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Thread: The Ol' City

  1. #1

    Default The Ol' City

    This is the final of a commission I've been working on for an author (afaik unpublished but he seems to be going places having won a scholarship to an SF&F workshop run by authors such as George RR Martin).

    Apart from the ornamental pictures (from stock) and a few elements like the trees, it's all done in vector. I've never attempted anything on this scale before, and it was a good learning process. It probably took something in excess of 70 hours, but a lot of that was experimenting.

    Best viewed zoomed in a way using adobe reader.

    WIP thread here.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Olcity_53.pdf  

  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Ft. Wayne, IN


    Nice job Ravs!
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  3. #3
    Guild Expert Ramah's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
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    That looks great, Ravs. I love how you've laid it all out with the illustrations and the title etc. Looks very effective.

    As for the city... that looks like quite some work. :S Whenever I see a city posted on here I feel both relief that it is someone else doing it and not me and also guilt that I am yet to dare attempt one. Hehe.

    Good stuff.
    Royal: I'm very sorry for your loss, your mother was a terribly attractive woman.

    My Cartographer's Guild maps: Finished Maps

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  4. #4
    Community Leader mearrin69's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Portland, OR


    Crazy city! That's a heck of a lot of work and you pulled it off quite nicely. Have some rep...if I can.

  5. #5
    Administrator Redrobes's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
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    Fantastic. So what are your final conclusions to doing such a big map in vector. What worked and what would you change next time ? How slow (and app stable) were the edits come the end ?

  6. #6


    Very cool - I love the 'flavor' this has.
    “When it’s over and you look in the mirror, did you do the best that you were capable of? If so, the score does not matter. But if you find that you did your best you were capable of, you will find it to your liking.” -John Wooden

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  7. #7


    I'm a bit disappointed with it, truth be told. I was experimenting as I went along and each neighbourhood has such a different look I don't think it really holds together. But it did fit the brief so I guess from that point of view I'm happy. I really don't like the way some roads are far too wide or that gradations of the buildings are a bit clumsy from high density to low density.....but I learned a lot, so I reckon my next effort will be much better.

  8. #8
    Guild Apprentice lisze's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    The States


    Ravells, I would like to know more about how you put that map together. Even if I can't use it for this map due to size, I think it'd still be interesting to try.

  9. #9
    Guild Adept Slylok's Avatar
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    May 2010
    Georgia, USA


    I love the way this map is laid out. It just oozes talent and class
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  10. #10


    Hi lisze. It was all done in vector, but in Drawplus, not inkscape. Here's what I did:

    1. Draw the roads as lines.
    2. Converted lines into objects and merged them into a single object (call the result 'road object'). You could just autotrace your raster roads (I'm pretty sure Inkscape (IS) has an autotrace plug-in).
    3. Gave the road object a white fill and black line.
    Road Shape in Monketon
    I went to Open Street Maps, downloaded an svg file of London and deleted everything except the roads, and made my road object of that. Then it was just a case of putting the roads over a background gray fill of the whole of monketon and subtracting the road shape. This leaves the buildings which I coloured gray and gave a a black outline to. It means each building is a separate object which gives you some flexibility about using different colours for different types of buildings etc. (although I didn't do that in this map).

    For the house style in South Mondine and Central Jaz.

    4. Copy the road shape, pasted on a new layer and used 'line styles' to add the buildings. I don't know what the equivalent in IS is, but it's a function which acts a bit like a spray brush where you can load a number of elements into the brush and it puts them along a line you draw. The elements were house shapes from a free programme called 'context free'. Another member of the site wrote the code to get it to produce house shapes. See this thread.
    5. So by using the linestyle function on the copy road shape I got it to add the houses, but each house is a separate vector object. I then merged all the vector house shapes and gave them a gray fill and a black line.

    For the city blocks
    These were just flat gray behind the road object

    For the 'ruined house effect in Mangar'
    This was a nightmare to do, but it was based on the above principles with lots of fiddling. I've forgot how I got there as there was so much reworking.

    Hope that kind of helps (or at least gives you a few ideas). I had to deal with a lot of crashes when merging buildings (best to to do it a few at a time).

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