Mapmaking!

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Jason

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*hears something riffling in the distance*
 

Kjbartolotta

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Found my old DeviantArt account from ten(!) years ago, most of these images are too big to post so enjoy the links.

I did this for a map contest and it turned out pretty good, despite how ridiculous some of the Celtic borrowings are.

I never finished this thing, but put something like 100+ hours into it before it got borked.

I have no idea how to reproduce either of these maps. Since then, my style has gotten much simpler and uglier, since I'm only mapping for reference atm. One of the these days I might teach myself GIMP to produce a stylized BW version of this.

OfCOp21.png
 

Woollybear

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Wow! I love the sense of depth in the ocean, and the shading, and so pretty. Nicely done!
 

Albedo

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Holy Mercator, how did you make the second? Is it hand-drawn? It's gorgeous! (As it should be. Good cartography is art. Google Maps and the ugly sameness of every map now is the worst development in cartography since the Peters projection.)

i don't have too many fantasy maps, alas. I've created a lot of metro maps for cities that don't exist, though.
 

Kjbartolotta

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Holy Mercator, how did you make the second? Is it hand-drawn? It's gorgeous! (As it should be. Good cartography is art. Google Maps and the ugly sameness of every map now is the worst development in cartography since the Peters projection.)

I used one the tutorials on Cartographers guild and added so much secret sauce that I can never reproduce the recipe. All digital. It's extremely unfinished, I never could get the rivers or borders looking right. If I ever get back into I'd try for a more old-fashioned style, classic pointy mountains as opposed to the more realistic long chains.
 

Albedo

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The shading on the mountain ranges is really good. I wish I could do that. It reminds me of the late nineteenth--mid twentieth century style with hand-topographic shading that Rand McNally/Bartholemews perfected (I have strong feelings about maps). If I ever made some serious fantasy maps they'd be in that style.
 

Kjbartolotta

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You and me both. IIRC, getting the shading right on the mountains was maddening. Ultimately, I prefer a style that doesn't require the pen tool and so many intricacies of bevels and shading. I've gotten more into a pixel mapping style, good for the screen but bad for print (might dig some of those out).

Damn, now you got me thinking about maps...

... In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.

purportedly from Suárez Miranda, Travels of Prudent Men, Book Four, Ch. XLV, Lérida, 1658
 

Albedo

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Y'know, Google Earth reminds me of Borges' map. I'm not sure that's good. I'm booking a holiday to Montreal, but I've already entirely explored the city in 3D and streetview, so I don't really need to go now.
 

Kjbartolotta

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A (very cropped) example of my more recent, simplified pixely map style. Like I said, works great for online but for print, you're gonna hafta hand-draw it or learn vectors.

cRDmIAl.png


Just started a very ambitious mapping project last night, curse you mapmaking thread!!!
 

Woollybear

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LOL You are tempting me to post a rough not-done version of mine but I won't yet.

Love the natural history vibe on yours--geology and so on--climatology a bit, etc--Mine definitely has a different aspect than yours, and I call out certain details, and have no color of course. The one I'm doing is clearly influenced by Nate in the original WASD Youtube link on this thread. I'll link an example of that look and vibe, which belongs to someone else entirely, not me, but gives you an idea of what I'm slowly generating.

https://www.reddit.com/r/mapmaking/comments/9w421n/ive_started_a_dd_campaign_in_the_past_few_months/

Like I said, fantasy world building, D&D campaign feel--but it works for the novel and I'm enjoying it. :) I also keep referring to the Narnia map, because frankly, I think it's fantastic:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07453NQLK/?tag=absowrit-20

Particularly the trees... And labels, coastline, borders.

(I've been working on my appendices today, which currently have eight sections ranging from timeline to world religions to glossary of terms. I need to work on the map... but have fallen into this other hole today and that's good to get done, too.)
 
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Kjbartolotta

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I really like the classic, hand-drawn mapmaking style (and trust me, I have those too), but can't draw for pudding. People can do amazing things with stamps and brushes tho, but hand-drawn always has that certain something. Now I want a drawing tablet.
 

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I really like the classic, hand-drawn mapmaking style (and trust me, I have those too), but can't draw for pudding. People can do amazing things with stamps and brushes tho, but hand-drawn always has that certain something. Now I want a drawing tablet.

Use software to generate the draft, then use tracing paper or graph paper to copy it by hand?
 

Kjbartolotta

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Use software to generate the draft, then use tracing paper or graph paper to copy it by hand?

Heh, that's one way to do it, but I usually go in reverse. Digital is so forgiving and there are so many fun techniques that never *quite* look authentic but are so close. Dunno, like I said I'm now so much more information over aesthetics than I used to be, curious how I'd go about it if I ever need to do a 'pretty' map.
 

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After discussing this with the mods, I started a thread for map discussion in Art & Design.

Several of the mods pointed out that SF & F are not the only writers who create maps, so a less genre specific thread for disussing and posting images of maps you create seems to make more sense.
 

