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Ramah
09-07-2009, 04:55 PM
Hey there.

As yet, this is just a placeholder post to let you know that I have finally pulled myself back into the saddle and started work on a new map. Over the past week I've found myself more and more attracted back to this community and to the prospect of making a new map.
After much indecision about what exactly to map, I've finally settled on doing a regional map of Aronbor, a country situated in the nw of southern Vaniya. Or maybe Perdon, to the east. :S

Both countries play an intrinsic part in the story I am writing and so both would benefit from a map. So at the moment, undecided as I am, I've tentatively started work on both. I think soon enough I will naturally gravitate to one which I want to complete first and so this will be the one I post about in this thread.

They/it will be the same style as Vaniya finally ended up as to keep things nice and neat, so nothing new there.

So there it is, hopefully I will have something a little more advanced to post than it currently is in the next few days, time permitting.

It feels nice to be back in the saddle again. :)

Gandwarf
09-07-2009, 06:11 PM
It's going to be great to see more of your work Ramah! Can't wait for the first WIP.
Also a regional map will very much help you develop your story I think or at least give it some extra depth. As you know I recently made a huge regional map myself and I have used it several times already to add some knowledge of the world into my story.

Ramah
09-07-2009, 07:30 PM
Ok... so having mulled it over for a few more hours I've decided to go with doing the Aronbor regional first (I think I had already decided this subconsciously when I named the thread with Aronbor first). The shape of the country is not as interesting as that of Perdon but I believe I will find the map more useful at the present time.

Despite having not done a deal on it as yet, I thought I'd post an image so there is a reference to see how it progresses. I guess I'm kinda cheating though as I've already applied most of the effects I used on the Vaniya map (just to see what it looks like, not to actually work with) so it looks like I've done a lot more than I actually have.

Basically, all I've done at present is blown up a section I chopped out of the Vaniya base map and then reworked all the land edge and coastal strokes. I thought at such a zoomed in size I would need to redraw the coast with more detail but it looks ok I think. The rivers will need some work though but I'll wait until I've placed in my temporary mountains and hills so I can extend them and add in lots of little tributaries etc.

Anyway, here it is so far:

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Coyotemax
09-07-2009, 07:49 PM
Very nice. I think the coastline is just fine like that, i can see where the rivers look a little blurred, but you've already mentioned those.

As to carrying over effects from another map, I think it's entirely appropriate when doing multiple maps from the same world :)

Ramah
09-10-2009, 08:11 PM
Hey there,

A new WIP image, this time without the effects that will be added at the end.

Rivers.

I've spent far too long cleaning up the rivers. With hindsight it would have been much easier for me to just erase the rivers and redraw them from scratch, rather than repairing what is already there. Ah well. I've got rid of the pixellation that blighted many of the rivers before and erased an annoying bluriness/glow on all but the large river in the south of the map (which I'll do tomorrow, once my hand has stopped aching from the hours spent doing it today).
I've also added quite a few rivers in the north as well as given all the existing rivers a laticework of tributaries. I'm not sure if I've gone a little overboard on them (for this style of map) but I'll be able to see better once I get the mountains in.

Next up, temporary mountains and hills, from which I'll be able to see where I need more rivers and where I need to amend the ones already in.
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Ramah
09-12-2009, 06:02 PM
Hey there,

A new WIP image and this time the focus is...

Mountains.

I was a little undecided how to update the mountains at this larger scale. The brushes I used originally don't hold up at this size and due to a reformat I performed a few months ago I've lost all those brushes anyway.
Originally the plan was to redraw some new brushes and just follow the basic outline of the mountain ranges and place all new mountains. However, whilst playing around with my new graphics tablet (yay) I found that I really liked the style of roughly tracing over the original mountains on a new layer (and moving and adding mountains where I was dissatisfied with the original) and then shading those mountains by hand in a very rough style to give it quite a hand-drawn feel.

And so the following image is what I have ended up with so far. I decided to post it before finishing them all to show a little before and after transition. All the mountains in the north are finished (although I daresay I will have several more passes over them before completely done with them) whilst the chain to the south I have left as outlines, with just a few shaded in various stages of completeness.

I have yet to add any effects or blurs or whatever to the mountains and the opacity will be lowered a little when I add them in properly to make them a lighter brown, but I left if turned up for now so you can see them clearer.

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Rythal
09-12-2009, 06:19 PM
yah the mountains stand out a bit to much right now, and the rivers seem a bit chaotic, but it looks like its coming along nicely

on a completely unrelated topic, I lol'd at the "software" you use.

Gandwarf
09-12-2009, 09:26 PM
The mountains are pretty cool, but I do agree they attract a lot of attention at the moment. Still, when you were creating the Vaniya map I thought you made some bad choices along the way, but it all turned out great. So I am not saying you should change anything at the moment.

Ramah
09-15-2009, 05:06 PM
Ok, another update.

Finished the initial pass of shading the mountains and now my attention has turned to...

Hills.

I've actually tried quite a few different techiniques for hills, wanting to try and at least vary the look a little from the Vaniya map, but everything I tried seemed sub par. So in the end I've decided to yet again fall back on the original and basically trace the hills I had, move some, alter the size and shape of some and then shade them all by hand. I'm still shading quite roughly to keep the look somewhat in line with how the mountains are, but the larger size is at least giving me an opportunity to try and hint at some contours between the hills.

As yet I've just done the hills to the north on this image, although I have all the other hills outlined on another layer waiting to be shaded. It's quite slow going so I guess it will be a few days before I update with what I guess will be the trees.

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Edit: Oh yeah, and as Rythal quite rightly pointed out, the rivers ARE chaotic with far too many tributaries. The reason for this is I did them the first night I had my new graphics tablet and I was seeing if I could do rivers with it and ended up getting a little river happy. :S
I've already dialled back the rivers in the NW somewhat, deleting many of the superfluous ones but I still want to clear them some more. The rivers around the rest of the map are untouched and I will clean/delete them later on in the process when I get down there.

Ramah
09-20-2009, 07:06 PM
Ok, time for another update.

The bulk of the work on this one has been taken up with the hills. The shading was very long and slow and boring. But for now I've completed all the original locations. I'm sure I'll add more in a few places as I progress but for now they are done.
The rivers have been sorted out in the main, except I want to excise a few more superfluous tributaries in the north. A small job but means another rebuild of my land and coastal strokes etc. so I'll finish those for next time.

I've also added a subtle colour change to Aronbor. Maybe too subtle for as it is now but I'll alter the surrounding country colours for the next update so it stands out more.

I'm fiddling with the look of the coastal strokes at the moment, mainly because I wanted the rivers to be a uniform brown colour. They won't remain exactly how they are at the moment (I haven't even blurred the edges) although they may be similar but with more rounded lines.

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Next up will be forests.

Ascension
09-21-2009, 12:05 AM
I feel your pain about shading one line at a time...takes forever. But the results are usually worth it and yours looks great, so, there ya go :)

Ramah
09-23-2009, 06:08 PM
Ok, time for an update.

A lot of my time since last I updated was spent trying to get the sea and the coastal area looking a little spiffier. This led to me to working on the outside of the map and I think that how that area looks now is close to how it will finish up.

I've also ROUGHED in most of the forests. I stress this point, I have only used two brushes (one evergreen and one deciduous) and spent very little time on them. They will be completely redrawn.
My main reason for this is I am uncertain about the size of the trees. And so I have a question to anyone reading this...

I figured that with a much bigger area to play with this time I could make the trees smaller and still have slightly more detail than on the continental map. But I'm not sure they work at a smaller size without looking a little too... umm... busy.
The forest in the NE corner of Aronbor was done at the smaller size. All the other forests were done at a size closer to the original Vaniya map (but still a little smaller).
So my question is, which do you think looks better?

Anyway, here it is.

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Gidde
09-23-2009, 06:17 PM
They both look good, but I think I like the larger size better.

An unrelated issue -- the way those two rivers in the northwest go all the way through the hills, it looks like they flow in two directions at once.

Tear
09-23-2009, 06:17 PM
So my question is, which do you think looks better?

It depends on the final printing size, but overall I like the smaller tree size.

Ramah
09-23-2009, 06:17 PM
Heh. That's strange. And annoying.

I decided to add an adjustment layer during the final effect stage to alter the colours so that the images posted up here are more representative of what I actually see in PS (I really need to have a crack at altering the colour settings in the program).

The Vaniya map and the ones I have posted so far in this thread have all been a touch dark and cold compared to what I see when working on them. So I spent some time last night getting it to save the jpegs so that they looked very similar in Windows picture viewer to how they do in PS.

But when I check that image that I just uploaded in Firefox I can see that it is now showing too much yellow in the image. I've warmed that bad boy up too much. :@

Zzz.. I guess I'll try halving my adjustment layer settings and see if it makes it any better for the next update.

