And here's another update of the map. I basically changed all the mountain ranges in the temperate zone (less snow seems more realistic). I also made some changes to the region around Cerval (roughly in the center of the map) since that region is important for my story. I'm sure you'll notice the changes when you look for them - really closely ;).
### LATEST WIP ###
As always, all critique is welcome! Oh, and a happy new year to you! :D
Looking pretty spectacular I have to say. I wonder if the place names white glow might look a bit better if it was a little stronger as it's quite a spindly typeface. That's about the most critique I can muster. =P
Very nice, I get a nice sense of this being large scale (something I lack in my maps)
I'd love a bit more detail on how you got such great work done. Particularly the borders, towns, and labels.
Hi rjames! Thanks for the question. I'll try and give a neat explanation of each of the things you asked about.
Originally Posted by rjames112
These are actually pretty easy to do. I did them in GIMP (like almost all of the work). The very first thing you need to do is trace the places you want your border with a path. Once that's done, it's time to pick the colour you want the borders to have (I'm sure you know how to do that in GIMP, just make sure you have your colour of choice set as the foreground colour). Once you've done that, select your path and click [Stroke Path] in the tool options dialogue. You should get a window that gives you all sorts of options.
- For the dotted borders I first created a small round brush with spacing set to 200, and then went back to the Stroke Path dialogue and selected [Stroke with a paint tool] and [Paintbrush].
- For the dashed borders I went for another approach. Instead of [Stroke with a paint tool] I chose [Stroke line], opened the [Line Style] drop down menu and chose one of the many options given there.
Just fool around a bit to get familiarized with the many options of this little window. Once that's done, you should end up with some neat looking borders!
The last thing you might want to do is add a bit of a shadow.
- Copy the borders layer, and make everything black. The easiest way to do this is to go [Colors|Brightness-Contrast...] and slide the Brightness slider completely to the left, and the Contrast slider completely to the right. Click [OK] to close the window.
- Next, go [Filters|Blur|Gaussian Blur...] and play around with the number of pixels. Which number you pick largely depends on t he size of your dots/dashes
- When that's done, move the entire layer a few pixels to the right and down (I moved every shadow layer in my map two pixels to the right and one down. Make sure you don't overdo it, or the effect will look silly. Most important of all is that you drop your shadow With respect to the direction of the light on your mountains, if those happen to be shaded as well)
I'm guessing you're referring to the icons I made? Well, I wish I could explain you how I did them, but unfortunately they're the result of quite a bit of messing around with Inkscape, which went horribly wrong a few times, had modest successes and finally ended up, quite surprisingly, looking the way it does now in the map. I'm afraid I can't possibly tell you how I went about it anymore. Try for yourself, I might say. But you can spare yourself the trouble by just Googling "glass ball icon" or something like that, and picking one you like. Don't mind the size, you can always correct that afterwards. What's left is making them in different sizes in order to fit to the different city types you have (royal capitals, duchy capitals, county capitals, big provincial cities, smaller towns, villages, ...). Personally I went for only three levels, but you know the credo: why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary ;)!
To be honest, I'm still struggling with those myself. Picking the right font is a hellish job. Really. You can check out websites like Dafont or FontForge, insert a placename and scroll through the results. Other than that, you could try messing around a bit with the ones already installed on your system by changing the font in your wordprocessor. Like I said, it's a hellish job.
Once you've chosen your font (or several, since you might chose to have a specific river font, a cities font, a regions font, a large water bodies font etc), make sure they're installed correctly on your system. Close and restart GIMP to make sure the font archive is up to date, and start adding your labels. Make sure you skim through this guide first, otherwise you'll probably have to do all your positioning work twice - like me, that is.
I suggest you place your city names horizontally - the guide I mentioned above will tell you the same. Those are easy enough to do. Don't mind the white glow, we'll take care of that later. Region names are usually diagonally placed, and on a certain curve. In order to do that, you'll have to get yourself acquainted with things like "text along path". It's all very nasty business to get it right, but unfortunately it's quite important. Hell, it's not even that difficult, but I'm feeling horribly lazy today, so I'll have to point you to an external source. Try reading this article, and focus on the section "Adding Labels to Your Map". It's a long stretch of instructions, but I'm sure you'll get the idea soon enough.
Okay, so we have our labels, and we know which ones we want to have a white glow around them. Actually, the white glow can be compared with the shadows I explained earlier. The easiest way to do this (you don't want to add this glow to each label seperately) is to make all layers in your image invisible, except for the layer(s) with the labels-to-have-a-nice-little-glow. Go [Layer|New from Visible]. A new layer will appear called Visible. Rename it (by double clicking on it) to "Glow". Now it's time to make the Glow layer perfectly white. To do that, we first make it completely black (I'll explain that in a minute). Of course, if your labels already are black, just ignore the following instructions. If they're not, go [Colors|Brightness-Contrast...] and slide the Brightness slider completely to the left, and the Contrast slider completely to the right. You can't simply slide the Brightness slider to the right, because that will have all kinds of strange effects (try if you don't believe me). So the best thing you can do is make them all black the way I just said, and then go [Colors|Invert] to make them white. Once you're there, the only thing left is to blur the Glow layer. You know the drill by now: [Filters|Blur|Gaussian Blur...] and just play around with the number of pixels a bit. It won't hurt to take the same amount you used for the shadows, a bit of consistancy is great in a map if you ask me.
Now the next thing I did was to duplicate this white, blurred version of my labels, in order to double the effect. You can chose for yourself whether you like that or not. If so, merge the two layers by selecting the upper one and going [Layer|Merge down].
The very last step here is a fun one. Lower the Glow layer to just below the labels, make the other layers in your image visible again, and enjoy the feast. Tadaa!
Let me know if this was helpful at all!
Okay, here I am again with another update of my seafloor. I sincerely hope it'll be the last one: rendering those in Wilbur takes hours, even with the 64 bit version and a quad core. But if you still have remarks, I'll gladly look into them nevertheless.
I also added more names to the different seas (the inner sea in the north included).
One last thing: I'm still not sure how to label the mountains without blocking the view. I kinda fell in love with how they look, so the subtler the better, though I still would want them to be legible. Argh, the dilemma! Any suggestions?
As always, thanks for watching!
To be honest the sea in the previous update was better imho. Transitions between pale and dark blue looks a bit harsh and seems odd :/ And I don't think that putting labels over your moutains will really block the wiew when looking the whole map. Try it on some of them and see if it matches your mind...
You know what Max, you're absolutely right. I haven't had the time to look into those mountain labels just yet, but I managed to adapt the ocean layer so it still reflects the geomorfology of my last update, but now uses the colour scheme of the update before that.
Originally Posted by - Max -
Let me know what you think!
Sea looks indeed better like this imo