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Thread: mapping on a budget??

  1. #1
      hots_towel is offline
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    Question mapping on a budget??

    so i cant really spend money on the really big cartography programs at the moment but im really interested. is there a program i can use that is free and not too junky, or possibly some good demos/trials . if map making for free is the unthinkable or something i apologize, but im new at this and if there is such a thing

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      waldronate is offline
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    The GIMP partisans will be with you shortly.

  3. #3
    Guild Journeyer Gallifreyan's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Guild!

    GIMP is entirely free and open-source program. It is sort of like Photoshop but not as good. There is also inkscape which is a vector editing program. It is useful for making things like symbols, the coastal outline, and labeling. But to do effects like parchment texture or grunge, you need another editing program like GIMP or Photoshop. Just for comparison GIMP is to Photoshop as Inkscape is to Adobe Illustrator.

    Another free mapping program is Wilbur, which edits terrain data (height fields).

    Two useful posts are List of Mapping Software and the Quickstart Guide to Fantasy Mapping. Free mapping is entirely possible, just search around the guild to find some examples of what GIMP can do. There are many GIMP, Inkscape, and Wilbur tutorials in the tutorial section.
    Induite vos armaturam Dei
    Ephesians 6:11


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      tilt is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by waldronate View Post
    The GIMP partisans will be with you shortly.
    *lol* ... and good answer Gali
    regs tilt
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    Works under CC licence unless mentioned otherwise

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    Quote Originally Posted by waldronate View Post
    The GIMP partisans will be with you shortly.
    Heh.
    I personally am part of the maverick handful of subversive Paint.NET people. Also free, developed in their spare time by some guys who originally wanted something better than MS Paint. It's fairly simple "straight out of the box" but has a huge batch of user-generated plugins that, once installed, make PDN a respectable rival of any other free program out there.

    'Course, you'll have to spend some time trying to decipher most of the tutorials on this forum so that they make sense while using PDN... but mostly it's just a matter of "they call it this, PDN calls it that".
    Cheers, and welcome!

    Heather

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      jtougas is offline
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    I would disagree with Gallifreyan about GIMP "not being as good". It does have some limitations but it is a very powerful program for free. It also has a large support base.
    I am the breath of Dragons...The Song of Mountains...The Stories of Rivers....The Heart of Cities.... I am A Cartographer....

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      hots_towel is offline
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    ok, thanks alot for the advice. just 1 more question, i saw a demo or trial thing for campaign cartograhper (the one that everyone uses) is that worth downloading or is it one of those programs that takes longer than 2 weeks to get the hang of?

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      hots_towel is offline
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    sounds good, thanks alot for the advice. deffinetly gonna look into those

  9. #9
      jtougas is offline
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    CC (in all its versions) is an excellent program. It's got a bit of a steep learning curve but well worth it. NeonKnight is our resident CC expert
    I am the breath of Dragons...The Song of Mountains...The Stories of Rivers....The Heart of Cities.... I am A Cartographer....

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    Kingdom Of Shendenflar Campaign Setting (WIP)

    Everything I post is free for use and redistribution under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 licence, except where noted otherwise in the thread.

  10. #10
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    The trial for Fractal Terrains is definitely worth playing with. Campaign Cartographer does not have a demo, but they do offer a 14-day money back guarantee if it doesn't float your boat. The Profantasy folks are very helpful and responsive, so I'd say you can trust that guarantee. It does have quite a steep learning curve, though, so if you don't have quite a few hours to spend during that two weeks you might not get anywhere with it. Fractal Mapper by NBOS has a demo version without an expiration date, although it doesn't allow you to save your maps, and it doesn't have the full symbol set included. I am given to understand that it's a bit more user friendly than CC3, but I can't speak to that personally since I've never used it. On the other hand, Campaign Cartographer is a little better supported, with multiple symbol packs and expansions, and a subscription service called the Cartographer's Annual that offers additional styles and mapping guides.

    Personally, though, I think that if you have just a little bit of money to spend, you should spend it on a Wacom tablet for use in Gimp. You can sometimes find them for cheap on Craigslist, or you can save for a bit and buy a new one. The Bamboo Fun is the model I recommend for a novice. You can usually find them for around $150 if you shop around and are patient. You could also go with the Bamboo Pen or Pen & Touch; just stay away from the touch only models. Also, I can't in good conscience recommend any brand other than Wacom at the moment.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
    http://www.bryanray.name

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