Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
Like Tree2Likes

Thread: Newbridge, NJ - From the Best Show on WFMU

  1. #1
      JRSly is offline
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    10

    Default Newbridge, NJ - From the Best Show on WFMU

    It's not exactly much right now, but after reading tons of tutorials and admiring dozens of other people's maps I'm excited to be able to start a thread for a map of my own. And I think having a thread will help me keep my motivation and make the whole process more enjoyable as I don't really have anyone else to appreciate mapmaking talk.

    So first, some context for those unaware of the radio show, The Best Show on WFMU was a call-in show that aired for thirteen years out of Jersey City, hosted by comedy writer Tom Scharpling. Frequently, among the many genuine callers, Scharpling's comedy partner Jon Wurster would call as one of his many, many bizarre and hilarious characters and he and Tom would proceed for twenty, thirty..maybe forty minutes talking about random insanity just as if it was any regular call in to the show. More often than not, the caller would be from or live near the fictional town of Newbridge, NJ, also Tom's supposed hometown. Over thirteen years, Newbridge developed into a character of its own, an absurd, Spingfield-ian place with a seemingly endless amount of strange shops and stranger citizens. After contemplating the idea for a while, I finally decided this year that I'd set out to make a map of the place.

    Like I say, thirteen years..it's a long time, lot of shows to listen to. Through other listeners/collectors and WFMU's own digital archive, I amassed my own collection of every single Wurster call, just over 600 tracks. Through the Best Show Gems podcast, I already had a lot of Wurster calls that I'd listened to over the last few years, but I wasn't in mapmaking mode back then and so I had no choice but to listen to all of them from the beginning to try to gleam as much knowledge of Newbridge as I could. It was a bit of a chore, but it was hysterical stuff, so there is definitely worst research to be done out there. A typical episode might include a line like, "You know the McDonalds out on Route 1276?....", so I'd make a note in my Evernote file under "streets" for Route 1276 and include a note under that about McDonalds. Newbridge Commons is the oft-mentioned shopping center/mall, around thirty stores were subtly mentioned on the show. Other stores or businesses are brought up without any locational context. Then there's the natural features-Newbridge River, Newbridge Sea, Mount Newbridge, the um..Newbridge Rain Forest. So I listen to hundreds of calls and end up this long list of streets, stores, neighborhoods, natural elements, and residents and have to try to weave it all together in a way that makes sense. Surprisingly, for an exercise in just being silly and making people laugh, I didn't run into many contradictions or conflicts, the team did a really impressive job of keeping all the stories straight.

    First things first, it seemed best to start with the geography, sort out where all the water features and mountains would be and the build around them. After that was established, I've been on an ongoing crash course in city planning and historical urban evolution to try to get into the "mindset of a city", how/when/where it exactly started and how/when/where it would expand and what would go here and what would go there. That's been probably my biggest obstacle, it's hard to find tutorials and "philosophies" on modern city map making in the sea of information on regional and fantasy maps. I roughed out an idea of what neighborhoods and areas would develop in certain places and for certain reasons and what types of stores and people you would find there. Then I started laying down the arterial roadways and now I'm too the point of filling in the areas between those major thoroughfares. This is kinda the point I'm at with the first image I'll attach. Now's the time for laying down all the shorter in-between roads, designing major buildings like sports stadiums and high schools, and laying down hundreds of houses and generic building shapes. The nice thing is, with as bonkers as they've established the town to be, I really can't go wrong. The more wild and impractical and goofy it ends up looking, it probably makes it seem all the more authentic. Oh, and before I got started in earnest I wanted to work out how I'd label the map, at first in my most naive moments I thought I'd be able to label each point of interest directly on the map with full text but after a couple false starts and scale changes I realized that the scale necessary to fully encompass the scope of the city wouldn't allow for that and so I settled on number callouts that would reference different types of buildings based on their color. I finally figured out a method that I liked where the reference numbers popped well and were easily read atop any area of the map. The callouts with text in them are just placeholders where I was roughly laying out where the stores might go. And all the "Main Streets" were just copy and pastes just to give me an idea of how labeling would look, I'll be making up a lot of street names and conventions as I progress.

    Okay, so maybe a little bit about the way I approached the map from a technical standpoint and then I'll shut up for now. I'm making the map in Photoshop CS5, the full size image is 36" x 24" since I have hopes of printing and framing it when I'm done. A lot of the cosmetic stuff is up in the air, but I've basically nailed down the color scheme I like and the overall formatting. I'm going for something in between a generic municipal map and something more detailed like Google Maps. At this scale, I like seeing individual buildings and homes, but I don't want to get too bogged down with the details of fully rendered structures and trees and ground. It's probably a bit flashier than a real city map would be, but it's more fun to have an extra layer of detail. I've made, and will surely make more, several custom brushes that suit my needs, brushes for certain sized roads that make it easy to quickly put down a street or an avenue or an interstate. Tree brushes that have angle and size jitters to quickly drop in some greenery, Building brushes that have some size and roundness jittering and follow my pen angle so I can easily lay down a neighborhood along the side of a street. I'm trying to draw everything on just a few layers and using layer styles to provide consistent, convenient looks to everything. The road layer has a texture and an outer glow that serves as an outline so it's very easy to draw an interconnected network. The buildings and trees are the same but also with a drop shadow to give them some dimension. Oh, and eventually there will be topography shown, at least to indicate the mountains and cliffs clearly.

