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Thread: Very confused- Very angry! :( About to give up completely.

  1. #1

    Post Very confused- Very angry! :( About to give up completely.

    I am trying desperately to create a map for a story/world I am creating. Basically it is !VERY SIMPLE!: I need to create a large mountain range which separates this one particular area from the rest of the planet. The area has to have enough rivers, lakes, and forests for there to be separate rival Duchies. Each Duchy would be maybe 100x100 miles, and there'd be maybe 5 such Duchies. The total area would be maybe 1,500 x 1,000 miles.

    I was making the map in MSPaint, but came into too many problems. I have been trying to use Paint.Net and GIMP now, but I keep running into the same problem.

    Layers.

    When I select "Create New Layer" nothing happens. I have no indication that the layer was actually created, and if it was, no way to know which layer I am working with. To top things off, GIMP has a crappy color system; you have to create all your own colors. MSPaint at least had a preset pallete. And Paint.Net has the same thing, but I'm not so sure it's layers system even WORKS at all.

    It's so simple to do, yet, I keep running into so many problems. I've bene at this for two weeks with almost nothing to show for it except this:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v3...ve/maptry4.gif

    Which I think totally SUCKS. After looking at even a "novice" map, my own map is put to shame. And after I spent three days on it! And it's not even what I need, it's total crap for my project.

    I like how I do my forests. I even like how I did my mountains, although they SUCK.

    Do you guys have any suggestions? I'm about to give up and delete everything, even my story notes, just because I can't get the damned map just right!

    See I don't even want to do anything COMPLICATED. No fancy shading effects or shadows and all that. Just a very clean, but nice map, maybe even just ONE layer but with transparent text. But I can't even figure that out.


  2. #2
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    actually your map is prettey good for having used Gimp for such a short time.

    you can pull up a "layers" window and see all the layers. clicking on the layer will allow you to work on that layer. clicking on the eyes, turns off and on a layer.

    to see this window, click: Dialogs>Layers.

    here is a screen shot of a sig i'm making. notice all the layers.


  3. #3

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    Oooooooooohhhhhhhhhh okay.

    Well. I got that one figured out. lol

    Now I just have to figure out what "opacity" is and which layers to put as transparent and all that technical jargon. :\

  4. #4
    Administrator Facebook Connected Robbie's Avatar
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    Your absolute best bet would be to probably go run through some very basic GIMP tutorials to learn the simpler side of image manipulation. Drawing or arranging digitally is easy once you learn the basics of the software you're using.

    You're of course welcomed to go through our mapping tutorials here, but you may want to go through some 'get familiar with gimp' tutorials on the web.

    I don't know where the best place to go for those are, but I bet some of our gimp users could point you in the right direction..And you'd be surprised how much help it could be to put aside the map venture for even so much as 2 days just to work on some random gimp tutorials...you'll come out of those 2 days MUCH more familiar with the tools.

    However, my biggest advice to you as a mapper is more of a realization...you've broken what I consider rule number 1 when it comes to cartography; you've let it get to you and frustrate you. We can fix that, I'm glad you came here before giving up on your project...That tells me that google is doing its job Lets get that map of yours lookin good!
    Robbie Powell - Site Admin

  5. #5
    Community Leader RPMiller's Avatar
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    Maybe in our Tutorials/How-To we should make a sticky thread that has links to only basic tutorials. That way we can build a nice resource for new users that come in and want to get up to speed with the various software. What do you think?
    Bill Stickers is innocent! It isn't Bill's fault that he was hanging out in the wrong place.

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    Community Leader pyrandon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPMiller
    Maybe in our Tutorials/How-To we should make a sticky thread that has links to only basic tutorials. That way we can build a nice resource for new users that come in and want to get up to speed with the various software. What do you think?
    I think it's a great idea. Even better, I'd like to see someone make a verrrry simple map tutorial for each application (or at least, the most popular apps) that at once teaches 1) basics of GIMP (for example) and 2) how to make a very simple map in a popular style.

