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Thread: Trying a New Style WIP

  1. #1
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    Post Trying a New Style WIP

    Greetings Everyone. First post here. I'll do my best to introduce myself in another thread as soon as I can. Thought I'd share a map w/you. Trying out a new style that I'm excited about.

    As stated in the subject line this is a WIP. This test map is a tad on the small side. If things work out and I use this style in future maps they will be much larger.

    I'm posting this as a PDF file. Since it was exported out of Illustrator you should be able to zoom in quite a bit before the resolution becomes too bad.

    http://www.truenorthcartography.com/files/WIP.pdf

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    Wow, I really like that.. what did you use?

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    Just realized that the first PDF I posted was cropped incorrectly. File is fixed now.

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    Guild Member heruca's Avatar
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    I really love the look of the map itself. Well done!

    But I'm afraid the text (both the font choices and the outline treatment) kinda ruins it for me.
    Looking for cross-platform virtual tabletop software that can be used with any RPG system?
    http://www.battlegroundsgames.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by heruca
    I really love the look of the map itself. Well done!

    But I'm afraid the text (both the font choices and the outline treatment) kinda ruins it for me.
    Ahhhh fonts. A bone of contention amongst cartographers for longer than any of us have been alive!

    Which type of fonts do you prefer? I do not like overly artistic fonts unless I'm going for a specific mood such as in a hand-drawn style treasure map or the like. I prefer clean fonts as found in the Arial, Berlin and similar fonts. One of my favorites is the Serlio font. (You may know Serlio by its use in the Forgotten Realms maps.)

    I believe your perspective may be a result of the map being viewed without zooming in enough. I admit that the fonts are too small and have been changing their size for the updated version.

    The outlining, well I prefer it. It is my opinion that most single-color fonts get lost somewhere on the map unless they are garishly large. One solution is to use different colors depending on the background, but since maps often indicate meaning by using different colors I tend to stay away from that approach. I prefer to use the same font settings for the general categories of things I’m naming such as forests, settlements, and different sized mountain ranges. To me, names are better discerned from their background by using outlines, shadows, highlights or pull-out boxes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Koor
    Wow, I really like that.. what did you use?
    Software used: Photoshop, Worldmachine, Illustrator.

  7. #7
    Community Leader RPMiller's Avatar
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    I really have to agree with heruca on this one. I had to zoom in to about 400% before all the fonts were showing up cleanly which meant that the raster image of the map degraded quite a bit and became pixellated. I understand what you mean about fonts, but in this case it is the difference between the map being truly incredible and just really good. :wink: If that makes any sense. To give you some idea of what I'm using to view this, I have a multimedia machine with an LCD monitor configured for PS gamma correction and all that.

    I think what is really causing the problem is that you PDF'd the map. I would like to see this map as a PNG or in its native format. I would put my money on it actually not having the same font problem.

  8. #8
    Guild Member heruca's Avatar
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    I guess my biggest issue with the fonts was the fact that they look far too modern, and the contrast of the old-looking map with the too-modern font really clashed for me (particularly on the legend). I, too, like clean fonts, and don't necessarily believe you need to use handwritten-style or calligraphy fonts to achieve a less-modern look.
    Looking for cross-platform virtual tabletop software that can be used with any RPG system?
    http://www.battlegroundsgames.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by RPMiller
    I think what is really causing the problem is that you PDF'd the map. I would like to see this map as a PNG or in its native format. I would put my money on it actually not having the same font problem.
    I agree with you. I just slapped the PDF up last night. I'll post image files as the map developes.

    The text is being reworked to make it larger. I'll experiment with a few new ones to see how I like 'em as well.

  10. #10
    Community Leader pyrandon's Avatar
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    Wow--great work!

    I must agree that the font is too "modern" for the feel of the rest of the map--or, to be more precise, I think the map's "classical" elements may be the true source of discord.

    What I mean is this: The font, the raised-relief texture of the land, the photographic detail of the mountain elevations, the ocean texture, and the crystal-clear picture quality make this a very interesting, beautiful, modern, computer generated map. On the other hand, the place names, the legend's "scroll," and the roads/settlements placement/details each hearken back to a time of divider & pen-tip cartography. Thus the elements of Kaldoras are out of place with the map's style, I think.

    This is not to say it's not a great map. (It is!!) But were I to revise this map I would either A) increase the detail & photographic qualities even more, so it is obviously a super-realistic representation of Kaldoras intended for precision in use by the players or GM, or B) mute the details--perhaps even run it through the "paint daubs" filter in Photoshop + add other softening elements/layers--and change the font style to something closer to the cartography appropriate to the setting.

    Your map raises an interesting discussion, perhaps for a different thread: is there a better or worse style for maps of differing genres? Are a set of expectations created by one type of campaign that a map should generally follow? (It seems we do, in fact, follow some, but is it necessary?) Plus, I notice many rpg maps labeled "hand drawn" or "player handout" are actually from eras much later than the campaign; is this a good idea? Just a couple ideas to play with on the philosophical level

    I hope at least 1 of my 2 cents' worth helps you. You are a great map artist! Thanks for sharing.

    PS: Just finished perusing your "True North" images, too--wow! Neat stuff! I'll have to give World Machine a second look if my brand-spanking new Bryce doesn't work out; a lot of potential with those topographical-style maps! Have you enjoyed World Machine? Has anyone else?

    --Don
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