Ramah
09-23-2009, 06:20 PM
They both look good, but I think I like the larger size better.

An unrelated issue -- the way those two rivers in the northwest go all the way through the hills, it looks like they flow in two directions at once.

Yeah, I need to adjust that I guess, although the rivers are actually nowhere near connected. But I put a sinuous crevasse type thing in whilst shading those hills and it's made them look connected. :S

Ah well, I still need to delete a few tributaries up there so I guess one of those will do nicely. :)

Steel General
09-23-2009, 07:08 PM
I prefer the larger trees, though either would work just fine.

Ascension
09-23-2009, 07:17 PM
I like the smaller trees...makes the mountains look bigger and cooler.

Ramah
09-24-2009, 08:26 AM
Well that's two votes for the larger trees and two votes for the smaller ones. I guess I have my answer... medium sized it is. :)

Ramah
09-26-2009, 08:57 PM
A new update.

I've spent a lot of time on the trees since the last update. Too long really. Man, is it getting on my nerves. Hehe.

Anyway, I've got all the evergreen trees in and maybe a third of the deciduous trees in. I still have the massive forest in the Ruhks to put in, which I am not looking forward to one bit. Ah well.
I have shaded between most trees, except some in the north where I have deciduous trees to place next to them.

Btw... I know about the clump of trees in the northern area which have lower opacity than the rest. They were the last group I did before finishing for the night and only when I had added a few little effects did I realise I had drawn them on the shadowing layer. Zzzz.

I've also added a new lake in the NE, mended a few little things that only I would probably notice anyway and added a rough sketch of Colden Wall. I may edit this as I go along but I have left it purposefully rough looking to tie in with the rest.

Umm... I think that's it. For the next update I should hopefully have all the trees finished and will make a start on adding places and labels.

And here it is...

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Gidde
09-26-2009, 08:59 PM
The trees ended up the perfect size, and I love that wall!

This is turning out beautifully.

Ramah
09-26-2009, 09:12 PM
Thank you Gidde.

That wall is the first time I've ever tried drawing anything on the tablet that wasn't just a few small lines or some shading. I found it very tricky, especially as the wall is far longer than my screen when zoomed in at a comfortable drawing size, so hard to gauge direction etc. In the end I just had to learn to embrace the roughness. :)

The tablet has a learning curve for sure but I really am loving it.

Gidde
09-26-2009, 09:14 PM
It does. It took me weeks to get comfortable with mine, but now I can't imagine using anything else.

Coyotemax
09-27-2009, 06:56 AM
Wow, that's coming along very nice. I can't think of anything on this map that I don't like, and a long list of "i love the way you did X" is much simpler to say as "omg that's great".

I was looking at the mountains a bit more closely, and the hills.. are you drawing them all indivdually by hand? that or you have an incredibly varied set of brushes :P

and yes, that wall is very nicely done!

Ramah
09-27-2009, 08:19 AM
Thanks for the compliments CM. :)

The outlines of the mountains and hills, for the most part, were traced over from the original blown up section of map to keep the position true. I changed some, added some new ones and reduced the size of many of the original hills and then they are all indvidually shaded by hand. So I can't really say they are completely hand drawn but I haven't used any custom brushes on them.

Coyotemax
09-27-2009, 09:13 AM
The final result is very impressive, and that's where it really matters (even with my current leaning to do as much hand-done work as possible, i found myself breaking down and using brushes again for some things - you gotta draw a line somewhere - pun intended, i think)

I'm defintiely keeping a copy of your map around for inspiration for when I do get the graphics tablet :)

Ramah
09-28-2009, 11:18 AM
Ok, another quick update.

I've finished all the original forests now except for the daunting Ruhks. I think I might not actually place too many more trees in the Ruhks actually as I don't want to lose the colour change in the base map and I think it will be hardly noticable if I cover it all with trees. I might just put a ring of deciduous trees around what I have and then maybe try fading them out. I originally tried fading the forests and hills out where the base map colour changed towards the edges but I didn't particularly like the effect. Ah well.

I've also started to place some labels in. I've not done too many at the moment, just a handful and I haven't put any markers down yet. This was basically a font test and to show you the results and the fonts I have decided to go with. It's strange, I really loved the ilShakefest font I used on Vaniya but for some reason it was just sticking out to me on this one, demanding to be changed.
Anyway, I've gone for two fonts which I hope will keep the hand-drawn feel/look that I am trying to achieve for the most part.
The labels are only roughly placed at the moment and will be moved, twisted, resized etc. for better flow/legibility when I get down to it in more depth.

Anyway, this is where I am at the moment.

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Gandwarf
09-28-2009, 11:32 AM
Great stuff, Ramah. It's still very much alike to the overland map and that's a good thing I think. There's not a huge difference in style. The smaller font you used is awesome!

Tom_Cardin
09-28-2009, 02:10 PM
That is a beautiful hand drawn look you have achieved! Of course thats because it is hand drawn! hehe. Your shading lines are very nicely laid in for the mountains, hills and forests. It is hard to keep that kind of consistency and you did a really good job of it.

Ramah
09-28-2009, 04:56 PM
It's still very much alike to the overland map and that's a good thing I think. There's not a huge difference in style. The smaller font you used is awesome!

Yeah, I never intended there to be a huge difference in style. In fact, with the colouring change to the ocean and around the outside it's already varied more than I anticipated. I just intended it to be a zoomed in map allowing me much more room to add towns and details and hopefully improve the general appearance of what was already there.

Oh and yeah, I really like that small font. :)

Ramah
10-01-2009, 09:02 PM
Ok, time for a new update.

Since the last post I've added some more towns in but I still want to add quite a few more. I've moved a few rivers in the north and deleted one or two small ones that were bugging me.
I've swapped the locations of a tower and town in the north as it makes more sense since I added a new river in this map that wasn't on the overland one.
I've taken tentative steps into using some sketched brushes as markers. So far I have a little house to represent a town, a tower to represent a.. er... tower, and a castle to represent the capital (which took me FAR longer than I would have liked to get it to a stage where I'm sorta ok with it). I still need to add icons for a city, a keep, ruins and any other stuff I need.
I'm not completely sold on using the pictorial icons at the moment but I don't find them totally offensive. I'll see if I want to change them once I've lived with them for a while.
I've also very quickly roughed in some roads and sea lanes. Again, not sure if this is the style I will stick with or whether I will change them, the roads, for instance, I had pictured as an unbroken line but for now they are ok as they are.
Umm... probably changed a few other things too but my mind's gone blank now. Need sleep, hehe.

Ah well, here it is.

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Edit: In fact... just looking at it on here I can see straight away that I will change the roads to a different style. I don't like them as they are, even thought they're only roughed.

Tiana
10-01-2009, 09:33 PM
I really love your font choice for the town lables. Gorgeous font, whatever it is... I don't recognize it.

I admit it, your maps are just stunning... I love watching this one evolve.

Ramah
10-02-2009, 06:52 AM
I really love your font choice for the town lables. Gorgeous font, whatever it is... I don't recognize it.

I admit it, your maps are just stunning... I love watching this one evolve.

Thanks a lot. :)

The smaller font is called "Handserif" which I got from dafont.com and I agree, it's a really great font. It has the classy, formal style lettering while still having that hand-written vibe, which is just perfect really for a hand-drawn style map.

mearrin69
10-02-2009, 07:05 AM
Wow. That's really nice. Love your mountains and hills...and I would have guessed you did that large font by hand. Beautiful work!
M

Steel General
10-02-2009, 07:50 AM
I really like your town. tower and capital icons - they work well with the style/theme of the map.

Rythal
10-03-2009, 12:28 PM
very nice map!

one little thing though, "Freedom" on the Island of Andor doesn't have a symbol... dunno if its supposed to be like that or not

Ramah
10-04-2009, 04:31 PM
Thanks.

Yeah, at the moment it's supposed to be like that as I'm still unsure whether to actually include any lables/markers for places outside Aronbor other than the main country/island labels. I placed it there in my first pass of labelling and am still unsure whether to just remove it or make it more permanent.

I'm hoping to get another update posted tonight, now that I've had a chance to do some more work on it this evening. I've changed the roads to something I feel is a little more fitting, I've removed the sea-lanes for now as I'm not sure I really even want them in. I'm in the process of adding a new clump of hills in (which I'm tearing my hair out with I as I just don't seem to be able to get my brush/opacity/whatever back to how it was when I originally did them. :s

Ramah
10-04-2009, 06:44 PM
Ok, here's the latest update.

I've added a range of hills in the Northern Midgen area, several towns, changed the roads to something more fitting. I've left one sealane on, done in the same style as the roads (minus the freehand stroke I added on the roads), just as I ponder whether to do more or not.

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Gandwarf
10-04-2009, 06:53 PM
Great... great stuff.
Love the little houses and castles.

