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waverlyt
10-08-2008, 02:06 PM
Tirwen is a campaign world I've been working on since December 2007; I've been working with the map, a little at a time, since April 2008.

I started with AutoREALM to make the outline of the continent and islands using its fractal line tools. Once I had what I wanted, I printed it, went over the lines with a medium tip Sharpie, and then scanned that as a black and white bitmap, which I then imported it into Inkscape. Inkscape was used to thin the lines a bit, fiddle with a few areas (having all of it as a vector graphic made this easy), and smooth everything out.

Once I had my outline done I rasterized it in Inkscape, grabbed Paint.net, and set to work on the basic color palette I wanted. When I started, I wan't planning on something as complicated as what this turned out to be. I quickly found that Paint.net couldn't do everything I wanted to do and switched over briefly to GIMP and then to Photoshop CS3.

Looking back, that all seems like a lot of unnecessary work. :P

Fonts used are Ale and Wenches BB for everything except for the runes in the corners and the non-numeral text under the distance scale, Viner Hand ITC for the numbers under the distance scale, and WizardSpeak for the runes in the corners. Ale and Wenches BB and WizardSpeak are from blambot.com.

Critiques would be greatly appreciated, since I'm really enjoying this and want to get better. The rivers, in particular, are frustrating me.

Thanks!

Redrobes
10-08-2008, 02:13 PM
Very nice - like it a lot. Lets start boosting your rep rating right from this point...

RobA
10-08-2008, 02:47 PM
That is just yummy!

I had recently played with something similar to your forest effect in inkscape for some other reasons. Did you scan it then simplify?

On the rivers, what don't you like about the rivers?

-Rob A>

Steel General
10-08-2008, 03:01 PM
I really like the effects you you used on the land and sea - very cool, great color scheme.

waverlyt
10-08-2008, 04:35 PM
Very nice - like it a lot. Lets start boosting your rep rating right from this point...

Thanks! :D


That is just yummy!

I had recently played with something similar to your forest effect in inkscape for some other reasons. Did you scan it then simplify?

On the rivers, what don't you like about the rivers?

-Rob A>

Thank you!

The forests were made by drawing lots of circles next to each other with a pencil on a sheet of regular printer paper, going over them with a fine-tip Sharpie, scanning that drawing as a black and white bitmap, and finally importing it into Inkscape and then PS. After getting it into Photoshop, I realized that I forgot the 'trunks' of the trees, so I added those in there.

The rivers just don't look ... right, I guess. I feel like most of the other things on the map 'fit' while the rivers stand out. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that the rivers have an outline that I can't seem to get rid of -- they look like they've got a pixel-wide white line on each side of the blue line. That, and I'm not sure what to do where the rivers meet the shoreline. Currently they just sort of terminate.


I really like the effects you you used on the land and sea - very cool, great color scheme.

Thanks! I've worried that it's too colorful, but am unhappy with the results I get if I try to tone it down.

Which effects do you like? Much of the texture comes from an 'old paper' texture that was blurred, smudged, and warped until I was satisfied with its look. A similar process was used for the forests (a picture of clover, which had noise added and was blurred until it was just a mottled green) and mountains (a Photoshop stock filter).

The shading on the land was done with a 75% transparent gray brush set to color burn on a layer above the land layer. I'm not sure if that was the best or most efficient way to do it, but I think it turned out ok. It doesn't show elevation was well as I'd hoped it would.

torstan
10-08-2008, 05:37 PM
I like this map a lot. The colours of the land and the sea are great and fit very nicely into the style of the map. I've a few comments to make. Firstly, I think the over-colourful aspects of the map are the text. I'd take that coloured background away. I'd also suggest reducing the saturation on the rivers and lakes - I think they are good, but a little over coloured for the map. Compare the colour of lake Feydusk to the colour of your ocean. I'd also suggest outlining the rivers - all the other elements of the map have clear outlines so it is a little odd that the rivers don't, especially as the lakes have an outline that makes them look separate from the rivers!

I'd also suggest not italicising Tirwen - you've got a nice font that looks great everywhere else - no need to italic it for the title.

I love the border and the worn paper. The care and attention to detail you've put into this really shows and is a testament to a great map. Excellent first map to post here. Repped!

NymTevlyn
10-08-2008, 06:00 PM
You might try putting a relief on the river. I don't know how to do that, but it might solidify the rivers as part of the land.

RobA
10-08-2008, 08:12 PM
You might try putting a relief on the river. I don't know how to do that, but it might solidify the rivers as part of the land.

Good idea- here is a quick mock up putting a relief on the river and removing the land border then smudging the river colour into the sea a bit:

6939

What do you think of that?

