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View Full Version : CC2Pro Local Map - Longsaddle



El Hakim
12-25-2008, 12:13 AM
Here is map showing the area in the immediate vicinity of a village that I'm detailing. (I'm creating a customized write up of a Forgotten Realms area.) The area is not very interesting geographically, being primarily grasslands. I tried to give the map more visual interest by using the grasslands fill instead of just a solid color. I did the same with the cultivated areas to add contrast.

http://www.cartographersguild.com/picture.php?albumid=67&pictureid=308

A month ago I would have been pretty happy with it, but since coming on here and seeing what the experts are doing, I'm a lot less satisfied with my maps. Any suggestions?

Gandwarf
12-25-2008, 07:02 AM
A month ago I would have been pretty happy with it, but since coming on here and seeing what the experts are doing, I'm a lot less satisfied with my maps. Any suggestions?

I think it's still good. You're just suffering from older software. CC3 can turn that map into something much more beautiful.

The contrast between the cultivated areas and grasslands turned out very well. This is probably something I might use in the future :P

Steel General
12-25-2008, 09:24 AM
I agree with Gandwarf... you are definitely suffering from a severe case of Softwarus Insufficientus, a somewhat common and fairly virulent malady. :D

Upgrade to CC3 (if you can), or give something like GIMP a try and see what you can come up with.

Ascension
12-25-2008, 09:43 AM
Don't sell yourself short my man, this is a solid start upon which you can go pretty far. The layout is quite pleasing with the placement of the cities and such. This is a map screaming for RobA's regional style using GIMP. But, the bottom line is that any map is supposed to convey information easily and this does so. It's the aesthetics people get hung up on and it's not always necessary.

El Hakim
12-25-2008, 10:52 AM
Thanks for the encouragement, guys. As soon as the Christmas bills are paid off, I'm going to invest in an upgrade to CC3.

(I don't even know what GIMP is.) :)

I did something different here, and I think I like it better. The whole reason for sectioning off the grass fill was because the roads were getting lost in the fill. I changed the spacing on it to make it less busy, and went across the whole map with it, pushing it behind everything except the green background, which I lightened a couple of shades.

http://www.cartographersguild.com/picture.php?albumid=67&pictureid=310

I think I need to improve the look of the farmland now, though, and I may have gone too light with the background.

NeonKnight
12-25-2008, 11:59 AM
Much, MUCH better. CC2Pro is not an old workhorse yet, and can turn out some brilliant maps in the hands of a master!

Korash
12-25-2008, 12:04 PM
I actually like this newer version a lot more than the first attempt. I think the color change and the spacing brings everything more "harmony" style-wise.

A little bit of randomness to the cultivated area would go a long way to completing this, I think.

El Hakim
12-25-2008, 01:16 PM
A little bit of randomness to the cultivated area would go a long way to completing this, I think.

Heh. I was thinking they needed more logic. For example, I'm thinking the area around Longsaddle might be too wide. A peasant who lived in Longsaddle would waste half his morning getting to the far edge of the fields. I think I need to cut a notch into it from the east so that it's stretched along the roads, but not too deep.

Can you give an example of what you mean?

Gandwarf
12-25-2008, 01:17 PM
Much, MUCH better. CC2Pro is not an old workhorse yet, and can turn out some brilliant maps in the hands of a master!

I am with him ^^^^

El Hakim
12-25-2008, 06:43 PM
Here's another edit. I've gone to a slightly brighter green for the background, and changed the farmland a little. I'm uncertain about the cutouts I've done around some of the villages. Should they be on top of the farmland, or would it be too busy? Same with the roads. Maybe I could add the farm background underneath them, but not the fill.

http://www.cartographersguild.com/picture.php?albumid=67&pictureid=311

ravells
12-25-2008, 08:38 PM
Here are my suggestions (for what they are worth!).

- Rather than using a standard fill for the grasslands, make two or three 'grass symbols' and then copy, move and paste them by hand. It's not a large map so it won't take long and it will mean you will get rid of the 'repeating fill effect'.

- Try to make the overall shapes of the fields more interesting, they look a bit 'blobby'.

- Get rid of the fill you are using for the fields.

- are you using CC2's default colour pallete? One of the problems is that CC2 has a very limited colour pallete (i think 256 colours) so to make the maps really shine a muted colour pallete might be an option worth considering (unless you really want to go for that cartoony CC2 look, which has become a cliche).

I haven't used CC2 for awhile, but I'd like to see what I could do with this map to better explain what I'm trying very badly to say, so if you want to post up the CC2 file as a .zip, I can have a go if you like?

CC2 is deceptive in that it promises so much, but it has a lot of limitations by the standards of what is available today. The best maps I have seen with CC2 (and they are stunning and still hold up well) usually have a very simple colour pallete (mabye 4 to 6 colours tops - many are black, white and grey), and the colours are very carefully chosen to be harmonious. They also have a very strong style - virtually all of them use few or none of the standard CC symbols.

