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voidgere
09-24-2009, 04:41 PM
First let me state that my admiration for the artistic skill and insight of the members of the Guild is beyond words. The works of art that I have had the pleasure of viewing here everyday is a real treat and I thank everyone for sharing their skill and dedication.

For seven months I have poured through tutorials and walkthroughs. I have scoured over maps and tiles. I have saved and written down tips, tricks and notes. I have made several attempts to author my own maps, replicate maps from RPG's and novels and some I've seen on the net. I have tried GIMP, Photoshop, Paint, Inkscape, and a slew of other programs all recommended by the fine members of the Guild.

In the end, it was to no avail. I'm not sure if it is a lack of artistic ability, the inability to manipulate the software properly or just plain lack of comprehension when reading the tutorials, but I cannot seem to make a map of any sort of quality.

So this is me saying I appreciate all the hard work by all the members who produced the many tutorials out there and those who created all the wonderful maps.

*EDIT*

Here is the map I have been trying to edit. Its been flattened and such but I do have the base picture with all the name layers saved as a .psd file. My main goal was to make it more crisp and provide a more photo-realistic version of the file to include with my RPG that I am developing. I found the original map on the net somewhere but lost the url when my HDD crashed. So if anyone recoginzes the map/style or knows the author that would be helpful. The original file name is "TheDuchies.jpg". That was the biggest problem with the clarity of the file. It was a jpg.

http://i718.photobucket.com/albums/ww181/voidgere/TheDuchies.gif

NeonKnight
09-24-2009, 05:47 PM
Looks good. I cannot give much input as I don't use the software you mentioned.

What I CAN say, is I am still amazed at the sheer number of maps that come out with the same general shape as one of my old campaign/world maps. Not saying people are copying me, but wondering what is going on inside our brains that we are all coming up with a similarly shaped campaign map.

Coyotemax
09-24-2009, 05:59 PM
I think part of it is that Europe and Asia put together make such interesting shapes, it's hard to mess with a good thing :)

I look at that map, and that's the first thing that pops to mind. AslanC and I are running into the same issues working over his overall world map too, we keep coming back to existing shapes :)


Voidgere: Don't be afraid to post your work as you're working on it, if you've been watching the forums you know that people are willing to provide input as you go. When I first started, I didn't think I was that great, it's a matter of practicing and taking feedback into consideration :)

voidgere
09-24-2009, 05:59 PM
By no means am I taking credit for creating this map. Someone else created it and I was just trying to remake the map in a higher resolution and with a more photo-realistic style.

But try as I may, I could not master the skills to do so. I linked the map in hopes it might inspire someone else as it did me.

*EDIT*
I've been using these two tutorials in the hopes that I could create something workable. I was also hoping it would help begin training me in the skills I would need in order to really delve deep into map making:

http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4276
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1142

In the end, I got overwhelmed by the number of layers, masks, filters and such and would always make a mistake that would not become evident until I was several steps past and could not reliably back track and fix them. This would result in me having to scrap the working copy and start over. I guess after all was said and done it was the amount of failures that disheartened me. It did this to the point that I wasn't having fun anymore and that saddened me.

I went into the learning process hoping that the computer would simplify the map making process and I came to realize just how complex and involved making a map with my computer actually was. This was counter productive to the reason I started this pursuit. I will keep working at it (as I never give up on anything), but I just wont have the fervor I did in the beginning.

msa
09-24-2009, 06:00 PM
I'd say....

You're being too hard on yourself!

The map you made is pretty good. Sure, its not as pretty as many of the others here (not mine, btw, which are only OK). But, at the same time, you haven't been doing it professionally like many of the people here.

Here are my tips:


start small - don't take on too much detail early on... just map a region or a single continent or empire.
create your own - its much harder to replicate someone else's work faithfully than to just create something yourself (or randomly: clouds->threshold!).
play around - for your early maps, write down what you do, and try it a few times doing different things.
get feedback - many of the posters here can almost effortlessly take a part of your map that you hate and help you make it wonderful!
don't give up - practice is more important than anything.... just keep plugging away at it and eventually you will be great!

msa
09-24-2009, 06:06 PM
When I first started, I didn't think I was that great, it's a matter of practicing and taking feedback into consideration :)

And for the record, Coyotemax is now... after 4 months.... officially GREAT!

Gidde
09-24-2009, 06:11 PM
I'd like to second everything msa just said.

Your map is MUCH better than my first attempts, lol. I'm still no picasso, but after doing all the things he listed, I'm getting better all the time and starting to feel really proud of the progress I've made.

You'll start loving your maps too, chin up :)

Oh ... and this one bears repeating: while experimenting write EVERYTHING down. Nothing is worse than finally achieving something that looks cool and then not having a clue how to repeat it.

zenram
09-24-2009, 06:17 PM
Well, is hard if you compare yourself with other, many of the people here have done this for years, newbies like us, can only hope that some day we can do a job as good as those of them.

But.... many pro-maps are not even close to the maps here, so dont be discouraged, just get yourself published.

XD

voidgere
09-24-2009, 06:17 PM
Let me say this again...

I did not make this map

I am not a fan of plagiarism and just want to be really clear on this subject. I found the map on the net and would love to give credit to the artist but I lost the URL to the original.

It inspired me to finally sit down and make the RPG I have always wanted to author so I used the map. The quality left something to be desired so I search the net for a way to improve the map for my needs (print quality has to be a minimum of 300dpi). I found the Guild during my search.