Alternately (and possibly more in line with the map style) is just to stroke the river outline with dark:
6940

-Rob A>

waverlyt
10-08-2008, 09:10 PM
I like this map a lot. The colours of the land and the sea are great and fit very nicely into the style of the map. I've a few comments to make. Firstly, I think the over-colourful aspects of the map are the text. I'd take that coloured background away. I'd also suggest reducing the saturation on the rivers and lakes - I think they are good, but a little over coloured for the map. Compare the colour of lake Feydusk to the colour of your ocean. I'd also suggest outlining the rivers - all the other elements of the map have clear outlines so it is a little odd that the rivers don't, especially as the lakes have an outline that makes them look separate from the rivers!

I'd also suggest not italicising Tirwen - you've got a nice font that looks great everywhere else - no need to italic it for the title.

I love the border and the worn paper. The care and attention to detail you've put into this really shows and is a testament to a great map. Excellent first map to post here. Repped!

Thank you! I left the WIP file on my work machine, so I won't be able to edit anything tonight (need to set up a subversion server...). Your advice is wonderful, and I'll get to making those changes tomorrow.

As far as the colored text goes -- do you think the labels are clear enough without the color-coding? The reason I went with the different colored glows in the first place was because I was afraid it wouldn't be clear what the labels were ... well, labeling.


You might try putting a relief on the river. I don't know how to do that, but it might solidify the rivers as part of the land.

Thanks for the advice! In fact...


...just to stroke the river outline with dark:
6940

...thank you RobA for the visual -- I definitely think that's what I'm going to go with! Could you tell me a bit more about what it is that you did? Will a dark-colored stroke layer effect work on the layer I have the rivers on?

As an aside; how should I go about posting updates? Do I edit the first post with the new version, or do I put the new version in a whole new post in the same thread?

Thanks again, everyone!

RobA
10-08-2008, 11:04 PM
...thank you RobA for the visual -- I definitely think that's what I'm going to go with! Could you tell me a bit more about what it is that you did? Will a dark-colored stroke layer effect work on the layer I have the rivers on?

As an aside; how should I go about posting updates? Do I edit the first post with the new version, or do I put the new version in a whole new post in the same thread?

A stroke layer effect will also cause strokes to appear at the end of the rivers. I just made a black outline stroke on its own layer , reduced the opacity, and erased it at the river mouth.

...And in the WIP threads just keep appending posts. It is nice for people to see the development as it progresses.

-Rob A>

waverlyt
10-09-2008, 12:23 PM
Thanks to the suggestions, here's the current version:
6953

Changes:

Rivers outlined, desaturated, and blurred slightly.
Lake outline partially erased and blurred, lake colors desaturated and made slightly more transparent.
Desert coloring made less transparent.
Continent outline changed to a dark brown.
Size of town markers reduced to be closer to village/site markers.
Removed the different label colors; everything uses the same glow now (except for the rivers).
Svesssiir moved slightly NE.
The Smoking Peak now has a reason to smoke.
Shading added to the inner rim of the crater.


Things to do:

Fixes
Remove the lake borders where the rivers enter and leave.
Fix the easternmost peak of the Viridian Mountains where it looks like the continent border is showing through the mountain itself.
Come up with a noun I like for the "sites" and add their symbol to the legend.
Make the distance scale slightly more transparent so that it blends better with the other legend text.
Make the southwestern border of the Pag Mell swamp share the same border as the Pag Ora river.
After making the desert coloring less transparent, I'm not happy with how the "dune lines" look.
Dalmere forest should have a part in the trees where the Moritu river exits it, instead of having a tree growing out of the water.
Maybe redo the mountains. I've seen several examples of truly excellent mountains, and Elderbean's mountain redo (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=34265&postcount=6) has inspired me.

Additions
The area between Dalmere forest and the Dunefields, west of the Ironpith, is dotted with large, sakura-like trees -- roughly one tree per square mile. I'm not sure how to show this and still have it look nice; my previous attempts have been unsatisfactory.
A bamboo-like plant grows all over the place in Pag Mell, but I've run into the same problem as above -- I'm not sure how to make stands of bamboo look nice on the map.
A few more coastal labels need to be added.

torstan
10-09-2008, 02:16 PM
Looks great. think the labels are very clear as to what they label.

I'd erase the lake boundary where the rivers enter and leave - it still looks like there are damns across the river entrances. Otherwise I'd leave it as is - it looks good to me. Nonetheless, your improvements sound interesting. I look forward to seeing the way this develops.

waverlyt
10-09-2008, 02:27 PM
Looks great. think the labels are very clear as to what they label.