This is a map I would expect to come shipped with a computer game, preferably printed on some cloth. Like in the old days :)

Ramah
10-04-2009, 07:02 PM
Thanks a lot. :) I always used to love those maps. One that I especially loved, although it wasn't on cloth, was the map that came with Morrowind. Great stuff.

Gandwarf
10-04-2009, 07:05 PM
Maybe you have been influenced a bit by those kind of maps. I know I have :)

Ramah
10-05-2009, 04:53 AM
I almost certainly have. :) And definitely by Middle Earth maps. I remember as a kid when I was first reading Lord of the Rings just following the included maps for hours, wondering about all the places on it that weren't even in the text.

Ramah
10-06-2009, 06:25 PM
I thought I'd post a quick image of my WIP on the northern section of the map, The Ruhks. I've been dragging my heels over doing this as it's such a large expanse of forest and I had zero fun doing the other deciduous forests (for some reason the coniferous ones were a lot easier, probably because I am happier with my brushes on those. :) )...

Anyway, as the area is so large, I decided to use the method I described in the mini-tut I posted here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=5478&highlight=forest) quite a while ago to hopefully save some time and also so I can rattle off forests quick as a flash on other maps should I ever need them.

So in the spirit of this being a WIP I thought I'd show a beginning and after shot so it can hopefully be seen how effective this can be.

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In this first shot you can see my initial rough placement of the multi-tree brushes (a little too rough as I've noticed the brush at the far top-right is placed slightly over the one next to it - ah well, I'll fix it tomorrow :S) . I've also gone over two of the labels as I intend to move these to suit, my aim is to have them left clear of forest for maximum legibility like in the label "Colden Wood" which can be seen on the last few images posted.

You can see that I have mostly left the outside "lugs" of the brush free of the shadowing pattern I am using between the trees. This is for three reasons...
1): I don't have to be quite as precise in placing the brush (but more precise than I have been top-right. :) ).
2): because I've placed some small trees over the inner corners of their "lugs" to aid variance the shadow occasionally crosses over them. It is slight and barely noticeable unless you are specifically looking for it but it was bugging me.
3) As my shadows are going to the left and bottom, not all the trees, specifically those on the right and top, would need shadowing around them. This isn't a problem on this large brush and in the middle of a forest but it would need taking in to account when doing the edge of a forest where some part of the brush would remain unhidden by the masking passes done with the single tree brushes.

This lack of shadows on the outside of the brush makes it obvious where the jigsaw fits together but a quick pass of my pattern stamp et voila!

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Much more difficult to spot the join. The edges of the brush are varied enough so there aren't too many spots of trees all in a line. Of course, with no shadow included this wouldn't even be a problem at all.
It's still obvious where the brushes are due to the shape and size of the brush I used but the next thing I will do is make another two brushes, one roughly half the size of my current one and then another one that is even smaller. After that I will need to go along any edges left with single tree brushes and mask the remaining straight edges.

I'll post more images of the process once I've done the rest and I'm thinking that if I can get the brushes in a fit state then I'll upload those too in case anyone can use them.

Tiana
10-07-2009, 05:38 PM
I almost certainly have. :) And definitely by Middle Earth maps. I remember as a kid when I was first reading Lord of the Rings just following the included maps for hours, wondering about all the places on it that weren't even in the text.

I thought maybe there was a Lord of the Rings influence there--I know I was heavily influenced by the Middle Earth maps and I spent ages wondering about Rhun and the northern and southern areas, like Harad...

You mean you did your forests without a big tree stamp before? One by one? o_o

Ramah
10-07-2009, 06:36 PM
Up to now I've done them all one by one, yes. Hehe.

Ok... another few images from this section.

In the first image I've added two more brushes, each pretty similar and about a quarter of the size of the original.

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The next one shows the placings of another even smaller brush I used, so that's four brushes in total. I've also plugged up the gaps mostly on the right hand side with single tree brushes. And now I also notice that I've mistakenly placed a few areas of shadow on this layer on the left hand side. D'oh! :S

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And this last image shows the two sections combined and with my manual placing of the shadow pattern between the brushes to hide the joins. It should now be pretty hard to tell I used a brush at all now on the right hand side, apart from where I need to do some more masking around the text.

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I'll finish the forest and post the final image tomorrow when I have more time to work on it.

Ramah
10-08-2009, 05:49 PM
Ok, here is the image with the Ruhks in an (almost) complete state. (I say almost complete state as I think I will take some trees over the bottom left corner of the Ruhks label.)

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I took the trees around the edge of the large text labels in there and as I was doing it I was becoming increasingly aware that it just wasn't working from an aesthetic point of view. With such large letters and the gap around it was starting to look a little bit too comic'y. Erasing a fair amount of the forest around the lettering made it look a lot better but still not exactly what I was hoping for.
So in the end I kind of scrapped the idea and went with a kind of background to it which I think looks ok. The only problem with it now is it kind of looks like it is the title of the map. :s I may try fixing this by treating the other country labels in a similar manner.

Still, my personal problem with the labeling in the forest doesn't take away from what I think is a pretty good method of doing the actual groundwork for the trees. Other than the fact I've not subjected the freehand shadows to quite the same blurring routine as the trees (and consequently, the shadows that were placed in with the multi-brush), I doubt anyone could tell it was done with some large tree stamps.

I've also spent some time today working on a few effects for the general background of the map. I've added a slight texturing to it and especially in the sea to give it a vague impression of waves. I think it works quite well but I'd be interested to see other's views on it.

EDIT: Actually, because of the loss of quality in the jpeg compression the new texturing effect is a lot less noticable in general.

Steel General
10-08-2009, 06:02 PM
I like the 'space' around the label.

Tear
10-08-2009, 06:12 PM
I am a big fan of your style, but to be honest, I don't like the boxed label at all.

In my opinion labeling, above everything else, is about consistency.
If you keep it uniform and use the same style for country labels throughout your map, everyone will immediately see where your countries are. If you make exceptions, people will have problems recognizing them for what they stand for.

I'd rather change my country labeling style for all countries, so they work in all parts, than making exceptions.

That's just my opinion, of course, but maybe it's some food for thought.

Gandwarf
10-08-2009, 06:21 PM
I agree with Tear that labels should be consistent.
The forest turned out great and it's turning into a lovely map. It radiates atmosphere...

Ramah
10-08-2009, 06:29 PM
Yeah, thanks for the opinions. I mentioned in the write-up that I was thinking of treating the other country labels in a similar manner and I will definitely experiment along those lines.

Gandwarf
10-08-2009, 06:33 PM
And a compliment for the placenames. I like them a lot and somehow they seem fitting :)

Juggernaut1981
10-08-2009, 10:40 PM
I like the premise of the Nation Titles, but my beef with them is that they appear "half-finished" compared to the locations. Localities get nice "black" full lettering... but a Nation gets Scribbly Pencil???

Maybe try fidgeting with the fonts (if they are fonts)? I'm not saying they need to be huge big black letters, but compared to the mountains, locality-tags, etc... they look like they were the half-assed "crud it needs to be off to the local captain in 6 hours..." by the maker.

Could be waaaaaay off track and feel free to ignore me if I am...

Karro
10-09-2009, 06:46 PM
I like the style of the nation lettering. But I agree about the problem with the box. Honestly, I think it would work better not if you put boxes around all the nation names, but if you left the forest around The Ruhks with a sketchy, raggedy blurred edge as it it comes up to the lettering. Not strictly a clearing, but maybe like the whole area was filled in with trees, then erased away to make roome for the label.

Of course... easier said than done.

Ramah
10-10-2009, 04:59 AM
I like the style of the nation lettering. But I agree about the problem with the box. Honestly, I think it would work better not if you put boxes around all the nation names, but if you left the forest around The Ruhks with a sketchy, raggedy blurred edge as it it comes up to the lettering. Not strictly a clearing, but maybe like the whole area was filled in with trees, then erased away to make roome for the label.

Of course... easier said than done.

I tried something like that and it wasn't looking great. I'm still working on the problem. I've tried boxes around the other names but on some it just doesn't seem to work, or at least I cannot get it to. So I'm going to give it another try doing it the original way like you suggest Karro.

Ramah
10-11-2009, 02:32 PM
Ok, had another crack at The Ruhks area in the north and I'm finally reasonably pleased with the result. I'd already tried fading out the hills and trees in a similar fashion at the edges of the map (where the colours fade) and it just looked kinda false, so I didn't think it would work here either, which is why I was originally just going to leave a gap in the trees around the label.
Anyway, in the end I forested the whole area and used a layer mask to paint in some gradiented areas and gave it a good old blurring. I was hoping to avoid such an obviously digital technique but I think it looks ok, adding a kind of misty quality to the uncharted forest.

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Anyone else agree? Disagree?

I've also added the first of the marginalia that I hope to populate the map with.

I still need to add some more places in, decide whether to do the sealanes or not, add icons for cities and keeps and basic tarting up and finishing touches.

