Scaling the single mountain symbol is a bad idea as it looks obviously scaled. I think you'd get better results by drawing the symbol at each size you need. Even at a single size, they look a bit too perfectly alike. Even if the person drawing/engraving were trying to make them identical, there would be variation.
The graticule and what I think is a river also have an "obviously done with a computer" look. It seems the look you are after is a map that was either printed or inked, and then coloured with a watercolour paint or dye. The graticule doesn't look like something that could be produced that way. I think foll opacity but thin would look more in keeping with the rest of the map. I prefer to try to replicate the map "in order" when attempting this kind of map. I do the drawn/printed part of the map in its entirety, then add the colour afterwards and try to include misregistration, bleed, etc. The river on the other hand has two lines that are very close together and perfectly equidistant, while going around varying curves. That also looks quite computer generated.
Labelling maps well is one of the hardest parts of cartography. There are a few things you've done that should really be avoided.
* Never use deformation to curve labels. Always use a text along path tool. Deformation/envelope transform actually distorts the glyphs. Text along path moves and rotates the individual glyphs to follow the curve. "Fentehirus Mountians" shows quite a bit of deformation for instance.
* Try to avoid splitting labels into multiple "lines". In particular, never stack glyphs on top of one another. (Unless you are using a vertical writing system like that of Chinese) I'm particularly looking at "Oprim". "Delrek Rivi Plains" is also problematic though.
* If you rotate labels from horizontal, also give them a bit of a curve. Text along straight diagonals looks bad. Never curve it back over to the point you have glyphs upside down though.
A few things that aren't necessarily wrong, but might help to change.
* Letter spacing and kerning are your friends, particularly to fit labels around obstacles. Labels for areas and linear features often look best with at least a bit of extra letter spacing. Avoid having glyphs touch things like coastline. If all else fails, make a gap or remove the offending feature, but try to resolve it some other way if at all possible. I'd recommend trying to make it look like the gap was drawn rather than using an "outer glow" type effect on the text.
* Try to stretch area labels over the areas that they label. Use letter spacing to spread them out, and curve them on a path. Sometimes the area is just too big or the name too short. Accept this when it happens and don't increase spacing to the point that the text can't be read any more.
The labels on the graticule are also a bit problematic. The labels on the parallels don't seem to fit in the border, while those on the meridians are hard to associate with their respective meridians. Finer lines would probably help with the meridians. Smaller text, and vertically centring would help on the parallels. You could also try rotating the labels for the parallels (Either radial or along the arc), or moving the meridian labels to the equator (Which again would call for smaller text).
QFT - one of my new faves, as well as oldstyle hplhs (created by the h.p. lovecraft society - OldStyle Font | dafont.com
Originally Posted by - Max -
regarding the graticule - my recipie for a more hand-drawn look is - add a white background, then apply a spatter brush filter to break up the outline, blur, add some noise to the further break it up and either set the layer to multiply or remove the white. hope that helps make more hand-drawn-looking lines
Very true, Old style is lovely. Some similar one are very nice: Old Claude, Caslon Antique or Shipley for example but they're not free. Well back to bookowl promising's map :D
vorropohaiah- Ooh, I love that oldstyle font, thanks :) And I'll try out that for the graticule.
Hai-Etlik- Thanks for all the info, about the labels :) As for the river, since I put it on there I haven't liked the way it looks, so I'll see what I can come up with. I do like the mountains how they are though. I might experiment a bit but I'm pretty satisfied with them.
Progress on the map is going a bit slower now that it's come down to names a more detail oriented things. I hope to make a bit of progress today though :)
Okay, an update. I've made smaller graticules and roughened it a bit as vorropohaiah suggested, thanks for that! It worked great :)
I also altered the colors a bit, put the land colors back up after I altered those a bit and added some noise. I think the land colors look a lot better now (maybe a bit dark?). Do you guys think the image is too dark or saturated or contrast-y (can't think of the proper word)?
I'm also working on a sort of flag chart, there at the bottom.
And I'm in the middle of changing the fonts like Hai-Etlik suggested. I didn't even know that I could text along a path :D
I also got to make this thing smaller somehow. Merge some layers or something cause I got a huge 3GB file that's getting pretty hard to do stuff with.
Oh, I also got an updated batch of map symbols. I'll probably change their colors once I get them on the map, but for now. . .
And here's the pics:
Attachment 52953 Attachment 52954
graticules look much grungier. you can also rasterize the numbers of latitude/longitude and do the same with them (and even the text once its done, though be careful not to go overboard) as they stand out now.
what resolution re you working at? if you don't intend to print it you can work at 100 DPI or less. alternatively, if you have lots of layers you can create a copy of the file, keep the copy safe, merge as many layers as you can on the original and keep on working on that. if you need to change any thing you always have the copy with the individual layers to fall back on, and you can work on the merged smaller one to save you time, and then copy/paste layers from file to the other as needed.
looking at the map, i notice that the text over the green regions is very difficult to read. maybe try another colour for the text? i'd stay away from an outer glow/stroke as it would detract from the hand-made look you have going, though
Ooh, good idea to rasterize the long/lat and roughen them, don't know why I didn't think of that.
I'm working at 300dpi. I do have plans to print it when it's done so I don't really want to skimp on the resolution. I've merged many layers and cut the image in two, one with the map and the other with the flag chart. Though I may need to half the map itself cause it's still very big, or merge some more stuff.
Ah I notice how the text seems to get lost. I'll try out some different colors. Do you think an outer glow would look more hand made with some noise? I'll try that too, to see what it looks like.
Noise effect can be tricky to do not look too computer generated but at a big scale maybe it's easier.
I'd try and avoid an outer glow on the text. it's helpful but i dont think it's good for faux 'hand-drawn' maps
I am loving the latest development of the colors on this, and some of the grungy additions. Been a lot of fun following this thread so far.