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Thread: May/June Lite Entry - Lighthouse Chart

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      jbgibson is offline
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    Default May/June Lite Entry - Lighthouse Chart

    I'll try something simple, since the end of the contest period draws near. Another entrant sparked my interest when he noted he was annotating where his lighthouses were... I said to myself "and for some navigators, all they would need is locations and specs on the lighthouses". Well, that and any major obstacles like LAND :-).

    So I grabbed some snapshots of sky-with-clouds, picked a likely one, slapped a bit of blur on it, and posterized it. I ran the number of levels up and down till I saw a pleasing set of random coastlines. If I cared about onshore topography that could have given me some semiplausible contours, but this is a dirt simple - no, saltwater-simple effort, so the zero contour would be enough: coastlines. But then one other band looked like reefs, so I kept it too. Filled lower bands with water color, upper with land-beige, and because my method gave a crisp pixellated shore, I aliased a coastline with 'find edges". Oh, after I manually etched a stretch of barrier islands on one coast - the sort of thing a simple cloud-generation won't give you.

    Which gave me this:
    ### Latest WIP ###

    May/June Lite Entry - Lighthouse Chart-lighthouses-1.jpg

    Now all I need is a bit more time to play, I mean map, and maybe I can finish an entry.

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      Bogie is online now
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    Nice start, hope you can get it finished in time.

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      jbgibson is offline
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    OK, so with a variety of lighthouses indicated, and a few lightships...

    ### LATEST WIP ###
    May/June Lite Entry - Lighthouse Chart-lighthouses3.gif

    Ai-yi-yi... 80 or 90 of them. Why do I do this to myself?

    Next up, the light pattern of each. I'll intentionally do it a little differently than Earthly charts do... at least for starters.

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      Diamond is offline
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    You WILL have a couple extra days, just FYI. I won't be able to get enough free time to close things up and set up the poll until probably Sunday morning or early afternoon.
    "I like a look of agony, because I know it's true."

    -Emily Dickinson

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      jbgibson is offline
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    And with the various light/dark patterns:

    ### LATEST WIP ###
    May/June Lite Entry - Lighthouse Chart-nautical4.jpg

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      Bogie is online now
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    That's a lot of lighthouses!

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      jbgibson is offline
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    Yeah, it seems like a lot. I was thinking I'd have to set the scale fairly small to justify all them. Maybe 400 to 800 miles across this map. But my instincts were based on *surviving* lighthouses. Back in the day, some stretches of coast warranted a beacon every ten miles, with clusters at complicated inlets and harbors that would be WAY out of line with what I'm willing to depict :-). Take a look at the lighthouses of Newfoundland or the lighthouses of Maine for instance.

    So I'm going to set an era of maybe 1850-1900 equivalence, and I'll say these are just the principal open-sea navigation beacons... for harbor lights, see additional sheets. And maybe the width of this chart is more like 100-120 miles. I can't pretend it's much of a navigational aid anyway, unless I show channels and depths. <shrug> Maybe it's for canoeists, not ocean liners.

    May/June Lite Entry - Lighthouse Chart-navforcanoeists.jpg

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      jbgibson is offline
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    A bit of a legend, marked channels and some fixed-beacon navaids. Some people develop a conlang for their worlds. If conlang = "constructed language" then this is more like sklang ( = "sketched language"). The scale is sketched too - "imperial leagues" are somewhere in the Earthly kilometer - mile - league range, but there's no need to get any more specific.

    ### LATEST WIP ###

    May/June Lite Entry - Lighthouse Chart-lighthouses6.jpg

    Next up, some more labeling, and seashore cultural elements.

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    Not a WIP for contest purposes, since it's not a pretty stage, but I thought I'd show how I go about getting curved labels, without much effort. My main tool is Serif PhotoPlus, but it doesn't do text-along-curve. Serif's DrawPlus does, even their free "Starter Version" which is what I used. So I import to DP a flat version of the map as a single layer, then type a bunch of names in two large, somewhat spaced-out text blocks. If you look too close at the language you'll think it's ME who's spaced-out :-) - remember this is neither an earthly lingo, nor a particularly coherent invented one. Here they're in Times Roman - I'll hopefully remember to shift to Garamond or Georgia or whatever I was using in PhotoPlus, before I rasterize and export. I just select all the text in a block, shift to the node tool, and hit 'text along user shape'. Then I drag nodes till I like the curve - doing one up and one down gives me a nice array of possibilities. Eventually I'm going to be selecting single names and dragging them to wherever I need a slant like just *so*. What a cape or bay is named will be dependent on what fits... can't do this quite so cavalierly when there's predefined geography to be mapped.

    Since I have as base the exact map I have divvied into layers over in PhotoPlus, I'll be importing the labels over there, as one properly registered and arranged array.

    May/June Lite Entry - Lighthouse Chart-lighthouses7labels.jpg

    Huh - now I look at it, seems like I've distorted the whole thing to a curve, instead of getting the text to sit upright along curves. Dang - gotta get that right.
    Last edited by jbgibson; 06-15-2013 at 09:33 PM.

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    Oh - it was just compressed E-W - no problem. Anyway, here's my "simple" effort finished:

    ### LATEST WIP ###

    May/June Lite Entry - Lighthouse Chart-lighthouses7finito.jpg

    My computer with 8MB RAM crashed a while after post 8 above - fortunately I had a file saved elsewhere. I finished the silly thing on a 1MB RAM machine, which was an exercise in patience :-/ .

    My oversimple way of getting a flock of curved labels obviously meant not all would be ideally curved for aesthetics. But I think the result is better than if had to make do with straight and simple slanted labels.
    Last edited by jbgibson; 06-16-2013 at 03:30 AM.

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