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Thread: My First Project

  1. #1
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    Wip My First Project

    Howdy.
    I've been lurking here for a while while trying to learn. I am more a writer and storyteller than graphics artists. However, I am fascinated with maps as part of fantasy stories and worlds. I am working on my first map for a story I am writing and trying to apply some of the things I have learned reading and admiring here on CG. Since I am way new to this and, as I said, not a graphics artist, I thought I would post the work in stages. My hope is that I can fix some things as I go along rather than having to scrap and start over later based on feedback from you all. Also, I hope that by showing a newbie progression through this thread that other newbs might also learn.

    Below are my first two snap shots (hopefully I attached them correctly and you can see them). One is the base image and the other is an image with a rough grid and scale thrown on if it will help discussion.

    Just to give some background on where I am:

    - I have a basic coast line of a large Bay and main river mouths. This is a regional scale as you can see from the "mile" marker on the grid version. I do plan to add some islands.
    - The 'line' part of the rivers are simply for my reference down the road and to see how it might look. My plan is to delete those and redraw. My thought was to have them thicker near the mouth and taper them down a bit as toward their headwaters.
    - THere will be mountains to the "west" side of the picture. They will sweep from NE to SW. I am unsure how I want to present these yet.
    - There will also be forest, towns, swamps, etc, etc.
    - I plan on the entire project in B&W.
    - I am working in Inscape with multiple layers. It is new to me but I am getting the hang of it. I am not yet versed in the GIMP although I have it downloaded.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I do appreciate your honest input. I am thick skinned and can take it; I can't learn if I don't first listen. I appreciate your input and thoughts - please don't hold back. It will be up to this old dog to see if he can learn new tricks.

    Thanks.

    Mac

  2. #2
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    Added some islands and tweaked a couple coast points. Rivers are still just roughed in to fit the story and map in my head. I will fix those later. I also added a reference line as a guide to where I will put the mountains. I plan to add the mountains next, but still struggling with how I want to present them. I've seen some interesting ways of doing it, but i am still torn. I guess I will go admire some other maps around here and thunk on it a bit.

    One thing I really like in the spectacular maps around here are the textures. Inkscape seems very limited in that regard, but then so am I. I guess I am going to have to figure that out over time along with the Gimp.

    thoughts and feedback welcome.

    thanks.

    Mac
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
    Community Leader Korash's Avatar
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    Well, I like what you have so far. The coast is a bit "smooth" if you get what I mean, but I like the way it lays out. I believe that there might be a plugin somewhere around here that will fractalize a path in Inkscape to make them a bit less smooth. One other point, and this one is just to give a bit of guidance, ithe river that you have touching the west side of the map passes through the mountain line. i know these are just placeholders and are to change later, but when you are putting them in I would start that river on the eastern slopes of the mountains.

    I also love the Snake River
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    Please take my critiques as someone who Wishes he had the Talent

  4. #4
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    thanks for the feedback.

    Inkscape does have a fractal generator extension. I fussed with it a bit but it makes things too saw-toothy (is that a word)? That said, I have been debating the smoothness of the coast. When I stare at google maps (satellite view) at about the same resolution (10m on scale bar) the google coast is smoother than jagged. There are jagged points, but quite a bit more smooth than all points being saw tooth. I have been looking at fantasy maps so long (since my DD days some 30 or 35 years ago), I sometimes wonder if we aren't just used to sawtooth coasts. I think what i am trying to avoid is perfect 45 and 90 degree turns. The seem unnatural somehow. Perhaps I need to take a field trip to the beach and do some serious research. Thoughts?

    Gotcha and agree on the mountains and rivers.

    Yea, I gotta work on the gulper eel end to that inlet. I need to add some fangs or something.

    Thanks again for the input!!

    Mac

  5. #5
    Community Leader Korash's Avatar
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    LOL. i know what you mean by the ol' D&D maps, but I have also been staring at atlases for longer than playing D&D (and that for about the same as you) and I was referring to the actual coasts. They do seem to have a lot of sweeping arcs to them. In satellite view, look at the Bay of California at your scale, and while not necessarily jagged, the coast is not quite so smooth either. Those arcs have little bumps and indents and other non-smoothness to them, with little bays and such.

    Like I said before, I like the layout you have, just think it could use a little "irregularity" if you get what i am saying.

    BUT then again, this is still in the early stages and it really depend on the style that you are going for. So seeing as how I like the layout, I should really let you develop the map a bit shouldn't I......I will be quiet and sit on my hand now...
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  6. #6
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    I agree I need some more irregularity on the coast line. I'll make some updates for my next revision.

    I did look at a few coastlines this morning. Part of how much irregularity may have a lot to do with the coast style. For example, if you look at Bar Harbor, Maine area you see more jagged areas. That is a very rocky coast with few beaches. If you go further south to Myrtle Beach, SC you have more sandy beaches and a smoother coast line.

    Don't worry so much about sitting on hands. I am no artist and a rookie at computer drawn maps. The reason I posted so early in the process is to learn and fix stuff before I get so far that I have to start over. I am grateful for the feedback!

  7. #7
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    This is a beautiful start and I will certainly follow this one's progression. It does have a very 'almost natural' feel to it.
    I think what Korash is trying to say is the map does not have an organic irregularity to it. Natural coastlines have a less smooth smoothness to them. I was reminded of the Korean peninsula when I first saw this but then, as I looked deeper into the details, it felt kinda globular, more like a fluid flow rather than a land form. I don't know if this is due in part to the shadow around the coasts or not. All in all, it's a great map thus far and I do enjoy it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaelin View Post
    This is a beautiful start and I will certainly follow this one's progression. It does have a very 'almost natural' feel to it.
    I think what Korash is trying to say is the map does not have an organic irregularity to it. Natural coastlines have a less smooth smoothness to them. I was reminded of the Korean peninsula when I first saw this but then, as I looked deeper into the details, it felt kinda globular, more like a fluid flow rather than a land form. I don't know if this is due in part to the shadow around the coasts or not. All in all, it's a great map thus far and I do enjoy it.
    I agree on all accounts for the irregularity. I started to work on it yesterday but the day job called. I played with the fractal extension in Inkscape but wasn't completely pleased with the results. I can't decide if I want to do it with the extension or add nodes by hand.

    You got me on the Korean peninsula. That was part of my inspiration. As my first project, I thought I might be more successful with real world inspiration/guide. The rest is actually inspired by the Chesapeake bay. I know I need to alter it a bit more to get away from that. I will keep plugging.

    I think I posted another reply here but is in queue for approval. I assume that is a newbie thing. So, no problem with approvals, just know I've not gone away if a reply takes a bit.

    Thanks for the guidance and input!!

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