Club PA 2.0 has arrived! If you'd like to access some extra PA content and help support the forums, check it out at patreon.com/ClubPA
The image size limit has been raised to 1mb! Anything larger than that should be linked to. This is a HARD limit, please do not abuse it.
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Map for review

gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
edited July 2010 in Artist's Corner
Hello New Member here:

I'm one of the regulars at the Cartographers' Guild. Here's my latest map a hand-drawn styled regional map for a Celtic campaign. There's a mix of hand-drawn and digital effects in this work. How does it work for you?

slavers-thumb.jpg

Link to larger file:
Celtic Slavers map

GP

gamerprinter on
«1

Posts

  • MetalbourneMetalbourne Inside a cluster b personalityRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    You have a lot of real estate being taken up by those borders. I'd shrink them down some.

    Otherwise, good map

    Metalbourne on
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Usually I don't place borders at all, just an experiment with the Celtic knotwork border is all, thanks!

    Here's another map of mine, though this one is strictly digital creation - 3D objects; beveling, transparency, drop shadows on stacked layers with photo textures. Kind of extreme from one style to another...

    This map I was experimenting with undersea depth effects with stacked semi-transparent blue layers to simulate depth.

    ryukyo-thumb.jpg

    Link to larger file:
    Sea Dragon City map

    GP

    gamerprinter on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    *e: About the map your first post :e*

    From a cartographers perspective the map misses a scale bar and an easy to spot north arrow.

    There are some more problems you should hammer out, Ima list them:
    • JPEG artefacts. It's a huge file, reconsider saving it as a high quality jpeg or a png. Also consider making a .pdf version.
    • You have the two coats of arms twice on the map for no reason at all. I would remove the ones at the top.
    • Cheap shadow effect on the bottom coats of arms needs to go, it's supposed to be a drawn map. Shadow effects have no place in that
    • Denallion's coat of arms is a very nice design, but zooming in on it it looks as if you drew it on green paper, cut it out and then scanned it in. That looks very wonky. You'd get better results if you drew the whole thing on white paper with a nice fineliner, scanned it in and did the colours on the PC.
    • Copy/paste work: Looking at Irons Town it seems you just shrunk a drawing of a hut and dragged it to that corner. It looks very cheap and sleazy.
    • Discrepancy in art styles: this stems from the copy/paste thing, but the red/gold border does not seem to mesh very well with the rest of the map.

    Now I must say I envy your skills in drawing mountain ranges, those look great.

    I'd like to know what your work process has been on this. I think you have quite some skill with this sort of thing, but you are losing a lot of that in the final product because you have to digitalize it and have no idea what looks good and what doesn't.

    Aldo on
    Elendil wrote: »
    said Aldo hazily, before clop-clop-clopping out of the room
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Basically I hand-draw sections of the map, that is I draw in the mountain ranges, scan it and place in my compositing app, then I draw the coastline, hills and rivers on the west coast, scan it, etc, then the large river and forest on the east side.

    To make things really wonky, and it explains why things to seem to match is that I created the border first and the map later - which is not my normal workflow, just an experiment on this map only.

    I use Xara Xtreme Pro 4.0 to do all the compositing and color - as well as bevels and drop shadows, that you've already noted do not belong.

    In many ways this was an experimental map with some new techniques, it is not intended for actual use by me in game, or for a publication. I am a pro fantasy cartographer, however, with commissions by many private users and publishers - Iron Crown Enterprises, Mongoose Publishing, Dog House Rulez, Mythic Games, 12 to Midnight and others. I even created this year's Modern Symbol set for ProFantasy - which is yet to be published.

    On the side, I just completed my first Pathfinder adventure module with 13 maps I created and some illustrations too, though I hired pro illustrators for most of the work.

    GP

    gamerprinter on
  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I like it except for the drop shadow on the designs. It gives it a very digital look. Also, the outer glow on the letters, why did you add it?

    MagicToaster on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Aha, I was looking at that second map and thought to myself "is this by the same guy?"

    Experimentation is great and I hope some of the locals of Artist's Corner bother to shine their light on it too, because they might be able to explain better why that first map isn't as it good as it could be.

    Basically, my critique is: it really shows that the borders and the actual map are not part of one integral work.

    Also, you don't have to sign your posts, we can see who you are just fine.

