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Thread: Help in the fine arts of Catography.

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    Guild Novice Cane_Elf_123's Avatar
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    Question Help in the fine arts of Catography.

    Hullo! I am Cane_Elf_123! Im new here and was hoping to get some common wisdom of the site and how you usually work things around here. I have been creating maps since I was a small lad, and have been ever since. I have never made a map using a compute and was actually hoping if somebody could tell me a bit about the tools I need to purchase (eg. Tablets and software). So if anyone could be of help to me I would love to hear what you have to say! Thanks Cane_Elf_123.

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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    There are lots of options when it comes to software, but only a couple when it comes to tablets. Wacom is the only manufacturer I trust, and they have two models that are within reach of most hobbyists. The Bamboo Fun is the cheaper of the two, and it's suitable for most users. The Intuos line is designed for professional artists, and it is twice as sensitive, plus it can detect the angle between the pen and the surface. It's a bit pricier, but sometimes you can find an older one, an Intuos2 or Intuos3, on Craigslist or eBay.

    As for software, take a look around the Finished Maps forum and see what you like. Most of the time, the cartographer will either mention what software and techniques were used, or they'll have a list of programs they favor on their profile. A lot of people like the Gimp, a free open source program that has functionality similar to Photoshop. It is also common to pair Gimp with Inkscape, an open source vector program intended to compete with Illustrator. Inkscape isn't as mature as Gimp yet, but it's still quite a useful program.

    There are also some programs dedicated specifically to mapping, such as Campaign Cartographer and Fractal Mapper.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
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    Guild Novice Cane_Elf_123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midgardsormr View Post
    There are lots of options when it comes to software, but only a couple when it comes to tablets. Wacom is the only manufacturer I trust, and they have two models that are within reach of most hobbyists. The Bamboo Fun is the cheaper of the two, and it's suitable for most users. The Intuos line is designed for professional artists, and it is twice as sensitive, plus it can detect the angle between the pen and the surface. It's a bit pricier, but sometimes you can find an older one, an Intuos2 or Intuos3, on Craigslist or eBay.

    As for software, take a look around the Finished Maps forum and see what you like. Most of the time, the cartographer will either mention what software and techniques were used, or they'll have a list of programs they favor on their profile. A lot of people like the Gimp, a free open source program that has functionality similar to Photoshop. It is also common to pair Gimp with Inkscape, an open source vector program intended to compete with Illustrator. Inkscape isn't as mature as Gimp yet, but it's still quite a useful program.

    There are also some programs dedicated specifically to mapping, such as Campaign Cartographer and Fractal Mapper.
    So Do I need a tablet in order to creat a decent map? Or do these programs do it all?

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      Korash is offline
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    no prog "does it all" Elf. Regardless or the field of endeavor. Especially in mapping. Most of the progs that we use around here, have ways of making good maps, but you need to input some human sensibilities. And a touch of skill. We are a great community to pick up those skill, and we have a lot of resources to help as well. The various progs have their own pluses and negs, and the choice comes down to what you want the maps to look like. We have a Quick start guide stickied to this forum, so there is a good place to start. A second thing to look at is the Finished maps and Challenge forums to find a style you like and find out what those maps were made with. After that, look in the Tutorial form to find something that works in your prog of choice.

    but then Mid already said most of that.

    You do not need a Tablet to make great maps, but they can be handy if you prefer the feel of a pen in your hand when drawing instead of a mouse. takes a bit of getting used to though.

    the main thing to do to turn out decent maps is to just DO the mapping. Choose a prog, but YOU have to do the work. Sorry.
    Art Critic = Someone with the Eye of an Artist, Words of a Bard, and the Talent of a Rock.

    Please take my critiques as someone who Wishes he had the Talent

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    Guild Novice Cane_Elf_123's Avatar
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    I have just downloaded gimp. What tablet size do you recomend? I would also like to point out I am more of a tolkien drawrer in the ways of maps.

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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Tablet size largely depends on how you work. I have a 6.5" x 11" surface that I hold on my lap, and it's perfect for me. I've worked on an easel-style 3" x 5" and found that uncomfortable. Not only because of the cramped drawing space but also because I don't like holding my arm up at desk level for very long. People who do some painting often prefer a larger tablet since they're accustomed to making large, sweeping arm motions.

    I suggest doing some doodles on a normal piece of paper and seeing how much of it you use. If you tend to draw everything crammed into a corner, then a smaller tablet will probably suit you better. If you fill the whole page and find yourself running off the edges, well, you get the point.

    Now, by no means is a tablet necessary. There are people around here who do marvelous work with a mouse. It's all a matter of what's easiest for you. I definitely get a lot of benefit from my Wacom, though, and I'd never go back.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
    http://www.bryanray.name

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      tilt is offline
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    welcome to the guild, your questions have been rather well covered allready, so I'll just chime in that I have one of the small tablets and that works fine for me, but before I got that, I've been making graphics with a mouse for years - so a tablet could be concidered a luxury
    regs tilt
    :: My art on Deviant Art :: My mapping blog tilts fantasy maps :: My work Catapult - Perry & Gehrke - EasyTruckIT ::
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    Guild Novice Cane_Elf_123's Avatar
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    My friend suggests the type he has, which is a wacom pen? i believe he said it was. Do you think that is a decent size and type?

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      tilt is offline
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    I'd go try out his then - and see if you like it before you buy
    regs tilt
    :: My art on Deviant Art :: My mapping blog tilts fantasy maps :: My work Catapult - Perry & Gehrke - EasyTruckIT ::
    :: Finished Maps :: WIP Cartographia - Breakwater -Market -Lands of Twilight -Battle City :: Competion maps Iron Giant ::
    :: FREE Tiles - Compasses :: Other Taking a commision - Copyright & Creative Commons ::
    Works under CC licence unless mentioned otherwise

  10. #10
    Guild Novice Cane_Elf_123's Avatar
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    Ok thank you all for the help, I will have a decent map up by christmass

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