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Ghorgor Cram
03-14-2009, 08:22 AM
Hello all,

This is my first attempt ever at Digital mapmaking. My concept was to expand on Wizards of the Coast's Nentir Vale Map situated in the DMG p 206 (Copyright given where copyright due) and that is why those familiar with it may recognize a few names. I used RobA's most excellent tutorial (and gave him rep for it) on regional map making with GIMP and it was an eye-opening journey on quite a few levels:

1) The more you play with the tools, the more you want to play with them, I spent a lot of time trying things out, installing software and tweaking stuff

2) This is very addictive pastime, I'm usually a pretty avid videogamer and I completely forgot about games for quite a while

3) Considering the enormous amount of time that went into this map (close to 35 hours about a third due to my newb status), I am suddenly filled with an even more profound respect for the works of art you guys put out :!:

4) I can't wait to make another one :P

I thank you much in advance for your comments, feedback and suggestions

Regards

GC

11248

Steel General
03-14-2009, 09:28 AM
Welcome Aboard! - Yet one more victim of the Cartography Bug! :)

MadLetter
03-14-2009, 11:28 AM
Hey there!

Firstly, be welcome and enjoy your time here. But now straight into the constructive criticism and prase part.

Your point No. 2 is dead-on for me, too, I must admit... I was an avid videogamer back when 7 polygons were considered a marvel of technology ;)

No, really, a few years ago I still was pretty big in gaming, by now I've given it mostly up for other stuff. A lot of that stuff is mapping and RPG's. So yeah, I can feel you ;)

So, for the suggestions and other things... firstly it does look very good and solid, esp. for a first-time map.

The mountains do look a bit out-of-place in terms of brightness, I must admit. They just catch the eye the instant you open the map. Maybe try darkening them a little?

Also I don't know about the tutorial by RobA, since I'm a Photoshop user, but the woods do look somewhat flat... you could try working with a Texture there, which I do since a few weeks (and helps a lot).

Well, that's my two criticisms, hopefully constructive enough. Other than those two, the map really is beautiful and nicely done. I'm really really looking forward to seeing more from you! Map on!

Oh, and have some rep! ;)

BeZurKur
03-14-2009, 01:27 PM
Yeah, as someone relatively new to mapping too, I know what you mean. It is totally engrossing. It is a creative outlet that you share with your friends and they interact directly with in the RPG. That's awesome!

Onto your map, I really dig the water effects and shore. The texture on the plains is nice too. I see stuff like this and I tell myself I need to start mapping on GIMP as well. What I find jolting is the transition between terrains. They're very stark. That may simply be a preference issue; I prefer softer edges, but maybe a very gradual fade or glow could soften it a bit.

Ascension
03-14-2009, 03:59 PM
Hey, welcome aboard. This map shows a distinct grasp of fundamentals so now all you need to do is...more maps :) The more you do, the more you learn, the more you develop your own style and techniques. As to how engrossing this is...yeah, same here...I've been chained to my pc since last June making maps and forgetting pretty much everything else. If it's fun then it's not work, right?

ravells
03-14-2009, 07:28 PM
There is a simplicity and beauty about this map which I really like.

For me what doesn't work with it is that you're trying to mix up a bunch of inconsistent styles. Generally if you are going for a saturated colour cartoony look, then you really want to use symbols rather than textures to define your mountains and forests etc.

If you want a more realistic look and you're using photoshop, check out pasis mountain tutorial...there's another one too which is really good (sorry don't remember the name of the author at the mo). They both use layer styles which I'm begining to find is the easiest and most powerful way to make photoshop work for mapping.

Another point..use more textures and overlay them, one on top of another, you'll be surprised at how easily you can make realistic looking terrain that way.

cheers

ravs

Ghorgor Cram
03-15-2009, 03:04 AM
Thank you guys for the rep as well as for your very enlightening comments.

One of the most important thing this map has told me is patience but it's a double-edged sword.

I re-did my roads once and my labels thrice because I had made some mistakes but earlier on did not have the patience to redo my mountains or my forests even if I knew they were not satisfactory.

However, moving forward nevertheless gave me a "ensemble" view of the whole process which I now see much more clearly.

It's difficult because I learn by doing but since I have my nose in the tutorials the necessary hindsight for a more artistic consistency also eluded me.

I basically used GIMP because it's a free program and the map showed by RobA in his (have I said it already? ;)) most excellent tutorial appealed to me but the style I would aim for is probably closer to

http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4267 Pasis' magnificient Bretoria map. I know it's ridiculously ambitious to aim for something like this at this point since I don't even know if I have it in me but it's something to aim for.

The other reason I posted this map was because I was aiming for a sense of accomplishment. It's far from perfect but perfection is so far away that I figured I was better to finish an imperfect map and get some very useful comments (which I did) than to spend twice the time and still have nothing to show.

So it's an eternal struggle, patience makes perfect but on the other hand I could read every turorial in this site and not have drawn anything 6 months from now while by doing this I got my hands dirty which is a good thing.

It also seems that the maps I tend to like are done in Photoshop and since I am privileged enough to have CS3 I'll move on to it right away.

In any case, I would be honored to hear the words and thoughts of all of you about your experiences and progression in map-making. To use RPG terms, was the levelling constant or did you feel you hit roadblocks or frustrations at various points in your learning experience?

Sorry for the long blah and thank you for having the patience of reading me.

Cheers

GC