    Aldo on
    Elendil wrote: »
    said Aldo hazily, before clop-clop-clopping out of the room
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited October 2009
    The outer glow is another type of shadow available in Xara Xtreme - its basically a glow or halo shadow. Once I create the shadow the default color is black. I unselect the text. Go to the color bar, select the color I want, in this case white and drag and drop onto the shadow only and it changes color. Its a digital way to place text onto complex backgrounds so it can be more easily read.

    Again all the drop shadows placed on the Celtic knotwork was done before I created the map itself. I suppose if I did it the other way around, I may not have used drop shadows at all.

    Thanks for the comments.

    (Signing posts, is just a habit from other forums where many others do it to...:P )

    gamerprinter on
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited October 2009
    And to really throw the loop, here's a map that has more digital effects combined with hand-drawn work. This is a Japanese castle town map, called Tsue-jo which is featured in the second upcoming publication of mine following my first which was released yesterday. The product is called The Gift: Part 1, (of 3 part mini-campaign arc, set in my Kaidan: a Japanese Ghost Story setting.

    tsue-jo-thumb.jpg

    Edit: regarding the missing scale bar in map one. The intention was this map is a creation based on second-hand information and the known distances are not known, as the explorer who ventured into the mapped region to the west died before he made it home. All the information regarding the map was obtained from a Commune with Dead spell, so scale is actually unknown. Weird, I know, but that was the intent with the first map.

    gamerprinter on
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Most of the maps I design are intended for print, so when I digitize them to post in forums I increase the JPG compression so I make a reasonably small image to post online. Generally I scan at 300 ppi and composit the map at 300 ppi, its at export to reduced JPGs that the artifacts and such show up. In my original file, none of these things exist (artifacts, etc.)

    I guess I'm not thoroughly reading all the feedback, so this is a belated response to one of the above posts. I'll read more carefully next time and post answers more completely.

    gamerprinter on
  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Draw and letter it by hand, will look 100x better.

    rts on
    skype: rtschutter
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited October 2009
    cakemikz wrote: »
    Draw and letter it by hand, will look 100x better.

    Not that my hand-lettering skills are terrible, but its not consistent enough for my taste, though I can agree on that point of view.

    I pulled Celtic knotwork border, as it really is quite busy, and being completely digital, I thought it took away from the effect of the map itself. Took in the points of hidden compass rose and lack of scale bar, so I included them or made less hidden. I also enlarged the map itself to take up more real estate. I threw in a map title to fill the space to better show the compass rose and scale.

    Not hand-lettered, but improved?

    slave-trade-thumb.jpg

    Link to larger file:
    Slave Trade Map

    gamerprinter on
  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    The inconsistency is what makes it looks good, but I won't push it any further.

    rts on
    skype: rtschutter
  • winter_combat_knightwinter_combat_knight Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Liking this thread. Very original.

    winter_combat_knight on
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Since some of you like my style of creating mountains, here's another example. Those mountains ranges in my first map are "isometric", or basically an offset aerial view. While it works in a regional map, iso mountains block whatever is behind them. So sometimes I need to create top-down view mountains, especially in closer in views of a given mountainous region.

    This map (part of my first publication, Kaidan: The Gift: Part 1) is Daitengu Mountain Pass.

    mountain-pass-new-thumb.jpg

    Yeah, I know, I mixed digital effects with hand-drawing again, but I have to confess that while I shoot for artistic quality in my maps - they are maps and require performing a technical function, which isn't always artistic. The map must depict understandable information in a way for gamers to understand their surroundings. Making it artistic is definitely a plus, but conveying the information of what geologic/geographic elements are in the presentation so gamers can use it if far more important.

    Like the others this map, especially the "3D" bevels and shadows, as well map composition was all done in Xara Xtreme Pro 4.0

    gamerprinter on
  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    edited October 2009
    I like the second style of mountain better than the first. Quite a bit more, actually. Not too keen on the lettering, though - it looks noticeably "digital" when compared to the linework and organic coloring of the rest of the map.

    iglidante on
  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Cake is right. Hand draw everything if your going for a ye olde mappe for ye olde exploritators vibe. It will look 150% more awesome.

    desperaterobots on
  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Cake is right. Hand draw everything if your going for a ye olde mappe for ye olde exploritators vibe. It will look 150% more awesome.

