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View Full Version : Help me pick software!



Chaplaindm
12-02-2009, 02:10 PM
Real quick. let me get you opinions. I posted this in my welcome thread but then wondered if anyone would see it.

I am looking to make the antique looking maps much like the old Lord of the Rings stuff. I am a writer by nature and that is my passion. Although I LOVE what I see here I really do not want to spend a HUGE amount of time on my maps as I am using simple ones to illistrate my books. I do not need all the color and relief... What I need is something that I can do that will show readers what I am writing about. It will also help me to figure distances and help me as I expand.

I am using GIMP at the moment. I am working through the tutorials but I am already spending way too much time. I also already have CorelDraw and paint Shop Pro. I know I can do what I am looking to do in GIMP but is there an easier program out there for Antique Style maps? Something that is REALLYYYY easy? Again, I am not looking for the awesome quality as it will be on a single page or two of a book.

Also, it is wrong to ask people here to let me have their old GIMP maps so I can change them? I could use their antique backgrounds and their font styles. Or is this a big NO NO!

mearrin69
12-02-2009, 03:32 PM
I'm going to go for what GP said in your intro thread. Your best bet, IMHO, is to do it by hand and scan it.

Try some test maps on paper using pencil in the style you think you want...I'm picturing the old black and white map from the front of LotR. Refine the design then try lightly sketching in pencil and inking over that.

You can use an inking pen (I use Staedtler pigment liners but there are other brands) or try a nib pen and ink (I have had good results). For a final map I recommend a smooth paper that's not too absorbent or grainy. I used smooth bristol board, Strathmore, more a recent map with good results.

Once done, you can scan it in. If you do it in a large format you can take it to Kinkos or similar and have them scan it for you...not too expensive. I think having them scan it in color is the best. I tried greyscale with them and it ended up being half-time dots for some reason.

You should find a thread on hand-drawn maps in the tutorial sections. It covers materials and such very nicely.

Hope any of that helps!
M

N.B. It likely *will* take quite a lot of time to design, refine, and finally create your map. I spent many long hours creating this (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=7539) map for my gaming world. There aren't really many short-cuts...although much of my time was spent coloring and texturing and you won't have to do that for your map I think.

Chaplaindm
12-02-2009, 03:44 PM
Thank you! I will give this a go and see what happens.

I will start a WIP thread once I get up and going.

Chaplain

Daelin
12-02-2009, 03:56 PM
Yeah, if time is your main issue, I think hand-drawn is the way to go.

Alternatively, if you want to only do maps like the old LoTR one, then you all you really need to do is find some brushes for forests and mountains that fits the style, find some nice big parchment textures and then sketch away in whatever software you fancy. This is what I did with my "Alternate Europe", just because I was bored, and I think it took me 90 minutes total, even with the suggested additions.

http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=8081

Chaplaindm
12-02-2009, 05:11 PM
Daelin,

This really looks good also! Can you give me more information on what you mean? Can you suggest some good "brushes for forests and mountains that fits the style and some nice big parchment textures" Not just where to find them but which ones you used EXACTLY and what you used them for. It would save me a lot of looking and trial and error. Also, what program did you use.

Would I be asking too much if I asked for texture and brushes you used in your map?

Daelin
12-02-2009, 09:42 PM
Well, the brushes I used for forests and mounts are by Wag, so you can just download them here.
http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=4571

And the big parchment canvas was found on Google images. Alternately, you could make your own, I'm sure there is a fine tutorial around here somewhere. :)

The smears and stains are also brushes that I found on the internet, though I don't remember where exactly. Probably on www.deviantart.com.

And for this map, I used GIMP.

Coyotemax
12-03-2009, 08:00 PM
We have a fair number of resources on the site here, in the Mapping Elements area

There's quite a few paper textures in this thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=7564), too :)
*shameless plug*

Chaplaindm
12-04-2009, 10:03 AM
Thanks for the feedback! I'll look into this when I get a minute.

