$199 for one mountain and a dragon? Meh...
Last night, I stumbled upon (not for the first time) WETA's site, the guys behind LOTR and Hobbit.
I saw Thorin's map prop replica. What got me reading is the description of the printing and aging (distressing paper) process.
Here's the map:
Anyone has any experience with aging paper and or printing it out the same way that WETA does it?
The reason I'm asking is that we'd like to give a map parchment with Riftforge's map to the first X players. I'd love to be able to do something along the lines of Thorin's map, of course, without the $200 price tag.
Distressing one map is fairly straightforward (start with good linen or rag paper, crumple a bit, fold a few dozen times to get relaxed fold lines (folding almost but not quite in the same places each time), spill one or more kinds of tea on it for staining, bake in an oven to get a more brittle and aged paper, whacking repeatedly and possibly hitting it with sandpaper to distress the edges). Doing them in bulk is something I wouldn't want to contemplate. It's probably much easier to distress one, scan it, and print multiples of that.
You are probably right about the "multiply it by 100 times" problem. I'm planning to get rough Arches paper and some distress inks and give it a shot. I'm hesitant to use real tea (or coffee) because the acid will deteriorate the paper in the long run (100 years?!?).
P.S. My better half seems to have plenty of free time, maybe I get her involved.
If you use iron gall ink, it'll eat through the paper on its own in a hundred years or so (depending on storage conditions). Modern inks may have a different set of characteristics, especially printer inks. There's always the bicarbonate treatment to eliminate the acid problem if that's a concern to you (wash the paper with a magnesium bicarbonate solution to neutralize any acid).
I print things out quite a bit, and then "age" them for my rpg group. Distressing something, scanning it, and then reproducing it - just like making something look "distressed" via photoshop/gimp - it just never looks right to me when you print it out. It looks too perfect to me, and then you still end up having to fold it and what not. Keep in mind, you want to use a laser printer - not a inkjet (or the like).
Steps I use are:
1. Print on higher quality paper (usually resume paper or the like) using laser printer.
2. Take a Tea bag, let it step in hot tea for say - 1 minute. Then use it to go over both sides of the paper, making sure to coat it completely. Till you get a nice "Tan" parchment like look.
3. Fill a bowl w/ balsimic vinegar - and dip the edges so they come out w/ a darker look aged look.
4. Crumple up into a little ball.
5. Unfold and iron out (this is like the ovan step from above, but get's the paper back to nice and flat and is pretty quick).
6. Fold where you want it a couple time, and then set under a heavy book.
If you want to add a few more steps - try rubbing used coffee grinds over the paper after you've "Teabagged" it (hehehehe. Yes. I went there). Also, wet the bottom of one of your coffee cups and set it on the paper after you've ironed it to get some pleasent coffee wring stains.
I frequently keep a couple extra pieces around blank, and have a nice black pen that to use on them for quick hand drawn maps &/or notes that my group finds.
Also, the acids in the tea, coffee, and vinegar will affect the paper's longevity - one of the reasons I like a nice higher quality paper. However, it's quick and even then "distressing" the paper, like distressing jeans will affect the longevity. I would image though, if you take care of the paper, it should easily still last a very long time. That it's so easy to do, makes up for any loss of longevity IMO.
Last edited by MeFanch; 08-12-2013 at 04:52 AM.
As others have said, the aging process is relatively straight forward. You basically do the things to a document that would actually be done to a document over its lifetime. The difference is you do it all at once, instead of over a period of decades. (I say "straight forward" but there's an art to it, and making it look good takes some skill).
Incidentally, in the film industry we call it "breakdown". Oh, and just for some trivia, the difference between the "regular" Thorin map (which is USD$29.99) and the replica one is considerably more than just breakdown. They're noticeably different in terms of quality in every aspect, not to mention the regular art print map has all of the copyright information on it! Of course, the other thing to bear in mind is that film art and costume department finishers (the people who break down props, sets and costumes) are much better at breaking things down than either you or I, so a big part of that price is paying for the expert work that actually makes the map look like it really is hundreds of years old and not just a picture someone screwed up and spilled some coffee on!
FYI, I've seen Thorin's map and it's a beautiful piece of work. I was highly tempted to buy one. Definitely worth $200 for one mountain and a dragon.
I don't doubt the prop replica looks nice. I've seen photos of several and they all look "identical" and not in a bad way. The types of creases are very similar. In short, it's a very precise work for the calligrapher who did them.
That said, it's a treasure map, not an area map like ours. It's also done by a calligrapher, while ours is done by Sapiento. So there's that.
Again, thanks for all the advice. I plan to follow through with the bits that will be safe for the paper, and only use coffee/tea as an experiment. There's a Ranger distress ink called Tea, so probably you can do a decent job of just simulating teabagging (there, I said it).