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Thread: Procedural mapping style experiments

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      gilgamec is offline
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    Default Procedural mapping style experiments

    I've been experimenting recently with recreating various map styles with my procedural techniques. The first style I've attempted is from a 1914 Hammond atlas:
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaicacropped..png
    It was a cheap atlas, and it shows; registration is pretty iffy, there are ink blobs and stripped characters (there's supposed to be a dot in the middle of the "capital" star for Kingston, for example), and the label placement is pretty sloppy. Still, it's a fairly simple map, so a good first attempt.
    First off, I grabbed geodata of Jamaica's coastline, cities, roads, and rivers; these are from different datasets, so they don't quite mesh up, but the effect is there:
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaica01..png
    The first thing I do is place the city circles; coastal cities are placed so the circles osculate the coastline (except for the capital). This is easy to do procedurally; just find the closest point on the coastline and move the circle towards or away from it:
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaica02..png

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      gilgamec is offline
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    Next are the mountains. The original map uses crescents of short strokes to show the general "downhill" shape of Jamaica's ridge of mountains, and its highest peak (Blue Mountain). With geodata, we can grab this too:
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaica03..png
    We place overlapping crescents along the ridgeline:
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaica04..png
    and stroke them:
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaica05..png
    This still looks pretty mechanical, though. We can improve the look a lot by adding just a little bit of randomness; it looks like the strokes on the original map were hand-engraved, so this isn't a stretch:
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaica06..png

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      gilgamec is offline
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    Rivers and roads are next. Again, we can use our geodata to place them. The lines in the original map seem to be mere approximations; the actual road network is slightly different, and I can't find the north-eastern river in my river system data. (Or perhaps the roads have changed and the river dried up in the last century. Hard to say.) At any rate, the roads and rivers shown on the original map are:
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaica07..png
    We will want to smooth them out. At this point, we have to slightly change the north-eastern road; in actuality, it seems to be a coastal road, but it has to be drawn a little bit inland (or it'lll overlap the coast).
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaica08..png
    We add back in the mountains and change the line widths to match the original map:
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaica09..png

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      gilgamec is offline
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    We can now try to get the colors and fills right. The atlas is a century old, and the paper is a little yellowed; at the same time, the inks aren't the deepest black. In addition, the fills (blue sea, pink land) have to be added.
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaica10..png
    Finally, we add the rest: the sea routes and labels.
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaica11..png
    Compare to the original map:
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaicacropped..png
    The colors are a little off; it looks like the inks have faded (or were never too dark to begin with). The font doesn't quite match (I used New Century Schoolbook, which is a good but not perfect match to Edwardian and late Victorian map typefaces). But even beside these two things, there's still something missing; a certain fuzziness, perhaps?
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      su_liam is online now
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    Well, in the original, the text was distressed to the point that, at least in thumbnail, you look like you have Port Autonio and St. Anus Bay. I really like the Anns/Anus thing. That, sadly is how I am...

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      tilt is offline
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    I don't think you're wrong about the fuzzyness, new map compared to old map - it would of course be contrasting. Also I feel your ocean lines are very opaque, they could use some dampening as right now it seems like they are fighting with the land for attention
    But the big difference is the faded vs non-faded look. But good work - very nice ... I'll just toss a rep in your direction
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      gilgamec is offline
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    Well, I've fixed the colours; they're about as close as I can make them. It's still a matter of fuzziness, though, and the brutalized font. (St. Anus Bay, indeed.) Still, it's a nice style, if not especially ornate. I may use it on a bigger map at some later time. My next project in this thread, though, will be another atlas style.
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaica12..png
    Procedural mapping style experiments-jamaicacropped..png

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    I'm fascinated by this project - and impressed. There's something comfortable and familiar about the map and your recreation.

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      ravells is offline
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    What an utterly cool project. Rep on the way! I'm not sure why its so difficult to reproduce the colours...wouldn't a straight colour picker (say 3X3 average) in photoshop do it? To get the bleed on the lettering it might with worth trying an outer glow layer style using black / multiply / low opacity....might help?

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      su_liam is online now
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    Oops.
    Edited for weird double post. This didn't show up an hour ago...
    Last edited by su_liam; 03-25-2010 at 12:30 PM.

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