Coyotemax
09-24-2009, 06:21 PM
The suggestion to start small and work your way up is good.

I understand you were looking to create a specific map for a specific project. So try that. Pick just one tutorial and stick with it. follow it word for word, right to the letter. Post your work as you go and ask for suggestions or clarifications. Speaking from experience, the tutorial authors are active on this site and seem very willing to share their views and help clarify points. Plus a number of others on the site have gone through the same tutorials a number of times and can offer helpful suggestions.

So go ahead, start it from scratch, toss something up here after you get a few steps in when you seem to lose track of what's going on, and let's see if you can't make a masterpiece by the time you're done!

Greason Wolfe
09-24-2009, 06:24 PM
<snip . . .>
In the end, I got overwhelmed by the number of layers, masks, filters and such and would always make a mistake that would not become evident until I was several steps past and could not reliably back track and fix them. This would result in me having to scrap the working copy and start over. I guess after all was said and done it was the amount of failures that disheartened me. It did this to the point that I wasn't having fun anymore and that saddened me.

I went into the learning process hoping that the computer would simplify the map making process and I came to realize just how complex and involved making a map with my computer actually was. This was counter productive to the reason I started this pursuit. I will keep working at it (as I never give up on anything), but I just wont have the fervor I did in the beginning.

I think many of us have had these same feelings at times. Whether it was when we first started trying to create maps on our computers, or when we took on projects that were considerably larger than we were used to. I know, at least for myself, I go through highs and lows when it comes to creating maps, and sometimes the lows are tough to get out of regardless of why I've hit that low point. Sometimes it helps to take a few days (or weeks if need be) away from mapping and just let the batteries recharge.

And MSA had the right of it, so I'll gladly "Third" what he has already stated. The only thing I would add is to save, save, save. Save often, after each major step. That way, if you find a mistake later on down the line, you might be able to track it back and correct it. And as far as those mistakes go, don't feel like you're the only one. None of us are perfect, though there are a few here that may be darn close. :lol:

GW

voidgere
09-24-2009, 06:54 PM
And again the community comes together and exemplifies why I keep coming back. I would like to thank everyone for their support and words of encouragement. Perhaps I will start one of those WIP's I am always reading about and you guys can keep a CLOSE eye on my project.

I am going to compile the TLS and then start the WIP.

Ascension
09-24-2009, 07:36 PM
I get down every once in a while too. What helps is that I don't dwell on it for more than a minute or else I'd slip back into major depression, wear nothing but black, and generally be nihilistic all day. When ya compare yourself to others you'll almost always find yourself lacking...in any part of life. Keep yerself busy so that the mind doesn't have time to wander into bad areas.

What I would suggest to you is that if the tuts are confusing you then throw them away and create your own methods...that's what I did. Of course I didn't know that there were any tuts around when I first started :) To this day I still don't follow any methods other than my own...I read the other tuts and see how they do what they did and then try to incorporate something interesting into what I do. I could never do a map like RobA or Pyrandon or Ravells or Pasis, no matter how many times I did it. I can never get the same texturing that Steel does and I can never get the painted look that Torstan does or the old school of Turgenev. Heck, no two maps of mine are ever the same :) In the end, it's all about playing around and experimenting - the journey is the fun part, the destination never lives up to the hype...unless you're going to Vegas with a lot of money to throw away on dancing girls but that's a story for another time ;)

icosahedron
09-25-2009, 03:55 AM
One thing to bear in mind is that this site is a whole-world forum - the guys who post beautiful maps here are some of the best fantasy cartographers in the world.

It's hardly surprising if you don't quite reach their standards. ;)

Would you expect to emulate Picasso, Dali or Van Gogh just by following a tutorial they'd written?

Ask yourself whether your map is readable and serves its purpose. If so, it's a good map. You can always get better, but expect it to take a lifetime.

You imply that you're creating a game for publication. If so, you need to create your own map from scratch, and time spent cleaning up someone else's map is largely wasted.

Your first published RPG doesn't need a photorealistic map, it needs one that shows the players where they are. Subsequent games can include better maps as you develop your technique, and if your players want to upgrade the map you've given them, they can always join Cartographers Guild. :)

Steel General
09-25-2009, 06:36 AM
Well after reading through this thread I had to throw in my $0.02.

Getting to be 'good' at something takes time and is a worthwhile process. There have been times where I have worked on a map then decided I'd had enough, but the encouragement of the folks here gives the 'old batteries' a jump and I get back to it. It may not be exactly what I had hoped for, but more times than not it is something I can take pride in.

The Silent Cartographer
10-25-2009, 03:16 AM
Well that i have been in the "artist" enviroment for a few years now (allthough not producing much, mostly watching and talking with them) only one thing is true: DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE

without love and passion nothing good will come out of what you do.... no matter how much yoou force yourself to do something..it will not be as good as work done with passion and love...

my best friend produces art, there have been times when she have wanted to give up because its so hard and that she feels like she doesnt develop enough... but one thing is sure... she is passionate about what she do, she loves what she do

and that is what pulls her through when things look dark and she jsut want to give up

now..she doesnt create maps..she creates drawings...mostly from our Rolleplays, or fan art from games... and when she look back on her earliest works and her developments, she agrees that she have developed as an artist....

find something you love, i can't tell how many times i have tried and force myself to draw something, create something in 3D Studio Max..... so..i gave cartography a shot...and i frigging love it

now..the question is..will i love it to the point that i will till do it even though everything seems black? well time will tell