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Thread: 100% new to digital Cartography

  1. #1
      Brador is offline
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    Question 100% new to digital Cartography

    What would be the best (free) software to try my hand at some map drawing? I am mainly interested in fantasy type map drawing for table top role playing games like AD&D. I am looking for something that is easy to use as I get my feet wet but will still produce a map that doesnt look as if it was drawn by a 3 year old with Crayons. As I get a bit more experiance I might step up to a program that has to be bought but I would like to stick with something that is free at first.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
      Ascension is offline
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    Go with the free stuff first, Gimp or Inkscape. Low cost alternatives are Campaign Cartographer and Paint Shop Pro. Read through the threads in the Software Discussion section for more info and look at the Finished Maps section to see what other folks use.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
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      Mark Oliva is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    Go with the free stuff first, Gimp or Inkscape. Low cost alternatives are Campaign Cartographer and Paint Shop Pro. Read through the threads in the Software Discussion section for more info and look at the Finished Maps section to see what other folks use.
    Two equally good low cost alternatives are Fractal Mapper 8 and Dundjinni. With FM8, you also can download the complete manual-tutorial and use it with the free trial version to see if it's what you want. FM8 is a very easy program to use. So is Dundjinni, but its use for town and overland maps is a bit limited. Campaign Cartographer 3 also is a good program, but it is very difficult to learn.

    If you just want to draw maps, the free programs The GIMP and Paint.NET are excellent. However, these are graphic programs, not cartographic or map-making programs. Adobe PhotoShop (expensive) and Corel Paint Shop Pro (medium priced) are two retail alternatives in this category.

    If you want a free cartographic program, some people seem to be pretty happy with AutoRealm. I haven't used it, so I can't comment on it. But you can get it at:

    http://autorealm.sourceforge.net/download.php
    Mark Oliva
    The Vintyri (TM) Project

  4. #4
      Brador is offline
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    Thanks for the info guys.....I did download autorealm and played with it a bit. I am not sure what half of the features do yet, but what I was able to figure out just by playing with it I can see how it would have some good potential

  5. #5
      Brador is offline
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    Ok my opinion of autorealm is going down hill, Outside of learning to draw coast line and placing icon's on the map (hills, mountains, etc) I have yet to figure anything out.
    Would like to know how big or small of an image I am working with. Will it fit on 1 sheet of paper or 30?
    How do you color things in? I have figured out how to change the color of the icons I add to the map but not how to color anything in.
    99% of the buttons I have no clue what they do.

  6. #6
      pafer is offline
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    Default digital Cartography

    Cartography is a difficult thing it is study of maps. it requires lot of practice and it is now digital it is so easy

  7. #7
      Korash is offline
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    Brador - someone recently (I think) has posted the Users Manual for AutoRealm somewhere on this site. Do a search for it and you should find it.

    EDIT: you can find the PDF here.
    Last edited by Korash; 03-06-2010 at 12:17 AM. Reason: Found the post
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  8. #8
      Brador is offline
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    Thanks for the link......I will check it out

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