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Thread: Best program to redraw an existing map?

  1. #21
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    1. Once you select your drawn shape, on the Toolbar to the far right you'll see a dropdown menu that says 'None' or '0.5 pt' this is the setting for line width measured in point size. I think the default is 0.5 pt, but you can change this to whatever you want. At any time you can change the outline point size with your shape selected. I generally set my lines to 'none' though as you draw it shows as a default 0.5 pt line, but once the shape is connected the line goes away. (As an aside, if you hit the Alt key while you are drawing it forces straight lines.)

    2. I've never needed to do this, but from my understanding. Load all your image files into a directory you name whatever you want. Then in Xara open the 'Fill Gallery', click on 'Disc Fills'. Browse to the folder on your hard drive. Select and open the folder and click Add. A dialog opens and asks if you want to create an Index. Press Create. If you add images to your folder they do not appear in the folder automatically. You need to: In the Fill Gallery, click Disc Fills... Browse to your fills folder and open the folder. Select the XaraInfo folder and click Update. When asked, click Create New Index. (This is according to instructions provided for someone asking this exact question on the talkgraphics forums - copied verbatim.)

    Also if you want to change the color of a line, go to the color bar at the bottom of the page. Any color you right click will become the line color. When I create roads and such, I use a 12 point line drawn to the course I want, then I convert Line to Shape under the Edit menu. Now I can apply a color or a texture to fill the line.
    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 02-11-2014 at 05:19 PM.
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  2. #22
      Madmaxneo is offline
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    Thanks so far Gamerprinter. My next question is more of technique than functions. What is the best way to add age and wear to a map? The city hasn't been inhabited in thousands of years though it has been slightly tended to by the Griffins. I have a few overlays of dirt and similar effects but I am looking for something a bit more dynamic.

    Bruce

  3. #23
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    For many of my more grungy maps on parchment styled paper background, I import a background image with dirt, creases, smudges that fills the entire map area. I place that on top of everything else, then select the Transparency Tool. On the toolbar at the top of the page (second row), 2 dropdown boxes appear at the left side. The second dropdown box has 'mix' selected, click the dropdown and select the second option which is 'stained glass'. This allows the image to show everything behind it, filtered through its graphic detail. Black is solid, white is 100% transparent, and other colors and shades are somewhere between.

    Sometimes I also use fractal transparency to show the top layer with areas of the layers beneath peaking through.

    Sometimes I apply 2 different transparency effects to the same shape or group of shapes. However, the program normally only allows you to apply a single transparency effect. Once you apply one transparency effect, group the shape (even to itself with no other shapes - you can do this once per shape), then apply a second transparency effect.

    Here's a past Challenge Map win of one my more grungy maps: (note I don't see this final challenge map in the challenge threads - like the maps are gone...)

    Best program to redraw an existing map?-assassins-lair.jpg

    Also note, the hand-drawn line work in this map has had the same steps described above applied to it. I import my scanned hand-drawing, apply Transparency/Stained-Glass, with it as the top layer over the rest of the map. The black lines are solid, but the white space between is 100% transparent.

    Look within the chambers of the rooms in this map and see the grunge of the background showing through - this is stained glass transparency effect at work.
    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 02-12-2014 at 12:07 PM.
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  4. #24
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    I posted a link to my G+ page earlier, but actually go there and look, I have 20+ rough draft tutorials for basic mapping techniques posted there. The tutorials are intended to be useful techniques for many graphics programs, not just Xara, however, all the tutorials and maps posted were created in Xara. Its worth checking out. I have some of those tutorials posted here in the Tutorials Forum, but all of them exist on my G+ community.

    25 Quick & Dirty Map Tutorials Guide G+ Community
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  5. #25
      Madmaxneo is offline
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    That is a really cool effect. Is there a technique to creating the desired background image with dirt, creases, and smudges for the transparency?

    Bruce

  6. #26
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    I'm sure you could fake it, but, for example, I've created a parchment background that I use over and over on many maps. I took a blank piece of copy paper, folded it into 16 folds, then with my pinched fingers distressed all the folds so it wasn't one clean fold, but with appearance of having been opened and refolded many times. Then I took cigarette ashes and rubbed it all over the paper. Then took a clean, dry rag and wiped it clean of loose ashes. Then I digitally scanned that. In Xara, I created a rectangle and given a sepia tone coloration. Then I applied a fractal cloud effect and used a darker tone of sepia to the other color, so I have a mixed sepia tone rectangle. I place the scanned folded paper image on top and give that a Transparency/Stained-Glass effect and saved that to JPG.

    Now everytime I want to create an old world looking map, the above becomes the first layer of such a map.
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  7. #27
      Madmaxneo is offline
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    Gamerprinter, That is a pretty complex process but I can see how cool the after effects look. . I am doing ok with the transparency effects I have for now. Except one problem. I am able to pretty much create the effects I need with transparencies but I need to soften the edges so the transparency blends in better with the background. For example I am creating a slight grass transparency over a dirt background. The grass is spotty as the land is pretty much dead. I use the free form tool to draw my shape then I apply a transparency effect, but I can clearly see the edges of the transparency. How do I eliminate the edges?

    Bruce

  8. #28
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    With the pen tool (drawing tool) and your shape selected, look to the toolbar at the top of the page, on the far right is a dropdown box with an arrow pointing right next to it - this is the Edge Feathering tool. The dropdown accesses a sliding bar which allows you to define the size of the feather. The arrow next to it, opens a coordinate graph that allows you to adjust the contrast and gradation between the unfeathered and feathered portion of the edge.

    I use edge feathering on everything, especially bevels.

    Have you found the bevel tool yet? I use the bevel tool extensively in my maps, and you'll find a huge variety of options with bevels in Xara. The bevel tool and other special tools are found on the left side tool bar just above the magnifying glass.

    There is even a 3D extrusion tool on the same flyout as the bevel tool. This allows you to create any given shape and create a 3D extrusion of the shape that can be rotated in 3D coordinates. I don't use it a lot, but it does come in handy for unique situations and object creation. If you look at the first map I linked to in this thread, there are a pair of doors, one is open, that sit on the approach road to the castle, just as the road turns back towards the castle entrance. On the hill wall lies these doors. These are 3D extrusions.
    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 02-13-2014 at 06:40 PM.
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  9. #29
      Madmaxneo is offline
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    ok, Thanks. Now I am having another problem... Real poor pixelization when I export it then zoom in, in Maptool (the program I am using it). I was told with photoshop I could correct that so it doesn't get bad pixelization when you zoom in. Is this possible in Xara?
    Also, is there a way to reduce file size without more pixelization?

    Bruce
    Last edited by Madmaxneo; 02-13-2014 at 08:58 PM.

  10. #30
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    A couple questions back to you. What resolution are the PNG files you are using? What is the dimensions, resolution and format you are exporting? If you are exporting to JPG, how much color reduction are you saving it at. Also are you exporting in Xara and opening as JPG in Photoshop for additional enhancements or compression? Anytime you save a JPG file more than once, the file will become color lossy. I might recommend exporting to some other format, before anything done in PS, then saving as JPG then, only.

    Most textures (image fills) that I use are 300 ppi and fairly large images. Often I am printing my maps at high resolution and large format with great results. I also print smaller versions at letter size on my color laser printer, and depending on the level detail - it prints cleanly, no blurring. I also export the same maps at virtual terrain app scale which is anywhere between 50 ppi and 200 ppi depending on the VT app and connection speeds of other players using the client side of VT apps. I have never had complaints.
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