Gidde
10-11-2009, 03:24 PM
Yes, I think you've hit it. I really like that section now.

Coyotemax
10-11-2009, 03:33 PM
oh yes, nailed it. That's like.. wow.

Rythal
10-11-2009, 04:08 PM
wow... that is awesome.

Ramah
10-11-2009, 04:44 PM
Thanks guys.

Hopefully that means I can finally put that particular bugbear behind me now and carry on with some more fun stuff. :)

Karro
10-12-2009, 09:59 AM
Yeah, I agree, it looks great, and this way it's clear that the Ruhks label refers to the forest, and not to the whole map.

Gandwarf
10-12-2009, 11:09 AM
Looks great! I must say you got me really interested in your world...
When is your novel coming out? :)

Ramah
10-13-2009, 04:45 AM
Looks great! I must say you got me really interested in your world...
When is your novel coming out? :)

Hehe. I wish I could finish the damn thing, I really do but I've actually had this story in my mind, in one form or another, for 18 years. I remember telling a good friend about it the night my first daughter was born and it all started with just a title which I thought sounded pretty cool and which suggested a story to me.
Since then it's been through numerous partially successful attempts to get it down on paper, most of which get halted and then changed when they reach the 200 page or 50k word mark (which is where I am on my most current version I should say, and that fact is worrying.) I don't know how everyone else manages it but I always seem to get bogged down with one or two details that begin to gnaw at me until finally, when I realise the answer to my problem, it demands an almost complete redesign. The story I am writing now is far, far removed from the original story I had and I'm not exactly sure it is better for the change. :S Ah, well... I probably couldn't class myself as a wannabe writer if I didn't have doubts.
So I guess the quick answer to your question would be, probably never. The more hopeful answer would be - with this and any other map I draw as a visual aid I can start to flesh in some of the details or visualise where exactly the characters will be going next to pull me out of my slump before I decide to start from the beginning again.

Gandwarf
10-13-2009, 06:01 AM
Ha, I can certainly relate to your troubles getting things on paper.
It looks like you are trying to write your first novel and have decided it should be the masterpiece you are going to be remembered by. Maybe you have set the bar too high for yourself...

Looking back at the current story I am writing since 2001 I see lots of stuff I would like to change. But I decided not to tweak and fiddle anymore. It's just too timeconsuming and I would never finish...

Gidde
10-13-2009, 10:10 AM
Ramah, I feel your pain. I'm sitting at 60k words with almost the exact same problem. Gandwarf's got a point on the masterpiece suggestion, but ... I don't know. I feel like I took a wrong turn 10 chapters ago :(

Ramah
10-13-2009, 11:12 AM
I don't think it's so much as I want it to be a masterpiece as that I want it to all make perfect logical sense within its own boundaries. I always had the beginning and ending to the story but was always kind of fuzzy about what exactly happens in the middle. As the years have passed this middle section has been fleshed in with various plot threads and backstories with varying degrees of success but always seems to contain plot holes large enough for my imagination to fall in to and remain stuck inside. The only way out of them always seems to be tunnelling back to the start, to the place where the particular thread became unraveled and change it enough so that the original plot hole is bypassed. Of course... further along the thread I find another plot hole and it all begins again.
If I'm totally honest with myself, I may be too close to the story. I wonder if I step back at look at the whole thing objectively if I'm not just flogging a dead horse and what I need is an entirely different story. But it's just too hard to give up on the commitment of time already given over to this. So I'll just continue plugging away at it until either it's finished or I die of old age. :D
I haven't been working at it solidly for 18 years of course. There have been times when I've let it sit for a year and more, eventually digging it out to have another stab at it. I once (about 10 or so years ago) got quite a long way through another story set in the same universe before running out of steam (I'm considering actually having another stab at writing that story, starting from scratch and doing it as a project for this years NaNoWriMo.) And I occasionally manage to finish a short story or two. But I always end up coming back to this, this damn millstone around my neck. Hehe.

Karro
10-14-2009, 12:05 PM
Oh yes... your pain is my pain; your fears my fears.

I've been working on the same novel since I was the age of 9. No joke. That was some 20 years ago, now. Of course... it is now nothing at all like the novel that I began writing in my childhood: the world has undergone some tectonic movement, the characters have changed, matured, and changed again and the plot has been completely overhauled, rewritten, and overhauled again.

In College, I was in the midst of a major effort to get this thing finished. In fact... I had something like 130k+ words written over about 33 chapters (which I considered at the time to be about 2/3 to 3/4 of the book).

Then, about a year or two after graduating college... work slowed, then at about 3 years after stopped altogether. All through this time, I'd also been developing a backstory and a detailed history for the world. And suddenly, I'd come across what I thought was a great idea for 'how the world works' that had huge implications for the plot of the novel as a whole... at the same time I began seriously second-guessing my use of a number of standard fantasy tropes (i.e. nearly all of them) and whether my story added anything of real value to the fantasy genre oevre. (It's hard when you realize that no matter how fun you think your story is, how interesting its world or compelling its characters... ultimately what you've just done is rewrite every fantasy story ever written and not done anything new at all.) Then, my laptop (or rather, my sis's, since I was borrowing hers) was stolen and, with it, all my notes on the world and its history. That's what drove my work to a dead-stop at the 3-year mark.

Ultimately, that precipitated another, closer look at the world (which lead me here, as part of that closer look was a desire to get a realistic world geography in place as a necessary component of a realistic world history), a closer look at the characters, a complete restructuring of the plot, and a complete rewrite, from scratch. The map, now, is almost halfway done, and I've recently begun writing up some fresh notes on the world and its history. Actual new work on the story... that remains a ways out, at least until after Grad School and the initial impending baby-induced insomnia passes.

Long story short: good luck and keep working. Statistically... few enough of us is ever going to write that semi-masterpiece/good-enough-to-get-an-editor-to-look-at-it novel, but ultimately it may not be about the destination, but the journey along the way. In the mean time, you've got some pretty awesome looking maps to really be proud of as a part of that journey!

Ramah
10-14-2009, 03:28 PM
That was a really great post, Karro, thanks for that.

It actually makes me feel a little better about my own writing situation knowing it's not so uncommon - misery loves company, as they say. :) And man, I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your notes in that laptop, it's made me realise I've been too long backing up my document files myself - I really ought to keep copies of them off-site. I used to fancy myself as something of a budding artist in the distant past until one night, a few months before the millennium, I was at work on the night shift and there was a fire in my house and, amongst other things, I lost just about everything I had ever drawn or painted. Since then I haven't painted a single thing and drawn nothing bigger than a doodle. So I can kind of understand how hard it is to pull yourself back from losing something you've put so much into.

Anyway, good to hear you've managed to get back into your world and I'm sure your story will be the better for the added development.

Karro
10-15-2009, 11:12 AM
That was a really great post, Karro, thanks for that.

It actually makes me feel a little better about my own writing situation knowing it's not so uncommon - misery loves company, as they say. :) And man, I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your notes in that laptop, it's made me realise I've been too long backing up my document files myself - I really ought to keep copies of them off-site. I used to fancy myself as something of a budding artist in the distant past until one night, a few months before the millennium, I was at work on the night shift and there was a fire in my house and, amongst other things, I lost just about everything I had ever drawn or painted. Since then I haven't painted a single thing and drawn nothing bigger than a doodle. So I can kind of understand how hard it is to pull yourself back from losing something you've put so much into.

Yeah, if there's one thing I've learned from all this, it's that you have to get back on the horse; if for nothing else than for your own sanity! I've found that regardless of the final outcome, I am compelled by the nature of who I am (and apparently who I've been since childhood, when I first started work on this thing) to tell these sorts of stories, even when nobody else is listening, because these stories tell me something about myself. I imagine the same to be generally true of others like me.


Anyway, good to hear you've managed to get back into your world and I'm sure your story will be the better for the added development.


Hey, that's the hope! Yeah, maybe the statistics of success are weighted against me, but that can't stop me from trying! Or, for that matter, to wishing good luck to my fellow travelers on this road!

Ramah
10-15-2009, 12:49 PM
A new update.

Added some more marginalia. I'm gonna play around with positioning and legibility some more so it may move etc. I'm not sure whether to really go to town with the amount of text I put on the map but in order to decide whether to or not I first need to do it, if you get my meaning.
Added a cartouche which is mainly copied from the Vaniya map and then tinkered with to fit in more with the new colour scheme. I tried adding a compass rose too but it just seems to detract somehow so I'll probably go without one.
Added a bunch of new towns, forests and labels.
I added all the sealanes, lived with them for a few days and now I've removed them again because I just don't particularly like them. I don't really think there's a need for them anyway.

I've still got a load more labelling to do. I'm gonna add some more small forests in there and maybe one sizeable one around the South Midgen label. I still need to do the icons for cities and keeps.

