View Full Version : My Introduction

10-01-2009, 05:09 PM
Hello everyone. I've been an occasional lurker on this forum for a few months now and this is my first post. This site/forum is extremely useful to me and I'm glad I've found you all.

I only have GIMP and Inkscape. I do not have a tablet. I used to be quite good with Photoshop during my high school years but that was a long time ago; Photoshop 6 and 7 were the last versions I used and I haven't any idea what version it is at now. I don't have the funds to buy it either (and I'm not going to download an illegal copy like I did in high school). I've also forgotten most of what I learned. So I'm basically back here to relearn everything. Some things are coming back to me quickly, like how much I hate lens flare (rarely ever "fits in" with a picture, almost useless), and how much I love clouds (so many uses!).

When I was younger I would draw basic maps for my RPG campaigns like most Gamemasters. But now that I'm grown up I don't fell that a pencil sketch will suffice. I will be starting a fantasy campaign over the Internet using a message board and it will be heavily influenced by geographic aspects like terrain and national borders, so a map made using GIMP (or another program) seems like the best choice. Again, I don't have the funds to purchase programs or a tablet like I want so everything is being done on the cheap.

I've been messing around with a few throwaway maps in my free time, testing out tutorials and trying to get techniques developed. Hopefully I can get to the point where I have my own WIP thread here...

But I do have some questions, if this is an appropriate time/place to ask them.

1 - How different are GIMP and Photoshop? What can one do that the other can't do?

2 - About how much does Photoshop cost these days? What version is it at? Are there other Adobe programs aside from Photoshop that assist with map-making?

3 - There are a lot of fantasy/medieval tutorials and maps here. But what about modern-day city tutorials? If I wanted to make a modern-day city map (mostly a road map, with "squares" and such for buildings) which tutorials would be best? I'm just curious. This seems like something there isn't as much demand for.

Thank you in advance for your input.

10-01-2009, 05:36 PM
Welcome aboard. As to your questions:

1. They're fairly close in that they have some similar functions but the results are way different. Gimp has one handy thing that PS doesn't...tubes (which is like a brush that has multiple tips that cycle through and each tip is its own image, sort of like a layered image). This would be handy for doing something like a bunch of different butterflies.

2. No idea on the cost but I'm guessing around $900 for the full suite or $500 for PS alone. I'm sure that the adobe site has the prices. It's on CS4...the CS versions started right after 7 and while many use CS4 there are some wonky bits in it and I still use CS from 2003.

3. As for tuts, nothing comes to mind right away for modern cities. But you can look through the tutorials section and the sci-fi/modern mapping section to see if there is anything there.

10-01-2009, 05:37 PM
1 - How different are GIMP and Photoshop? ... Are there other Adobe programs aside from Photoshop that assist with map-making?
The price is the primary thing, really. They are both well powerful enough to do whatever you want to do.

I also use Adobe Illustrator quite heavily in my mapping. For its opensource counterpart, look at Inkscape. edit: Oops sorry, didn't see you were already using Inkscape.

And post some of your maps! PLEASE! Feed us.

10-01-2009, 07:03 PM
Welcome Pal!!!

Steel General
10-01-2009, 07:14 PM
Welcome Aboard!

10-02-2009, 03:25 AM
Thank you for the warm welcome, and for the replies to my questions. I'm starting slow and easy and trying to get the basics down. Maybe one day I'll be making epic maps like Tear. We'll see ^^

10-02-2009, 05:27 AM
Welcome Admiral.

Like you, Gimp and Inkscape are my primary scratchbuilding tools, but I'm labouring under the burdens of no talent, no prior experience and no knowledge of artistic terms. I haven't even found what clouds are yet, let alone what I might do with them. :)

I'm also interested in modern/future cities, and as you say, there is very little in the way of tutorials or existing top-down material for this genre. I figured the only option was to teach myself and produce my own - one day; it's a long, slow process. :)

10-06-2009, 12:14 PM
Welcome to the Guild!

10-06-2009, 06:59 PM
Welcome to the guild! They didn't have Photoshop in my high school years. Hi tech back then was green LED calculators and IBM selectric typewriters. I learned to type on a manual typewriter. If you typed too fast, the keys would stick together.

Yeah yeah, up hill both ways and all that. Anyway, I think you'll find that whatever tool you like will work for you here, and that with the guidance and advice of the experts, you'll become as good a cartographer as you are willing to become.