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Absinth
10-20-2008, 08:13 AM
Hello cartographers,
as you can see, I'm new to this board and I truly am amazed to see so much useful stuff on just one site. I'm a 32 year old male from Germany and I'm an avid gamer since my early youth. I was eight when my mother got me the red box (D&D) and I never stopped playing since then. Naturally, as a DM, I had to come up with maps for my adventures and the worlds I built. What once began as pencil drawings on graph paper finally led me to digital mapping as I discovered the GIMP (and Inkscape) early this year.
By trial and error I created maps I was quite pleased with as an amateur. Only after discovering this site I learned, what really can be done with the GIMP! There are many, many great tutorials on here and I'm soooo pleased to have found a site with such invaluable knowledge on map-making.
As I'm still new to GIMP and having only scratched the surface of what really can be done with the prog, please don't expect useful advice from me; at least not now! I guess my skills will grow rapidly when working through the awesome tutorials.

My recent maps pale in comparsion to the awesome stuff here, but I'll post a sample of my latest maps anyway! :)
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a244/-Absinth-/RPG/GaniordaesSkaliverni.jpg
This is Ganiordaes, a nation from my homebrew.
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a244/-Absinth-/RPG/Truvanesh.jpg
This is Truvanesh, a mining-town.
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a244/-Absinth-/RPG/Glazuria.jpg
And this is Glazuria, one of the mayor cities of Ganiordaes.
I have done several other maps, but they are similar in style and quality.

I usually draw my maps by hand, scan them and then overwork them using the GIMP. The maps look flat as I haven't figured out how to do shades and decent textures. I guess this will change in the near future!

All of the maps are for my homebrew setting Angraenor, that me and my gaming group are developing since 2004. Infos on the setting can be found at the Angraenor-Wiki (http://angraenor.wikidot.com/). It's all in german though... A world map can be found on the starting page too.

As you already know, english isn't my first language, so please forgive any mistakes in phrasing you'll discover in my posts. I'm trying to improve, though... :)

NeonKnight
10-20-2008, 09:48 AM
Welcome to the Guild, and....

Behold my Mighty +5 Axiomatic Flame Burst Cudgel of Repping!


P.S. I really like you maps. Very visually evocative.

Absinth
10-20-2008, 10:08 AM
Thanks for the kind words, NeonKnight! Well, I hope the maps will improve after I took a sip from the fountains of wisdom I found here!

Steel General
10-20-2008, 03:20 PM
Welcome Aboard!

If yo're just beginning with GIMP, can't wait to see what you come up with when you consider yourself "good" with it.

I dub thee newly repped with my +2 Glowing Metallic Skull Shaped Cudgel of Repping *bonk*
(Not as good as Neon's but just as fun to use :))

BlackLotus
10-20-2008, 03:27 PM
Truly Amazing and Colorful your maps are, says Yoda.

Absinth
10-20-2008, 06:30 PM
Thanks again for the praise and reps, folks! I put some more maps in an album that can be found on my profile page. It's nice to be welcomed so warmly and I hope to become a helpful member of this awesome community.

Gandwarf
10-20-2008, 07:13 PM
I very much like your maps Absinth and I repped you for them. They are very well done and you have a nice, clean style. I especially like the first map (the forest areas rock!). Keep up the good work!

Jkaen
10-21-2008, 04:05 AM
They are nice and clear, looking forward to seeign your work once you ahve played with the tutorials

Redrobes
10-21-2008, 07:30 AM
Yup, very nice so more rep coming your way.

jfrazierjr
10-21-2008, 08:55 AM
Good job for your first try Absinth. Gimp can be kind of annoying to try to learn, but you did pretty darn well.

Is there anything you would like to try to learn to style wise to make these maps any better? Or will you try some new GIMP techniques on new maps you make? One thing I would highly suggest is to learn how layer masks work asap, as well as when to use them.

