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strebalicious
02-17-2009, 11:35 PM
I had been tossing around ideas for a campaign and figured it was time to make a map, hopefully to help get the ball rolling. I'm starting with a small area as my experience in any sort of graphical stuff (aside from stick figures in MS Paint) is nil. So I decided to go with GIMP and use RobA's tutorial as a starting point. The little pictures in this post will link to the bigger pictures, so don't forget to click.

After a little bit, I got the grass and dirt down.

http://maps.bistromathics.com/p-map.jpg (http://maps.bistromathics.com/map.jpg)

Came back a little later and continued with my efforts. I threw in some forests, mountains, and a few rivers. I also wound up redoing the grass.

http://maps.bistromathics.com/p-map2.jpg (http://maps.bistromathics.com/map2.jpg)

Didn't like the way the mountains turned out, so I followed RobA's other tutorial about mountains. Slight tweakage to the forests as well. I really like the way the color turned out in the bottom right forest, so I think I will go over the rest again.

http://maps.bistromathics.com/p-map3.jpg (http://maps.bistromathics.com/map3.jpg)

Then I chugged forth. Didn't like the grass, so I toned it back down a little. Also added paths, labels, and another mountain landmark up top. [Note: Yes, I know South Fork is north of North Fork (well, it will be once I put my compass in) and it was done on purpose.]

http://maps.bistromathics.com/p-map4.jpg (http://maps.bistromathics.com/map4.jpg)

And here we go, just about finished. Not sure what I did to the sea colors.
http://maps.bistromathics.com/p-map5.jpg (http://maps.bistromathics.com/map5.jpg)

Criticisms or suggestions? Mountains too bright?

Steel General
02-18-2009, 06:13 AM
The last one is defintely coming along nicely. In the first two your forest and mountains looked the same (other than color).

Keep plugging away, RobA's tutorial us a great place to start, once you've gotten the basic techniques down you'll be able to branch out and try other things until you find the "style" that you like.

strebalicious
02-18-2009, 07:28 AM
The last one is defintely coming along nicely. In the first two your forest and mountains looked the same (other than color).

Keep plugging away, RobA's tutorial us a great place to start, once you've gotten the basic techniques down you'll be able to branch out and try other things until you find the "style" that you like.

I have been tooling around with GIMP. Stuff like using the blend tool to retouch the forest colors, or using an airbrush to soften the ridges or bumps on mountains and such. But man, GIMP sure likes to eat my computer's memory.

RobA
02-18-2009, 11:28 AM
I have been tooling around with GIMP. Stuff like using the blend tool to retouch the forest colors, or using an airbrush to soften the ridges or bumps on mountains and such. But man, GIMP sure likes to eat my computer's memory.

Yeah. I just upgraded from 1 GB to 4 GB (and discovered that even though the BIOS sees 4GB, it will only allow the OS to use 3GB, supposedly because that addres space is taken up by drivers :( ) and have noticed a big performance improvement.

The other ting is (if you have more memory installed) to increase the default tile caching settings, and (like with PS) set the swap drive to be different from your OS drive (if possible).

-Rob A>

Steel General
02-18-2009, 11:31 AM
Yeah if I understand it correctly, 32bit windows XP or Vista will only recognize up to 3GB of memory. Need to upgrade to 64bit before you'll be able to use all 4GB.

torstan
02-18-2009, 11:43 AM
Looks good so far. The South fork/North fork ordering reminds me of North and South Parade in Oxford - also the wrong way round naively. But South Parade was the southern edge of one army whereas North Parade was the northern edge of the other, so north parade had to be south of south parade.

As for the map, it's coming along nicely. I'd suggest toning down the overall shadows on the forests as they currently look like they are taller than the mountains. Otherwise, it's looking lovely.

Volsung
02-18-2009, 03:10 PM
Looks like a good start. Replacing the mountains definitely a good idea.

I do think that the rivers would look better if they resembled the cost more (more defined).

Also I like the way the roads fade. Pressure sensitivity FTW?

Karro
02-18-2009, 03:22 PM
Criticisms or suggestions? Mountains are still a little too plateau-y for me and not spikey enough, so I think I need to punch at them again.

I'd dig up some old posts on Mountains if I had time to, but in this forum there's a discussion or two from a while back where different mountain-making techniques were discussed in GIMP. One of the threads in question was named "Playing with Mountains". IIRC, it has links to some of the other threads where mountain techniques were discussed.

Also... regarding the roads, I'd move them down in the layer stack below your town/city icons, so the town/cities are on top of the roads instead of the roads covering them.


...oh... Here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?p=21081#post21081)'s the (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?p=4627#post4627) links (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?p=23065#post23065). My mountains at the time weren't fabulous, but they were moving in the right direction, I think...

strebalicious
02-18-2009, 10:11 PM
Rob A: Yeah my laptop has Vista and 3GB of RAM on it. I'll try tweaking the caching and page files and all that. It's fine for maybe an hour or so, then it will just start taking longer and longer to do simple things like moving a selection or changing the blend mode. At that point I have to reboot the computer to get it running good again.

torstan: I blended the colors of the forest better. Taking that dark border off made it flow better.

Volsung: Not exactly sure how I did the road fade thing. I think when I stroked the path with the paintbrush, I had checked on the mimic brush dynamics (or whatever that check box is). I like how it turned out because it pretty closely mimics the areas I felt were going to be low traffic areas anyway.

Karro: I think I figured out the problem with my mountains. I think I put the detail and size up too high on the noise and also mis-tweak the levels later on. Off the top of my head, I think my city symbols and roads are on the same layer.

