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Seleucus I
05-08-2014, 10:33 PM
A new map from the same shared world as the other two I've posted on this site. I wanted to try out Bill Hook's "caterpillar" mountain brushes, and I'm pretty happy with the final result.

The final version will have a lot of grunge, annotations, and marginalia, but before I add that, I would appreciate feedback from the guild. What works, and what doesn't? Do I have enough labels? General critiques?

-Seleucus

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madcowchef
05-08-2014, 11:35 PM
Great start. The lines for the road seem incongruently sharp compared to those on your caterpillars, and the blue and black variation on your mountains doesn't carry information well for me.

Lingon
05-10-2014, 10:23 AM
Really nice! I love the Turkish theme, it's very unusual. Awesome border. I agree with MCC's points, and would like to add two more: the rivers seem too straight, and there's a lot of empty space. In a map this size, I would expect to see much more stuff.

Schwarzkreuz
05-13-2014, 02:42 PM
I think those brushes are way to blurry partly. Maybe you should try to create your own in a highter Resolution?

Seleucus I
05-14-2014, 05:50 PM
I agree with the general complaint that my roads are too sharp, particularly in comparison with the mountains. I intend to apply a Gaussian blur to it before the final version to fix this.

@MCC: Good catch with the multi-colored mountains. When I was placing them, I was experimenting with slight hue and color variations in my brushes - although why I thought this would be a good idea, I am unsure. I subsequently forgot I had done so, and became so accustomed to them that I stopped noticing, but have since returned them to being purely black.

@Lingon: I see what you mean about my rivers, having spent some more time looking closely at other maps. They should be fixed by my next WIP. As for the lack of additional labels, I understand what you mean, but I have a couple of reservations. Firstly, I intend to annotate the map heavily, and am worried that adding much more could cause it to be obscured by the writing on top. Additionally, the number of towns currently on the map implicitly conveys information about population density which I think is useful; adding many more towns would remove this implicit information. I could avoid this by using a separate marker for village size settlements, however I fear that the number I would have to place would be problematic given that I need to finish the map within the month.
That said, I was thinking I could alleviate some of the empty space by adding a few more natural landmarks (lakes, plains, mountains, etc), adding political divisions, and then also adding shipping routes between the cities and other cities outside of the map. In your opinion, would this be enough to fix the problem? Are there other things on the map I could mark that I haven't thought of?

@Schwarzkreuz: After I add all of the grunge and marginalia, my hope is that this map will appear very beat up and heavily used. To this end, I actually may blur the mountain brushes further!

Thank you all for your feedback; it is much appreciated.

Seleucus I

Seleucus I
05-31-2014, 05:57 PM
New WIP. Added a few more placenames (although probably not enough; I intend to add more in the coming days) to the coast, along with administrative divisions and a few sea trade routes (more of those to come as well).

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Seleucus I
06-10-2014, 07:12 PM
New WIP. Finished adding searoutes as well as air routes. Do these new additions sufficiently crowd the map, or should I add more? I'm also of two minds about labeling them - especially the air routes. On the one hand, I think listing their origin and destination is interesting, but I fear it may add too much clutter and convey too little information which is already readily available to the viewer (as they could tell where the routes start and finish without the labels). Perhaps I should only label the routes which begin / end outside of the map?
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In any case, I think I am almost done with the base map, and am planning on adding notes and marginalia soon. Before I do so, is there anything I have missed that needs to be added, or anything I have added which doesn't need to be there?
-Seleucus

Seleucus I
06-18-2014, 04:07 PM
New WIP. Made final changes to the base map (blurred roads, etc.), and added first round of marginallia.
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I'm generally happy with the way the map is coming together, although I worry that some of the fonts I have used in the writing will be too easily recognized as fonts instead of handwriting due to some clearly repeated characters. I'm hoping to fix this in the final version by manually adjusting these areas - rotating, distorting, moving them, etc. I'm likewise not entirely happy with the sigil in the bottom right, as it looks too perfect and not hand drawn. Any ideas on how to fix this?

-Seleucus

Lingon
06-20-2014, 03:48 AM
Nice progress! The text is really cool, looks pretty handwritten to me, though it could perhaps be faded a little, so it look like the ink has seeped into the paper a little. The easiest way to make the sigil look more hand-drawn would probably be to draw it by hand ;) If you don't have a scanner or camera, I think it's perfectly fine as it is.

