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Thread: Despair

  1. #11
      ravells is offline
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    You also have to really enjoy the process of making the map too, fighting with the software to bend it to your will is challenging, but there are all sorts of interesting avenues you can explore. Experiment and play and enjoy actually making the map rather than fixating on the result. If you don't find the process of drawing maps fun then it's going to be a hard slog, I'm afraid.

  2. #12
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    I'll echo what others have said as well. That's not bad at all for a first attempt with GIMP. There is quite a learning curve there, and it can be frustrating. I, for instance, am still at the bottom of that curve ( I really need to get more motivated in that department ). As for the whole despair thing, try not to let it get to you. I know it can be frustrating when you work doesn't match the image you have in your head. It certainly is for me. But then I remind myself that if I get at least one piece of my map to look just like I want it, then I've made progress, and just keep plugging away at it until I get it where I want it at the end. My biggest suggestion would be not to place too much of a burden on yourself. Trying to learn everything all at once is darn near impossible, but if you learn a little something with each attempt, eventually you'll get there.

    GW
    When nothing is going right and you can't find someone else to blame, start beating your head against the wall, 'cause it'll feel so much better when you stop.

  3. #13
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    And C&C you shall have. First, I concur that it's not bad at all for a first go. Second, I am not a Gimp user, so I can't offer much help with the software. On to the critique:

    Typography: Consider using a consistent rule for where you place your text in relation to the icons. While this map is simple and clear enough that we immediately know which dot each label is referring to, as things get more complex that might not be the case. If the viewer can be lead to know that the label always refers to the icon to its left and a little above, or somesuch, then a larger number of icons and labels will not hurt comprehension. Obviously, that has to take a backseat to revealing features that need to be seen, so you can't always count on a hard-and-fast rule.

    The text in the cartouche is a bit funky. (A cartouche, if you haven't run across that term yet, is a box or decoration that often holds information about the map, such as its title or a legend.) "The" appears to be centered, but "Golden" and "Coast" look like they're left-justified. Really, you have a lot of space up there where you've put the title; there's no reason why it shouldn't be all on one line. It's easier to read that way, and you can simply skip the alignment issues. The bevel/emboss effect you've applied to that text is hurting the legibility, and it's at odds with the rest of the map. Everything else appears to be flat, but the title rises up. It looks as though you intended it to appear cut out of the cartouche, like that's a brass plate with holes in it or something. If that's your intent, you need to also bevel the edges of the plate, so that it appear to have the same kind of depth as the text does. Also, in order to improve the legibility, you need to increase the font size, so that the thickness of the lines is significantly larger than the width of the bevel. Oh, and give some thought to the physical reality of the thing. If it is a plate, what keeps the center of the "o" and other such pieces in their places?

    Texture: You have very strongly textured lowlands, and a somewhat subtler texture on that plate, but the mountains and the sea are flat. It's common to leave the water untextured, but the mountains really need something to prevent them looking like wax globs. You've got something that's effectively a height map right now—the brightest areas are the highest parts. I don't know if the following will work, but give it a try: Duplicate that layer, select its contents (so you have "marching ants" around the shape of the mountains), and fill the duplicate with a stony texture. Put the duplicate beneath the existing mountain layer and set the top copy to the overlay blend mode. The blend modes modify the pixels of the bottom layer based on the content of the top layer. Overlay works by brightening the areas where the top layer is greater than 50% brightness and darkening the areas where it is less than 50%. Anything that right at 50% is unchanged (the top layer is invisible). Overlay is therefore often used to paint in lighting information by starting with a layer of 50% grey and using the dodge and burn tools to put in highlights and shadows.

    Now, I've never been a big fan of the Gimp's cloud noise filter, particularly for texture creation. There are quite a few websites with free textures that you could use. There is a sticky thread in the Mapping Elements forum with links to many of them.