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It may seem like a small point but I'm dithering around, unsure what to do about the "Grey Sea" label, which I don't particularly like. I may just remove it altogether as I cannot get it into a position or even font that I find pleasing.

Steel General
10-15-2009, 01:04 PM
It may seem like a small point but I'm dithering around, unsure what to do about the "Grey Sea" label, which I don't particularly like. I may just remove it altogether as I cannot get it into a position or even font that I find pleasing.

Maybe its the color and/or orientation of the text that's 'not quite right'.

Ramah
10-15-2009, 05:31 PM
Maybe its the color and/or orientation of the text that's 'not quite right'.

I agree, but I haven't cracked it yet. I've tried quite a few variations, hence the change in colour in the last image I posted. In its current state, since I posted the image I tried just having it plain horizontal which, as strange as it seems considering 95% of the other labels, I hadn't actually tried. It might even be the best I've had it since it kind of matches the rest.

Ramah
10-17-2009, 10:42 AM
New update.

I've finally done an icon for the cities which I quite like. It's making me more annoyed that the symbol I have for my towns is from a slightly lower perspective than the other ones but meh, not sure I'll change it. I just need to do a symbol for the keeps now I think on that score.

I've added a few more forests and made Emberton Gulley look a little more like a Gulley.

I've added some more marginalia and as you can see quite easily, a large water stain which effects the legibility of everything over there. I think I may lower the effect of the ink bleeding out of "The Grey Sea" label somewhat as it's a little overpowering maybe. Still, I quite like the effect.

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Gandwarf
10-17-2009, 01:00 PM
Gorgeous work Ramah... really a living and breathing map/world.

Ramah
10-18-2009, 08:35 PM
I wasn't going to post another image just yet as I wanted to get all the marginalia done before doing so but I'd like to get some opinions on the grunginess of the map. I've run my last effects on it twice (which is what I did with the Vaniya map) and personally I like it. It looks ok on my screen. It's pretty dark around the outside and in other places but that's ok by me, it's the Aronbor section of the map that is supposed to be the focus anyway.
Looking at it in Windows image viewer though is a different story. As I mentioned earlier in the thread it darkens everything further and seems to reduce the warm yellow tones considerably.
So I was wondering how it appears for others?

Changes in the map since last post are: grunginess. Another large stain added. Quite a bit more marginalia. Redone the folds to change the way the map would be folded. A few labels here and there.

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ravells
10-18-2009, 08:54 PM
Majestic!! I think it's really hard to carry off large wooded areas by using individual tree symbols but you've really cracked that. The colours (and the mountains) are just gorgeous. The whole maps speaks of mystery and menace. Superb work. Amongst the best I've ever seen posted here.

Tear
10-18-2009, 08:59 PM
"You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Ramah again."

Gidde
10-18-2009, 11:06 PM
Repped. This is such a beautiful map it's making me itch to do something by hand (something I should never, ever do lol), even though I've never really been into hand-drawn maps. You're changing my mind :)

Coyotemax
10-19-2009, 01:11 AM
The only thing throwing me off are the areas where you used white text. With how hand-drawn the rest of it looks, the white seems artificial to me.

that having been said, this is one of the nicest maps I've seen since joining this site - and believe me, that's saying a lot :)

Ramah
10-19-2009, 04:24 AM
Thanks a lot guys. You don't think I've overdone it on the grunginess then? It was a concern for sure.

CM: Yeah, I know what you mean. I was ok with the white text when it was just on the lakes but I don't like it for the mountains. I did similar on the Vaniya map, marked the mts in white until I could come up with a good solution of making a dark label fit in.
I'll work on it. :) Thanks for the CC.

Coyotemax
10-19-2009, 04:29 AM
I think what it is to me, is that I would expect the paper colour to be the equivalent of white. using that as the basis, anything lighter than the background colour is what would throw me off and feel not quite right.

Not saying it can't be done of course - but in this map there's so little of the white it really stands out, is all.

Ramah
10-19-2009, 04:40 AM
You're completely right. And the way I thought of it is that whoever drew this map would most likely not be using white ink. Hehe.
I tried last night cutting the labels into my mountains but I got a little precious over them and didn't like losing any of them. Hehe. I'll give it a go tonight by leaving the labels where they are and cutting into the forest they are currently over and see how that works.

Karro
10-19-2009, 12:07 PM
This is a fabulous map. First-rate quality.

As for the white labeling, etc: the colors of the map largely suggest to me that the map is actually produced on a neutral-colored paper, rather than a white parchment. To achieve a white label, then, would in my mind require a white ink/pigment to be used. Not out of the realm of possibility, by any means, but in the case of the mountain labels, it is almost the only thing that looks the least bit off. Haven't a clue how to fix it, though.

The only other thing I thought was weird as that some of the labels cut off at the border. If this were merely a screencap/closeup of a larger map that wouldn't be unusual, but as an independent map of this region, I thought it odd that the cartographer would choose to label a region with a name and then intentionally cut off that name part-way through. Examples include "Rydon" on the right, "**sia" in the south, and the definite article "The" from "The Grey Sea". Anyway, to me, these cut-off labels are just a slightly jarring peculiarity, and I can't fathom why the in-world cartographer would choose to do that.

P.S. more rep owed to you as soon as it has been duly spread.

Ramah
10-19-2009, 01:34 PM
Thanks for the CC Karro.

In regards to the cut off labels, I wasn't really sure what to do. To fit the Rydony and Iosia labels inside the border and keep the size uniform I would need to place them in quite awkward positions. Going over the border and leaving the full name in just looked a little off to me (although I think I preferred The Grey Sea label when it was over the border but I cut it off to keep it the same as the others.)

I'll try revisiting them when I get chance to do some work on it later tonight. Maybe if I removed that part of the border so it didn't show through the font as much it would look better. Or does that too seem like an unlikely thing for a cartographer to do?

Karro
10-19-2009, 01:41 PM
I'd give that a shot (the label going outside the border, and masking out the border beneath the overlapping labels) at least to see how it looks. I'd sooner think that cutting off the labels would be more uncharacteristic of a cartographer than of messing with the borders, but that's just my opinion.

Coyotemax
10-19-2009, 04:08 PM
I think it depends on the background of the cartographer - what is his (her?) primary inclination and/or training? Was it a cartographer who became artistic, or an artist who became a cartographer?

An artist might cut off the label because it looks better, but someone raised as a cartographer might be horrified by that idea :)

Karro
10-19-2009, 04:24 PM
I think it depends on the background of the cartographer - what is his (her?) primary inclination and/or training? Was it a cartographer who became artistic, or an artist who became a cartographer?

An artist might cut off the label because it looks better, but someone raised as a cartographer might be horrified by that idea :)

Perhaps... but many an artist by inclination has also been known to stray outside the lines, as it were.

Coyotemax
10-19-2009, 04:36 PM
<-- one of those :)

that's why I said "might" :)

Karro
10-19-2009, 05:33 PM
<-- one of those :)

that's why I said "might" :)

I colored outside the lines, once, in kindergarden, to make a social statement about equality.... strange how I remember that.

Ramah
10-19-2009, 05:44 PM
Ok, very quick update showing change to the fonts as suggested. Unfortunately, when I placed the label "The Grey Sea" I chopped some of it off the edge of the map anyway, even when drawing the hidden part on the border.

Anyway, does it look better you think?

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I tried a few techniques to get the mountain labels looking better but in the end the most effective one seemed to be adding more mist to The Ruhks so the labels were more legible.

Coyotemax
10-19-2009, 06:19 PM
Three ways you could approach that sea label. one would be to leave it as is. You could move it over a smidge to get the T to fit (possibly even down a bit then over to get it all to fit). Or leave off "The".

(and the mountian labels look fabulous)


Whichever way you do or don't go, this is definitely looking very nice.

Gandwarf
10-19-2009, 06:22 PM
When does the awesomeness stop? :D
It's such a living, breathing map... the notes, the stains...

My only regret is that I can't read all the notes, but that's also a bit of the charm of the map.

Ramah
10-19-2009, 06:42 PM
Thank you Gandwarf. :) When I post in the finished map section I'll do a short write up of the state of Aronbor which should make most of the notes superfluous anyway.

CM: I think I'll leave the label as is for now. If public opinion demands that it needs changing then I will probably go for your third option and just leave "the" off as I really don't want to move it if possible. I don't even know what each layer does anymore but I have about 20 of them making up that label and red stain. I don't cherish the thought of redoing it. Hehe.

Coyotemax
10-19-2009, 06:53 PM
lol

I know how you feel, usually i get very detail oriented in naming my layers and describing what they're doing, but sometimes i get impatient or caught up in what i'm doing and forget :P

My own opinion is to trust whatever you come up with, I know it'll look fine, I was simply presenting possible options :)

Karro
10-20-2009, 10:40 AM
Yeah, I'd go with leaving "The" off as well.

