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Thread: Best program to redraw an existing map?

  1. #11
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    And you know JT, that I agree that GIMP is a great FREE image editor and used by many cartographers pros and amateurs alike. Madmaxneo mentions his familiarity with Illustrator and preferring to work with vectors. I'd have pointed out Inkscape as a vector program since it too is FREE, but he mentioned it not fitting his needs having some experience with it. With those parameters in mind, Xara is a good solution.
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  2. #12
    Guild Artisan Jacktannery's Avatar
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    No problem - I wasn't trying to rain on your parade Gameprinter, I was just pointing out a couple of things to the do OP; if he views seamless textures as an image that image-tools can process, rather than as something that comes with image programmes, that can only be a good thing.

  3. #13
      Madmaxneo is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacktannery View Post
    Sounds like Gameprinter has already provided you with excellent advise, but since you specified free programmes I will mentions a few things.

    1) Are you sure you need a vector programme? If you are just making combat maps for roll20/VTT use then you really don not need a vector-based programme at all. I use vector-based programme for work where millimetre accuracy is key, but raster-based programmes for VTT maps where lighting and atmosphere is more important to me.

    2) GIMP & textures: you really don't need to import your textures into GIMP as textures. Just keep them as .PNGs. Presumably you are talking about a Seamless Texture? I never use these but this is how to in GIMP:
    -a) drop the .png seamless texture into an open gimp document by drag and drop (or 'import' if you prefer)
    -b) scale the texture bigger or smaller based on your needs. It should look like a small square in the middle of the larger image.
    -c) take note of the dimensions of your image (not the texture layer!) in pixels. If you can't remember, go to IMAGE>IMAGE PROPERTIES and take note.
    -d) while on the texture layer, go to FILTERS>MAP>TILE and bring up the tile dialogue box. Enter your image dimensions and unclick 'new image', then press enter.
    RESULT: your seamless texture now fills the entire image. You can delete the bits you don't want but you should really look up jpfrazier's layer mask tutorial and use that instead.

    Although this might seem complicate in time you will see it is very simple and much more powerful than maptools.
    I think a vector program is my only real choice right now. I have tried manipulating the objects I place in Gimp to match the original image I am trying to re-draw, but it doesn't work well. I also haven't been able to figure out how to manipulate layers in Gimp so that I can create multiple basic shapes or objects and be able to go back and re-manipulate them when I need to.

    One thing I need to use vectoring for is setting up a transparent shape, forming it to the shape in the original image, and then filling it with the desired texture. I figured out how to do all that in a matter of minutes in Xara. It took me the better part of a day to figure out how to do a transparency with an image in Gimp, and I still don't have it right as I have been unable to add then manipulate more than one layer in Gimp. Then I have to figure out how to change the shape to fit the original shape on the map.
    Right now I have only two days to finish the first part of this project.

    Bruce
    Last edited by Madmaxneo; 02-11-2014 at 10:47 AM.

  4. #14
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Well, good luck in your cartographic endeavors, Madmaxneo! If you have an questions regarding Xara or tips needed, just ask, I am always hanging around. If you have Xara in the title of any thread, I'll find it.
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  5. #15
    Guild Artisan Jacktannery's Avatar
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    Yes good luck Max, and I look forward to seeing your maps.

  6. #16
      Madmaxneo is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacktannery View Post
    Yes good luck Max, and I look forward to seeing your maps.
    Well this first one I am not sure if I will be able to post it. I can't remember if the original map was a free download or part of another product I purchased. I will have to ask ICE about that.

    Gamerprinter, I put the word out about your fantasy printing site. I am not sure if ICE is aware of your services but I didn't see them listed on your site. There are quite a few people that want updated versions of the Shadow World poster maps, me included.

    I need some Xara Help now.
    1. How do I scale the textures so they come out with much better detail in a close up range. I have already set the scale of my original image to 20000 px by 16500 px so I can good close up quality.
    2. Is there a way to add an entire library of textures to Xara instead of adding each folder individually?

    Bruce
    Last edited by Madmaxneo; 02-11-2014 at 03:06 PM.

  7. #17
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Bruce, when you apply the texture fill, 2 lines as a coordinate appear on or near your selected shape. If you click your mouse on either end of the coordinate, you can move towards the center to shrink the image, or pull it out to enlarge it. You can also move the coordinate around to rotate your texture fill. Make sure to select 'bitmap', next to it is a dropdown menu with 'single tile', 'repeating tile' or 'repeating tile inverted', if you're going for image repeat, select either of the last 2 - sometimes its better with either option depending on your image file.

    I see that you're setting this up in pixels, which is fine, but usually when I create a map, I do it in inches. When you first open the program, under File/New, I usually select 'US Letter (blank)'. Then under File/Page Options, I select 'Custom' and change the dimensions to something I'd normally print, like Tabloid, 18" x 24", 24" x 36" or 36" x 48" or whatever my final intended size. Since I run a print shop, I think in terms of total dimensions in inches and never worry about pixels. Once I complete a map, then I export the file to JPG, PNG, PDF, or some other format and only then do I decide on pixels per inch. So if this is for use in a VT application, like Roll20 for example, optimal size is 70 inches by 70 inches at 70 ppi. I export to whatever format, pixels and dimensions the intended use for the map.
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  8. #18
      Madmaxneo is offline
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    I usually also set it up in inches but didn't this time.
    I am having another problem which can probably be fixed in the settings somewhere but I can't seem to find it. Xara is always on top, the only way to see other windows like my browser, is to minimize it. Where is the setting for this?

  9. #19
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Hmmm, I've never encountered that. I too use multiple applications at once, and have no problem with Xara wanting to stay on top. Not that there isn't an issue, I'm not aware of the problem nor how to fix that. I'd go to the Talkgraphics.com forum and post your question there. I can help you regarding tools and techniques, but this kind of question I'm not so sure.
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  10. #20
      Madmaxneo is offline
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    Not a big deal, I actually downloaded the previous version, a common practice for me.
    You might have missed this.
    1. Repeat question; How do I import/convert my entire library of textures instead of doing it one folder at a time?

    Bruce
    Last edited by Madmaxneo; 02-11-2014 at 04:33 PM.

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