Jason

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So, after getting kind of excited about trying to put together my own map and posting it in the new thread, it occurred to me to see if any colleges offered classes on map-making (or cartography), and while there are lots of courses and entire degrees in this field, it seems like everything is focused on the digital side of things using software and computers (think Esri, and GIS - Geographic Information Systems). I took a look at this site: https://www.esri.com/training/new-and-retired-training/ to see if there are any official courses that had previously been offered here and did not see any.

While I realize that digital is the way things have been going, just like anything artistic, there's something more powerful to me about something created by hand that just takes things to the next level. Then it occurred to me - wonder if there would be enough interest to enlist the talents of people like Nathan (from the first post on Youtube) to assemble a course of sorts on how to hand draw maps and cartography. I can't imagine the audience of people would be so small that there's no interest whatsoever.

Thoughts? Would anyone know of where to go, or how to go about generating interest in hand drawing maps?
 

mrsmig

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Seconded, provided we're all super-good about obeying the rule on image sizes, I'd love to get a map thread going. Wish I still had my old ones, but might still have a map or two to share...

There are a couple of threads (mostly in the nature section) that have large images in them, with a warning in the title about the size of those images. You could ask the AW Admin if it would be okay to start a map thread with a similar caveat.

I've been asked a couple of times by readers of my fantasy series if I'm going to have maps of my world available. It's one of those things I never had time for when I was on a trade publisher's schedule, but the idea of having them available on my website is intriguing.
 
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AW Admin

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There are a couple of threads (mostly in the nature section) that have large images in them, with a warning in the title about the size of those images. You could ask the AW Admin if it would be okay to start a map thread with a similar caveat.

I've been asked a couple of times by readers of my fantasy series if I'm going to have maps of my world available. It's one of those things I never had time for when I was on a trade publisher's schedule, but the idea of having them available on my website is intriguing.

I started a thread for posting images of maps by members in Art and Design.
 

Woollybear

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Has anyone here used Intuos / Wacom? It's a pad that interfaces with photoshop so you can do everything via stylus.

I'll be transitioning to that but am a-quaking in my boots about it, because I have never used it. Like it's gonna be a huge learning curve and time sink.

Hubby bought the thing a few years ago, and uses it; Daughter uses it when she's home, and I've never touched it. So am nervous but if anyone here is a sounding board or can throw me a supportive 'there, there, it's just technology, you can handle this,' that would help get me past the hump.

:nervous:
 
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Woollybear

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I've been asked a couple of times by readers of my fantasy series if I'm going to have maps of my world available. It's one of those things I never had time for when I was on a trade publisher's schedule, but the idea of having them available on my website is intriguing.

Your rifts sound so cool, and I'd love to see a map. And fwiw I've found drawing to be creatively fulfilling--like it meets a need when the writing isn't going anywhere for some reason. You probably have that sort of experience with performance.

I can't say that my map is any good, but it's useful to readers, makes the world more real, and has been satisfying to work on.
 
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AW Admin

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Has anyone here used Intuos / Wacom? It's a pad that interfaces with photoshop so you can do everything via stylus.

I'll be transitioning to that but am a-quaking in my boots about it, because I have never used it. Like it's gonna be a huge learning curve and time sink.

Hubby bought the thing a few years ago, and uses it; Daughter uses it when she's home, and I've never touched it. So am nervous but if anyone here is a sounding board or can throw me a supportive 'there, there, it's just technology, you can handle this,' that would help get me past the hump.

:nervous:

Just play with it, and go look at the videos on Adobe's and Intuos sites, and on You Tube.
 

Jason

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Yes I’ve used Wacom a lot in a previous life of photography but have not picked one up in a while. You can start small for less than $50 I think but if it’s like anything else you’ll end up wishing you’d invested more initially and not gone the incremental route.

I think the Bamboo Fun is the entry level one these days.
 

Woollybear

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We have the tablet--I think it's top of the line but really have no idea about these things. The idea about watching videos on the programs is good.

I could use some "beta readers" for my map mock up. If any of you are free to give feedback... about font, greyscale, things that work for you and don't work, shoot me a pm?

I'm generally content with how it's coming along. Current mockup was just a matter of copying a bunch of cropped layers into Preview (on my laptop). No Wacom yet. Tons of layers because I'm playing with locations of things. Huge file size because I'm trying to keep all information on each layer. (this is becoming a problem, LOL, MORE MEMORY!)
 
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Jason

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That’s the problem I have with Photoshop - it’s a pixel-based editor and does destructive editing when you flatten. The only way to retain edit functions in to save as PSD files with massive sizes.

I have long since switched to Lightroom which is a vector based editor so doesn’t take up anywhere near the file size requirements as it’s heavier partner - full Photoshop. My only problem here is that the last version that had perpetual licensing was LR3, and that doesn’t support the raw files for my current camera. My workaround for now is to convert to a DNG (adobe digital negative - which is an open sourced raw converter put out by Adobe.)

So, my option is to stay where I’m at and keep the extra step in my workflow or switch to paying Adobe $20 a month for life.

That said, my workflow is for photos that are created in a camera and you would be from a scan so considerably easier. You might want to look at it if you’re running into hardware and memory limits. I’m not sure how advanced it’s drawing capabilities have come since LR3, but know they’ve been touted.
 
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