And I think it works with the rest of the labels going over the border.

Regardless, though, this is a superb map of the highest calibre. A real work of art.

Ramah
10-21-2009, 05:27 PM
Ok, just a quick post to get some opinion on that damn Grey Sea label.

I've removed the half word "the" off and although it looks ok like that I thought I'd have one more try at fitting it in so I've relocated it to above the rest of the label. (By the way, I know that part of the border is still missing where I removed the word - I need to go into a differnt PSD file to remove that part of the mask from the border).

So... does "the" look ok where it is now? I personally think it looks pretty good but others may feel it goes against the look of the other labels. If people think it is ok then I will go ahead with grunging up the part of the label that goes across the stain.

Other changes to this image include: added a hint of agricultural land around some towns and cities (of which I'd be interested to get some feedback); added a new town; finally added an icon for the keeps, although I'm still not sure about it.

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Juggernaut1981
10-21-2009, 06:32 PM
Okay Ramah... been with you all the way but I have to comment on the fields.
Got plenty of relatives in agriculture (sheep and wheat mostly) and plowed fields will be "of a certain size" and a nice shape unless there is a darned good reason for them to be all over the place.

Your field texture is awesome and shiney, but crazy Citroen Chevrons of field make about as much sense as putting deltas in the Himalayas... Leave those nice "erased roads" but have the fields run along/perpendicular to those roads rather than having 3/4 of a field in one direction then suddenly jagging off at 45 degrees...

Coyotemax
10-21-2009, 07:38 PM
I see what is being attempted, the pattern itself would be fine in most circumstances, it's basically squares of lines in alternating vertical and horizontal directions. I used the same thing on my own Trade map, and it looks fine there.

But at this scale, and with the interruptions through them, they do come off a bit messy.

I hate to say it, but there might not be an easy way to make them look good on this map without hand-doing them individually. :(

(ok, I'm pretty sure that's bad grammar, but I don't feel like correcting it, heh)

[edit]
Incidentally, the field by Kingsfield looks fine, i would expect to see a field pattern like that in the area. Left of Briary isn't bad, but the other side looks odd. The hardest place to look at is by Greybower and Winton - the pattern doesn't work well with the shapes you appear to be trying to create there.

Gandwarf
10-21-2009, 09:03 PM
Actually, I kind of like the farmland, really! Only near Greybower it looks a bit weird because of a repeating pattern effect.

Gidde
10-21-2009, 10:59 PM
What looks incongruous to me is how flat they are. With everything in this map having depth, it seems like they should curve a little, or something. Honestly though, that's just after studying the fields because of the discussion. They never caught my eye as "off."

Ascension
10-22-2009, 12:59 AM
I'm fine with the fields as long as they stay understated the way that they are. This isn't meant to be actual satellite realistic but more hand-drawn representational. The only thing "off" to me is that it's darker than the original Vaniya map. The forests are also different. It might be intended but it might not be, shrug. Otherwise it's still wicked cool.

Ramah
10-22-2009, 05:04 AM
Ok, thanks for all the feedback guys, it's nice to get a lot of different perspectives on this.

As Ascension says, the agricultural land is supposed to be more representative and not a satellite view. I guess I could start obsessing over it and trying to get it geographically accurate but that was never the intention, the same as a town isn't the same as the little house icons I've used (although that would be quite fun, a whole village living in a giant cottage:) ). I'm sure from the distance the map is drawn the tilled earth effect and the squares of field that they make up would be considerably smaller, but a smaller pattern gave a less pleasing effect to me and looked even more artificial and obviously tiled.

I placed them in sometimes quite seemingly random shapes for two reasons - the first was to imply areas of fields, and not just the fields themselves. The second was a not very successful attempt at giving an almost cartoon perspective to them. If you look at the couple of areas around Morton (the first fields I placed actually) they kind of radiate out from the town.

Gidde: Maybe you prefer the look of the fields around Millerston or Coldwell? When I placed those fields there I tried running a Pinch filter on them first which twisted them a little to maybe give some 3d-a-like undulations. I was unsire of the effect and so just left those ones for reference.

Ascension: It shouldn't look exactly like the Vaniya map (as for one thing I formatted all my original brushes away, hehe) but is supposed to be, I hope, an updated version. I'm trying to improve upon everything if I can.
Everything is darker, yeah, and maybe the forests are a little TOO dark. Once everything is done I'll try making a few adjustments like that and see.

Anyway, thanks again for the CC all. I can see the agricultural land is a bit of a divider. Hehe.
I should get plenty of time to work on it today (Thursdays are probably my best day for computer time :) ) and I'll see if I can come up with something a little more pleasing.

Gidde
10-22-2009, 09:42 AM
Gidde: Maybe you prefer the look of the fields around Millerston or Coldwell? When I placed those fields there I tried running a Pinch filter on them first which twisted them a little to maybe give some 3d-a-like undulations. I was unsire of the effect and so just left those ones for reference.

Oooh. I didn't see those before. Yes, that's exactly it. I love those ones.

Ramah
10-22-2009, 06:30 PM
Ok, another day another update. I'm quietly confident now that I will get this thing finished for the weekend. :)

Changes to this update:

I've messed around with the agricultural land somewhat. Tried quite a few different techniques and then in the end I returned almost to how it was before. I've changed the colour of it, twisted most of them a little to look less patterned, got rid of most of the odd shapes and generally faffed around. I'm a lot happier with it (although I may still go with a green with a little more yellow in it before I sign off on it but for now I kinda like the contrast).
I've added about a half dozen more towns, a couple of mines, an abandoned prison, replaced a keep with a tower...
I've started adding some of the many labels that are missing in. Done the hills, added a few forests... still got a lot to do on this bit.
I've added another chunk of marginalia in.
I blended the word "the" from "The Grey Sea" into the stain as no-one commented on it. So I hope I've finally finished with that label now.
Ummm... and a few other things I can't remember right now.

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Looking forward to hopefully signing off on this soon. :)

Edit: Ah crap, forgot to grungify one of the marginalia texts that goes over the large stain. Nevermind, I'll get that sucker for next time.

Tear
10-22-2009, 06:58 PM
I like the agricultural area style you got there.
Just one thought: there is a really easy rule you can try to avoid breaking up with the pseudo-isometric style of the icons of the trees/towns/etc.
Avoid vertical lines.
Here is a quick sketch to show you what I mean:

Ramah
10-22-2009, 07:10 PM
Thanks Tear and a good tip.

I'd hoped I'd gotten rid of any straight lines that remained. Have you spotted any then? Or is this a tip to save me any trouble in the future?

Coyotemax
10-22-2009, 07:20 PM
Oh yes. I have no comments at this time besides "how many times can i rep the same map?" lol

Juggernaut1981
10-22-2009, 07:34 PM
Ramah,
Yeah I wasn't trying to say "it should look like a real field". Closer to "everyone from a medieval society will know what a field looks like and how farmers set them up, so they wouldn't draw that"... It just really looked to me like "whack down pattern, grab the eraser, solved"

Not trying to sound like a pain in the ass.

Tear
10-22-2009, 07:38 PM
It's just food for thought, nothing else. I'm not saying you should change anything, because it looks awesome as is. It's just something I thought about while admiring your work.

I noticed you made the lines less dominant in your latest version, but changing the angle might still provide that certain "depth" to go with the other icons.

Here is a contrast-enhanced region of yours along with some alternative angles. As I said already, just a thought for you to consider.

Ascension
10-22-2009, 07:48 PM
That's a good idea there Tear. Lines closer together maybe but the idea is spot on for the overall "it fits".

Tear
10-22-2009, 07:56 PM
Lines closer together maybe

Of course. It's just a really quick sketch to illustrate my thought. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Ramah
10-23-2009, 08:09 AM
Ramah,
Yeah I wasn't trying to say "it should look like a real field". Closer to "everyone from a medieval society will know what a field looks like and how farmers set them up, so they wouldn't draw that"... It just really looked to me like "whack down pattern, grab the eraser, solved"

Not trying to sound like a pain in the ass.

It's fine, you don't sound like a pain in the ass. All CC is greatly appreciated. I don't know if you checked out the last version I posted but I did away with most of the odd shapes you didn't like and instead just drew a large area and filled it, allowing the pattern to give the suggestion of field area on its own.

Tear, yeah your suggestion is a good one. I may go over it and add a few hand-drawn elements as you suggest. Originally, when I thought of adding the agricultural land I was going to hand draw it in some way but after messing around with it I preferred the pattern to just give a hint of what is there as my hand drawn attempts were somewhat lacking. Maybe I'll give it another go.

torstan
10-25-2009, 04:49 PM
Very pretty indeed. I'm with CM on my comments on this one :)

Ramah
10-25-2009, 04:50 PM
Very pretty indeed. I'm with CM on my comments on this one :)

Thank you very kindly. :)

Ramah
10-27-2009, 09:19 PM
Ok, was hoping to have finished this map by now. I'm running out of time if I seriously want to have a crack at NaNoWriMo. :s

Anyhoos, I managed to get a good session on it this evening and I can really see the finish line approaching now. Hopefully the next image I post will be in the finished maps section.

