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Thread: How to do a realistic fantasy map?

  1. #1
    Guild Novice pix's Avatar
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    Default How to do a realistic fantasy map?

    I know this question may have been already answered, but I didn't find a satisfying answer...

    I drawed a map of a large continent, and I want to make it look like this. It's a map of the Wheel of Time serie:

    http://www.ramblesnonsense.com/?p=20

    I found on the forum a lot of ways to make fantasy-like maps of fantasy worlds, but not an atlas way to do it. My other issue is that I use Gimp ( I saw a lot of guys using phtoshop, which I never did). Is there any way it can be possible?

    Thank you for your support

  2. #2
    Administrator RobA's Avatar
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    Hi pix-

    One of the nicest is: http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...mp-Illustrator

    I did a monthly contest entry where I used free tools to get something similar: http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...to-HandsomeRob

    Other than that my biggest suggestion is to use Inkscape rather than gimp. It is ideal for line-art illustrations, which is what such a map is.

    -Rob A>

  3. #3
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    I created that map in Adobe Illustrator, mostly with the Pencil tool controlled with a Wacom tablet. I had a fairly big advantage with it since I had Mitchell's most excellent oil painting map for reference. The icons were mostly recreated from reference using the Pen tool. I think there were a couple that I swiped from a WoT wiki. The icon for Bandar Eban, for instance.

    There's nothing there that you couldn't do just as easily with Inkscape, except the border, which was an Illustrator pattern. You could certainly make something just as good in Inkscape, but it would simply take some time and patience. And maybe Inkscape itself has some similar patterns by now; it's been a while since I looked at it.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
    http://www.bryanray.name

  4. #4
    Guild Novice pix's Avatar
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    Do you recommend to buy a graphic tablet to do this kind of work?

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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    I wouldn't have wanted to make all those fiddly shapes without one, but it wouldn't be impossible. I generally recommend to people with a budget that they invest in a tablet rather than software—Inkscape and the Gimp are both free as well as powerful.

    You can draw with a mouse, but I find it to be more difficult to be accurate, and far more fatiguing. You could also try some other methods to create detail without a hardware investment. If you have access to a scanner, you could draw with pencil and scan it in. For something like this, I'd use a layered tracing paper approach, so you could create each shape on its own sheet, scan, run a trace in your software, then color it and layer them together. There are also several ways to add detail to a path using filters. You'd make a simple shape, then run the filter to get jaggier lines.

    It also wouldn't be too difficult to create a map like this one in one of the programs dedicated to mapping, such as Campaign Cartographer or Fractal Mapper. You'd also have the advantage with those of getting automatic scale calculations, pre-built symbols, and easily-applied fractalization filters. The disadvantage, of course, is that they're not free, but they're significantly less expensive than Illustrator or CorelDRAW, and slightly less expensive than a Wacom tablet.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
    http://www.bryanray.name

  6. #6
    Administrator RobA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pix View Post
    Do you recommend to buy a graphic tablet to do this kind of work?
    Personally, I use my tablet all the time in Gimp but almost never in inkscape (unless I am using the calligraphy tool). I find I have better control when node editing with a mouse, though maybe I should just practice more...

    -Rob A>

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