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Thread: Using tools in unconventional ways to make good art (or music).

  1. #11
      waldronate is offline
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    When I saw the video of the fellow playing the guitar my first thought was that he would rather be playing a steel guitar (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0_hnGLR-jY for an example). I am told that the original style of guitar playing was with a bow, only later moving on to an exclusively strumming style (or plucking on banjo).

    We all deal with a range of items here at the guild. There are photographs, pictures, maps, maps that we try to make look like photographs, and maps that we try to make look like pictures of maps. A photograph is a representation of the real world with all the laws, warts, and unimportant parts very much intact. A picture (I mean an artists's rendering in this context) is a graphical representation of an idea or possibly a real-world thing that emphasizes the important parts for the purpose of the picture. A map is a picture of a place in that it shows the important parts of a place for the purpose of the map. When we make a map look like a photograph we try very hard to includes all the lumps, bumps, and laws of the real world - the river police are very much part of this school of thought. When we make a picture of a map then we take a map and incorporate elements from outside the "mapness" such as parchment backgrounds, tattered edges, scroll parts, and all kinds of external elements to the image.

    A map serves a purpose. If you can achieve that purpose using unconventional methods then it is still a proper map, even if the mountains are doing ungeological things or your rivers split in ungravitational ways. If the map suits your goals then it's the right thing. If you want your map to be plausible as a "real place" to all education levels, then you will need to add lumps and bumps peculiar to the real world. If you want to make a picture of a map then make a picture of a map.

    I think that one way to avoid burnout is to try different tools and techniques, not just collect new shiny bits for your existing tools. It also helps to have projects that you're passionate about rather than just churning out lots and lots of the same sort of thing.

  2. #12
      Mark Oliva is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by waldronate View Post
    When I saw the video of the fellow playing the guitar my first thought was that he would rather be playing a steel guitar (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0_hnGLR-jY for an example). I am told that the original style of guitar playing was with a bow, only later moving on to an exclusively strumming style (or plucking on banjo).
    I think you might find that this applies more to the guitar's early predecessors rather than the guitar. The guitar is a relatively modern invention as musical instruments go. Its main predecessor, the lute, already was strummed and picked rather than bowed.

    We all deal with a range of items here at the guild. There are photographs, pictures, maps, maps that we try to make look like photographs, and maps that we try to make look like pictures of maps.
    <SNIPPED>

    That's a pretty decent summary that you offered.

    A map serves a purpose.
    This is where things start to get complicated. I'm referring now to a collection of RPG forums in the Internet rather than just postings here at the Cartographers Guild. I get the very strong impression that quite a number of maps being posted in the Internet have no purpose whatsoever other than to make yet another map. They remind me of the kitschy line tone drawings of fantastic fighters, magi, etc. that many RPGers felt compelled to post back in the 1990s. The large majority of them had no value whatsoever beyond filling their creator's need to make a picture. That's not necessary illegitimate. If one wants to make a picture and he or she gets satisfaction from doing it, they should by all means carry on.

    Another forum in which I participate (I see no point in naming it) has a strong kernel of members who make mapping objects daily and turn out and post at least one new map a week. No one ever will convince me that any of these folks actually play RPGs, write adventures or do anything but make maps and mapping objects. Unfortunately, a very large share of these maps would be useless in most campaigns. They tend to create locations that are so lacking in real substance that they wouldn't survive and, in fact, never would have come into existence to begin with. Nonetheless, such maps too are legitimate as long as the cartographer gets satisfaction and fulfillment from making them. But there always is the danger that the cartographer in question realizes one day that he or she has produced nothing more than a collection of pretty but pointless pictures. At that point he or she might beginning a ride on that proverbial treadmill to oblivion, which is where a great many maps being posted online are totally at home.

    I think that one way to avoid burnout is to try different tools and techniques, not just collect new shiny bits for your existing tools. It also helps to have projects that you're passionate about rather than just churning out lots and lots of the same sort of thing.
    Precisely. The collection of shiny bits is valuable only to the extent that it helps you better reach your goal and fulfill your purpose. On the other side of the coin, if you have no collection of shiny bits, you might find that you have a lot of techniques but too few different tools to get to where you want to go.
    Mark Oliva
    The Vintyri (TM) Project

  3. #13
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waldronate View Post
    I think that one way to avoid burnout is to try different tools and techniques, not just collect new shiny bits for your existing tools. It also helps to have projects that you're passionate about rather than just churning out lots and lots of the same sort of thing.
    That's a great point Waldronate, as my mapping "muse" has largely gone the way of the Dodo these past months. It's difficult to just sit down and say, "Let's make a map today", I've tried several times and it just doesn't seem to work.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.



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