    Color choices: The green, ocean blue, and brown are working nicely together. The bright blue of the river, though, is a bit electric. Also, the gradient isn't a good choice. Generally, darker means lower (as with your mountains), so it appears to me as though the river is convex—bulging up in the center. I think the river should match the color of the coastal waters, so that where river meets the sea, they blend together seamlessly.

    Genorra is a different color than the other labels.

    Well, I've gotta run now, but hopefully that gives you some ideas as to where you can improve. Welcome to the guild, and enjoy yourself!
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
    http://www.bryanray.name

  4. #14
      hohum is offline
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    I'll concur, it is a pretty good first try. I'm not even sure where my first map is but I have more failed than finished. The other thing to think about is what style works for you. I didn't have a lot of success until I stumbled upon the hand drawn style. Also I have had epiphanies on many of the tutorials of how I would do it next time. Next time isn't quite here yet.

    Play around with your font selection and you'll get ideas. Try to get in the habit of choosing font sizes and styles to tie the work together, ie one for political features and one for physical features.
    Try drawing the rivers into a mask, either separate or with the sea. That tends to look better than just drawing them on top of the land.
    Get the Felimage noise plugin. It's better than the standard gimp one.

    And most importantly, have fun. Try out some of the techs and see what happens.

  5. #15
      NeonKnight is offline
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    I'll Chime in.

    Yes I ave heard CC3 is hard, and likely it probably is. I never had a problem with it, not because I am saying I am Great or I am Awesome, but probably because I never sat down with that mindset at the start. When I first picked up Campaign Cartographer, it was just CC2, then it became CC2 Pro and most recently CC3. Nothing has really changed in it's operation, just the features, but at the time, I simply followed the tutorials (draw a circle, draw a square, click the change color, draw another, change the fill, change a layer, select a symbol, change it's attributes. etc.). Sure it was tedious, but well, it lays the initial ground work. And sure my early maps were, well, pretty blah, but again, was simply learning.

    That said, I am more than willing to help out anyone who simply asks for help on CC3. Just put CC3 in the post title so I can find/see it easily and I will help you.

    Welcome to the Guild!
    Daniel the Neon Knight: Campaign Cartographer User

    Never use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice!

    Any questions on CC3? Post them with CC3 in the Subject Line!
    MY 'FAMOUS' CC3 MAPS: Thunderspire; Pyramid of Shadows; King of the Trollhaunt Warrens; Demon Queen's Enclave

  6. #16
      loongtim is offline
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    Two thing I've found that help with overcoming the learning curve:

    1. Pick just one software and stick with it until you feel proficient - jumping to new programs before you can use the previous one just makes it a much longer process.
    2. Perfect one aspect of mapping at a time - work on coastlines until you're satisfied, then move on to mountains, then forests, then rivers, etc. Your first map doesn't necessarily have to be an award-winner in every respect, but make sure it's really good at one element. Then, when you start your next map, make sure it's really good at two elements. Etc., etc...
    FantasyMapMaker.com - free fantasy maps for commercial or personal use ~ Campaign Cartographer 3 Review

  7. #17
      petermac is offline
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    Thank you for your feedback, Midgardsorner. I think I need to focus on learning the basics of Gimp and work and work at RobA's tute until I get there. Would posting a WIP of my attempts be useful?

  8. #18
      Jaxilon is offline
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    It's always worth it. You never know when someone will say something that you had no idea the software could do when they offer up suggestions.
    “When it’s over and you look in the mirror, did you do the best that you were capable of? If so, the score does not matter. But if you find that you did your best you were capable of, you will find it to your liking.” -John Wooden

    * Rivengard * My Finished Maps * My Challenge Maps * My deviantArt

  9. #19
      tilt is offline
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    not bad at all for a first map petermac - now put it (or a new map) in a WIP thread and work slowly towards changing one thing at a time
    And have some rep for your first upload - lets light up that little green lightbulb
    regs tilt
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  10. #20
      petermac is offline
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    Thank you very much Tilt

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