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Thread: My First Project in Illustrator

  1. #1
      su_liam is offline
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    Post My First Project in Illustrator

    Well since school is out for a little while, I decided to start a mapping project. So as I've said elsewhere, ever since I saw HandsomeRob's atlas and the tutorial for his style I've wanted to try out Illustrator. Here goes...

    I started by just messing around in Illustrator making land shapes, rivers and the like. I was particularly interested in text and labelling. I found the results inspiring, so I decided to push it up a notch.

    I imported imagery from my Al Burphaban test project into Illustrator. Both with text and without. The version with text I used as a guide, the version without I used for the background image. This is far from finished. I plan to add a lot more cities and regions. I plan to go back to Wilbur and create a straight separate hillshade map a few separate hypsometric gradient maps for forest areas, deserts, grasslands and such. I also need a white-on-black river map to trace river vectors on. I will also probably play around more with an excellent erosion and terrain creation tool a local programming guru kindly let me use. He will remain nameless until and unless I get permission to identify him and his marvelous app.

    Since this is turning into a major project, I've started to create a bit more background to flesh out this region. First off, I imported a map of Australia, sized it to about the same size as the northwest blob of my continent and roughly copied the scale bar. This set the size of my continent. I may alter it down a little in size later as I think the continent may be a bit big. This may also come in handy later if I decide to georeference this mess in ArcGIS.

    The region around and to the south of the Al Qalaffiyeh bay(Khuluj al-Qalaffiyeh), to the southwest of the Al Kannadiyya mountains is ruled by civilized pseudo-Arabic Goblins. This kingdom is relatively tolerant and has enclaves of many other races and cultures, although the restive orcs of the northeast mountains have rebelled enough times to be put under strict military rule, this still isn't a very safe place. Dwarven cities in the Kannadiyya are considered independent of the goblins although they are friendly.

    As one might presume, the Orclands to the northwest are ruled by orcs. As orcish kingdoms kingdoms go, the Orclands is pretty civilized(after a fashion) and even sort of, kind of, more or less tolerant. In a good year they might aspire to be as unified and well organized as the Holy Roman Empire and pogroms against the humans, goblins and other races in the region are frequent. Mostly, the orcs just can't get their act together enough to eliminate the other races in the region, and their economy is seldom far enough out of the basket that they can afford not to cooperate with their neighbors. Raiding, pillaging and brawling is common, though, even among their own kind.

    The islands encircling the North Sea are largely inhabited by frog-man pirates. That speak something like French.

    The island across the Imperial Strait to the southwest of the arabesque goblins is the home to a somewhat loosely knit empire of mostly human kingdoms currently under the rule of a psychotically mad emperor in the formerly lovely city of Kobenhag. Used to be a good-guy empire and pretty utopian, but is starting to go to hell. Some of the southern duchies are strongly considering rebellion. The great Order of Paladins has already denounced the emperor and fled to the south and to the imperial colonies on the southwest coast of the northern continent. Some of the imperial colonies have become the worst places in this world under the demon-ridden minions of the current emperor, while others, under the rule of rebellious Paladin Knights are still shining exemplars of what the empire had once been.

    I have already traced a few rivers in an inland area in the west of the northwest continent, just north of the imperial colonies. This Shire-like region of halflings was formerly under the loose rule of the Kobenhag Empire, but is now independent although they still claim to be an imperial province. This is as much to keep their neighbors at bay as because they really don't care that much who rules what. Besides, wars are terribly inconvenient and unpleasant, and who wants to leave the comforts of home?

    Somewhere out there, some great evil is rising and taking hold.


    And dear God, is my 1.5TB drive slow...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My First Project in Illustrator-riversnlabelsfull.png   My First Project in Illustrator-al-burphaban-vector0.png  
    Last edited by su_liam; 12-11-2009 at 01:54 PM.

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    Post A little ArcGIS

    I'm on Windows, thus without Illustrator, here's my attempt to georeference Burpwallow in ArcGIS. Georeferencing is, to my mind, the one thing ArcGIS does better than everything else.

    I got the size pretty near exactly what I wanted, but I think the location came out a little too tropical. More gerrymandering may be in order. Have a look.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My First Project in Illustrator-worldmap.pdf   My First Project in Illustrator-regionmapsmall.pdf   My First Project in Illustrator-localregion.png  

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      Ascension is offline
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    There's a lot of oceanic ridges but otherwise I think looks good.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

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      su_liam is offline
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    I'll likely ditch the bathymetry, except as a pretty texture. For my chosen scale, the continental shelves are uniformly too narrow, I think.