    Phew, I think that's all for now...I apologize, I can tend to ramble at first, but it's a place I've been "living" for a few months now so it's hard not to go on and on when discussing it, I'm sure that's a notion plenty of you folks can understand. I'm curious to see what people think of approach graphically and I also had a couple questions to get opinions on. When it comes to buildings, my thinking was I'd basically present the footprint, at least for distinct places like the correctional facility seen on Monster Island or the college or airport, and most the buildings will end up being rectangles and squares. But now I'm wondering, if I specifically design ANY buildings, will the generic buildings look weird by contrast? I'm especially thinking about houses, plenty of office buildings are going to be squares, but I hadn't been planning on making any specific looking homes. It just seemed like too gargantuan of a task, because while I could design and mix and match say, a dozen different homes, they wouldn't be as easy to quickly lay down in strips as I can currently with my building brush. I'd have to do a lot of careful sizing/moving/rotating of hundreds of homes. So I've included a detail shot of the look of the homes as they are now. And second question is about the legend. A running gag on the show was mentioning a store and contextualizing it by mentioned what used to be there or what was next to it before it met some strange end. I wanted to include this aspect of the calls by notating places that were closed or destroyed. I'm undecided on how exactly I want to do this, in the other detail shot you can see the two methods I'm toying with, either grayed text or text with a strikethrough. I'm curious to hear what you all feel works best and is the most readable.

    Thanks for looking!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Newbridge, NJ - From the Best Show on WFMU-newbridgemap_fullview.jpg   Newbridge, NJ - From the Best Show on WFMU-newbridgemap_details.jpg   Newbridge, NJ - From the Best Show on WFMU-newbridgemap_legenddetail.jpg  
    Last edited by JRSly; 06-24-2014 at 02:24 AM.
    Neyjour and Francissimo like this.

  2. #2
      jkat718 is offline
    Guild Journeyer jkat718's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY USA
    Posts
    100

    Default

    What an interesting premise! Wow, this actually sounds like it will a load of fun, not just for us, reading these maps, but for you, too! Good luck, and know that I, for one, am keeping an eye on your progress.

  3. #3
      JRSly is offline
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jkat718 View Post
    What an interesting premise! Wow, this actually sounds like it will a load of fun, not just for us, reading these maps, but for you, too! Good luck, and know that I, for one, am keeping an eye on your progress.
    Thanks for checking it out jkat! I'm only realizing, even after the months of research and accumulating information, that it's going to be a big job and sometimes tedious, but it is a lot of fun. It's almost surreal making these places "real" by visualizing them this way after they only existing in en ephemeral way in my head for years, I guess almost in the same way of seeing a radio show character or literary character visualized in an illustration or movie.

    Weekly-ish update. Not as far along as I would've liked to have reached, largely due to a power failure which led to a corrupted PSD file which meant I lost a few days of work. Luckily, I'd saved a copy in the cloud and had a really good palce to have to start from, I think I might've cried if I hadn't had that copy. But I'm taking super-precautions now and backing it up in triplicate every couple hours. I've dropped in a lot of residential areas, one of the high schools and basically finished up one of the really big landmarks of the town, the Commons. That was really satisfying to see come together. I also thought it might help if I roughly laid out any specific points of interest where a location was actually stated on the show. Position absolutely everything in a canonical way and work out from there. And as you can see, comparing the dots on the map to the list of locations in the legend, there aren't a whole lot of points that were explicitly positioned on the radio show...which could be a good or bad thing, I'm the kind of person that often likes to be able to follow instructions and guidelines, but it also means I have a ton of leeway for creativity and can rarely be "wrong".
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Newbridge, NJ - From the Best Show on WFMU-newbridgemap_fullview_7-3.jpg  

  4. #4
      Lyandra is offline
    Guild Adept Gracious Donor Lyandra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    498

    Default

    Looks like an interesting project. Your map is progressing nicely.

  5. #5
      JRSly is offline
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Most recently, I thought it best to back off on filling too many more areas with side streets and houses until I had the larger elements in place so it wouldn't be difficult to fit them in later on. So I drew up the (three!) colleges, airport, and zoo. Next I'm going to move onto the schools and sports venues and factories. I think then I'll have all larger-than-typical structures made and the rest of the list will be easy to squeeze in just about anywhere.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Newbridge, NJ - From the Best Show on WFMU-newbridgemap_v3_7-9.jpg  

  6. #6
      Ilanthar is offline
    Guild Artisan Ilanthar's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    France
    Posts
    846

    Default

    Huge project! It looks very nice so far.

  7. #7
    Guild Journeyer Francissimo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Saint Jean d'Angely France
    Posts
    221

    Default

    Even at the begining of the map it's already impressive, if you finished that monster (how many days of work??) that will be a great masterpiece for sure.

  8. #8
      JRSly is offline
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    10

    Default

    It'd be hard to venture a guess on the days invested so far. But it's been and still is fun, so I'm confident I'll push through to the end. Thanks for checking it out.

  9. #9
    Guild Journeyer Francissimo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Saint Jean d'Angely France
    Posts
    221

    Default

    When you like what you do it's not really work
    Hope too see more of that impressive work, and your project seems really cool too, you should definitly try to send your finished map to the authors of the show that inspired you!

  10. #10
      JRSly is offline
    Guild Novice
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    10

    Default

    I actually did post it at a forum connected to the show, there's always been a strong community online and a good connection between the host and the community. None of the higher ups have commented on the map yet, but all the fans who have commented were very enthusiastic so that's been very satisfying. I had a fear of doing that and everyone feeling like I interpreted everything wrong.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •