View Full Version : First Map: Ascension(ish) Style!
01-20-2010, 03:46 PM
I am nearing the final stages of my first map (still have to add town/region names etc.). This is a map of Eriond, a world I created to use as a campaign setting for D&D. The map was done completely using GIMP. Save for a few stylized deviations, I followed Gidde's GIMP conversion tutorial of Ascension's Atlas Style (a link to which may be found here:
I owe allot of gratitude to both Ascension and Gidde. Before beginning this project, I had exactly 0 knowledge of GIMP, Photoshop, or any other map-making software for that matter. Yet due to their excellent tutorials, GIMP's user manual, and allot of trial and error, I managed to learn enough to create this map. Thanks you guys.
P.S. Corrective feedback is appreciated.
01-20-2010, 04:13 PM
Pretty good. I think the Gimp clouds might make nicer mountains than PS clouds...maybe, but I'm biased :) Your forests could use a bit of darker green to help differentiate them from the ground a bit more but otherwise it looks great.
01-20-2010, 05:12 PM
Oh I like that map... it turned out really nice. I think I might agree with Ascension the gimp clouds add something that is not there on the PS ones.. I wonder if there is something that can be blended to get that look....
01-20-2010, 06:34 PM
This looks cool! Glad you found the translation useful :) The only thing I'd suggest is maybe toning down the bumps a bit in your ocean, it's a tad overpowering. All in all though, great job!
01-20-2010, 08:15 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys. Ascension, Gidde, as per your advice I have darkened both the forests and the oceans a bit, whilst simultaneously lightening up some of the darker spots within the land. I've also tried to blend the rivers into the oceans, so as to make for a smooth transition. It might be a day or two before I'm able to add city, town and topographical names. Here are the two versions compared side by side:
01-20-2010, 08:19 PM
There are some other Cloud Generators you can download for PS. I have one but I can't remember where I got it :(
Not sure if the clouds it creates are any better than the default tho...
01-20-2010, 08:56 PM
I like the one on the right with darker forests.
01-21-2010, 09:28 AM
Agreed, those forests look great. The sea bed still looks a little too defined for me, but that's a pretty minor nitpick. Lookin good!
01-21-2010, 10:00 AM
I'm with Ascension & Gidde on the forests - looks good so far.
01-23-2010, 06:19 AM
arsheesh, very nice looking map. May i ask you how you did those forests? I checked the tuts by Ascension and the GIMP translation by Gidde, but there was no mention of forests.
01-23-2010, 01:36 PM
Ah yes, that's because the "forests" in my map are actually the "hills" in the tutorial: see Steps 10 and 23-30 for details on how to do this. Also, as Ascension pointed out to me, my forests were not quite dark enough, so I added an extra "Hill Color" layer (with the "Hill Outline" layer mask attached). I chose a dark green color for this layer (274204), set the Opacity of the layer to 65%, and set the Layer Mode to "Soft Light." You may want to play with these settings a bit to see what works best for your map.
01-28-2010, 11:36 AM
Well, I think the end is finally in sight. I still have to place villages and ruins within "Eriond" and perhaps do a bit of touch up work. I tried to differentiate natural vs. man made geographical features by using different colors. I wanted the city names to be more prominent than the names given to the terrain itself. That said,I think perhaps that some of the terrain names may have turned out a little too obscure. I'm not sure. Any thoughts?
01-28-2010, 12:53 PM
It's looking really great so far, I think your forests are some of the best I've seen. Some of the terrain labels are kind of hard to read, like the Kellanen Heights, and the northern Glendor Forest. You could try strengthening the outline of those labels, and leaving the fill fairly transparent. That should keep those labels from having the punch of the city labels, but still keep them from straining the eyes :)
01-28-2010, 02:27 PM
Thanks for the advice Moutarde, I'll give it a try. As to the forests, I'm glad that you like them but the credit ought to go to Ascension and Gidde-they are the ones that developed the method that I have appropriated for my map.
