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Thread: A return to making maps and an attempt to perfect a style

  1. #1
      Sular is offline
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    Wip A return to making maps and an attempt to perfect a style

    I've been working on this map for a little while now and it marks a return to actually making maps with which I am halfway happy. Its still unnamed and in a fairly early state, but I am liking the way things are shaping up. More mountains and rivers will be added of course, and possibly forests as well. I'm using a style of mapping I've done before and I am trying to perfect and refine that style so that it is somewhat less cumbersome or at least so I get fluid enough with the drawing of the mountains that I don't drive myself loony drawing them all.

    Comments and critiques are always welcome as are any ideas about spicing up the layout a little bit. Something is off about the placement or the shapes but I cannot quite put my finger on it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A return to making maps and an attempt to perfect a style-folkloremaptest.jpg  

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      jbgibson is online now
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    And a tasty style it is. I'm glad you've returned to it! Those mountains are very effective, and the rivers have about the right level of generalization for a hand-drawn period piece. The landforms are pleasing, and interesting -- all the straits and inlets make one want to know just what the locals are up to, across this landscape.

    I do wonder how you'll reconcile the parchment-y sea with the flat white land - will the land get some overall texture too before you're done? I suppose a one-off map could be painted - call it whitewashed - -to get that, but printing with white ink would be a little odd. Heh - write it into your background though if you like - the look you wind up with is worth a little creative rationalization to sell :-).

    "Placement off" .... well those blank seascapes to NW and SE will presumably host a bunch of legend, key, scale, cartouche, text, illustration, and whatnot, right? That may be all that makes it feel off balance right now. Or maybe it is feeling to you like there ought to be more of a topographic reason for the sharply indented land shapes - could they be calling for some ridges of at least hills, running SW-NE, to cause the coastline? It doesn't feel like there's much flat land; to me it feels like a pretty rough place.

    The labeling: if it's a hand-drawn style, I can see the regional labels getting in there all outlined & blank-filled. Makes 'em legible, for sure. The littlest ones though are a style I don't remember seeing on anything made by hand - they're saying "we are typeset", not to mention expecting them to be *first* laid down with every last other element drawn around them stretches credulity. If I've misread your intent about the hand-drawn-ness, still think about what you're implying about the production method for this.

    Oh. <facepalm> of course - maybe your cartographers DO have a nice opaque white ink to work with, and the labels literally ARE drawn across the top of other linework. I don't care if you have that in mind or not, I am SO stealing that rationale :-).

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      Eilathen is offline
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    The mountains are really nice! Any chance for a brush? I also dig the landshape.
    Looking forward to where this is going.
    I'm trapped in Darkness,
    Still I reach out for the Stars

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      Sular is offline
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    jbgibson - Concerning labeling, I'd stupidly not thought over much about production method when putting those in, going instead for readability, especially at this fairly early stage. That said, I'm now trying to figure out the 'context' in which this map was made: materials, the fictional cartographer, the purpose of the map, etc. I don't have any answers to these presently, but I'm enjoying the thinking. Also, I too like the white ink idea.

    Layout wise, yeah, I plan on adding the usual scales and compasses and so on which might fix things. I'll set about doing that before I go adding another hundred tiny islands (once again, willfully attempting to drive myself loony it appears), which seems to be my default response to seemingly empty regions.

    --

    Eilathen, I'm very much afraid I can't really give you a brush per se, because the mountains are done individually and more or less by hand with a few photoshop tweaks thrown in. What I do to make these is draw the shapes of the mountains with a 7 px oval "calligraphy" brush with a tablet pen (for the pressure variations) on a separate layer. Then, I copy that layer so I can preserve my original lines, paint under it with the background land color, and merge the mountain layer and the underpainted background together. Then, I apply the cutout filter to that merged set of layers to get the mountains. This means the mountains are still a separate layer from the land-shape while still getting the best of the filter's effects. Below I've attached a small image of what the mountains look like pre-filter.

    --

    I'll be continuing with the map and hope to be able to add some significant progress in the next few day. Thanks for the critique and kind comments.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A return to making maps and an attempt to perfect a style-mountainstest.jpg  

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      cereth is offline
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    The mountains are very nice indeed...I look forward to seeing this progress.

  6. #6
      Sular is offline
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    Wip

    I've added a few more mountains and I'm playing around with fonts and so on. I am liking the red lettering in general, though I'll probably adjust it somewhat as I go forward.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A return to making maps and an attempt to perfect a style-folkloremaptest.jpg  

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      shasjas is offline
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    I really love how you did the mountains.

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      jbgibson is online now
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    "tending to react to empty space with archipelagos..." ... remember a principle of graphic design, that 'whitespace' (of whatever color) is itself an element; surprisingly often an absolutely crucial one.

    As far as driving oneself looney - for me, 'tis a short trip. Doesn't even take a full tank of gasoline :-).

    Thanks for the mountain explanation. I dunno if I can do an equivalent process with my distinctly non-photoshop graphics app, but those nice results would be worth a try.

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      Eilathen is offline
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    Thanks, Sular. Too bad that i am a total klutz with PS ^^

    Happy new year to everyone and i am looking forward to this WIP.
    I'm trapped in Darkness,
    Still I reach out for the Stars

  10. #10
      Sular is offline
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    Wip

    I've begun some experiments on the general layout of the map, added some more mountains, and so on. I like the idea of a circular map, but I'm not wild about the way I've done it. I'd like to get a "checkerboard" pattern into the circle or something like that, but getting it to bend correctly eludes me. So, that will be on hold for the present until I think of something.

    Eilathen, I'm no great hand with PS either, I sort of stumbled across this method of doing mountains by the old system of looking at PS and saying "I wonder what this does?" before pressing a button. I'm sure there are more elegant solutions to what I am doing, but it works for me.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A return to making maps and an attempt to perfect a style-folkloremaptest.jpg  

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