View Full Version : New Member - New to Graphic Editors - Map

09-23-2007, 04:30 PM

I just joined this group today, and am rather excited. I've always loved maps, and especially enjoy creating fantasy worlds. I've been DMing for 24 years, and have just started a new campaign after taking a hiatus from gaming.

I decided to use and revise an old campaign world of mine and instead of creating the new map by hand, I went digital. I had never used a graphics editor and needed the map in a week, so I downloaded Inkscape and set about to learn by doing. I'm posting my finished product and would welcome any comments or advice, especially on creating mountains and how to better utilize Inkscape. I also downloaded GIMP today, and was wondering if it might be better or easier to use than Inkscape. My first mountain layer looked richer and ate up so much memory it crashed the program. So, as I was running out of time, I went in another direction. :compass:


Looking forward to discussing maps,

09-23-2007, 06:18 PM
James--you are excatly the kind of guy this site is made for, because we ALL love discussing maps! :) Welcome to paradise, my friend!

I do not know much about Inkscape or GIMP (although some Guild members are really amazing users of those programs), but from what I notice about both your map and Inkscape in general, the results often tend to look "cartoony" (or more accurately, "computer-ish") due to the vector-based nature of the program. It's fine if that's waht you're looking for, of course (ex: a GM map), but if you learn to import into GIMP & do some touch-up you can also really up the interest & quality of your maps. That being said, a talented user can make any program do amazing things; I'm just talking in sweeping generalizations.

But hey, for a quick, first-shot at a map, you have nothing but my praise! Way to go! And once again, welcome.

PS: I'm moving this post to the WIP area, since it fits a bit better there. :)

09-23-2007, 08:37 PM
It's a lovely map, but it's an ugly green! Welcome, jasmith! I'm sure your map making will improve by miles here thanks to the inkscape experts that are here (of which I am not one).

All the best


09-24-2007, 09:12 AM
Howdy James!

If you have any specific question on Inkscape (or GIMP) feel free to PM if you don't want to post.....(but I might post the reply so everyone can reap the benefits).

I have been doing mapping in a combination of Inkscape and GIMP. I try to do all my layout in Inkscape because of the flexibility you get in vector. Inkscape can get pretty slow, especially if you have a lot of detail, however.

The big thing to make Inkscape less cartoony is picking a good colour palette rather than the default. If you click on the little arrow at the right of the colour picker, you will get a whole bunch of palette choices. Take a look at some of them. Additionally, I have made a custom palette for mapping based on Don's tutorial on city mapping (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=530) that avoids eye clash.

So my current workflow is to load up the Inkscape SVG image into gimp for post processing, (bringing in all the paths as well, for simplified selections and stroking). An example of this workflow was my Niagara map (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=628)). I am working on map in only Inkscape (see my Canal City thread (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=826&highlight=canal+city)) for a play-by-play. The use of blur really helps make the map look less like a cartoon.

Lastly, I would suggest you download and watch every one of these Inkscape Screencasts (http://screencasters.heathenx.org/). While none are specific to mapping, they are a great supplement to learning Inkscape.

You might like you mountains better if you leave off the bottom stroke and fill them wit a gradient (colour at the top to transparent/background at the bottom)

-Rob (getting verbose again) A>

09-24-2007, 01:00 PM
Since you have already been properly greeted I'll say say hello. ;)

And give you a critique (what you think I would let you go without giving you one? ;) )

Other than agreeing with the above comments, you may also want to look at your rivers. A common mistake that I got called on myself is having a river split downstream. While there are slight exceptions to the rule, this is not normal for rivers unless there is some sort of significant geological barrier to prevent it from flowing as a single entity.

09-29-2007, 02:44 PM
Thanks to everyone for their comments and critiques. I plan on beginning another version shortly, after I've spent some more time playing with Inkscape and GIMP.


09-29-2007, 10:49 PM
Great, James! If you have questions make sure to post 'em & we'll try to help. And make sure to update us on your progress!!!!