01-30-2010, 01:01 AM
Please Help! I am almost finished, but have run into a snag with what is seemingly an embarrassingly easy task; that is, creating a Scale. I would like to create a simple scale two rows high and four columns wide to represent distance (miles or leagues, something like that). I'd place it right underneath the compass rose. Yet I can't seem to figure out how to do this in GIMP. For those of you GIMP (or Photoshiop) users out there, is there any way to do this using Raster based software alone (e.g. without importing the image from another vector program)? Also, any other feedback on the current image is appreciated.
01-30-2010, 02:53 AM
Well, if you are lost you might download this little script someone created for making the scale legend. I used it on my challenge entry for January and it did alright. If nothing else you can create one that you can then modify.
Map Scale Legend (http://registry.gimp.org/node/16532)
Hope that helps.
01-30-2010, 03:06 AM
Well, its not really much of a technique, but the last time I drew a scale, I first figured out how much distance a pixel represented, then zoomed waaaay in and drew a zig zag line with a 1px brush to count out the number of pixels I needed to represent one bar of distance, then used the rectangle tool to draw a box that long. Then I just duplicated the box and filled out the scale...
01-30-2010, 03:13 AM
Sheesh, I think I'd go blind if I started counting pixels.
There is a measurement tool for that. It's in the Tool Box or just "Shift+M", click starting pixel and drag to wherever and along the bottom it tells you how many pixels.
01-30-2010, 03:25 AM
Pixels aren't *that* small when you're zoomed in 1600% ;) But I'm sure the measuring tool is much efficient 8)
01-30-2010, 04:24 AM
There's another easy way to do this - which really shines when you're working on maps where 1 px does not equal a nicely rounded number :)
Imagine a map where 1 px equals 35 feet... that's where the Set Measurement Scale really shines!
I'm actually working up a mini tutorial right now for it, complete with examples and screenshots.. (of course, this is a photoshop thing - if not using that, then the other methods mentioned are the way to go, as far as I know)
01-30-2010, 04:39 PM
Thank you all for coming to my aid. Coyotemax, I checked out your tutorial, and it looks really helpful...to Photoshop users any way. I on the other hand am using GIMP, and I don't think GIMP comes with the same functions. Which is where the plug-in Jaxilon mentioned would come in really handy. Unfortunately I tried to download it and my computer couldn't read the file. Not sure why, perhaps it wasn't already compiled for Windows? Anyway I ended up using the: measurement tool-box select-color fill method and it worked beautifully. I then bevel & embossed the scale and voila. Thanks once again ghttp://www.cartographersguild.com/images/editor/attach.pnguys for the helpful advice; I was really in a bind there for a bit.
Here is the map complete with scale. The last thing now is to name the rivers and trade major trade routes. If you all have any other helpful critiques, please let me know because after this next state its off to the finished maps section.
01-31-2010, 12:11 PM
Just thought i'd pop in to say, well done! Great result you got there!
This inspired me to give Gidde's/Ascension's tut a try, of which my first WIP is now up somewhere around here.
As one beginner to another, thank you!
Edit: Gave you some rep, after figuring out how to ^^
01-31-2010, 12:42 PM
Hi Matrim, thanks for the kind words. I'm glad to hear that in my own small way, I was able to help someone else new to the guild-I know how daunting the initial learning phase can be. By the way, I saw your WIP map, great job so far. I've posted some comments on that thread for you.
01-31-2010, 09:41 PM
That is sweet work, man. The colors are vibrant without being overwhelming, everything's legible, and the mountains look fantastic. Repped!
01-31-2010, 10:11 PM
Thanks for the encouragement Diamond.
01-31-2010, 10:15 PM
wow that's great! one of the best i've seen in this style!
02-01-2010, 12:15 AM
Shucks guys, thanks. Ok, made one minor change. I added an inner border, but I'm not sure yet if it will survive my scrutiny to make it into the final draft. You guys got any thoughts on the matter? Here's a set of before and after pics. Like I said, still not sure which I like better:
02-01-2010, 12:18 AM
Well, that came out just great. Not sure what the problem is with the add-on. I am pretty sure that's the same one I have and I am using windows but to be honest it doesn't look at all like you even needed it.
