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Thread: Greetings from a Map Freak Humbled

  1. #1
      Jaede is offline
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    Default Greetings from a Map Freak Humbled

    I've been a member of this site for a couple of months now, but never really got around to introducing myself. I've made maps of fantasy lands for years now. Yet I felt I had gone as far as I could with what I know. I was looking for a better method to mapping when I came across this site. Though I've never used computer programs in my mapping I've always wanted to learn how. Some of the work I've seen here, in photoshop and CC3, is simply mind-boggling.

    Anyway, just writing to say hello for the first time, and to post this map I made for a friend. You'll note that there is no map key or scale bar, or compass rose, but that was the way he wanted it. Using Paint I added in a title for the map, a compass rose and a scale bar. All the scale bar and rose were yanked out of a yahoo search. Forgive the scan of my map, if you will. It looks a lot better in real life than what machine took to the computer. Except for the stuff at the top of the map the rest was done with pens, and colored pencils. I've been wading through the learning process of CC3 so I don't have yet any maps to post from that particular medium. Still, I hope to have some up soon.

    It's weird, you know. I draw maps by hand, and for a while I thought I was really good. I had not met another person who could produce a fantasy map better than mine, but then I stumble across this site, and suddenly I feel as if I knew nothing at all. I guess that's another reason I was reluctant to introduce myself. The maps done by Ascension, and Steel General, are insane. I really like Gandwalf's work as well in CC3. Their maps make me feel like I've been drawing with my eyes shut. The Cartographer's Guild is an amazing place, and as the title of my post suggests a very humbling one as well.

    This is my first posting so I don't know if I did it right. Just crossing my fingers that I can get my map onto the site.

    Thank you.
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      torstan is offline
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    That's a great map to start out with. Welcome to the site! It's great to have people come out from lurking to get involved. Now woth a map like that you certainly deserve some rep.

    I'm sure that you've seen the tutes, but I'd suggest that you dive in and give some of them a try. What software do you have access to? I'm sure with the ability to hand draw maps like that you'll get a lot of value from the tutes.
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  3. #3
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Welcome Aboard!
    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.



  4. #4
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Guild!

    Many of us use hand-drawn work in conjunction with software - I do with Xara Xtreme as my app of choice, so you don't have to forget about hand-drawing. Some of us have drawing tablets which let them "hand-draw" right into their app of choice. Check out any of Torstan's maps, that's what he does, but uses The GIMP software (open source image editor). While many lack the skill in hand-drawing, knowing the various techniques in applications like CC3, The GIMP, Photoshop, CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape and a host of other apps, making great maps can be done if you learn the right techniques.

    As Torstan mentioned, jump into the tutorials and start using them, they'll teach you lots of techniques with whatever software you are using. Many have mentioned that The GIMP tutorials offer more education on using that app, then any other tutorial - and these tuts are about mapping only.

    Lots to see and do - check out our monthly challenges, the next Lite Challenge has just started so maybe join in and try designing a map with a specific theme in mind and a 25 day restriction on when the map must be completed. Its a great way to learn software.

    Nice map - have some REP!

    GP
    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 03-20-2010 at 03:10 PM.
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  5. #5
      Jaede is offline
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    The stuff I've been toying around with was CC3 and Photoshop CS2. I'm not really familiar with Photoshop on the grand scheme of things, and I bought CC3 to see how that would work out. I like the symbols, and stuff, but it feels cartoonish. I think I might keep going with PS if I can work past the whole layers, noises, and windows, and all that other jazz. I've been sifting through the tutorials on it. I can't help but feel addicted to pen, paper, and colored pencils. It's crazy. But I'm determined to evolve.

  6. #6
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Generic CC3 is rather cookie-cutter and cartoonish - that's true. However, that's if you're using the default symbols that come with CC3, looking at Gandwarf's stuff, he uses symbols and textures that don't come with CC3 and he makes maps that don't look like they were created in CC3. As far as Photoshop maps go, I'd say jump right into one the PS tutorials - stick with it all the way through. Even if its a style you're not going after, the Tut will teach you the different tools, windows, features so you can create the style you really want.

    Me, I hand-draw my line work only. All coloring, texturing, etc is done digitally in my app of choice. If you're proficient with hand-drawing (and I see that you are) stick with that, but then use a software app to enhance the final effect. Remember I do this professionally for various RPG publishers, in addition to my own setting and personal games. Major publishers prefer hand-drawn work versus the photorealistic satelite styled maps so popular in this forum. The young, new publishers like the satelite stuff though.

    I have CC3 though I don't use it at all.

    Jump into a tutorial and start there, I think that's the best approach for you.

    GP
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  7. #7
      Jaede is offline
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    Thanks for the advice. I'll give the Photoshop tutorials another go. When you say you hand draw the line work, do you mean the outlines of the land?

  8. #8
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Default More than just outlines of land...

    I create maps using hand-drawn line work for all the line work - land, rivers, mountains, hills, forests, roads, even surface detail on the land showing changes in height.

    Here's some links to some of my maps that I'm talkin' about (these are links to threads that contain those maps):

    September Challenge map entry (winner): September Entry: Archean League

    June Challenge map entry (winner):
    June Entry: Assassin's Lair

    Here's a Tolkien styled regional map:
    http://www.gamer-printshop.com/kaidan/slavers.jpg

    Look at my challenge entry for this month:
    June Entry: Assassin's Lair

    Or last month:
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...omancer-s-Lair

    Or the December challenge entry:
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...ntry-Yuleblood

    Here's a commission village map I created last month:
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...uild-Companion

    I could go on and on - I create lots of maps!

    Does this help you understand?

    GP
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  9. #9
      Jaede is offline
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    I understand. And in the tradition of Wayne's World, "I am not worthy! I am not worthy!" I think I'll follow your approach to mapping. Thanks for your advice.

  10. #10
      torstan is offline
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    One thing that a lot of us use is a graphics tablet. That lets you draw in photoshop precisely as if you were using pen and paper. it actually feels really natural indeed - and a Wacom Bamboo is pretty inexpensive these days.
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