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View Full Version : How do I make a modern(ish) map with photoshop?



Fragilicious
05-14-2014, 07:43 AM
Hi Forum,

The campaign setting I created for my D&D games has evolved over the 12 years or so I have been using it, and now the main continent is a lot like 1940s Europe. However I'm still using the map I made for the medieval era, a map I used right through the renaissance, and into the more modern games. I want this to change, so my question is as follows.

How do I turn this:
64050

Into something like this fine, upstanding member did:
http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/26104-antillia.html

Now I know that Lingon used watercolours and whatnot but I'm looking to keep this in photoshop. I'm going to start tackling it myself and experiment with a few methods (that I'll eventually figure out) and I'll even put together a tutorial to upload if I manage it. I'm also moderately confident in my 'analogue' arty stuff skills so I'll turn to that too if it needs to leave photoshop (though I'll need to buy supplies). Either way what I am getting at is; has anyone done this before me and are able to enlighten me, or does anyone know how to achieve it and again can they explain it to me.

Duly appreciated

Frag

Lingon
05-14-2014, 01:59 PM
Hey Frag, welcome to the forums! Thank you for the comments on Antillia! Unfortunately I can't help you with your question, but I look forward to seeing what you come up with :)

Gamerprinter
05-14-2014, 02:17 PM
I don't use Photoshop or GIMP much, but first of all, I'd get rid of that parchment color/texture and settle for an off-white/cream colored paper texture to start. While some modern maps use map symbols to represent mountains and forests, I don't think that's what you're looking for. So I'd redo all your mountains and forests to resemble more satellite view of real mountains and forest. Use the bump mapping feature in Photoshop to give the forest and mountains a slight emulation of depth with painted shapes. Then for your city/town symbols I'd go for the traditional dots of varying color for varying population sizes and secular capitals - dots or stars. All text labeling you'd pick some modernish simple font, serifed or unserifed - try both. The labeling should probably more closely resemble a modern road atlas map. It might be improved and appear more modern if you actually place some roads on your map, and perhaps include things like an airport or other modern features.

Freodin
05-14-2014, 02:25 PM
A lot of work. "Modern" maps tend to be a lot more precise than the "antique" types. So I would start off with precisely defining the geography of my land. Make up the profile, the heightlines of the land (and ocean, if you want to show these). Then you can decide on a style.
Nathan did a small tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/26395-how-make-topographical-shadow-illustrator-layer-technique-1-a.html) about the way he shaded his great Gallia (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/12352-galia-political-regional-topographic-maps.html) maps. With a little effort, you can use that as a basis for a crosshatching shader, or simply use it as a grey overlay.

If you are going for a physical map, you don't even need any kind of relief shading. Simple colouring of different heights can look quite good... I have an old 1960-ish Reader's Digest World Atlas which uses such a technique.

A graticule, showing the exact positions of the geography, is also something that should be added.

Fragilicious
05-15-2014, 04:48 AM
It's going well. Loaded up the alpha channel, made prolific use of layers and blurs, now all I need are some mountain effects and I'll be set. I'll post the result when I'm done.

Schwarzkreuz
05-15-2014, 07:05 PM
I agree, the parchemnt is overwhelming everything else too much.

Nathan
05-16-2014, 04:39 AM
A lot of work. "Modern" maps tend to be a lot more precise than the "antique" types. So I would start off with precisely defining the geography of my land. Make up the profile, the heightlines of the land (and ocean, if you want to show these). Then you can decide on a style.
Nathan did a small tutorial (http://www.cartographersguild.com/tutorials-how/26395-how-make-topographical-shadow-illustrator-layer-technique-1-a.html) about the way he shaded his great Gallia (http://www.cartographersguild.com/regional-world-mapping/12352-galia-political-regional-topographic-maps.html) maps. With a little effort, you can use that as a basis for a crosshatching shader, or simply use it as a grey overlay.

If you are going for a physical map, you don't even need any kind of relief shading. Simple colouring of different heights can look quite good... I have an old 1960-ish Reader's Digest World Atlas which uses such a technique.

A graticule, showing the exact positions of the geography, is also something that should be added.


Indeed.
And I would strongly recommand to use a software such as Illustrator to do so.

Fragilicious
05-29-2014, 04:39 AM
Does anyone know how to add longitude and latitude to a map?

Midgardsormr
05-29-2014, 02:53 PM
Do you simply want technique for drawing the lines, or do you need help determining the projection and aligning the lines for accuracy?

