Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: Free Town/City/Region/Area Mapper or Designer Needed. Ideas?

  1. #1
      sgmalice is offline
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6

    Question Free Town/City/Region/Area Mapper or Designer Needed. Ideas?

    I've been a DM for over 15 years now dabbling as far as AD&D 2nd Edition (I know it's outdated) because thats the version I know best and I don't have the time to learn the newer versions. Besides (and I could be wrong) they seem to have changed it quite a bit so thats uncharted waters for me. Anyway I am currently a "hand-drawn/sketch" guy when it comes to world building. I've been using AKS HexMapper and it's been working great for a close up tool for mapping out the areas I have already drawn in sections. I am still seeking a really good (and cartographical) map designing utility and/or designer with some good graphics (although not a priority) that I can download for free. I've also tried Campaign Cartographer 2 and 3, but it didn't take as I found it a tad too complicated and time-consuming to put together even the basic map of anything.

    I've seen some pretty cool things on the net so far....

    (Almost perfect town design with graphics) http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/4e..._dumm_full.jpg

    (Another great set of images) http://www.dungeonartist.com/cartography.htm#

    NOW, if only there was a mapper or something that would come close to any of the above.

    Or is there a way to do this in PhotoShop that isn't going to chew literally a full day just making one map? I'm extremely well learned in Photoshop and have been using it for several years, so it's not impossible for me to adapt to a method in there as long as it's not going to consume the life out of me. I do understand that in order to make a really good map you will have to invest some degree of time involved. I don't mind doing that as long as it's not complicated.

    Any ideas folks?

  2. #2
      Ascension is offline
    Community Leader Ascension's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    St. Charles, MO
    Posts
    8,216

    Default

    The terrain in the first example looks like it was done in PS (the Distort - Glass filter on the river gives it away but I don't know if GIMP has something similar or not) and the buildings look like City Designer 3. The thing is, making this map probably took at least a few days. You could probably bang this out in one day with enough practice, though. The maps on the website look like PS with lots of patterns. The main thing is that speed comes from practice...but I'd expect to chew at least a whole day making any map. The fastest guy I know, Gamerprinter (member here) uses Xara something or other and the second fastest guy I know, Torstan (member here) hand-draws and hand-paints everything in PS with a tablet. I could probably do a lot of what I do with actions that would speed things up but I like to really nitpick everything I do.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

  3. #3
      Fransie is offline
    Guild Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    90

    Default

    I too am still playing 2nd Edition. The way my DM makes maps is by creating a **very** rough sketch, and then letting a player (which means me) do the hard work. And I sometimes make maps just for the fun of it, which either may or may not be of any use in our campaign. It usually doesn't really matter how a city looks, apart from a few landmarks. In any city, there are places where a DM can spawn his evil plans. Our maps also get more details over time, as the campaign progresses and the DM (or on of the players) thinks up new things.

    If you use battlemaps (well, anyting more advanced than the sheet of paper with some scribbles on it that we usually have), you could try out some of the tile sets made by WotC (or old TSR products), or others. Maps aren't bound to any rules system.

    Another option is to just get some maps off the internet and use those (I can't imagine anyone would object as long as you keep it in your group). If you want to draw them yourself in any rapid manner, lower your expectations. Quality takes time in any business.

  4. #4
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    16

    Default

    The Delver's Dale map is a Christopher West map, if I am not mistaken. He's a great cartographer who's completed lots of work for Wizards of the Coast. You can find his website here http://www.mapsofmastery.com/fantasy.html

    If I am not mistaken, he does use Photoshop. If you already have some amount of skill in Photoshop, you will find making maps to be different, but not necessarily complicated. I am just getting started and have already done some very pleasing work. I suggest you get started with Ascension's tutorials. They are well written, easy to follow, and have good support. I started with the Atlas Style tutorial and got some amazing results on my first attempt. After you feel like you have gotten your feet wet, branch out and look at the other tutorials and styles available here. And look into non-map related tutorials. I recently picked up a book on digital painting. The techniques I discovered have helped me make some very nice textures.

    It does take a little bit of time investment, but start with the program you know the best. Photoshop is very powerful and well supported. Many of the GIMP tutorials are easily translated to Photoshop if you know PS well and can translate the differences in nomenclature. Using Ascension's tutorials, I pumped out my first map in just under three hours and it was loads of fun.

  5. #5
      Ascension is offline
    Community Leader Ascension's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    St. Charles, MO
    Posts
    8,216

    Default

    Thanks Scenes, much appreciated. I hate tooting my own horn.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

  6. #6
      Sapiento is offline
    Professional Artist Gracious Donor Sapiento's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Salzburg, Austria
    Posts
    2,249

    Default

    The town map could be done in a few hours with enough practice. Most work are the buildings. This sort of top-down view houses is best made in a vector program in my opinion, e.g. Inkscape which is free and easy to use once you completed the transfer from 'raster-thinking' to 'vector-thinking'. With the correct filters and layer styles used the terrain is a matter of half an hour maximum.

  7. #7
      sgmalice is offline
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Thats great guys, I appreciate the advice.

    I guess that stands to be true about the time consumption on doing any sort of decent map. I don't mind putting in the time as long as the reward of having a nicely finished map to better represent the world I'm designing.

    I've been using ProFantasy's Fractal Terrain and it generates awesome realistic continents but the only problem with FT is you can't label anything, or resize the map to print on a full 8x11 sheet. I see that it only prints a miniature right in the center of the sheet and it's not very good quality. So what I've done is export the "map" in question to PhotoShop and then did any editing through there. But again once I printed it, with labels of the regions and the proper 8x11 size... I noticed that the resolution of the map looked horrible once it was printed. I'm using the Lexmark X5690 All-In-One InkJet, with photo-print capability. I'm trying to get my map to print with as good resolution as it's shown on-screen, but onto paper. I wonder if it's my printer settings or perhaps even the printer itself, do I need a Laser Printer to get that kind of quality or can I pull it off with an InkJet?

    Or is there some way to get a better print resolution through some editing?

    I've also been snaring images of terrain, towns, cities, roads and all kinds of interesting things so that I can break them up into pieces in photo shop and sort of piece together a new map with my own customization. Tedious, but do-able.

    Any other thoughts you folks might have?

  8. #8
    Professional Artist
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    186

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sgmalice View Post
    is there some way to get a better print resolution through some editing?
    When you get a view in FT that you want to make a map from, save the file as a jpg but set your width to a very large number (I use 4800)... Remember, for good resolution you will need 300 pixels per inch, so for an 8.5 x 11 sheet you want at least 2550 x 3300 pixels in your starting image.

  9. #9
      sgmalice is offline
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HandsomeRob View Post
    When you get a view in FT that you want to make a map from, save the file as a jpg but set your width to a very large number (I use 4800)... Remember, for good resolution you will need 300 pixels per inch, so for an 8.5 x 11 sheet you want at least 2550 x 3300 pixels in your starting image.
    Rob,

    Thats awesome bro, thanks. I had no idea it worked like that. I'll try that right now.

  10. #10
      sgmalice is offline
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HandsomeRob View Post
    When you get a view in FT that you want to make a map from, save the file as a jpg but set your width to a very large number (I use 4800)... Remember, for good resolution you will need 300 pixels per inch, so for an 8.5 x 11 sheet you want at least 2550 x 3300 pixels in your starting image.
    So save my map in FT in JPG format with a width of at least 4800, then export it to PS, then make sure the image is 2550 x 3300 pixels? Will that still print on an 8x11?

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •