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Thread: Zen Of Cartography... er Map Making

  1. #1
    Guild Artisan lostatsea's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Ohio USA

    Default Zen Of Cartography... er Map Making

    This is a platform and software independent list of things to do to facilitate learning mapmaking. Feel free to add to this list and / or move it to a more appropriate Location.

    Written by a nooby for noobies.

    1 The Journey is more important than the destination. Hmm too philosophical ?? Okay enjoy the learning and the end will take care of itself in time.

    2 If you already have art software that you know and are comfortable with, Use it. . There is an confusing assortment of software out there, some very broad in scope with huge learning curves. Other limited to types of style they can create. Start with what you know . If you need software suggestion or advice skip over to the software discussion thread there you’ll find much valuable advice.

    3 Check out the WIP and Finished map threads. Get an Idea of what styles suit you. It’ll save you a lot of time By narrowing your direction. Look at my user name trust me on this ! It will also help you pick your software, as some are strictly suited for a narrow range of styles.

    4 Hit the tutorials and how to threads. Try one out as written then go back and do it again but experiment with all the settings. Sometimes a little change will give a drastically different feel to the design .The late Painter Bob Ross always talked of Happy Accidents. If you have one Save it. The current work , the layer , the tool , What have you. Document what you did. It will come in handy later. I have a canyon setting ,among others dying to be used in my “Cool EFX” folder!

    5 Look for inspiration in unusual places. One of My Biggest personal advances came from a tutorial on Photographic correction . Seemly unrelated but the usage of adjustment layer and layer masks struck home.The flexibility is amazing. There was a good tutorial on the usage of the same recently in the guilds tutorial thread. There is a Reference material thread here where you’ll find all sorts unusual inspiration. Can you say peeling paint texture.?

    6 Don’t start with anything too serious. If it has got to be great , leave it until you have a better grasp of what you are looking for and your direction to get there. Once again notice my User name. Even the masters here ( and there are several) had less than Ideal results at their beginnings. Mine were Heinous!! OMG !!! I still have nightmares !!

    7 Use all the resources, participate ,post WIPs ask lots of question. There are lots of friendly folks here willing to give you their 2 cents and sometimes a buck fifty. Beware the River Police though at all cost !! Don’t know who they are ? You will oh yes You will !!

    8 Remember you can’t Possibly be as Bad as I was !! Take encouragement from that. You'll only get better.

    9Take an deep breath ,. Take that first step . Enjoy the voyage !!
    "Aye The skies be clear , the seas be calm and the winds be with us .....

    ARGH!! but the damn compass be broken!! "

    Capt. Noah Swalter Last voyage of the " Silver Crest"

  2. #2
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Ascension's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    St. Charles, Missouri, United States


    My biggest tip goes along with your number 5 - unusual places. After you think about it, it's not so unusual but you just need to not get caught up and remember what you see. I watch a lot of History channel and Military channel and Discovery channel - stuff like that. Military has at least one map every 2 or 3 hours somewhere. History and Discovery you sort of have to have the right show but those maps are cool, too, like the show on The Plague, The Barbarians, etc. Discovery and Animal Planet have lots of great overhead shots in shows like Planet Earth, Great Migrations, etc. if you like the realism. Also I collect a lot of nature photos from various places just to stir my imagination.
    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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