    There are some ways around that, too. In Photoshop, for example, you could drop a mild gaussian blur on a rasterized text layer, and then apply the photocopy filter to it. That would roughen up the edges of the font, making it a little more organic. From there, you can tweak until you get something that doesn't look nearly as artificial. I did something kind of like that a long time ago - not nearly as subtle, but I used some of the same methods (and then went further).

    iglidante on
  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Or: use your hands. Cut out the middle man!

    desperaterobots on
  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    edited October 2009
    If you can hand-letter decently, it's definitely the best. But that depends on the style of lettering you're looking for, too. I know I can do decent block capitals, but that's it. And even then, only if I redo each letter five or six times. Calligraphy? Cursive? Old-style lettering? Forget about it.

    But yeah, if you can rock hand-lettering, fucking rock it.

    iglidante on
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited October 2009
    I can not disagree with going hand lettered as preferrable to digitally typing it in, especially when looking at it as a work of art.

    Still as pointed out, I can letter block text no problem, faking Celtic style is a serious challenge, however, and I have no skills at calligraphy. Getting a specific style of font is much more problematic - and really beyond my skill level. Additionally, my hand-lettering will never be on the same level as my drawing skill, so I am quite reluctant to hand-letter because of that.

    At present, I create about 100+ maps per year, both professional commissions and personal work. If I hand-lettered all my maps, that number would be cut in half, at least - and take a serious bite out of my income. Further, my current commission rates are higher than the average - if I insisted on hand-lettering, either I make less money or am forced to charge more, which in itself, will result in less commissions.

    Still, because this map is only a personal one, and not a commission, I might just try to hand-letter this one. Actually, if it weren't for the block of text at the bottom of this map, hand-lettering would be less of a concern. (I can't always judge how much space I need compared to size of letter I am working with, this is in addition to get sloppy with my text overtime.)

    I'll give it go, though with this map - meaning that for most work, I will stick with digitally placed text.

    The artist in me agrees with you, the business man and cartographer does not.

    Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll post the next update soon.

    gamerprinter on
  • DelzhandDelzhand Venitah, Satariel! Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I don't know if you're looking for critiques on this particular aspect, but the names of places on that first map are really generic sounding. I recommend breaking the "Fantasy Archetype + Geographic Formation" convention.

    Delzhand on
    Steam|FFXIV|Switch SW-3472-4893-0802
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Except for the maps specifically for a publication or particular project, the generic names are so anyone can download and use the map for free for their own games. No need for fancy/specific names than already provided.

    Now I'm working on the December Mapping Challenge at the Cartographers' Guild: create an Orcish Christmas Map. So I chose to create a 14 stanza "tongue and cheek" poem, created 14 hand-drawn illustrations for a Children's Book format - The Twelve Nights of Yuleblood.

    Here's the corresponding map:
    yulebloodmap-final-thumb.jpg

    Here's a link to the larger file:

    Yuleblood Map

    Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

    GP

    gamerprinter on
  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    edited December 2009
    I really like the relief on this one. The "fisheye" perspective is sweet, and everything just seems to pop. Good job, man.

    iglidante on
  • L.E.O.L.E.O. Registered User
    edited December 2009
    the xmas map looks good but its very white, maybe you could throw some slight browns in there or something. good stuff though.

    L.E.O. on
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited December 2009
    I placed splotches of color under the Halfling Dale hills and the Kobold Warrens, but the intent is that this is a winter map, and the ground is supposed to be covered in snow (making it a winter map was part of the requirements of the challenge) - which explains why its so white! :winky:

    GP

    gamerprinter on
  • Faded_SneakersFaded_Sneakers Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Just wanted to add a quick YES to this thread.

    Your maps are great. I agree with much of the other comments regarding handwriting and borders but overall I really enjoy the feel of your maps. Especially the uniqueness of the underwater one.

    One thing I have seen on other maps that I have always enjoyed is a map specific compass. As though the design used to give the North point was designed so that it reflected the same style and theme that the map it is on was drawn with if that makes sense.

    I gave up on a map I started a few months back so its interesting to see how you have approached the different maps you have posted so far. Please keep posting stuff, this has been a very informative thread.

    Love the tree work in the christmas one by the way.

    Faded_Sneakers on
    Instagram: fadedsneakers
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Thanks guys, critiques and praise both help.

    A few tweaks.