Other notes: Most of this stuff is pulled from my brain as I'm at work and can't check it. And I'm not entirely sure why Gallend's Torch grass area looks so much brighter than anything else. And I got to change the color for the region names. It looked greenish when I printed it instead of a yellow.

Sea lanes? Tried to do the same method as making roads, but they just kept turning out pink no matter what color I used. Not quite sure what I'm doing wrong.

And I will probably just cut the bottom area off a bit. I put a title in the upper left corner, but still trying to figure out how to get a compass rose in there.

RobA
02-18-2009, 10:53 PM
Rob A: Yeah my laptop has Vista and 3GB of RAM on it. I'll try tweaking the caching and page files and all that. It's fine for maybe an hour or so, then it will just start taking longer and longer to do simple things like moving a selection or changing the blend mode. At that point I have to reboot the computer to get it running good again.

The other thing to do is to check your undo cache size. Memory use grows like crazy if the undo buffer is too large. One thing I have done is to map the "clear undo history" command to a hotkey so I can quickly free up memory by dumping the undo history when it is convenient.

-Rob A>

strebalicious
02-19-2009, 09:27 AM
The other thing to do is to check your undo cache size. Memory use grows like crazy if the undo buffer is too large. One thing I have done is to map the "clear undo history" command to a hotkey so I can quickly free up memory by dumping the undo history when it is convenient.

-Rob A>

Tried most stuff you suggested and it didn't improve it too much. It's not so bad that I can't deal with it for now. I'll be building a desktop in the near future so hey, maybe that will help it out.

Regardless, I updated the original post. Don't think I'm going to mess with it anymore until after the weekend. Got some dang finals I got to do for my classes by Saturday.

jfrazierjr
02-19-2009, 09:47 AM
Tried most stuff you suggested and it didn't improve it too much. It's not so bad that I can't deal with it for now. I'll be building a desktop in the near future so hey, maybe that will help it out.

Regardless, I updated the original post. Don't think I'm going to mess with it anymore until after the weekend. Got some dang finals I got to do for my classes by Saturday.

Go 64 bit if you can, preferable linux since it's usable right now out of the box. Slam as much ram into the machine as the motherboard(make sure you MB will allow 8 GB or more memory) will allow and you can afford. If your stuck with Windows only, then make sure to get 64 bit version of windows. There is a 64 bit GIMP beta version (does not support python extensions in the install :(:(:().

The only issue with 64 bit stuff is legacy and come custom device support. I have not had a problem with most devices, but my son's action replay will not installed since I assume it does not come with a 64 version of the driver needed to transfer data.

Remember, at the very most, 32 bit Windows can give a bit less than 2 GB "tops" to a single program and available memory tops out around 3.2 GB for your all your apps and the user mode OS stuff. The last .8 GB is reserved for device drivers and the OS Kernal and stuff....

torstan
02-19-2009, 12:23 PM
For really large maps I save a new version, flatten the layers and then add the next level of detail. It keeps the image from blowing a lot of RAM on keeping track of layers that I am pretty sure I've finalised. You can always change those layers by going back to an earlier version, editing it and then copying the flattened image forwards to the newer versions. It works well, but is a little bit of a pain.

Feralspirit
02-21-2009, 12:29 AM
Streb, you have generated a great map. I can only hope mine turns out as well, but (did you know there was a but coming?)...

You have two waterways (NW and SE) that meet the sea (or ocean) at two points. Technically, these are not rivers (but could be channels or straits). A river will begin at a high elevation and flow downhill, to the sea. Your third waterway seems ok, not impossible anyway, but the angle at which the tributaries are flowing into your main river seem to imply that the water is flowing toward the inland lake. Again, the water should be flowing toward the sea. The point at which this middle river meets the sea, it breaks up, and I believe I have seen this before in river delta maps, but one mouth is far more common.

I apologize that my observations are late in coming. I really do think the map is nice, but I am thrown by the waterways every time I look at it. What I would do is widen out the SE way a bit, and clip off the corners of the SE land mass so it appears to be its own island, and call the SE way a Strait or channel. I would lose the NW one altogether. The third waterway (your only river) doesn't absolutely need to be changed, so long as you know the river is flowing to the sea, but you might think about altering the angles of tributaries a bit.

10574

I don't mean to be unkind. I can hardly believe the River Police haven't busted you before me. Anyway, keep up the good work and bear the comments in mind going forward (they are meant to be helpful, not critical).

Mimi
02-21-2009, 02:29 AM
There are definately the makings of a good map here, but I can't help but think that for a map this size the general geography is somewhat lacking in detail. Perhaps you should think like slartibartfast, include more crinkly edges.

strebalicious
02-21-2009, 09:03 AM
I figured I was pushing it with the NW river. That's how I imagined the middle river working. The little leg off to the right (going towards Crossing) was going to be a full fledged tributary, eventually distributing off into the ocean, but I got hung up on how to make it go through the forest so I just gave up on that part. I wanted to make the SE one into a strait more than a river, but I put it in after the land work was done. So I drew it as a river to make it easy on myself. But hey, that's why I posted here, right? To glean knowledge from the more experienced folk. So hey, don't be afraid to tell me it looks like muck if it does. I can take it. :)

The size of the image, well I'll just chalk that up to inexperience. I wanted something I could print out nice and big without feeling like I lost quality from blowing up a smaller image, I guess. Any guidelines I should follow regarding image size in relation to land size?

torstan
02-21-2009, 12:14 PM
2550 by 3300 isn't excessive by any means. As long as you keep the number of layers under control you should be fine. It'll print out crystal clear on A4 (I'm guessing that's the scale you picked to start off with) and should still look great A3. 150dpi will give you A3 and there's no reason for it not to look really good at that scale.