Absinth
10-21-2008, 11:17 AM
Good job for your first try Absinth. Gimp can be kind of annoying to try to learn, but you did pretty darn well.
Yes, I haven't toyed with digital graphic stuff before; not even MS Paint...:)
I learned the basics mostly by trial and error. I'm really wondering why I haven't found this board before, as I googled a lot for tutorials. It would've saved me a lot of time and headaches, but on the other hand I learned a lot about the GIMP, which is a good thing. I stumbled across this board because a user from the Paizo-boards (http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards) linked it in a discussion about mapping.


Is there anything you would like to try to learn to style wise to make these maps any better? Or will you try some new GIMP techniques on new maps you make? One thing I would highly suggest is to learn how layer masks work asap, as well as when to use them.
Oh yes, I'll try all the techniques that the masters among you use. I read through RobA's brilliant tutorial about creating regional maps and he uses all the functions that I never figured out how to use.
I'll definitly try the use of layer masks. I haven't done much with layers yet. I also would like to learn how to use and create textures. I toyed around with the GIMP textures, but couldn't come up with satisfying results. When you use these for larger areas, you can see the textures patterns and this doesn't look nice. I also want to learn how to use paths!

jfrazierjr
10-21-2008, 11:51 AM
Oh yes, I'll try all the techniques that the masters among you use. I read through RobA's brilliant tutorial about creating regional maps and he uses all the functions that I never figured out how to use.
I'll definitly try the use of layer masks. I haven't done much with layers yet. I also would like to learn how to use and create textures. I toyed around with the GIMP textures, but couldn't come up with satisfying results. When you use these for larger areas, you can see the textures patterns and this doesn't look nice. I also want to learn how to use paths!



Layers - Layers are your friend. Try to use as many layers as ossible. For example, if you are painting two colors, they should be on separate layers in almost all cases. Ditto for two textures.
Layer Masks - Check out my tutorial on Layer Masks in GIMP. For me at least, it is night and day the flexibility you have when you start using layer masks vs without them.
Paths - RobA's tutorial is a good start with paths for several features. What I have found, is that I tend to make paths for each channel as I use the Stroke Path feature quite a lot, and mostly I use it on the channels I create for my masks.
Textures - go find some good sites. cgtextures.com is good.. but many don't tile without some change and you can only download 15MB a day without paying a subscription fee. One of the coolest I have seen is Genetica Viewer which has a collection of several hundred tilable images which you can then render and save are various resolutions. It is excellent for getting various rock structures, floor tiles, etc. I find that I render several copy of each base image at various resolutions and scales to my patterns folder so I have a variety.

Also, even though I have not used it much yet, you might want to look into getting Inkscape (free) as I believe you can export objects from there into GIMP as paths. RobA uses both, so he can verify.

jfrazierjr
10-21-2008, 11:56 AM
Yes, I haven't toyed with digital graphic stuff before; not even MS Paint...:)

One thing you might want to try is in future maps to work with giving your mountains a bit more life. "I" like using several little splotches of color on the mountain and using the smudge tool to blend it down into the underlying terrain color(of course, the underlying color should be a similar shade as on in the mountains.)

See this thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showpost.php?p=35541&postcount=9) where I point someone else to two places I really like for mountain tutorials. Don't get me wrong... these maps are nice and simple, and that may be what your going for. This is just in case you want to jazz it up a bit in the future, so don't feel like you have to change the existing ones at all.

Absinth
10-21-2008, 12:20 PM
I already have Inkscape. I downloaded it at the same time as GIMP, but I found GIMP more "accessible" (if you know what I mean) and I like the graphic user interface better. As they seemed to be quite similar, I decided to go with the GIMP. But Inkscape is still on my desktop and I might give it another try in the near future.

Thanks a lot for the tips! You're right about the mountains. I'm not that pleased with my current maps, but it's the best I could come up with with my limited experience and knowledge. I decided to go for the "nice and simple" approach because I just can't/couldn't do anything else. Okay, they're very useful in the game (my players love them!) but my ideal of a map looks different (more like the stuff Rob Lazaretti or Christopher West do). But I'm optimistic that my mapping skills will improve now after I found this place.

