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Thread: Where should I start? I'm new to mapping.

  1. #1

    Question Where should I start? I'm new to mapping.

    I draw my maps by hand on paper. I cannot draw well. I understand tectonics well enough to have realistic mountain range locations and resembling realistic terrain. I have a problem though. Any map I draw by hand has mountains that look like this
    /\^<^/\^/\^>^
    I know it is so realistic, you have never seen such skill before.

    On to the reason I am posting. I enjoy making fantasy worlds. At one point I understood Photoshop well enough to do all sorts of stuff. That was while I was in High School and now 7 years later I want to relearn how to use Photoshop like programs. My Photoshoping was mostly with pictures and playing around with cut and past photos.

    I am poor so I downloaded Gimp and started experimenting. While looking around I ran into this post
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...p?t=594&page=2
    It helped me reacquaint myself with layers and such.

    My reason for posting is that I searched the forums and although there are multiple tutorials for doing various things in Gimp I couldn't find a really good introduction tutorial that takes care of basic things like how to make a grassy area look like a grassy area or how to make a swamp like texture. I only vaguely understand many of the mechanics and tools in Gimp so assume I know nothing and please point me toward a really good introduction to fantasy map making tutorial. By the way here is my first ever mountain range (assuming I can figure out how to upload).

    I got it uploaded! Oh, and video tutorials work much better for me than written word with picture tutorials that is the only reason I could follow RobA's instructions.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	First Mountain Range.gif 
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Size:	39.0 KB 
ID:	7080  
    Last edited by Human Jackalope; 10-14-2008 at 03:26 PM. Reason: Added to end

  2. #2
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    This is your thread
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1142

    Helped me get started on all this

  3. #3
    Community Leader NeonKnight's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Guild!

    I'll let those versed in GIMP answer your questions.
    Daniel the Neon Knight: Campaign Cartographer User

    Never use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice!

    Any questions on CC3? Post them with CC3 in the Subject Line!
    MY 'FAMOUS' CC3 MAPS: Thunderspire; Pyramid of Shadows; King of the Trollhaunt Warrens; Demon Queen's Enclave

  4. #4
    Community Leader jfrazierjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Human Jackalope View Post
    I draw my maps by hand on paper. I cannot draw well. I understand tectonics well enough to have realistic mountain range locations and resembling realistic terrain. I have a problem though. Any map I draw by hand has mountains that look like this
    /\^<^/\^/\^>^
    I know it is so realistic, you have never seen such skill before.

    On to the reason I am posting. I enjoy making fantasy worlds. At one point I understood Photoshop well enough to do all sorts of stuff. That was while I was in High School and now 7 years later I want to relearn how to use Photoshop like programs. My Photoshoping was mostly with pictures and playing around with cut and past photos.

    I am poor so I downloaded Gimp and started experimenting. While looking around I ran into this post
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...p?t=594&page=2
    It helped me reacquaint myself with layers and such.

    My reason for posting is that I searched the forums and although there are multiple tutorials for doing various things in Gimp I couldn't find a really good introduction tutorial that takes care of basic things like how to make a grassy area look like a grassy area or how to make a swamp like texture. I only vaguely understand many of the mechanics and tools in Gimp so assume I know nothing and please point me toward a really good introduction to fantasy map making tutorial. By the way here is my first ever mountain range (assuming I can figure out how to upload).

    I got it uploaded! Oh, and video tutorials work much better for me than written word with picture tutorials that is the only reason I could follow RobA's instructions.

    Welcome to the Guild Human Jackalope! You started at the beginning, which is the best place to start! Nice start on the mountains. I too started playing with the mountains and worked outward from there to get to something like this. I will eventually do a short video showing how I take the original technique you linked to just a bit further to get the result in the post I link to as I know a few people have asked. Just to get yourself acuainted with GIMP, follow RobA's great tutorial (be sure to rate the thread and optionally give Rob some reputation).


    I like the striations (sp??) in your example. Just need a bit of tweaking to make the banding not totally obvious (though it's not bad for your first attempt!!!)

    Joe
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  5. #5

    Post Thanks

    Thank you for the quick response. The Internet is so big that sometimes I feel like I am IM'ing with the entire world!
    I have 7 Billion friends on my friends list!

