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Thread: Free Cartography Software

  1. #1
    Guild Applicant
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    Help Free Cartography Software

    I am looking for free software that will help me make a continent map for D&D (v.3.5) that looks old papery and hand drawn (but good hand drawn)

  2. #2
      Redrobes is offline
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    The software list is here
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...pping-Software

    and my advice is to look in the finished maps section. There is a thumbnails page where you can browse loads of map pics. Look for the ones you like and see what they used to make it. Click on their name to get to the thread.
    http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...ed-Maps-Thumbs

  3. #3
    Guild Journeyer Gallifreyan's Avatar
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    You should download Gimp. These are two Gimp tutorials that show what Gimp can do: Hand-Drawn Mapping (for the Artistically Challenged) and Creating old, weathered paper using the Gimp. There many other excellent Gimp tutorials in the Guild.

    Here is the website for Gimp.
    Last edited by Gallifreyan; 08-10-2010 at 05:10 PM. Reason: typo
    Induite vos armaturam Dei
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  4. #4
      Sheelon666 is offline
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    Prepares some cover:

    What is the general opinion of Autorealm for mapping? Been casting about for an alternative while I practise with Gimp (skill level currently about 1-2%) and it seems like a cheap (read free) version of CC3 but with a hell of a lot less whistles and bells.

  5. #5
    Guild Artisan Greason Wolfe's Avatar
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    If you're interested in AutoRealm, one of the members here (Vandy) compiled all the "Tutorial"/User Guide information into one PDF document located here;

    http://www.cartographersguild.com/sh...ll=1#post41356

    GW
    When nothing is going right and you can't find someone else to blame, start beating your head against the wall, 'cause it'll feel so much better when you stop.

  6. #6
      Sheelon666 is offline
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    Been reading that today, but just looking for a heads up as to how easy (wrong word choice perhaps) or perhaps worthwhile each investment in time might be.

  7. #7
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Autorealm is pretty easy to use, but in my opinion, it doesn't produce very nice-looking results. It's said that the artist is more important than the tool, and that's true, but a good artist will almost always choose the best tools available (unless using a difficult tool is the point of the exercise).

    Gimp is the king of free graphics apps, and the tutorials found here can get you mapping in a fraction of the time of trying to figure it out on your own. In addition to the two that Gally recommended, also look into RobA's venerable artistic regional map tutorial.
    Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
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  8. #8
      Hai-Etlik is offline
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    Besides The GIMP, you may want to look at Inkscape. It's more akin to Autorealm in being a vector graphics editor (The GIMP works with raster graphics), though it's a much more general one. You may find better suited to your your way of working, or you may not, but I recommend you try both. You may even find it best to start in Inkscape and finish in The GIMP.

    If you want to try playing with a real Geographic Information System, which really isn't what you asked for, but which you may want if the cartography bug bites hard enough, there's QuantumGIS. It will let you do things like switch projections or check the distribution of orc tribes against the carrying capacity of the local ecosystem to make sure they don't starve themselves out.

  9. #9
      Sheelon666 is offline
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    Went through the AutoREALM users guide the other night, and after about 2 hours had a VERY basic map, albeit with not a lot of features and some problem areas I just could not get to work on my first go. ATM I'm putting AutoREALM on back burner and going to go through the Gimp Tutes in detail and see how that works out. Thanks for the advice folks.

  10. #10
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    Default Map projections

    Quote Originally Posted by Hai-Etlik View Post
    Besides The GIMP, you may want to look at Inkscape. It's more akin to Autorealm in being a vector graphics editor (The GIMP works with raster graphics), though it's a much more general one. You may find better suited to your your way of working, or you may not, but I recommend you try both. You may even find it best to start in Inkscape and finish in The GIMP.

    If you want to try playing with a real Geographic Information System, which really isn't what you asked for, but which you may want if the cartography bug bites hard enough, there's QuantumGIS. It will let you do things like switch projections or check the distribution of orc tribes against the carrying capacity of the local ecosystem to make sure they don't starve themselves out.
    Hello everyone!
    First, a short 1-paragraph history about me and fantasy worlds:

    Mainly in the 90s I used to play RPGs with friends, above all "The Dark Eye" and another game invented by ourselves (of course, inspired by games and fantasy worlds we already knew) that we simply used to call "the right adventure" (ah, our primary language is Italian but we speak Sardinian too - obviously Sardinia is where we are from - and that name was a direct translation from local Sardinian... that strangely make more understandable sense in English than in in Italian! ). It was a magicless and monsterless world, similar to Medieval Earth but with its own continents, civilizations, history and so on... and with our own playing rules (e.g. the combination of 2 "d6" dice in order to have a "d36"). I prepared a map, then we added our own home-nations (for example, one of my friends, fan of Howard's stories, placed his own version of Cimmeria, named Kimmeria, another one who liked Vikings and Celts created his Xeltia, and so on...) and other "States" and civilizations we invented. This map was realized on paper and I prepared it paying attention to the shape of the planet and I choosed my own projection, that very later I discovered to be named sinusoidal.

    Some years after the end of active playing, one of my friends (the one who particularly likes Howard's worlds) began to write a book inspired by our old "adventures" in that world, so he needed regional maps. I scannered a copy of the old map and started to look for map projection converters but I did't find anything that was directly exploitable, the only important thing I understood was that the best manageable map projection was the equirectangular one, but I din't have any program, so... I created my own grid and started to stretch the map with PAINT (!) and then with an useful free program that I discovered, the notorious GIMP, and I worked also on hundreds and hundreds of single pixel lines... a very long work that took 1 year and a half but that gave me satisfaction with an equirectangular map that I can also put on a Google Earth "sphere" and that I can manage in many ways.

    But I still needed different projections for local maps, like azimuthal ones to be locally developped by my friend and me, and I wandered surfing the net, and finally I discovered this forum and downloaded the program you said... but it seems not to satisfy my aim... I am just looking for an as-simple-as-possible program that can change projection; I am able to give geographic coordinates for each point of the map (my knowlwdge about geography, topography and so on is quite good... the map is easy to be georeferenced!). If something isn't clear just ask me; every kind of aid&suggestion is welcome and if you like I can suggest to my friend to put something you like (names, civilizations...) into his story and consequently in our "realistic fantasy" world... Don't exclude that this book could become (real)worldwide famous!

    I'm sorry if my English syntax is not perfect and I am thankful even to everyone who has spent few minutes just to read.

    ...And if you have any questions about whatever you want, just ask... I think I'll be pleased to answer
    Last edited by occasionalcartographer; 08-03-2013 at 09:55 AM. Reason: closer to perfection :)

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