I already looked at Spiral Graphic's site (http://www.spiralgraphics.biz/index.htm), but was a bit confused about the whole beta stuff. When the beta license will expire after two months, will the texture pack still be useful?

RobA
10-21-2008, 12:28 PM
Also, even though I have not used it much yet, you might want to look into getting Inkscape (free) as I believe you can export objects from there into GIMP as paths. RobA uses both, so he can verify.

I'll verify.

I use paths in Gimp as little as possible as it is (IMOO) a limited implementation. I tend to do all my vector elements in Inkscape then bring them into to Gimp, either as SVG paths, or as rendered png layers.

-Rob A>

jfrazierjr
10-21-2008, 03:26 PM
I already looked at Spiral Graphic's site (http://www.spiralgraphics.biz/index.htm), but was a bit confused about the whole beta stuff. When the beta license will expire after two months, will the texture pack still be useful?

I think that is just if you purchase the Pro version that lets you create new texture files. The Viewer is a stand alone application that let's you view and make some limited changes(quite a bit actually) to the existing texture files already included or those that others made.

Absinth
10-21-2008, 05:21 PM
Thanks for the clarifications, RobA and jfrazierjr!
I'll download the Genetica viewer then and take a closer look on the weekend. Can the Genetica textures be added to the GIMPs texture files (just like adding new brushes, palettes and so on)?

RobA
10-21-2008, 05:56 PM
See both this thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?p=34896) and this one (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=3158) for some ways to make pattens from images in Gimp.

-Rob A>

jfrazierjr
10-21-2008, 07:48 PM
Thanks for the clarifications, RobA and jfrazierjr!
I'll download the Genetica viewer then and take a closer look on the weekend. Can the Genetica textures be added to the GIMPs texture files (just like adding new brushes, palettes and so on)?


Yes. I just rendered several textures at various resolutions out of Genetica View last night at various resolutions. Attached it something I happen to have open from playing around last night. I started by using RobA's Dungeon Script (you have all his scripts right???) With Mordakh Wasteland for the background and Granite Wall for the stroked path. I then modifed the floor which I originally had in there to have a bunch of different textures via layers and Layer masks to show the textures where I wanted them to be:

7247

They are:

Top Left: Granite Wall
Top Middle/Long Hallway:Palace Floor
Top Right: Brown Byzantine
Bottom Left: Corroded Techno Tiles
Bottom Middle: Cracked Earth
Bottom Right: Ancient Hopscotch

Absinth
10-22-2008, 12:37 AM
RobA, thanks for the links...
jfrazierjr, the textures in your example look great! And no, I haven't got RobAs scripts yet (alas I saw the links in his sig), as I don't even know what a script is! :D Sorry, but I'm stumbling over a lot of unfamilar terms since I registered here... I'll look them all up! I just bookmarked the english GIMP manual, because I used the german one untill now... I'll download the english 2.6 (still using 2.4) so I won't be confused when I'm working through the tutorials. Thanks for your patience with a noob like me, but the cluelessness won't last forever! :)

Absinth
10-22-2008, 05:14 AM
Besides creating maps, I'm also drawing pictures of characters for my games. I know that this board is aimed at mapping, but maybe you're interested in stuff like this as well:
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a244/-Absinth-/MumieAusschnitt.jpg
As you can see, this is drawn by hand and hasn't been reworked with digital tools. I might do this in the future...
This is only a section of the original drawing. The original is in A3, but I only own an A4 scanner. I even messed up the scan, as you can see... :shock:
The drawing shows a mummy-lord, that was one of the main villains in a recent campaign.
I really enjoyed drawing it.

I'll definitly rework some of my drawings when I'm more proficient using the GIMP. As you can see in this thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?p=35679#post35679), I'm thinking about buying a graphic tablet to take my scribbling to a new level.

Jkaen
10-22-2008, 05:30 AM
People in the worldbuilding forum seem to be going mad for character illustrations atm (here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=3138)). So looking at the quality of your work, I could see you being very popular too.

Steel General
10-22-2008, 06:28 AM
That is a fantastic piece of work Absinth!

Would love to see your take on some of the people, places, etc. in the CWBP too.