The previous recommendation for using vector software for the lines is a good one, but if you want to stay in Photoshop, there are a number of approaches you can use. The simplest would be to use the grid filter (I think it's under Render, but it's been a while since I looked for it). Or you could use the Line tool or the Pen tool to make paths that you could then stroke. That's a sort of hybrid vector method, giving you the ability to tweak the paths and then restroke them if you need to make a change. But PS's vector tools aren't the greatest.

If you don't have access to Illustrator and you'd like to try vector software, I recommend Inkscape, which is a free open source alternative that works pretty well and is relatively easy to learn.

If you need help with the projection, we'll have to wait for someone a bit more knowledgeable about that kind of thing to come along.

Freodin
05-30-2014, 04:06 AM
Does anyone know how to add longitude and latitude to a map?
That does indeed depend on the kind of projection you want to use.
With a simple equirectangular projection, you can just do a grid. For anything more fancy, I like to use NASA's G.Projector. (http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/gprojector/) It allows you to chose your projection, add your grid and export it to work on in PS. Whether you use the exported pic directly or use it as a template to work on is your decision.

Fragilicious
05-30-2014, 07:07 AM
Hmm that's a good point. I was looking for more accurate lines in truth. I'll explain my intention in detail as it has changed from the initial post. I am about to embark on two weeks holiday, most of it will be spend entertaining my son and my inlaws (who are coming along). I intend to spend my downtime working on my maps so that I at least have something new to offer when my game starts on the 20th June. Not sure how I'm going to do it or what software I'll use (though I have a few ideas) to redo the whole map to a more modern (yet Spartan/practical) method. Having the continents, seas, and entire globe on sheets of A1 paper. I at least want the oceans on A1 because it's a high seas adventure and we have a couple of amateur sailors in the group so it would be nice to give them something to flex their nautical (mapping) skills. I'm going to have the maps in simple black and white with borders, town and cities, and possibly very opaque terrain effects, or even none at all (just keep where the terrain is on notes) so it looks more like an actual map. So my aim is to do the following:

- Redo the continents and oceans at 300dpi to a size that supports A1 paper
- Create a new continent (easy)
- Use something to paste the continents onto a globe to accurately create the planet
- Create maps of the oceans with underwater terrain and some islands
- Use the globe to estimate reasonably realistic wind patterns, weather, and ocean/sea currents
- Create accurate longitude and latitude lines based on the globe

It's a lot of work I know and I plan to probably spend significantly more time than two weeks on it. It may take anything up to a year in truth, but as a modernish style map I can use it as a base, given that using the time in which my world has evolved to the 20th century, over the next 5 years or so I will probably start using D20 modern with it. These maps can be used as a base for future games. Anyway, I'll start researching what I can use to reach these goals, but any advice or tips would be more than welcome.

Thanks.

Hai-Etlik
05-31-2014, 12:43 AM
Well, far and away the most important bit of advice for accomplishing all that is to start with the globe. Maps need to distort things to lay the spherical surface flat, and you need to understand that distortion and include it in the map. If you draw a small scale (Large area drawn small) map without regard to this, you will run into trouble that will either make things look like crap, be utterly nonsensical, or require you to rework everything and probably have to redo a lot of work. So you should try to get it right from the start, and using an actual globe is the best way to do that.

Global Bathymetry is hard. It requires a much more precise idea of tectonics to pull it off, and tectonics is one of the most spherical geometry dependent things in world building. We didn't manage to get any sort of idea of the shape of the ocean floor until the 1960s. Think seriously about whether you need to open this can of worms. One of the most important rules of cartography is "Don't include things unless they're necessary." If you don't need it, save yourself the trouble, and keep your map clean and readable.

Those latitude and longitude lines are called a "graticule". The particular shape of them is going to depend on the projection you use and the extent of the map (how big it is and where it is on the globe). You can't just slap an arbitrary grid on or you'll get nonsense.

Fragilicious
06-16-2014, 05:21 AM
Ok, so with almost no internet connection where I was on holiday, I have only created a new continent because my map was too small for a globe but nothing else has been done. I intend to throw myself into the project now.

Lots of things have been studied and decided but I'm looking for some more advice. Making a globe; my initial idea is to go to a hobby shop, buy a large paper ball (the ones used for planets and whatnot) and start drawing, but is there a program out there that will allow me to do it digitally? Preferably, a blank globe upon which I can place the existing continents, draw the tectonic plates, and then flatten out into an image I can work with?

:Edit: Done it with photoshop.

Thanks.