Cheers

Ravs

El Hakim
12-26-2008, 12:19 AM
Here are my suggestions (for what they are worth!).

- Rather than using a standard fill for the grasslands, make two or three 'grass symbols' and then copy, move and paste them by hand. It's not a large map so it won't take long and it will mean you will get rid of the 'repeating fill effect'.

Okay. I tried that and it helps.


- Try to make the overall shapes of the fields more interesting, they look a bit 'blobby'.

Can you be more specific?

What I'm trying to achieve is something organic. Meaning, it needs to look like it could be the end result of several generations of agricultural expansion. It can't be too regular or too random, but in the end it needs to be esthetically pleasing for the sake of the map. The principles I came up with were: 1) roughly parallel the roads and the river; 2) make the outside borders roughly straight; 3) but not too straight.


- Get rid of the fill you are using for the fields.

And don't use a fill? What would I use instead?


- are you using CC2's default colour pallete?

Yes, is there a way to expand it?


I haven't used CC2 for awhile, but I'd like to see what I could do with this map to better explain what I'm trying very badly to say, so if you want to post up the CC2 file as a .zip, I can have a go if you like?

I'm afraid that would be too much help, so that whatever I ended up with wouldn't feel like mine anymore. I would have to ignore what you did and go with something completely different, or end up feeling like I had just copied you. I appreciate the offer though.


They also have a very strong style - virtually all of them use few or none of the standard CC symbols.

Yeah, the symbols leave some to be desired.


Thanks for the advice!!

ravells
12-26-2008, 07:54 AM
You're welcome!

Fields: The problem, IMO with the style of field fill that you are currently using is that the perspective of the lines doesn't match that of the houses, so they look 'off' and the repeat makes them look too regular. What I would suggest is that like with the grass you draw your own fields and don't worry about the brown background. When you draw your fields make sure the lines are parallel with the house lines (see first image). You may want to make the fields a little bigger in the foreground than in the background (if you want to add a little perspective) - second image. That should give you the ability to make them organic and keep them regular.

AFAIK, you're stuck with 256 colours with CC2, but you can change the pallete to a custom one, - I would go for less saturated colours (or alternatively, draw everything with saturated colours and then use GIMP to desaturate the final result).

Korash
12-26-2008, 12:25 PM
Heh. I was thinking they needed more logic. For example, I'm thinking the area around Longsaddle might be too wide. A peasant who lived in Longsaddle would waste half his morning getting to the far edge of the fields. I think I need to cut a notch into it from the east so that it's stretched along the roads, but not too deep.

Can you give an example of what you mean?

I think that my main point for my suggestion is similar to what ravells said about the grass icon/fill. The fields look just TOO ordered. Most farmers live by their farms if no on them, and as the generations go by the original farm gets parceled off to the next generation. Every few generations or so would find it hard to get to the fields in time to do enough work and move a bit further down the road and set up another farm. This give a bit more randomness to the fields and more often than not a more patchwork appearance than what the fill gives you.

Now, I know diddly about CC2 (last time I played (briefly) with CC was when is WAS CC(no number)) so I would suggest a similar approach to the grass one as mentioned by ravells. Just give the field icons differing sizes and some rotations.

El Hakim
12-26-2008, 03:01 PM
I'll try these suggestions and see how they work. Thanks again for the advice!

El Hakim
12-27-2008, 12:35 AM
Latest attempt incorporating Ravell's suggestions.

http://www.cartographersguild.com/picture.php?albumid=67&pictureid=312

Made my own grass and farm symbols. Tried to put the farm symbol into perspective with the structures, and shrank both as they went towards the top of the map to add a little bit of depth.

Midgardsormr
12-27-2008, 01:44 PM
It's looking much, much better. Good changes!

Gandwarf
12-27-2008, 07:07 PM
Agreed, this version of the map is an improvement (again!).

I am wondering how some different colored fields (in a patchwork, like in my recent cities) would look. Gotta try that sometime when I create a regional map.

Steel General
12-27-2008, 07:44 PM
I agree with Midgard & Gandwarf, each successive map has looked better and better.

Ascension
12-28-2008, 12:11 AM
That's why we are the Brotherhood...we help our own to get better. Sort of like the Thieves Guild; my compass has poison tips and my ruler hides a stiletto ;) Only been here a few days he's learning, the Map is strong with him, he will go far.

Hoel
12-28-2008, 08:21 AM
If you want to look at old farmland, fire up Google Earth and look at the bocage in Normandy. It must be the most famous old farmland around.
I think your map has gone from meh to quite good as the work progressed. I've never learned CC at all, so I don't know how you could get the ovelapping-fields-effect in CC2 but if you use slightly different colored polygons with some stroking or bush symbols over the edges... I dunno.
Keep up the good work.