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Thread: Hoping to create a short list of major mapping styles

  1. #1

    Default Hoping to create a short list of major mapping styles

    So, whenever people put up commissions on the mapmaking request board, they often request that prospective artists send a couple examples in the requested style. While there are of course almost an infinite number of styles, I would guess that there are a few major ones which keep popping up. I'd love to make a relatively comprehensive list for myself and others, in case they want to create an example in each style. If you can think of any others that belong on this list, I'd be interested in adding them!

    Scale:
    Regional map (world/continent) -- 1 inch = variable (are there any standards?)
    City map -- 1 inch = variable (?)
    Battle map/encounter map -- 1 inch = 5 feet

    Artistic styles:
    Many of these can be broken down further under a few categories:

    Perspective: ISO and Aerial are the most popular, though there are probably lots in between, though less practical for, say, RPG mapping.
    Image format: Raster (GIMP or PhotoShop), vector (Illustrator and Inkscape), and hand-drawn (pencil, ink, blood from a pricked finger)

    There will also be some subcategories, I imagine. I will add notes where I think they will be beneficial.

    Atlas style: As the name implies, looks like it is taken directly from a atlas.
    Satellite-view: maximum realism on a very large scale.
    Tolkien-esque: mountains and trees tend to be drawn in ISO, generally grayscale, often on a parchment background.
    Helicopter-View: More heavily textured and colorful than Satellite-view, often with some disregard for scale in order to capture more depth and highlighting features and landforms.
    Cartoony: These can be cartoony to greater or lesser degrees, but almost always feature a heavy stroke.
    3D computer generated


    Medieval style: looks like it has been lifted from an illuminated manuscript or an original illustrates Chaucer volume
    I'd love to add to this, or link to specific maps that are the finest examples of each style, if anyone has any input. I also might set links to the best specific tutorials for each, when I have more time and have done more research.
    Last edited by RecklessEnthusiasm; 07-24-2010 at 07:43 AM.

  2. #2

  3. #3

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    Right you are. I'll keep updating these as people post more.

  4. #4
    Guild Artisan Facebook Connected Rythal's Avatar
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    Yah, while ascension does some amazing satelite stuff, I would hardly consider it to be modern atlas style.

    The scale of regional and city maps cant really be seperated, as some cities could potentially be larger than a region. the difference is in what is being mapped, not the size.

    do you have any examples for the 3d Com gen section?



    Glad that you are making a list for this stuff though, thx!

  5. #5
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
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    There's the antique style that looks like it's 100-200 years old but not medieval - like sailing maps for armadas and mmmmmpig has some great examples. Shaded relief style which could be grouped with atlas style but Tear's mountains are based on the method. Djekspek's style is Isometric hand-drawn (as opposed to ISO 3d) so it could be put into cartoony or hand-drawn or ISO. Medieval style is currently being done by Sapiento to great effect. Then you can make up categories for things like DnD style, "pirate map" sketchy style, symbol-driven style that you find in things like CC3, board game style, computer game style, and combinations of all the styles...not sure where things like space maps would fall.
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    Community Leader Gracious Donor Jaxilon's Avatar
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    Then there is Vector vs. Raster. Not really styles I guess but they certainly effect what you get. Look at Gamerprinter's work for Vector, I think all his are vector. Anything in PS or Gimp is raster based. The difference imo is line verse shading. Vector will scale up/down without change. The same cannot be said for raster. (I'm still relatively new to the digital art world but I think what I said is correct).

    I bring it up because sometimes this matters to persons requesting a map.
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    Community Leader Gidde's Avatar
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    There's also what I call helicopter-style for lack of a better term ... somewhat photorealistic but ignoring the realities of scale so you have more depth than the ultra-realistic satellite stuff, but it's closer to satellite than iso. Tear's Westeros is a good example of this from the Cartographers' Choice archive.

  8. #8

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    I have different styles that I do. Of my hand-drawn style, I incorporate both 3D objects and beveled shapes both done in different software apps, then I composite those elements together - so I think I have work in a hybrid traditional hand-drawn and digital mapping style. I don't know what you would classify that as?

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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxlion
    Then there is Vector vs. Raster. Not really styles I guess but they certainly effect what you get. Look at Gamerprinter's work for Vector, I think all his are vector. Anything in PS or Gimp is raster based. The difference imo is line verse shading. Vector will scale up/down without change. The same cannot be said for raster. (I'm still relatively new to the digital art world but I think what I said is correct).

    I bring it up because sometimes this matters to persons requesting a map
    Thanks, I made a note of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gidde View Post
    There's also what I call helicopter-style for lack of a better term ... somewhat photorealistic but ignoring the realities of scale so you have more depth than the ultra-realistic satellite stuff, but it's closer to satellite than iso. Tear's Westeros is a good example of this from the Cartographers' Choice archive.
    Thanks Gidde. I was struggling for a name for that style too.
    Last edited by RecklessEnthusiasm; 07-14-2010 at 01:29 AM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    There's the antique style that looks like it's 100-200 years old but not medieval - like sailing maps for armadas and mmmmmpig has some great examples. Shaded relief style which could be grouped with atlas style but Tear's mountains are based on the method. Djekspek's style is Isometric hand-drawn (as opposed to ISO 3d) so it could be put into cartoony or hand-drawn or ISO. Medieval style is currently being done by Sapiento to great effect. Then you can make up categories for things like DnD style, "pirate map" sketchy style, symbol-driven style that you find in things like CC3, board game style, computer game style, and combinations of all the styles...not sure where things like space maps would fall.
    Thanks Ascension. I added "Medieval style" and will add more of those if I can think of specific descriptions of them and find examples--I wouldn't know what "DnD style" of "board game style" would consist of. "Videogame style" might fall under 3d computer-gen. You're right that some of them might be subcategories.

    This thread is starting to sound like a bad kung-fu movie, or a really strange new-gen kama sutra.
    Last edited by RecklessEnthusiasm; 07-14-2010 at 01:25 AM.

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