Great job. I wish my first map came out as well.
02-01-2010, 12:18 AM
Yeah, I like that additional inner border. Looks good, seems to pull the map together more.
02-01-2010, 12:41 AM
I think execution-wise that it looks great but I don't think that it fits this map style and color. It would fit perfectly on a parchment style map, though. My 2 cents.
02-01-2010, 12:47 AM
Yeah I was kinda thinking the same thing actually. But I showed it to my wife and she liked it much better than the original, so then I thought maybe it was just me. Course now I'm still uncertain which way I lean. Who knows, perhaps I'll experiment with other styles before I make a decision. Thanks for the input everybody.
02-01-2010, 12:55 AM
If in doubt, trust in the wife :P
02-01-2010, 01:03 AM
To me one is just ths slightest bit more arty and the other mappy. It's the difference of a hair. The original is more arty imo. The 2nd map border creates a more mappy or race car-ish look.....I think it depends on the viewer. It's a pretty small difference either way but I have to second what Coyotemax said, "If in ndoubt, trust the wife".
Ya see, the thing is, if you blow off what she said, then next time you go asking she may say, "Whatever, you don't listen to me anyway."
And now that I have typed out this logic I really believe you need to pick the one your wife liked. In fact, I highly recommend it. She gets like 10 votes anyway....that is if you know what's good for you! LOL
02-01-2010, 01:48 AM
I'm taking notes from Jax. Good stuff, man. ;)
02-01-2010, 01:59 AM
Yeah... ignore the wife at your own risk, dude...
02-01-2010, 07:09 AM
Haha, I was gonna go with Ascension, but yeah, don't ignore the wife ;)
02-01-2010, 01:40 PM
Sage advice fellow Guild members. I had a burst of inspiration though for doing another style altogether, so I might toy with the idea today and see what comes of it. If it goes badly though I think I'll be heeding my wife's recommendation (and of course the wisdom of the Guild).
02-01-2010, 09:47 PM
Alright, I think I've finally landed on a border style that I'm satisfied with. Initially I had intended to add decorative border ends, but after playing around with it a bit I ended up deciding that: (a) they were a bit of a distraction from the map itself, and: (b) they didn't look good enough to compensate for this distraction. I think that this style helps showcase the map a little better-the black seems to punch out the colors of the map rather than to compete with them. Best of all, while its been Arsheesh tested, iit's wife approved! Not that it was a big deal for her to begin with, but hey, glad to know that I have the support of my better half (who is also an interior designer/architect and knows quite a bit about art). Now the only thing left to do is name those roads and rivers. Heck, I might just finish this map before the start of my next semester of school after all.
02-01-2010, 09:58 PM
The black really does work well. When i'm looking at the map, I don't even register that it's there, but the impression of "elegant border" remains. Excellent choice!
and in regards to the "better half (who is also an interior designer/architect and knows quite a bit about art)" - toldjaso! :P
02-01-2010, 11:47 PM
Your map looks awesome! End of story.
02-01-2010, 11:56 PM
That you did Coyotemax. Anyway, I worked on the map some more trying to fit in some road and river names, but even after switching to a more compact and legible font I kept running into one of two problems. Either the names were simply too big, or, if I reduced them in size, they became pixelated and illegible, especially after I had transferred them to a path to fit along a diagonal stretch of river or road. Now, I'm sure there's got to be a way to remedy this, and given more time, I might have kept at it. But school is starting soon, and all of my free time is about to evaporate. Thus, I'm going to forgo this last step and call this hand. I'll be posting "Eriond" in the finished maps section soon, but let me just take this opportunity to thank everyone who replied to my post. Your feedback and advice on troubleshooting have really helped this beginner to polish his map. Hope you guys will take the time to check out my forthcoming finished map post.
By the way, here is the link to the completed map:
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