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Thread: Learning to Touch Up Maps on A Computer

  1. #1

    Question Learning to Touch Up Maps on A Computer

    I've only ever drawn my maps with a pencil on paper, but am starting to look at making them look a little more impressive using GIMP. My concern is my lack of a graphics tablet (or similar), and being confined to only using my rather clunky mouse. I don't really see how I could accurately trace over or draw the sort of lines I do with my hand with only a mouse.

    I'm also at a bit of a loss where to start with learning how to take a sketch I've done and create more detail, make it look nicer, and colour it on the computer. I've had a look through the tutorials board, but couldn't really find anything. I'm not looking to do an ultra realistic style, more the type of thing seen here:

    thought without all the extra bells and whistles for now.

    If someone could point a real beginner in the right direction, it'd be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Guild Expert Hai-Etlik's Avatar
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    May 2009
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    Well, a way to get nice controlled lines with a mouse is to use paths (You'll often hear Adobe software users talking about the "pen tool" which is the Adobe name for it)

    In GIMP, choose the Paths tool (the fountain pen and funny looking lines) it takes some getting used to so play with it a bit. When you click you create a control point through which the path will run, if you drag, you will create a second control point which will pull the path toward it in a curve. Keep adding control points to make the path. You can drag the existing control points around to refine things.

    Once you've got a path you like, select "Stroke" to draw the stroke into the image.

    If you do a lot of work with paths, you may find a vector graphics editor like Inkscape a better choice. This has a somewhat different interface for paths, and eliminates the "stroke" step so you can just edit the visible path directly, but otherwise works the same way. It's also a great tool for adding text to a map. I use it for just about everything, but it's possible to use it in conjunction with GIMP if you prefer.

    Both GIMP and Inkscape have tablet support so that might be something you should consider saving up for.

  3. #3


    Hmm, yeah, I should look into it. I appreciate the advice, thanks!

  4. #4
    Guild Artisan lostatsea's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    Ohio USA


    I know a few people that do quite intricate artwork with mouse. I am not artistic but I do my Mapping with mouse. If you are used to it and not a tablet; well to each their own ! However to use a mouse for other than point and click get one with a decent dpi resolution and use an optical one not the ones with a ball on the bottom. Tablet have a learning curve that I don't have the time to learn its use ! Also if you have a scanner you can do them by ,hand scan them in ; then touch them up ; color /texture them add digital affects etc .
    Last edited by lostatsea; 02-08-2012 at 09:52 PM.
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