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Thread: New to the Guild and looking for tips!

  1. #1

    Wip New to the Guild and looking for tips!

    Howdy gang!
    I'm starting in on my first attempt at mapping with GIMP and really exploring the software. I studied architecture in school and used Photoshop for many years there. Now that I'm out of school (and their computer labs) and trying to avoid software piracy I'm exploring the open source world and really enjoying what I'm finding. I tried some initial mapping in Inkscape but found that the intricacy I was working at just better suited to a raster image so I moved over.
    I'm starting a brand new Pathfinder game in a few weeks and I'm working on some initial maps to set up the campaign world. Here's first large area where I expect the lion's share of the campaign to take place. It's a large inland lake (roughly the same area as Lake Superior) which has several medium size sovereign nations around it. Overall waterflow goes from the large river coming out of the NE and flows out to sea in the SW.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I used two modified brush sets from fellow Guild member Wag, found here. Many thanks to Wag on that as I'd initially made my own and they looked horrid. They worked great as standalone elements, but I knew I'd need a little more density to my map elements and added internal opacity to the fill area of the trees and mountains so that I could use them to draw the dense, overlapping areas you see in my map.
    Although doing a bit of color airbrushing under the mountains has worked okay for me, I'm not sure the same tactic will work as well under the trees or across what I'm trying to express as grassy plains. I haven't added any hills yet, but they are planned around most of the mountain ranges as transitional elements.
    Anyone have good tutorials or examples for border/page elements? Although I'm printing this out on actual paper eventually, I want to give it more of an aged parchment look with some good fades, stains, and tears at the edges. Maybe even some fold lines. I've seen great examples of these (especially folds - you guys are really impressive!) but haven't found tutorials I can replicate the effects of yet.
    Last edited by kde.rockstar; 01-31-2012 at 10:57 AM. Reason: Accidental repeat post.

  2. #2
    Guild Novice Creios's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012


    Hey, I'm new here too. I haven't been making maps for very long. I'm just starting to get into it. I really like the style of your map.

    Here is a link to a photoshop tutorial that is on the "Quickstart Guide to Fantasy Mapping" Thread on how to make torn edges and how to give a map a parchment paper look to it. I don't know how you could replicate it in other software though, but it could at least give you somewhere to start.

  3. #3
    Community Leader RobA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Toronto, Canada


    My (now old) gimp tutorial for old parchment is here:

    Your rivers seem extremely wide, given the scale of the map stated - a round lake the area of Lake Superior would be about 200 miles across which would make your wider rivers in the NE almost 5 or 5 miles across.

    Also, there is a bit of a river anomaly, where you have the two rivers in the 1 o'clock position meeting and then splitting.

    Also, what was your inspiration for the palette you use? It is very subtle.

    -Rob A>

  4. #4


    Thanks for the responses, guys. The suggestions look like exactly what I need.

    The peculiar rivers in the NE quadrant were definitely purposeful. I looked all over the place for a similar occurrence in nature but never came across one. That said, it didn't seem too crazy to me that a two rivers which come close to one another in two turns might eventually be drawn together. That area will be a metropolitan center and holy site in the campaign world, so I felt it needed some distinct and possibly weird landmark.

    I hadn't been paying attention to my scale Rob, so thanks for pointing that out to me. I wasn't planning on adding an element like a scale until I did a legend near the end of the whole thing, but maybe I should've done that first so I could keep things sized correctly. Considering that even the widest rivers in the world, at their widest points, only get to be about 6 miles across, I should probably bring that in a bit, at least for some of the length.

    The palette didn't really come from anywhere. I just wanted something that would suggest a faded look. I'm not sure if I overshot into illegibility. When you stare at the screen for hours and make all the details it's hard to tell what's clear and what's not.

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