does anyone draw maps using talent or are all of these maps computer generated?
does anyone draw maps using talent or are all of these maps computer generated?
Yes it is true, drawsalot. All maps in this forum are generated by pressing buttons in computer programs.
Varying amounts of talent are applied to get the maps you see. There are a few apps that will generate decent maps with but a FEW buttons being mashed, but you can bet the ones that make your jaw drop are the result of thousands of buttons, expert digitizer penstrokes, and hours upon hours of thinking. Talent, 'n other words. Gobs of it. Some of the Guildspeople here are so loaded with talent that it oozes from them as they walk, leaving talenty-footprints all over their respective home cities. Would-be mappers seek out these footprints and mop them up, to distill sufficient reflected glory to produce the odd dungeon diagram or campaign chart. Wish I lived near enough to follow some with a sponge - I could use an infusion of the mapmuse essence.
If you're implying that the ones involving computer actions are somehow deficient in talent whilst those involving pen and ink might be more talent-driven, well just look at my output. The paper-based ones are bottom-shelf material, while the digital ones are... well, bottom-shelf material too. :-). So maybe I am not a stellar example. At any rate, the simplest of tools on the computer, say, MS Paint, have been used to give us some of the loveliest examples of cartographic excellence. Your member intro notes you've been drawing maps a good long while - are yours all on paper? Fear not, we are not a digital-only bunch; the computer-born and -borne ones predominate just by self-selection (you are using a computer to see this, therefore you are some level of computer person, etc). We LOVE traditional media as well! Show us something from your portfolio. Also fear not that your work will suffer by comparison - we're an appreciative lot. I for one am convinced I can learn something from about anyone's works, whether noob or master, whether crude or deft.
From yet another angle, various denizens of the CG disclaim any artistic ability, yet they create maps varying from serviceable to sublime. Their point, once any false modesty is discounted, is that this stuff can be tackled as a craft as well as an art. Really, there are those here who also practice cartography as science too - not so much the fantastic subjects as the real-world ones of geology, oceanography, and the like. You find herein tutorials freely sharing the expertise of all those levels - art, craft, and science. You note you're impressed with what you see - pick a likely tutorial and dive in. I bet you can craft something that'll please yourself any those about you, even if the ways & means differ from what you're used to. What computer graphics apps might you have access to?
In one respect every last map you see here is computer generated - after all even the paper ones get to your browser by way of scanner or humble digital camera :-).
Oh, and welcome to the Guild!
Most everything I have done is by hand (usually with a drawing tablet). I wouldn't want to put up something as my own if I didn't make it myself. I have however learned to use textures as well as some of the filters to speed things up a bit. I wouldn't consider that computer generated or talentless though. Most experienced photshop/gimp users can spot excessive filter usage anyway so I for one try to limit their use or use them in a way that doesn't take over the artwork I've put in.
We have also had quite a few traditional media challenges where the art was done with pencils/paper/watercolor/whatever and scanned or photographed so yes, there are quite a few people with talent if that's what you mean.
Even those who can't draw however still have to be able to create the shapes, lighting and other things to make really good maps. I don't know of any software that automatically creates great maps on it's own. There are some "stamper" type maps which don't require artistic ability as far as being able to draw but even those can be fun to look at.
Last edited by Jaxilon; 01-14-2013 at 01:21 AM.
What are you implying? That those of us who primarily use photoshop or Gimp or whatever are somehow lacking in talent? Nice. Welcome to the Guild.
Let's not forget, that talent alone is not the way to a good artwork. It is only the basis. Talent makes roughly 5% of good graphic work.
The rest is years of continuous learning and training in drawing, painting, typography, calligraphy, programs and input devices.
It's also the knowledge of choosing the right tools for each project.
But on the other hand, I have to say, that a complex and completely hand drawn and hand written map without mistakes is yet a sign of extreme mastery.
Clicking on readymade icons in applications and taking back every step is not what I would call high expertise in mapmaking.
That's like putting a frozen pizza into the oven and call it cooking.
In the end, a computer made map may be a very good piece of work. But a hand drawn, written and colored original is a piece of art.
Just my 2 cents.
I actually think that a gorgeous map done by hand requires more talent than a similarly gorgeous map done by computer, though its just an opinion with little proof to back it up. I think its more to do with the amount of tools at a gimp/PS user's disposal like masks, layers, filters, textures etc. which can often add so much with little more than a click of a button. things like wave lines, which cn be done witha simple selection/expand command on computer take so much longer by hand.
Take the Saderan tutorial, for instance, anyone with absolutely no knowledge in PS can create a good-looking map just by following instructions verbatum. though having said that it takes talent to turn something mediocre into something truly lovely. things like choosing the right typography, borders, map elements, symbols, keys etc. as well as other artistic embellishments are things that apply to hand-drawn and computer generated maps just the same.
I was writing a long, long, paragraph, but it didn't really make alot of sense, instead here is my short opinion.
As Freehand says (i'd be personally have the percentage a bit higher.) - it isn't soley based on talent, but the experience and knowledge of the person who uses the said program
Take my friend for example - she can draw anything at all on paper - but as soon as you put her on a computer with a mouse or tablet, the only thing she can draw is a square, a very, very weird looking square.
Another good thing to have in mapping is patience, i've seen some AMAZING maps made by people who've spent literally a few years working on them, like nursing a baby. Of course, i've never attempted that, the longest map i've ever worked on was Urem Irnar, which spanned a few months because of lack of inspiration (Another huge thing, for me atleast.)
So, to sum it up. Alot of people have talent here - take Arsheesh, Ascension, and a few others who make satelite style maps, they don't draw them, but they do make them.
They just have talent in another way.. And patience, experience, and training - of course.
I have yet to see a computer generate much of anything worth looking at. Okay, maybe fractal flame animations and their relatives, but even those are human-made art. The craft is merely in the math rather than in the pixels. And don't tell me a mathematician can't be an artist; I have a print of Euler's relation hanging on my wall (justinmullins.com if you're interested in that kind of thing).
Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
I had a really long reply planned but I'll just say that I don't believe in the whole talent thing. To me there's ability and then there is imagination. Anyone can learn the first one and that includes being able to draw almost perfect photographic renderings of someone in pencil on paper. It's just drawing what you see. Photoshop or whatever is just another tool that you learn to use.
I hate the whole "talent" thing. Too many people are discouraged from drawing and the like because they are told they don't have talent, when the reality is they were just never taught how to draw what was in front of them or told that it was something they could learn.