Redrobes
10-22-2008, 07:05 AM
I personally like character portraits and think they are good for GMs and the site in general. Your mummy lord is excellent art and might inspire people to make a map of a crypt too.

Absinth
10-22-2008, 09:00 AM
That is a fantastic piece of work Absinth!
Would love to see your take on some of the people, places, etc. in the CWBP too.
Thank you! I'll take a look, but I can't promise anything yet! I don't have that much spare time due to job and family and I'm using most of my time to prepare my games and add to my homebrew's Wiki. But I surely want to participate in next month's map-challenge! Maybe it's a theme that'll fit the CWBP project; then I'd be happy to contribute to it.


People in the worldbuilding forum seem to be going mad for character illustrations atm (here). So looking at the quality of your work, I could see you being very popular too.
Thank you as well, Jkaen! I won't register in yet another forum, because I don't think I'll be able to add much to it. But feel free to link to my post. They can use my drawings for PC portraits if they like. It would be nice if they'd add something like "by Absinth" if they post it somewhere.

I added an album with drawings to my profile page for anyone interested. I hope it's okay, because it's not related to mapping. If this interferes with board rules or other guidelines for this site, please drop me a note and I'll delete it.

NeonKnight
10-22-2008, 09:13 AM
Yeah, I loves the pictures! Keep them coming!

Jkaen
10-22-2008, 09:28 AM
Thank you as well, Jkaen! I won't register in yet another forum, because I don't think I'll be able to add much to it. But feel free to link to my post. They can use my drawings for PC portraits if they like. It would be nice if they'd add something like "by Absinth" if they post it somewhere.

By the worldbuilding forum I meant the CWBP (I have often found it confusing the 'folders' in a forum being called forums)

Absinth
10-22-2008, 11:25 AM
Ahh, now I get it. I thought you meant the Campaign Building Guild which this site links to on top of each page.

RobA
10-22-2008, 01:19 PM
Ahh, now I get it. I thought you meant the Campaign Building Guild which this site links to on top of each page.

Nope-

The reference is to the "Cooperative World Building Project" which is a sub-forum of this site.

The forum is here: http://www.cartographersguild.com/forumdisplay.php?f=55

And the Wiki where the information is managed on the world is here: http://cwbp.cartographersguild.com/index.php?title=Main_Page

-Rob A>

Ascension
10-22-2008, 05:12 PM
Personally, I love the art and illustration side of things since I got my start on drawing cars and comix. I'd like to see a subforum here for such things, maybe something like non-map art, or general art, or something, and we can all dump a bunch of stuff into that forum to help inspire stories or to just decorate maps. I know that I've got a bunch of junk laying around somewhere (where ever it is that I put my portfolio) that I could scan in and post up. At any rate, excellent mummy, dude! Or is it "mummy dude", dude? Bah, I'm rambling again...nice job.

jfrazierjr
10-22-2008, 09:22 PM
RobA, thanks for the links...
jfrazierjr, the textures in your example look great! And no, I haven't got RobAs scripts yet (alas I saw the links in his sig), as I don't even know what a script is! :D Sorry, but I'm stumbling over a lot of unfamilar terms since I registered here... I'll look them all up! I just bookmarked the english GIMP manual, because I used the german one untill now... I'll download the english 2.6 (still using 2.4) so I won't be confused when I'm working through the tutorials. Thanks for your patience with a noob like me, but the cluelessness won't last forever! :)

Thanks... It takes a while to render various textures in Genetica, but I think the results are well worth the 2 minutes per texture or so.

Scripts are GIMPS version of a plug-in, and extra add on feature that the community creates and shares to allow others to get extended functionality. Most of these scripts are a way of automating something you can do manually, which saves time and ensures consistency of process (you don't forget something.) Note sure if your in Windows or what, but you should find in your user folder on your OS a .gimpX folder, where X is the version number you have. Inside there are where you would normally place your specific stuff... Brushes, patterns, scripts ,etc you have downloaded. Just put the downloaded content into the correct subfolder to make it viewable to GIMP.