    PS: I agree with the others that your map does not at all "suck", sacred.stone; in fact, it has a LOT of great qualities. I don't even think you need to scrap it at all; that's completely modifiable with very little work.

    And "opacity" just means how "solid" the layer is; as you turn down opacity, you can see through it more. This allows for some neat blends, mixtures, & textures. (EX: on my Pollexia map, every layer is at most 80% opacity, because I wanted the texture of the parchment to bleed through.)
    Don
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  7. #7

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    So 0% opacity will be even more transparent than glass, while 100% would be a solid object?

    I really don't know what to do with my map. The valley area next to the coast seem very akward to me, and the mountain range is so small and pathetic for my purposes.

    It's kinda sad. I made my planet only 14,000 miles in circumference to make it easier to map (less area!) but I'm still confused. Oh well. I guess I'll try and look over some tutorials. If anyone has some suggestions for my map I'd appreciate it.
    Someday I will think of a joke about why it takes so many humans to short-circuit an Omnius.

  8. #8
    Administrator Facebook Connected Robbie's Avatar
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    I've learned very quickly that its hard to imagine an ecosystem when you limit the size of your world. A better idea is to limit the size of your story area, thus limiting the area of the world you need to map. If you're a completist like me though you'll still end up mapping it all, but you can at least focus on a general area thats specific to your story.

    Some things to keep in mind is the scale of the map in regards to the scale of your symbology. Large scale maps doesn't necessarily mean that you need MORE small symbols...you can scale your symbols up just as well, but that can sometimes make the area being mapped feel kinda small. So its a delicate balance you have to maintain.

    Also, in regards to your existing map. I don't think the layout is as much a problem as is the flow of your map elements. While your style of drawing mountains is promising, it doesn't blend well into the surrounding landscape. You've started some blending, but the solid black line around things like yoru forests and your mountains really keeps those elements very rigid and self-contained. if you're going to outline your map elements you might consider a finer thinner line? or perhaps not black?

    I agree about the simple basic tutorial link thread. I haven't dealt with basic tutorials though in a logn time so I'm not sure where to send people...I'll look around, but you community leaders can feel free to sticky threads as necessary.
    Robbie Powell - Site Admin

  9. #9

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    Well, I like the black outline for the forests. I think it makes them more defined.

    I found this tutorial, and it seems to be good... I dunno, I'd probably get confused half way through it:

    http://arthaey.mine.nu/~arthaey/conl...ap-making.html


    EDIT:

    I was also even thinking of not making it a PLANET at all, but a very large (the total surface area of one half of Earth) orbiting artificial environment.

    EDIT2: Yea I was right. I got confused 3 steps into it. I have no idea how to "burn" the mountains. I selected an option under the paintbrush that says "Burn" but it does nothing except turn the test-field I colored black.
    Someday I will think of a joke about why it takes so many humans to short-circuit an Omnius.

  10. #10

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    Okay here's what I've done so far with my new map creation:

    I found a topographic map of mars. Coincidentally, the low areas were blue, the high mountainous areas were red, and the middle areas were greens and yellow. Perfect! That shows me, literally, what the land would look like with oceans and seas.

    So I cut this one area that I like out, and pasted it in GIMP as the base layer. I put a layer over top of it and outlined the coastlines, rivers, and lakes.

    Next I want to figure out something for the mountains. This isn't a mountain range like, say, the Rockies, a long thin band like we see on most maps. This is more like the Himalayas in China; one big blobby wart with a few blobby warts around it. So, I'll have to break my skull open and reach in with my fingers and poke around in my brain for some ideas.

    So, now that I've outlined the coasts, all I have to do is outline the mountains and I can delete the base image of mars. Should I make mountains, coasts, and then the terrain features (forests, hlls, etc) each in their own layer? If so, what should be the opacity of each of these layers?

    And could someone help me make mountains? I'll post what I have so far.

    Thanks! I feel very good now.

    EDIT: It's 10 MB and I can't figure out how to post it. lol
    Someday I will think of a joke about why it takes so many humans to short-circuit an Omnius.

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