  6. #6
    Community Leader jfrazierjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Human Jackalope View Post
    My reason for posting is that I searched the forums and although there are multiple tutorials for doing various things in Gimp I couldn't find a really good introduction tutorial that takes care of basic things like how to make a grassy area look like a grassy area or how to make a swamp like texture. I only vaguely understand many of the mechanics and tools in Gimp so assume I know nothing and please point me toward a really good introduction to fantasy map making tutorial. By the way here is my first ever mountain range (assuming I can figure out how to upload).
    Sorry for re-replying to this post, but as I mentioned earlier, RobA's tutorial, though it is written instead of video, is a great introduction to GIMP and shows many various techniques and how they can be applied to map making. At the very least, even if you don't like some of the elements of the resulting map, the tutorial is great for introducing you to the tools GIMP has to offer. Also, Pyrandon has a really good tutorial for city mapping done in PS (though most of it translates easily to GIMP, ask for anything that does not). Between the two of those, they are excellent first steps IMO because of how thoughly they cover a broad range of techniques. Then you can branch out into the other tutorials that are more specialized.
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  7. #7
    Community Leader jfrazierjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Human Jackalope View Post
    Thank you for the quick response. The Internet is so big that sometimes I feel like I am IM'ing with the entire world!
    I have 7 Billion friends on my friends list!
    Your welcome! When you start with the map making, be sure to post up some work in progress threads so we can see the evolution and offer any helpful tips and tricks.
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  8. #8

    Post Me around post 7

    I am having problems with the overlay stuff. The cloud texture does not want to show through very well. The picture that I have attached is what my shoreline looks like with the land mask and the land clip layers invisible.

    "That technique (the Three-Layer-Sandwich of noise, shape and threshold clip layer, or TLS for short ) will be a basic technique that will be used over and over again,"
    I am messing this step up somehow. I have the newest Gimp 2.6 so maybe something has changed since the tutorial was written but it is most likely that I am simply missing some certain step.
    Could someone step by step the noise, shape, threshold clip for me as they do it? I redid my entire map four times, following RobA's instructions to a "T" and still can't get it right. The only difference is my background is all white instead of a scanned picture.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Grandiose General Area.gif 
Views:	39 
Size:	1.44 MB 
ID:	7086  
    Last edited by Human Jackalope; 10-14-2008 at 06:01 PM. Reason: Added second paragraph

  9. #9
    Community Leader jfrazierjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Human Jackalope View Post
    I am having problems with the overlay stuff. The cloud texture does not want to show through very well. The picture that I have attached is what my shoreline looks like with the land mask and the land clip layers invisible.

    "That technique (the Three-Layer-Sandwich of noise, shape and threshold clip layer, or TLS for short ) will be a basic technique that will be used over and over again,"
    I am messing this step up somehow. I have the newest Gimp 2.6 so maybe something has changed since the tutorial was written but it is most likely that I am simply missing some certain step.
    Could someone step by step the noise, shape, threshold clip for me as they do it? I redid my entire map four times, following RobA's instructions to a "T" and still can't get it right. The only difference is my background is all white instead of a scanned picture.

    Using the PDF's, could you tell me exactly where (page number) and I will be happy to help ya out later tonight if no one else beats me to it. Unfortunately, I am not a place to reference the stuff directly right now to figure out where you are in the steps, but this looks close based on what I remember from the tutorial.
    My Finished Maps
    Works in Progress(or abandoned tests)
    My Tutorials:
    Explanation of Layer Masks in GIMP
    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Human Jackalope View Post
    I am having problems with the overlay stuff. The cloud texture does not want to show through very well. The picture that I have attached is what my shoreline looks like with the land mask and the land clip layers invisible.

    "That technique (the Three-Layer-Sandwich of noise, shape and threshold clip layer, or TLS for short ) will be a basic technique that will be used over and over again,"
    I am messing this step up somehow. I have the newest Gimp 2.6 so maybe something has changed since the tutorial was written but it is most likely that I am simply missing some certain step.
    Could someone step by step the noise, shape, threshold clip for me as they do it? I redid my entire map four times, following RobA's instructions to a "T" and still can't get it right. The only difference is my background is all white instead of a scanned picture.
    So, are you using a shoreline you've already sketched out, and you're trying to use the 3-layer sandwich technique to produce a more fractalized coast? Or are you just using a very basic shape?

    Or... are you a little further along than that? It looks like Post 7 on RobA's tutorial thread? Is that the post where he starts creating the sea, or finishes it? Depending on which of these steps you're on, the image you've attached looks a little odd.

    The way it should be done is:

    1. Copy the B&W layer you used to create your "Land Mask"
    2. Blur it a lot. RobA used a 500 pix Gaussian Blur in his example. On the world map I've been working on, I used over 1000 pix Gaussian Blur. At this stage you should have something that looks like a grayish gradient from very dark to almost white.
    3. Create a new layer.
    4. Fill this new layer with Cloud noise. (The menu selection was Filters > Render > Clouds > Solid Noise. I don't know if it's different in GIMP 2.6 as I haven't downloaded that, yet.)
    5. Set the blend mode of this layer to "Overlay". This should give an effect of creating a swirling cloud that follows the same light-to-dark gradient established in the second step. RobA merges these and copies it to a new layer.

    Is this where you're getting hung up?
    I think, therefore I am a nerd.
    Cogito, ergo sum nerdem.

    Check out my blog: "The Undiscovered Author"
    It's the story of a writer... follow me in my simple quest to get published, and share your own writing stories, adventures and writerly tips.

    Pimping my worldmap here. Still WIP... long way to go, but I'm pretty proud of what I've done so far...

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