Things done on this update:

Added a whole raft of labels for various things. Added several more forests. Added a new river. Added several cities, towns, ruins and a few new towers. Added a few places of interest. Gave the whole map some more crumples, especially over the large stain which I also used as an opportunity to lighten the map up a little. Added a slight displace to the map to marry it to the crumples somewhat.

Here it is...

18112

Things left to do on the map:

More labels. There are quite a few forests and rivers I still want to label although I may skip some.
Add a few more places of interest such as shrines etc.
Add a couple more pieces of Marginalia.
I need to make a few more icons for the map for ruins and for an abbey.
General touch-ups.

I'm definitely going to be finished by this Saturday no matter what happens. :)

mearrin69
10-27-2009, 10:20 PM
Beautiful. I want a poster of that for my wall. I really like your place names, the linework is very nice, and the color scheme is very pleasant. AND, I really want to know what's behind that wall. Must be some big, scary squirrels in that wood. :) Have to go check earlier posts to see if you let on.
M

BTW, my wife worked (briefly) for HP a while back and they had an employee-use printshop that included everything from the kind of stuff I can do on my color laser all the way up to poster-sized prints on canvas with Impasto-like texturing. I wish she still worked there. I would so have a wall full of maps.

Ramah
10-28-2009, 07:16 AM
Thanks for the comments Mearrin.

Yeah, I too would love a poster for my wall. Having seen the photos of the other maps turned into posters (Westeros and Valcia... and Gandwarf's map I believe?) I admit they made me extremely jealous. I may look into pricing and see if I can stretch my meagre budget a little. Although a single regional map probably isn't the best choice to print out. Dunno.

And unlucky with the missus not working there anymore. She would have probably lost her job for print-room abuse though if she had access now anyway. :)

Edit: I don't think I've gone into any detail about what the Mandrai are in any of my previous posts. I'll mention a little about them when I do the write up in the finished maps section.

Gandwarf
10-28-2009, 08:13 AM
I used Posterjack to print my map. There's a UK site as well and their prices are OK I think:

http://www.posterjack.tv/?sw=1

Ramah
10-28-2009, 08:29 AM
Ooh, that's not bad at all. I was expecting far worse than that.

Thanks a lot for that link, Gandwarf. Much appreciated. :)

Juggernaut1981
10-28-2009, 07:52 PM
I used Posterjack to print my map. There's a UK site as well and their prices are OK I think:

http://www.posterjack.tv/?sw=1

Hey Gandwarf...
Do we have a "publishing maps" useful links thread?
Something that would contain "Things the Printer Will Ask You", "Here are good people to try", "Laminating Bedsheets 101", etc

Gandwarf
10-29-2009, 06:40 AM
Hey Gandwarf...
Do we have a "publishing maps" useful links thread?
Something that would contain "Things the Printer Will Ask You", "Here are good people to try", "Laminating Bedsheets 101", etc

No, we don't have such a thread I think (specific to publishing maps).

Steel General
10-29-2009, 07:54 AM
I don't think so either...maybe worth creating a 'Stickey-d' post somewhere.

pengod
10-29-2009, 10:25 AM
Really impressive map Ramah, would love to know how you created some of the 'visuals', by which I mean not the symbols and graphics of the map but more things like the aged an blurry stains the layering of composite depth is fantastic and gives it a real sense of age and use.

Ramah
10-29-2009, 04:20 PM
Thank you Pengod.

There isn't really a lot of skill involved in mucking a map up in this way. A lot of the dark stuff is just some random markings gaussian blurred and on low opac. I have several layers of a clouds filter, adjusted through curves and again, really low opac. I also usually stroke these clouds with a 1px brush on another layer so I can have a slight edge on some.
The large stains I just drew in a random shaped stain, mirrored it over the fold and then copied this around the map where it would be because of the folding and placed them at varying levels of opacity. I drew around the stain with a small brush to create an edge to it and blurred/copied/sharpened etc. in different places. Because of the dirtiness I'd already got into the image this stain looks more varied than it is.
Lastly, I've given the stain an extra layer of the crumple texture to make them show up more over it.

Changing the subject somewhat... I was happily checking out the news online this morning when my screen went blank. Using my daughters old analogue monitor I found that my own monitor had decided to kick the bucket. As it was pretty old I decided to bite the bullet and go get a new one. So now I have a brand new, widescreen monitor which I have to say... I don't like. The colours are all wrong. It's too bright and I don't just mean the image brightness... the backlight seems brighter than my old one. It's glaring. I do wonder if this will impact on any map I decide to do from now on. :S

Gidde
10-29-2009, 09:15 PM
I noticed the same thing with my shiny sorta-new monitor. I had to turn the brightness way down in order to see what everyone else seems to see.

Immolate
10-29-2009, 09:41 PM
Even now that I understand your maps better, I still like this as much. This one is brilliant!

Ramah
10-30-2009, 09:25 PM
Thank you very kindly, Immolate.

Right, I will definitely be posting this map up in the finished section tomorrow afternoon. I won't get a chance to work on it tomorrow night as it's my daughter's birthday/halloween party and Sunday marks the start of NaNoWriMo so... tomorrow afternoon it is.

Since my last post I've added a bunch more labels. I still have quite a few more to do but it won't kill me to let it go as it is now on this front. Some of the forests and out of the way rivers will probably remain unnamed but meh.
I've added a marker for a church/abbey and one for the ruins. I've also added a few more ruins up in the north.
I've reapplied the coastal details after the grunging as they were kinda getting lost under everything else and the land edge was losing definition.
Added a few more bits of Marginalia.

Edit: Heh.. I hit submit before I had done. Ah well... not a lot more to say really. All that I have left to do is a little more of what I've done since last update and maybe add one more small forest in an area where it's bugging me.
Thanks for anyone and everyone who has given C&C in this thread and sorry for my numerous updates as I've been going along - as I said in the Vaniya thread... it really helps me feel like I've reached a milestone when I post a new image and it kinda keeps me motivated.

See you all tomorrow in the finished maps section. :)

Ramah
10-31-2009, 12:14 PM
Final image posted in the Finished Maps thread here (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=7707)

Thanks everyone for your help. :)

Ramah
11-03-2009, 04:18 PM
Ok, in the spirit of the title of this thread I've decided to carry on and make the Perdon regional as my next map. Unlike what I did with Aronbor I won't keep updating the images to show progress (I promise. :) ). It will be in the exact same style so if anyone is at all interested in how it will be built up then they can just check out the preceding pages in this thread.
I'll just post a beginning shot now and then the next shot will be posted in the finished maps area upon completion.

I'd already laid the groundwork on the base map at the same time as I started Aronbor so I figured I would just rattle off a nice finished landmass ready to be filled in with places and labels and see how it looks.

So, here is the result of about two and a half hours work in total...

18312

As you can see, I've run it through all the effects I used for the Aronbor map (minus the big stains). The longest time spent on an individual element in this was separating each individual country into different colours (there are seven in all on show). There isn't enough difference in the colours to make them stand out at the moment but I can fiddle with that later.
I think before I continue I am going to go back to the base and adjust the rivers which are far too bobbly as all I did was roughly draw over the original blown-up rivers from the world map.

I think I have already shaved off weeks of time that I spent on the Aronbor map and I fully expect that if I could devote time only to this then I would have it knocked out in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately right now I am supposed to be working on NaNoWriMo. Hehe.

I'm kinda worried because I KNOW when I look at this that I am going to want to do the rest. This map overlaps the Aronbor map and is virtually yelling at me to "Stitch here!" :S

I really do want to do a city map, Gandwarf. Honest. :)

Ramah
11-28-2009, 06:48 PM
Bah! I said I wouldn't post an update on this until it was done but meh, I thought I'd squeeze in a single mid-way update. The next one will be in the finished maps forum for sure but I still have a long way to go.

Right... It does seem that since I first did the Vaniya map some of my kingdoms have been at war. The young pretender kingdom of Mirkesh has suffered crushing defeats all round and has now ceased to be. Perdon has aggressively expanded into the north of the former country while Doras has mopped up the south. Unfortunately, while the Dorans were busy fighting in their east they failed to protect their western borders and the Romarans have conquered the entire country west of the river Hiemolin...

The map is now a little closer to how I originally had it. Both Mirkesh and Doras were invented at the time of drawing the kingdom borders as I just couldn't find a way to do them that pleased me. As I've been drawing this new map it occurred to me how I can change it and I'm much more pleased with it now. Bye-bye Mirkesh. Doras gets to stay but that's ok as it takes up some of the area that Caprinon used to occupy (orginally there were three Silver Kingdoms - Asrinon, Caprinon and Inderinon).

