you'll want to do some manual kerning. Shifting individual glyphs around so they don't cross each other or any important features. This is helpful in fitting in labels for overlapping areas.