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Thread: The New Empire - WIP

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      Coyotemax is offline
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    Wip The New Empire - WIP

    Yay! I'm back on the tablet again! Life is starting to sort itself out a bit, and perfect timing - I was provided with another opportunity for a commissioned map.

    This one will be based off a set of maps that was provided as reference for a published novel. We're going for the antique hand-drawn look again, and I expect to be heavily influenced by the work I did on the Barovia and Transylvania maps when all is said and done (in turn heavily influenced by the maps of Joan Blaeu).

    I had a few false starts, the most promising of which seemed to be a layout in which I had the mainland in one area, the island in another, and and an inset showing them in relation to each other (a fullsize map using the provided scale at their relative locations would have a great deal of empty space). Sounds great in theory, I just couldn't get it to look right in practice. So I fell back on the multiple-page original presentation and added a divider

    The land masses will be completely redone by hand, the current incarnation is scanned in from the appendix and placed for reference. there will be minimal adjustments to coastlines and mountains, and the political borders will stay more or less as they are.

    I'll likely work over the parchment layer a bit more, but the inked portions will stay as one colour. Oh, and the whole thing is being done at 300dpi to be printed at 16x22" - the largest hand-drawn style map I've done to date I'll probably shrink down the WIP updates after this.

    Feel free to offer suggestions on things I seem to be missing (though it might be a bit early for that now). I'm likely to go over the palace in the middle to give it a more hand-drawn feel (though I think it's got a good start considering it was originally a photograph) and may go so far as to draw over the larger labels too.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The New Empire - WIP-map-copy.jpg  
    Last edited by Coyotemax; 01-14-2010 at 10:09 AM. Reason: re-upload of a reasonably sized viewable image, oops

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      torstan is offline
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    Looking nice. New mountain style there I see.

    I know that this is the sketch stage, so there's not a lot to say. The layout looks good. i like the large palace in the middle. Very cool touch. Is the border a piece of art off the web? How did you get it to fit the scale so well?

    As for redisplaying it on the forum, I'd suggest downsizing it to 33% or 25% of the original before posting. That way when we click on it, we'll get it at the scale it's intended to be viewed at (on 90ish or 72dpi screens respectively). As it is we can either view it fit-to-screen or at 300%! Looks very nice at 300% though. Looks like you'll get a lovely map at the end of this.
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    Yeah, i didn't realize exactly how BIG it is at full scale

    The mountains will not stay the same, they are the ones from the original scan. Unlike the last few maps I plan on drawing out the mountains by hand for this one - there won't be nearly as many to worry about, plus I need to make more mountains for variety with my brushes

    I liked the palace idea, I really needed something to separate, and the palace as described in the book reminded me a lot of Versailles, so I went with that kind of feel for it (I forget the name of the palace I actually used though). the border is from one of the Blaeu maps, I put a bit of effort into making it work - it's actually sections chopped apart and pasted back in to be continuous. i may not keep it as is, I'm considering working it over a bit more, but I think it worked out pretty well (and your comments make me even more hopeful, heh).

    Well, i'm going to re-upload a smaller version overtop of the existing one.

    My finished maps
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      torstan is offline
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    I think the border is great. Certainly worth capitalising on all that earlier work. My one comment at this point would be to make sure that the line weight of the map matches up with the line weight of the border, but from your other hand drawn work I'm sure you have that well under control. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
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      Ronson2k10 is offline
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    That map is awesome. Pretty much has everything I mentioned to you in the other post .. So not to much to say but great job. Your artwork is pretty fantastic.

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    Wip

    Not as much progress as I was hoping to have by now, but I really want to make sure this one comes out *just* right.

    Spent the whole night working on the coastline woodcut, I must have used a dozen different styles, then when I finally settled on this one, I must have spent 4 hours getting it to look just right Looking back, it might have been less consuming to just draw it all in by hand, hah! (the only thing that kept my sanity was listening to Blue Oyster Cult the whole time..)

    Anyhow, The coastline has been broken up a bit, woodcut effects added, and a few other minor adjustments have been made. Next, geographical features - especially adding the rivers and forests to help explain some of the political boundaries...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The New Empire - WIP-map-copy.jpg  

    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

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      torstan is offline
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    Looking good. I certainly want to know how you did the woodcut effect in the end. Are you going to go with woodcut lines for all the shading - for example on the mountains too?

    I think you might run into some line weight issues. The coastline is currently a lot thicker and darker than your border. Possibly easily rectified by doubling your border layer. It's a little thing, but helps the consistency.
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      Coyotemax is offline
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    Yep, I was noticing that too. I'll likely change the border completely, I was originally using this one for the mockup/planning, and considered keeping but there's too many issues if you look closely. I might keep the basic design of it. I really do like the look.

    that's a good point about the woodcut for the mountains.. I just may have to give that a shot! The method I used for the woodcut effect is pretty easy to apply once you know the basics, but there's a few complicated steps. it involves an interesting photoshop quirk I'd found out quite some time ago while doing a text effects tutorial, then found it repeated in another mapping tutorial (I lost track of who it was though).

    If I can remember...

    I made a 500x500 pattern (larger to reduce the appearance of repeating patterns in the final product) of hand drawn lines, every 10px using a 3px brush (one of the Dry Media preset brushes). Turned that into a tiling pattern. Took the basic land layer to a new file, gave it a medium gray colour, then put a 100px stroke with a gradient fill, same grey as the land, fading to white. I then converted to Bitmap, and when the requester screen came up, told it to use a custom dithering pattern - the one I'd just created. That gave me the basic woodcut lines, and then I just put that layer back in the original file (after converting back to grayscale/rgb), set it to multiply, then ran a light gaussian blur and masked off the inner portion.

    If you can follow all that... it's not as complicated as it sounds once you've done it a few times, and especially if you have some line patterns set up already. You can also adjust the apparent line weight by changing the DPI during the bitmap conversion, larger DPI giving a tighter pattern, and so on (at the risk of looking more tiled).

    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

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      torstan is offline
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    My thought about the mountains was that if the mapmaker had used woodcut to shade the coastline then they probably used woodcut for the whole map. Why use one method in one place and another elsewhere?

    Thanks for the walkthrough. There's some unfamiliar steps in there for me but I'll have to give it a shot.
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      Coyotemax is offline
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    Well, I'm at the laptop right now, and all the work files are on the desktop (and I'm tired of waiting for stuff to move across the network) so i figured I would run a couple tests on the woodcut effect for mountains. I tried the brushes first, hey why not, but was not satisfied at all with the result.

    However, I think I'm on to something else that's working nicely. I drew out the mountain chain itself on it's own layer, solid black. On a layer below, I used a soft brish with varying shades of grey to shadow the mountains. then I ran it through the woodcut process. It needs some tweaking when I'm back at the desktop, but I think this is on the right path.

    <sarcasm> Can't wait to do trees like this </sarcasm>

    Incidentally, I found the original tutorial that led me to the bitmap conversion technique, but I still haven't been able to track down the map tutorial version. I just scanned over the text effect one I found, and it goes into a lot more complication that is needed for the woodcut effect we're after (the text tutorial runs it through Illustrator to clean up the lines, for one thing) but the converting to bitmap is the part I recalled and extracted. I remember the map tutorial having a much more efficient way of describing the approach.
    http://www.gomediazine.com/tutorials...ine-gradients/ if you're interested.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The New Empire - WIP-untitled-1.jpg  
    Last edited by Coyotemax; 01-16-2010 at 01:30 AM.

    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

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