I still think there's too much emptiness to be honest, but I know you don't want to add more stuff, so I'd suggest to shrink the map instead. As far as I can see, there's no need for this size, everything would be legible and also look better if you resized the map to maybe 2/3 or even half the current size. It would be easier to get the overview and lessen the feel of emptiness. Some text might need to be enlarged a little, but most could probably stay as they are.

Seleucus I
07-04-2014, 05:58 PM
New WIP; finished up the marginalia and made it look more organic via the application of a variety of layer masks.. Now, on the additional grunge - inkstains, etc.

@Lingon: With regards to the size, I think it actually is around the size you recommend. The actual size is 2 ft by 2 ft (or 61 cm by 61 cm), however, it's resolution is 300 ppi resolution. For whatever reason, this causes problems when attempting to view the map on a computer screen, as 100% zoom is much, much larger than 61 cm x 61 cm. I've gotten an approximate idea of the real size by zooming in until the units on photoshop's ruler look to be about the right size, and I think it looks about right.

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Seleucus I
07-11-2014, 04:12 PM
And, one last update. Added a bit of variation to some of the fonts to prevent them from seeming repetitive, along with fold lines.

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I believe I am now finished with the digital portion of this map - although I would like to print it out and modify the hardcopy by aging it with tea, distressing the paper, etc.

-Seleucus I

Llannagh
07-12-2014, 04:47 AM
I really like this map!

A few things though:

- the labels clash heavily with the handwritten notes on the map (which, btw, are superb)
- same goes for the style you chose for mountains: again, the labels that are not handwritten do not fit in
- in my opinion the sea color, lovely as it may be, doesn't really fit the overall style either, especially if you want to make it look old

If you want to weather the paper etc., have you considered using textures or the dodge tool?

Seleucus I
07-19-2014, 11:09 AM
Thanks for you feedback!

The labels and handwriting are intended to clash somewhat - the map is supposed to show handwritten annotations on a printed base map. As regards the mountain brushes clashing with the labels, I am loosely following the style of Sheppard's Historical Atlas (a prime example of which can be seen here (http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/shepherd/macedonian_empire_336_323.jpg)) and similar old fashioned maps.

As regards weathering the paper, I am unwilling to do this in Photoshop as although lovely weathering can be done digitally, it looks odd when printed out as the paper itself is not properly aged. I can easily fix this by distressing the paper proper, which will also give more texture to the map.

-Seleucus I

RazielKilsenhoek
07-19-2014, 11:51 AM
Looks really good! I'm especially loving the handwritten parts, it looks so authentic! As for weathering the paper, I definitely agree it shouldn't be done digitally if you're planning on printing it. Nothing I make ever gets printed so I have a lot of little tricks, but none of it would look even remotely convincing if printed out on a sheet of paper.

TheHoarseWhisperer
07-19-2014, 12:06 PM
This is a very nice map, you have here. I agree with Raziel about the handwritten parts, and the contrast between them is working well. There are a few areas that may be issues.
-- I agree with Lannagh about the sea colour. Maybe it would be better if the sea was a grey or even brownish hue, especially if the latter looked like the result of aging
-- I am guessing that this map is not meant to look like later annotations on a digital (I.e. Computer) map, but rather later annotations on an earlier handwritten map. As such, it might be a good idea if you could apply some minor distortions to the elements that look too clean at the moment (the text is a good example, but the first ones I noticed were the sea lines/coast lines). As for how to do this, I'm not equipped to give suggestions. Checking tutorials, or asking around should work.

Hope that doesn't sound negative. I genuinely do really like the style and originality of this map.

THW

RazielKilsenhoek
07-19-2014, 12:24 PM
The text does look a bit too crisp to go with the rest of the map style (the non-cursive text, that is. Like the town/city names). You could try giving those text layers a layer mask, and fill the layer mask with black-white rendered clouds (if you're using Photoshop. Not familiar with how GIMP would do this.) It makes the text look a little weathered, like the ink has started to fade a little, like so:

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Might be absolutely opposite to what you're aiming for, but maybe it's of some use to you. In any case, keep up the good work! =D