I'd erase the lake boundary where the rivers enter and leave - it still looks like there are damns across the river entrances. Otherwise I'd leave it as is - it looks good to me. Nonetheless, your improvements sound interesting. I look forward to seeing the way this develops.

I knew there was something else; thanks much -- I've added it to the list. Hopefully I'll be able to work on this a bit tonight.

Gandwarf
10-09-2008, 05:48 PM
I have been lurking in this thread from the beginning. I just have to say you have a really unique style and I repped you for it. Somehow your map looks to me a bit like a medieval tapestry. No critique for now, you have done some good improvements.

The Stoat
10-11-2008, 01:34 PM
I really like your style. It reminds me of the style Le Guin use in Earthsea books for pictures and maps. A thought on the sites, it would depend on if you could group them some way you could use that to name them. For example if they are all hazards you could name them dangers and mark them with a tiny skull. If they are all just significant location you could just label them as Noteworthy and keep the x. This sound like some pompous fictional academic to me but it fits how artistic the map is.
Over all I think the map is quite beautiful.

waverlyt
10-15-2008, 09:43 AM
7105
Changes:

Added an island and village off in the NW
Fixed lake/river borders
Fixed Viridian Mountains
Made distance scale slightly more transparent so that it looked similar to the nearby text
Pag Mell shares its northern and southwestern borders with the rivers in those areas
Blurred 'dune lines' in deserts
Fixed the tree growing out of the Moritu River on the Dalmere forest border
Added the trees I mentioned above around Lake Tondo...not sure about these yet...
Added the last couple coast labels


I went through two revisions of the mountains and ended up scrapping it all and going back to the originals. I'm sure it's just because I'm used to looking at them, but I've come to like how the mountains that are there now look.

Pag Mell didn't get its bamboo for similar reasons; I just couldn't come up with something that I liked. I think, though, that it's something that can be left up to description during a game.


I have been lurking in this thread from the beginning. I just have to say you have a really unique style and I repped you for it. Somehow your map looks to me a bit like a medieval tapestry. No critique for now, you have done some good improvements.

Thanks for the compliments! It's funny that you mention tapestries; when I first started, I was using a canvas texture instead of an old paper texture because I wanted it to look like a cloth map. :D


I really like your style. It reminds me of the style Le Guin use in Earthsea books for pictures and maps. A thought on the sites, it would depend on if you could group them some way you could use that to name them. For example if they are all hazards you could name them dangers and mark them with a tiny skull. If they are all just significant location you could just label them as Noteworthy and keep the x. This sound like some pompous fictional academic to me but it fits how artistic the map is.
Over all I think the map is quite beautiful.

Thank you much! I'm still not sure what to do about the 'other sites.' I didn't want to add more lines to the legend at first because I had it looking very balanced; the city legend and scale took up similar amounts of visual space. I'm worried that the three lines on the legend side I have now unbalance it already, and I don't know what else I'd add to balance things on the scale side if I started adding more symbols/lines.

The Stoat
10-15-2008, 01:39 PM
For the legend you could move the scale below the legend items, and make two columns of the legend items. Divide the the other sites into two types, maybe danger and wonders, or any other good and bad designation. Keep the x for the bad places and use another simple icon for the good ones, maybe a little spiral.
One thing I think of is none of the artistic maps are the type of map I would create of my personal surroundings. If the map is to represent a map drawn by someone of the world let the fictional person decide. Let the map tell you how the fictional person drawing the map sees his world.

StillCypher
10-15-2008, 10:43 PM
I really like your style with this map, too, and you've done such a good job incorporating all the great advice you've been given. The colors are very energetic and inviting, and the style itself very artistic.

I have two tiny nits to pick.

First, the red edge around the Crater of the Eclipse seems too uniform. (Love the idea and the colors and the textures, though!)

Second would be the mountains. I like the style/coloring just fine -- it matches the style of the rest of the map -- but the size seems off to me. They're too close to the same size as the trees, and mountains ought to maybe give the impression of being bigger! :D

All in all, though, I am quite captivated!

torstan
10-16-2008, 12:30 PM
This looks great. Good work.

loogie
10-17-2008, 07:49 AM
just reading your process, it sounds like you probably did a bunch of things you didn't have to, tho the result looks quite good. I don't know what autoRealm exports as, but if its vector, and you have illustrator, you could use illustrators smoothing to create the simplify much like your printing and digitizing (even more if you had a plugin called MaPublisher for illustrator)... probably save you quite a bit of time.. i know digitizing is quite tedious... other then that, i'd only suggest tapering your inner rivers (the ones that end on their own, not going to a river etc)... there are tutorials on this is photoshop all over, i believe zombie nirvana was where I saw it.. sorry i don't have a link... other then that, looking good