    Clearly, I need to refine this a bit to make it look less like an accidental result of a noise engine and more like a place. This is a big part of making a graphical experiment into a world.

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      su_liam is offline
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    Well, now this seems to be less of an experiment with using a particular tool(Illustrator) than the beginnings of a serious attempt at worldbuilding. Wish me luck .

    Most of what I've done tonight is resiting the region a bit further south. It seemed a little too tropical for my tastes, with Kobenhag on the southern island being at about 23.5ºS. I pushed it down 20º to place Kobenhag at about 43.5º S. This seemed more in line with what I wanted this place to be. The southernmost parts of the landmass will be below the arctic... er antarctic circle. I also think the planet will be a bit cooler, making Kobenhag just a touch more European/Nordic in feel.

    Also, I needed to get things lined up a little better so that my elevation map would register properly with the imagery. Things were just slightly cackeyed before.

    I've uploaded the worldmap with the region in its new location as well as a globe image from ArcGlobe to give a sense of where this place would lie in the real world. I decided not to upload another image of the region as it really hasn't changed yet. Also, for some bizarre reason, even though it is in the same resolution, etc., the map export comes out ten times as big as the world version(??!?), and is too big to upload here. I'm sure if I opened it in Photoshop and used the web export option I could bring it down to size, but... ten times!?

    Anyway, I don't think anyone can fault me for not having things to scale this time.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My First Project in Illustrator-newworldmap.png   My First Project in Illustrator-newregionglobe.png  
    Last edited by su_liam; 12-14-2009 at 01:02 PM. Reason: Replace *s with ºs. I love my Mac...

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      su_liam is offline
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    It looks like the image upload is fried.

    Anyway here's the latest iteration of my work. I used the Raster to Features tool in ArcGIS to create a shapefile of landmasses from a seamask raster I created in Wilbur. I added fields for name and other information to the attribute table. I'm growing addicted to ArcGIS.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My First Project in Illustrator-newregionmap.jpg  

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      Ascension is offline
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    Those fan-shaped river valleys look sweet.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

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      su_liam is offline
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    I like the fans as well, although I'm not sure how well they fit the scale.

    I'm not entirely ecstatic with the layer overlays in ArcGIS. In order to get a passable hillshade, I had to have my color layer(a combo of elevation-coloring and slope-coloring from Wilbur) opaque at the bottom(of the visible layers) a 35% transparent hillshade layer and then another copy of the color layer at 80% transparency on top. Although the current look of the hillshade is growing on me, I still think I need to go back and do my compositing in photoshop.

    After all the trouble getting everything georeferenced, I kind of hate to say I need to do some remodeling of the basic DEMs. The big mountains in the southern continent look to me like they would make good stand-ins for the Alps, but they range from 430 to 1400 miles wide. The mountains in the north are a little narrower than the Alps, but they are basically one sharp ridge. I'm conflicted about reworking that, because once I stick my finger back in I'll have to noise it up and erode it all over again. Ugh! One recommendation for anybody trying to worldbuild like this: get your elevations perfect first before you do any cartography. Since this is more of an orcs-and-goblins fantasy milieu, I'll likely reduce bathymetry to a flat blue surface at sea level, and ignore what's beneath. The merpeople keep their secrets jealously.

    I seem to have dropped the whole Illustrator focus along the way... Maybe I should see if I can get the title changed.

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    Here's a bit more. I mostly worked on shapefile data, adding names and classifications. The blue areas are water, the green areas are land and the pink areas(chosen specifically because it was eyecatching and a little annoying) haven't yet been classified. There are a total of 699 polygons in my continents shapefile(ocean, continent, islands, bays, lakes and whatnot) plus however many cities and other features I decide to add. I have a lot of naming ahead. I haven't even added rivers yet.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My First Project in Illustrator-regionmap.png  

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    Nightmare of nightmares. So far I have had no luck rasterizing my rivers in ArcGIS. I was about to give up and see if I could get my Illustrator traces(with their issues) into a shapefile(it can be done, it ain't pretty) and then figure out if I could get them scaled properly for my map. Just then I figured out how to make ArcScan work. I may be past a major impasse.

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