Chaplain

Gamerprinter
12-04-2009, 01:52 PM
I seem to be alone in using this particular software, but I almost exclusively use Xara Xtreme Pro 4.0 for all my mapping needs. This is very capable, vector drawing application, similar to CorelDraw, at only $49 for the non-Pro version, which is perfectly capable for creating all the maps I create.

Again, I still scan hand-drawn work into a scanner, then import to Xara for coloring, special effects and compositing.

GP

MadCartographer
12-06-2009, 02:06 PM
Real quick. let me get you opinions. I posted this in my welcome thread but then wondered if anyone would see it.

I am looking to make the antique looking maps much like the old Lord of the Rings stuff. I am a writer by nature and that is my passion. Although I LOVE what I see here I really do not want to spend a HUGE amount of time on my maps as I am using simple ones to illistrate my books. I do not need all the color and relief... What I need is something that I can do that will show readers what I am writing about. It will also help me to figure distances and help me as I expand.

I am using GIMP at the moment. I am working through the tutorials but I am already spending way too much time. I also already have CorelDraw and paint Shop Pro. I know I can do what I am looking to do in GIMP but is there an easier program out there for Antique Style maps? Something that is REALLYYYY easy? Again, I am not looking for the awesome quality as it will be on a single page or two of a book.

Also, it is wrong to ask people here to let me have their old GIMP maps so I can change them? I could use their antique backgrounds and their font styles. Or is this a big NO NO!

Try Campaign Cartographer 3 by ProFantasy, it's very easy to learn and not pricey at all.

http://www.profantasy.com/

I use it and I cant draw a lick, this is cartography for us ppl that cant draw and dont want to take to much time doing it.

also, there are some nice tutorials on utube, have a look at that 1st.

euio
12-06-2009, 05:52 PM
For a programme just as powerful as GIMP, but far more intuitive and user-friendly, look at Paint.NET (getpaint.net). I've used both GIMP and Paint.NET, and consider PDN far superior to GIMP.


I've not seen anyone else use it on this site, though, strangely...

Gamerprinter
12-06-2009, 06:26 PM
There are a couple of users of PDN, here. Look in the both this board and the General Discussions board on thread discussing PDN specifically. There might even be a PDN tutorial, though I am not sure.

Still there's a stronger core of GIMP users here, and am not sure if PDN is capable of using scripts to automate various complex functions like GIMP, if not, you've got many capable user's like RobA that use script features extensively. That alone makes GIMP more powerful then PDN.

Again PDN might let one use scripts as well - I don't know. I'm only a minor user of GIMP, relying on Xara Xtreme and hand-drawing/scanning for most of my work.

Still there are a few PDN users here.

GP

Sigurd
12-06-2009, 10:02 PM
Honestly, in the situation you describe I'd find a cartographer you get along with and pay\entice them to do your mapping.

Unless you want to do it, I'm not sure you'll have the results you want.

Its perfectly possible to request a map with layers you can modify without harming the over all look of the map. You'd also be much more polite adapting the map of a cartographer you had a relationship with.

I tend to think that maps and illustrations are a poor use of your writing time if they are not something you enjoy.


Sigurd


No, I'm not applying. This is just honest advice.

industrygothica
12-07-2009, 10:38 AM
I'm with Sigurd on this. If the mapmaking is not something that you particularly want to do, why not pencil out a rough sketch and upload it to the mapmaking request forum? There are those who will only charge a small fee, and others who will do it for free. Some may do it for free, pending publication on your novel... This way, you get a badass map and get to spend more time writing.

I can't help but think that any reputable publisher would have their own resources for any art that accompanies their products. Of course, having never written a fantasy, or any other genre of novel, this is pure speculation on my part.


-IG

Chaplaindm
12-07-2009, 04:00 PM
@ Sigurd and industrygothica,

I think you are probably right on this. Like everything, it is harder then it looks! So it looks like I will be teaming up with an artist.

As far as publishers having thir own artists and such, it is true. However, getting published through traditional means is a job in its own right! It often takes years, traveling to conferences, and a lot of time. For that reason I am looking into self publishing. I think in the end my writing is good enough- but I don't know if I want to go that route yet.

For my first four novel set I am looking to self publish.