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Thread: [WIP] Narridia, Revisited

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    Wip [WIP] Narridia, Revisited

    Just a month shy of a couple years ago, I posted a WIP of one of my first mapping attempts, the Continent of Narridia. Since then, I've taken a few design classes in which I learned the basics of Photoshop and Illustrator. Today, bored out of my mind, so I decided to reconceptualize Narridia from the ground up.

    Phase 1: The Concept Sketch
    I grabbed up my 11x17 vellum pad, and with a 0.7mm pencil, I lightly dragged an outline of a couple continents. I ended up not liking part of it, so I took my trusty x-acto knife and sliced that badboy in two. Now armed with a smaller 8.5x11 piece of vellum, I scanned that puppy into my computer, at 300ppi. The result of which you can see below:

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    Phase 2: Outlining in Illustrator
    From there, I opened up illustrator and placed that image onto my artboard, and went to work. I first grabbed the pen tool, set it's width initially to 2pt, and started tracing the outline of the contienent. Once that was done, I traced the rivers and the mountains with the same tool, this time at 1pt width. I noticed that it was really hard to differentiate the rivers, so I made them thinner, down to .5pt, and widened my mountain lines to 1.5pt.

    After all that was done, I drew a compass rose with the line tool, and the circle tool. I then trimmed the overlapping lines with the scissors, and after that I used the live paint bucket and filled in the alternating triangles on the compass rose. Long story short, I ended up with what you see below:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I like using Illustrator for this part, because I can then resize my image however large I want to, and I don't have to worry about line degradation or pixelation. Figuring out how to color everything might prove more difficult than I anticipate, however.

    PHASE 3:

    Satisfied with how my map was turning out, I decided to try out some simple coloring. I figured a modern-style map was simplest, so I found a map of Australia and used it's colors as a guide. As an aside, I chose Australia because I was originally thinking that I wanted this map to be roughly the same size. Now, I'm not sure. If I make the whole continent similar in size, I feel like it's too small. Selecting both the full continent and the smaller island, I made them a complex path so that they'd get colored at the same time. Then I simple changed the fill and stroke colors to match the reference. Et voila:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by the-golem; 02-10-2012 at 01:12 AM.

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    A nice map - very clear and legible ... but what it needs now is ... some labels. Also, I can't help but think the balance might be better with the compass rose in the north east corner of the map.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukc View Post
    A nice map - very clear and legible ... but what it needs now is ... some labels. Also, I can't help but think the balance might be better with the compass rose in the north east corner of the map.
    You're quite right, the balance would be better with it in the NE corner. The legend will likely grow larger, when I include things like geographical features.

    I haven't figured out the political divisions yet. All I have at the moment is the basic continent.

    EDIT: I did a few more tweaks to the basic continent, including adding some more rivers. I figured out how the stroke profiles work, so now all the rivers are properly tapered.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by the-golem; 02-10-2012 at 04:15 AM.

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    Wip

    PHASE 4: POLITICAL BOUNDARIES
    Just a short while ago (maybe an hour?) I learned how to "contract" shapes in Illustrator. Once I figured this out, I set about dividing up the continent into political divisions. This map is turning out to be much more modern looking than I originally intended, but I'm okay with that; I really like how it's turning out.

    I used the same method to create shore-ripples (or whatever they're called). It really makes the contentinent pop.

    Here's what I got so far, with two versions:

    With Dashed Borders Without Dashed Borders
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'm extremely happy with how things are coming along :-)
    Last edited by the-golem; 02-11-2012 at 08:25 AM.

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    I think the dashed borders version looks better. Two hints:

    1. Go into the strokes panel and play around with the dashed line settings, you'll work out in about 5 minutes how to make cool dashed lines of various settings, including the dash-dot-dash-dot typical of national borders in many maps and atlases. Also look into what rounded corners does to your dashed lines.

    2. Try adjusting the thickness of the dashed lines to 0,5 pt or even 0,25 pt. With the coloured edges you don't really need such a thick dashed border, it's a bit too visible (still, it's a matter of taste) and detracts from other features (including the colours).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukc View Post
    I think the dashed borders version looks better. Two hints:

    1. Go into the strokes panel and play around with the dashed line settings, you'll work out in about 5 minutes how to make cool dashed lines of various settings, including the dash-dot-dash-dot typical of national borders in many maps and atlases. Also look into what rounded corners does to your dashed lines.

    2. Try adjusting the thickness of the dashed lines to 0,5 pt or even 0,25 pt. With the coloured edges you don't really need such a thick dashed border, it's a bit too visible (still, it's a matter of taste) and detracts from other features (including the colours).
    Thank you, kind sir. Your hints were extremely helpful. It never even occurred to me to try the rounded bits on a dashed line. Here's my latest progress, with pretty much everything turned on.

    I'm still having problems naming things, and I'm having an issue with scale. I think I want the large sea to be roughly the size of the Mediterranean, but if I make it that large, then I feel like my countries are too large also. I suppose some large areas would be fine, as they could be an empire-type area. ... I just don't know.

    Anyway, here's the latest WIP:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Community Leader Gracious Donor Lukc's Avatar
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    I'm glad I could help it's looking really good.

    I should suppose scale is entirely up to you ... it really depends on the imaginary underpinnings of your fantasy map. What technology level do the people possess (do they have horseless carriages or horses or none of those, do they have long-distance communications)? What kind of people are they (giants, dwarves, elves, chupacabras...)? How rugged is the terrain (do the mountain symbols indicate mountains like the Urals or like the Himalayas)? These and other factors determine how large an area can be rulled effectively - though they're not absolute determinants.

    If it's the size of the Mediterranean that's app. 2.5 million km2, or 5 Frances. Judging by that, I'd think your states are not too large - and besides, you can always make some of them loose federations or even confederations, and thus indicate an association of semi-independent poleis.

    However, on a continent (island?) this small I'd warn against leaving much wilderness ... if the people are at least a bit human, they'd have settled as much as humanly possible!

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    Lukc,
    Your points are all very good, but I can see I wasn't very clear. Trying to explain scale by comparison isn't very easy, so I quickly grabbed a European map, did some live manipulation, and came up with this comparison (I didn't realize the Mediterranean was so lo-o-ong). Anyway, this is roughly the scale I think the continent will be at, and maybe you can understand my trepidation.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Ohhh ... well ... that's different! I thought you meant the area of the continent was equal to the area of the med!

    If it's *that* large you might have to decrease the size of your mountain symbols as well ... and yes, probably add more states!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukc View Post
    Ohhh ... well ... that's different! I thought you meant the area of the continent was equal to the area of the med!

    If it's *that* large you might have to decrease the size of your mountain symbols as well ... and yes, probably add more states!
    Yeah... I hadn't really thought about scale when I first drew it. I'm now thinking I should definitely make the symbols smaller, and break up the mountains into smaller ranges.


    UPDATE: Okay, so I splot some of the countries up into smaller ones, and I tried redoing the mountains a bit. I'm not sure if I like them, but I do at least like how much smaller they are. Smaller mountains really change the scale.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by the-golem; 02-12-2012 at 12:44 PM.

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