So.. that being said here is the map as it stands right now...

19035

It is now currently at a stage where the original Vaniyan section is completely updated to the Aronbor adjusted style. All the labels that were on the original map are on this one in roughly the same area. All the forests, hills and rivers are there.

So from now on I'm into new territory on this map. I plan on adding a few more hills in a few places but not many. I will add quite a few more forested areas and possibly a few small rivers but nothing major like on Aronbor. And then there's loads of towns, cities and other places of interest to add. And labels, labels, labels.

All the labels and markers that are currently in are not finalised btw, and will probably all get changed, tweaked, altered etc. as work progresses.

Gandwarf
11-28-2009, 07:30 PM
Looks good as always. Glad you posted an update!
Is the Sleeping Lady a vulcano?

Ascension
11-28-2009, 08:17 PM
Looks good to me. Some of the labels have a nice kind of gray look and others are black...I'm assuming that's the thing you were talking about. Other than that lil thing it looks almost done to me.

rdanhenry
11-28-2009, 10:48 PM
Unfortunately, while the Dorans were busy fighting in their east they failed to protect their western borders and the Romarans have conquered the entire country east of the river Hiemolin...


Did you mean west of the Hiemolin? Because east of would seem to mean Doras was completely overrun.

Davros01
11-29-2009, 05:51 AM
A great looking map. If I didn't know you had created it, I would have thought it was an actual antique map. How did you get that paper look with the folds in it? I think I would like to add something like that myself.

Marc

Ramah
11-29-2009, 06:30 AM
Gandwarf: No, it's not a volcano. It is the tallest mountain in the range and it is rumoured there is a cave near the summit where Harmoline waits the time when she is needed once again. Harmoline is one of the two powers (the other being a man named Quin) who were tasked with guarding the seven stones resulatant from the sundering of the World's Heart. She, like the stones, hasn't been seen in centuries and has fallen into the status of myth.

Ascension: Hehe. I wish it was nearly done but I still have a lot more to do on it yet.

Rdanhenry: Yes, thank you I mean exactly that. It shows that you are paying attention. :)

Davros01: I'll find out the tutorials I used for you later when I have a little more time on here.

Thanks for the comments guys. The feedback and encouragement on here plays a huge part in dragging me through the tough times when I don't want to see another tree or hill for as long as I live. :)

animalcooler
02-22-2011, 09:39 AM
Gandwarf: No, it's not a volcano. It is the tallest mountain in the range and it is rumoured there is a cave near the summit where Harmoline waits the time when she is needed once again. Harmoline is one of the two powers (the other being a man named Quin) who were tasked with guarding the seven stones resulatant from the sundering of the World's Heart. She, like the stones, hasn't been seen in centuries and has fallen into the status of myth.

Ascension: Hehe. I wish it was nearly done but I still have a lot more to do on it yet.

Rdanhenry: Yes, thank you I mean exactly that. It shows that you are paying attention. :)

Davros01: I'll find out the tutorials I used for you later when I have a little more time on here.

Thanks for the comments guys. The feedback and encouragement on here plays a huge part in dragging me through the tough times when I don't want to see another tree or hill for as long as I live. :)

great job.

where can I find the photoshop brushes you,ve used to make this map?

Let me know
Thanks

Ramah
03-02-2011, 06:25 PM
Thread necro!

Hey there people. Well since around Christmas I have hardly touched the computer and whenever I loaded up PS I just basically pressed a few buttons and then closed it again, unable to get motivated. In the last day or two though I can finally feel my mojo returning and the desire to make something cool and fundamentally pretty to look at is building inside. So tonight I started going through a few old things and reading some old threads and it led me to loading up PS and looking at the Aronbor map with a critical eye. There have always been a few things on the map that I just wasn't pleased with, fudged to get it out the door so I could get to working on something else. So as a "let-me-back-in-gently" project I've decided to hopefully fix a few things, tweak a few things and get it in a state I'm happier to call "done."

I feel like George Lucas.

So hopefully in the next day or two I'll have a new version of this to post: Aronbor - The Director's Cut.

As anyone who has ever seen a director's cut will know, it will be basically the same thing but with a few judicious cuts made and maybe a unicron added. So, don't expect massive changes. Some may not even notice any changes without looking closely. I don't know yet. :) Hopefully some will find it interesting though.

I don't intend to spend a lot of time on this, just a way to get me back in and up to speed. So like I say, the next day or two. Fingers crossed.

EDIT: Wait... what? I thought I had necroed this from forever ago but it turns out someone necroed it a week or so ago. :S

Gidde
03-02-2011, 07:16 PM
Hey Ramah, glad to see you back and looking forward to seeing what you do! I've always loved this map :)

Ascension
03-02-2011, 11:33 PM
Ya can't keep a good map down. Glad to see ya back big R. I know how you feel - I do the same thing a lot (twiddle some buttons but mostly indifferent). When I have my mojo I'll go for like 6 months straight but then I need 3 months of getting re-juiced.

Diamond
03-02-2011, 11:55 PM
I think anyone that's creative has the same cycle. I know I do. And I'll be looking forward to some Ramah goodness!

Ramah
03-03-2011, 01:55 PM
Ok, so it turns out that most people WILL be able to tell the difference between the old version and the new one. Hehe.

Now I am well aware that this new colour scheme won't be for everyone but I like it. I always liked the previous muted colour scheme but now it just looks a bit drab. This new version still keeps it pretty dark (and moody hopefully) but is much more saturated. I may adjust it slightly as I continue to work on the other bits I need to do but I doubt it will change much from what it is now.

So without further ado I present my current progress on Aronbor - Revisited...

34085

So basically all I have done so far is redone the paper textures, overhauled the palette and added extra shading around the hills which, especially in the SE, were looking a little too unconnected.
Many of the labels are no longer as visible as they need to be so I will go in and change that. Then I need to add back all the missing bits such as roads, the wall, some extra forests that are missing etc. I plan on redoing all the town symbols to introduce a little variation to what was there previously - one of the main reasons for the overhaul.
I may miss off the marginalia this time, not sure how it will go with the darker colours. I'll experiment but my gut feeling is saying it won't look good.

And sorry if the thumbnail doesn't work properly - it's not displaying in the manager correctly.

jtougas
03-03-2011, 02:44 PM
I'm really becoming a fan of the dark look. :)

Ascension
03-03-2011, 05:35 PM
Do not underestimate the powah of the dahk side.

Sam Conifer
03-06-2011, 03:24 AM
Wow Ramah. I am a huge fan of your maps. :)

Ramah
03-06-2011, 05:46 PM
Thanks. :)

Final version of the new... er... version has been posted here...

http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?13941-Aronbor-Revisited&p=146541#post146541

Lezales
06-15-2011, 06:31 PM
Hey Ramah !

Very nice map, I really like the style you're using ! But I've got a question for you. I'm in the process of shopping for a tablet for the computer and I was wondering if you could maybe what features I'd have to take a look to and if you'd have any suggestion as to what model buy ?
Thanks in advance !

Ramah
06-16-2011, 07:33 AM
Hi Lezales. Well I can tell you what tablet I have, a Wacom Bamboo, but other than that I am no expert on tablets. I'd love to upgrade to an Intuos if I ever get handed a pile of money but for now the bamboo fits me just fine. As to features to look for, from my own experience with this tablet I can tell you that I find the little scroll wheel thingy completely useless. It seems slow to react and takes longer to use than moving your hand to keyboard or mouse and doing whatever action you have mapped to it the old fashioned way.
The buttons on the tablet I love though. I'm left handed and hold a pen a weird way where I kind of bend my hand around it so for a while I was accidentally pressing a button when drawing but I've learned to avoid it now.
The lower part of the rocker button on the pen I have deactivated as again, I keep pressing it by accident so I could do without this. The top button I have left as a right click but I find it awkward to press so I could do without it.

So personally speaking, features I like are buttons near the pad that I can map shortcuts too. Anything else is just wasted on me.

Hope this helps. :)

bullet211
10-13-2011, 03:14 PM
Wow
I just happened to 'trip' over this site (best trip I've ever made btw) and I'm completely speechless by all the master craftsman that have displayed their work.
But you sir, you have utterly blown me away. Your maps are extremely impressive!

If you don't mind me asking, what size (in pixels) do you begin your work at? I've read Ascensions tutorial where he began the tutorial at 2000x2000 pixels.
As I'm attempting to 'dabble' into making a map I'm curious as to what size you began with and at any point did you 'scale' it down before the final product?

r/

Bullet

Ramah
10-13-2011, 03:52 PM
Hi and thanks.

It depends how I feel at the time I guess. In the past I have started with a canvas twice as big as the finished map size so that I can shrink it down after the coastline is finished to soften it. Most of the time I just start at the same size as the finished map and just wing it.

Just depends on what you are most comfortable with I guess.