View Full Version : Commission: The Continent of Maceon

05-06-2014, 01:23 PM
This is a commissioned map I just started on for a Fantasy Novel. It's very early yet and I just finished defining the landmasses.

05-06-2014, 06:57 PM
Quick update.

- Max -
05-06-2014, 08:03 PM
Looks like you're off to a good start. the coastal rings could be smoother to look less digital (same for the drop shadows o coast, it looks too digital to match the hand-drawn mountains imho).

05-07-2014, 08:12 AM
I agree with max about the coastal rings. And I'm not sure about the city icons for the same reasons. Your mountains are just excellent!

05-07-2014, 03:55 PM
I smoothed out the water rings a bit and lowered the opacity of the drop shadow of the land. I think it helped.

I'm sticking with the simplified city markers because I need to ensure they'll be readable at different sizes. Because this one is for a novel, I really want to make sure the map is legible at different sizes and across different mediums (digital and print). I wanted to go with something other than just the usual dots and still make the symbols informative. I can live with sacrificing the aesthetics a bit and I think they accomplish both those goals.

As always, thanks much for the input. :)

05-10-2014, 10:01 AM
Progress update.

- Max -
05-10-2014, 10:27 AM
I think the icons reach their goal nicely. The informations atm looks clear and legible.

05-10-2014, 10:35 AM
Looks fantastic! Very interesting font choice, it works really well. Mind if I ask which one it is? I think I'd like to use it sometime… :)
I've got a couple of suggestions: It looks a little strange to me that the land is completely untextured. If you would put the ocean texture on the land as well, but very faint, it'd feel more coherent. And the mountains and forests are very pale, I think they would match the coastline and labels better if they were a little darker.

05-12-2014, 08:14 AM
I fully agree with Lingon about the mountains and forests being a bit pale. And, in fact, I would make the icons a bit less black and would darkened a bit forests and mountains (mainly mountains). I'm not sure about texturing the land, depending on what you have in mind.

Anyway, I really like all the elements (nice canyon!) and the labelling is very good!

05-12-2014, 12:43 PM
I second the point about mountains and forests. They are line-works, so they should be the same color as other lines, that is black.

05-12-2014, 12:48 PM
I made some more progress on this today. I darkened the forest/mountain symbols and lightened the city symbols slightly. I also added some tone to the land to make it not so white.

05-12-2014, 02:01 PM
Great to see you back Cereth. Nice looking black and white style you've got here. Personally though I don't feel that the town symbols compliment the hand drawn style of the rest of the map. I think I would either go for simple dots and squares or for full-blown hand drawn symbols. So there's my 2c for what it's worth.


05-13-2014, 04:30 PM
Looks fantastic! Very interesting font choice, it works really well. Mind if I ask which one it is? I think I'd like to use it sometime… :)

"Sakkal Majalla" is the name of the font. I can't remember where I got it. So many fonts... :)

This is pretty much finished, pending any changes the commissioner requests. The city symbols aren't the most popular, but I am pretty much sold on them ( I can be a stubborn SOB. :P ). Function wins over form for me on this one.

The original .psd file for this is absolutely massive....broke the 2GB barrier.

- Max -
05-13-2014, 06:02 PM
Sounds weird, you don't seem to have that much layers for this map. Some of my maps with color layers, way more labels at 300 dpi barely reach 2Gb.

05-13-2014, 06:42 PM
I'm not saying this as a criticism, rather as a curiosity. Noting that I prefer to work with vector versus image editing. I too tend to build maps with a massive number of layers, but since vector apps are independent from pixel resolution (pixels aren't a concern until you export to an image format that converts the file to pixel format). Not one of my maps exceed 100 MB in file size, most (even the most layered maps) usually sit around 30 MB. Also Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 9, the specific vector software I use, handles memory in a very efficient way, such that only the most complicated procedure/effect takes more than a minute to process, most everything else happens instantly. I've noticed when working in image editors, or even CAD applications like CC3, performing effects, opening files, exporting files - all seem to take a ton of time to process. The way I create maps, I have no patience for waiting for an effect to update. I want to create an effect, apply it, if it works move on, if it needs fixing, undo, retry - I want to "do" not "wait". I appreciate the power of Photoshop or GIMP, but cannot handle the processing time, nor as you guys mention - the file size.

05-13-2014, 08:43 PM
Well, it is a really large map. I did it at 600dpi and the map is 22 inches by 17 inches. (like 33,000 pixels across). My machine didn't really have a problem with it. Saving it took about 30 seconds to process, but other than that it ran smooth.

600dpi was probably excessive, but I've been doing all of my comic work at that resolution lately.

05-13-2014, 09:03 PM
Honestly, as a digital printer (that is I run a graphic design/digital printshop) and I print large format, hi-res photographic work down to CAD color prints, I know that 600 dpi is necessary for the legibility of very small type (8 point or less). However for photographic image quality 300 dpi is perfect. Only specialized high resolution photography, like NASA pics, high resolution grayscale studio photography and other rare instances benefits from anything higher than 300 dpi.

While I generally design maps with the intentions of 18 x 24 inches in scale, I do smaller sometimes, and I do 24 x 36 and rarely 36 x 48 (or longer) if intended for print. As stated in previous post the vector file in its native format isn't such a memory hog. I've never created a map in native Xara (.XAR) format that was 100 MB in size for any map. Its when I export to TIF, BMP, JPG, PNG or whatever is best for the needs of the map, only then do I have a massive image, but it's as a flattened .PSD (I can export layered PSD if its needed by the end-user) and those may get into hundreds of MB in file size, but I've never crossed the GB line, even with those.

05-13-2014, 11:47 PM
cereth, this might be a bit of a "Doh!" question, but have you tried clearing the history?

As far as the map goes, I like the shades of grey. Gives it a bit of "Other worldly" feel, and kinda sucks you into it.

05-14-2014, 11:10 AM
I made a couple more quick edits/additions.

I'm actually not too concerned with the file size. My system handled it and the map turned out well.

05-14-2014, 11:27 AM
Yes, it did. Again, please don't consider my comments as critiques. I was discussing the process of using image editors, not in any way regarding your fabulous map!


05-14-2014, 11:47 AM
Yes, it did. Again, please don't consider my comments as critiques. I was discussing the process of using image editors, not in any way regarding your fabulous map!


Oh, not taken as a criticism at all. Thanks much for the compliment. :)

My art tends to be insanely detailed, and I can notice a difference between 300 and 600 dpi. It may not show when printed, but it's there while I'm working on it, so I tend to do all of my work at 600 dpi.

05-15-2014, 06:53 PM
I dont realy like the straightlined icons. Somehow the clash with the drawn Landscape to much for my taste.