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Thread: How do I make a modern(ish) map with photoshop?

  1. #11
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    Hmm that's a good point. I was looking for more accurate lines in truth. I'll explain my intention in detail as it has changed from the initial post. I am about to embark on two weeks holiday, most of it will be spend entertaining my son and my inlaws (who are coming along). I intend to spend my downtime working on my maps so that I at least have something new to offer when my game starts on the 20th June. Not sure how I'm going to do it or what software I'll use (though I have a few ideas) to redo the whole map to a more modern (yet Spartan/practical) method. Having the continents, seas, and entire globe on sheets of A1 paper. I at least want the oceans on A1 because it's a high seas adventure and we have a couple of amateur sailors in the group so it would be nice to give them something to flex their nautical (mapping) skills. I'm going to have the maps in simple black and white with borders, town and cities, and possibly very opaque terrain effects, or even none at all (just keep where the terrain is on notes) so it looks more like an actual map. So my aim is to do the following:

    - Redo the continents and oceans at 300dpi to a size that supports A1 paper
    - Create a new continent (easy)
    - Use something to paste the continents onto a globe to accurately create the planet
    - Create maps of the oceans with underwater terrain and some islands
    - Use the globe to estimate reasonably realistic wind patterns, weather, and ocean/sea currents
    - Create accurate longitude and latitude lines based on the globe

    It's a lot of work I know and I plan to probably spend significantly more time than two weeks on it. It may take anything up to a year in truth, but as a modernish style map I can use it as a base, given that using the time in which my world has evolved to the 20th century, over the next 5 years or so I will probably start using D20 modern with it. These maps can be used as a base for future games. Anyway, I'll start researching what I can use to reach these goals, but any advice or tips would be more than welcome.

    Thanks.

  2. #12
      Hai-Etlik is offline
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    Well, far and away the most important bit of advice for accomplishing all that is to start with the globe. Maps need to distort things to lay the spherical surface flat, and you need to understand that distortion and include it in the map. If you draw a small scale (Large area drawn small) map without regard to this, you will run into trouble that will either make things look like crap, be utterly nonsensical, or require you to rework everything and probably have to redo a lot of work. So you should try to get it right from the start, and using an actual globe is the best way to do that.

    Global Bathymetry is hard. It requires a much more precise idea of tectonics to pull it off, and tectonics is one of the most spherical geometry dependent things in world building. We didn't manage to get any sort of idea of the shape of the ocean floor until the 1960s. Think seriously about whether you need to open this can of worms. One of the most important rules of cartography is "Don't include things unless they're necessary." If you don't need it, save yourself the trouble, and keep your map clean and readable.

    Those latitude and longitude lines are called a "graticule". The particular shape of them is going to depend on the projection you use and the extent of the map (how big it is and where it is on the globe). You can't just slap an arbitrary grid on or you'll get nonsense.

  3. #13
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    Ok, so with almost no internet connection where I was on holiday, I have only created a new continent because my map was too small for a globe but nothing else has been done. I intend to throw myself into the project now.

    Lots of things have been studied and decided but I'm looking for some more advice. Making a globe; my initial idea is to go to a hobby shop, buy a large paper ball (the ones used for planets and whatnot) and start drawing, but is there a program out there that will allow me to do it digitally? Preferably, a blank globe upon which I can place the existing continents, draw the tectonic plates, and then flatten out into an image I can work with?

    :Edit: Done it with photoshop.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Fragilicious; 06-16-2014 at 07:51 AM.

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