    @L.E.O. - good advice, I put in a little green in splotches, whatcha' think? I think it's improved.

    I moved everything under border, like it should have been. I hated the "barbarian clanhold" in the first one, the perspective was wrong. The new one is not perfect either, but better, and some more detail.

    The Great Fen was a "great waste of space" and I wanted to put something out there, but another location wasn't part of the story, so instead, I put in more story with the "story text label". Notice the corner peaking over the border... :P

    Anyway, thanks for the tips! I'm calling this one done.

    Plus a new idea - I already have this map, 14 illustrated poem/story pages... What if I create a 1st level D&D or Pathfinder adventure for a band of Orc player characters pursuing the story as depicted in the poem - a raid against 10 adversaries from humans to kobolds for a glorious celebration of their ancestor. With two or three wilderness encounters between the raiding sites, its enough for a complete one level (1st level) adventure.

    Something to think about anyway.

    yuleblood-final-thumb.jpg

    Link to updated larger file... Yuleblood Orc Raids map

    gamerprinter on
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Not a map, but related to the last map above, this is the cover design for a tongue in cheek poem about orcs that the above map was created for. Anyway for the fun of looking at it - here is my take on a comic book style cover design for the project.

    yuleblood-cover-thumb.jpg

    Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

    GP

    gamerprinter on
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Thieves Guild map (Under Street Guild) - located beneath a poor district in some city. Three darkened chambers are unconnected cellars for topside shops, but help define the built "in between" guild area. Notice the staired tunnel on the east end of the map that reaches a main sewer channel on the south end of the map. Drains along the sides cascade sewage into the main channnel. The one closest to the access tunnel is one of the secret entrances into the guild area.

    This is a "work in progress" as I intend to publish it along with the assassin's lair for a 4e publication in collaboration with Johnn Four of Roleplaying Tips newsletter and Yax of GameMastery/4e blog. I need to create one more map describing a beggar's guild. This work in progress is incomplete, as I have yet to furnish it, but will probably not post the finished map, until after publication.

    under-street-guild-thumb.jpg

    Link to larger version of the map... Thieves Guild Map

    gamerprinter on
  • beavotronbeavotron Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    hey there
    cake mentioned hand lettering and you said you didn't feel comfortable doing it.
    i have a little trick i use

    i find the font that i want to use
    type out whatever i want to write, and in the manner i want it displayed

    then i print it on computer paper, stick it on a light table and trace my letters. (they're cheap, you can buy little ones for 30-40 bucks at an art supplies store, or you can make one with a small light bulb, a shadow box and a sheet of glass or clear plastic.)

    just a tip!
    it looks awesome too

    beavotron on
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited January 2010
    I actually have access to a 20" x 30" light table right now - which I do use for tracing elements I create in 3D and topdown wall plans for specific maps right now. I guess it wouldn't hurt to try your method of hand-lettering using it - one of these days, or next map or two.

    Anyway, in my last post I mentioned that map will be used with my Assassin's Lair map, which I just realized, I haven't posted here. Since it will be for publication, I will only post the thumbnail version. I need to create a Beggar's Guild map yet, that will be the completion of the three maps for this upcoming publication - tentatively scheduled for the end of January 2010.

    Here's the Assassin's Lair map, I previously described...

    cerene-map-thumb.jpg

    Enjoy! Happy New Year! :lol:

    gamerprinter on
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited January 2010
    Topside street level over the Thieves Guild in the second previous post in this thread. More fluff to help describe the Under Street Guild below it. Notice the partially transparent back stairway in the tavern (top left building) it shows the understair storage hall, with a floor trapdoor near its end leading to the Thieves Guild beneath it. This map extends a bit further north, and sewer area beneath is offmap to the south of this map, but the walls should make it obvious what sits where.

    Am still detailing the Guildmaster's office, Treasury Vault, Storage/Kitchen/Bar, and a small Thieves Tool Smithy in the smaller chambers of the Under Street Guild Map - almost done, will probably post it when complete.

    This map is completely hand-drawn with bevels, coloring, shadowing, transparency, etc. applied in Xara Xtreme Pro 4.0 - my primary graphics app of choice.

    Enjoy!

    topside-of-guild.jpg

    gamerprinter on
  • MustangMustang Registered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Where the fuck is the double driveway and ensuite? What the fuck kind of house is this?
    That's it, I'm cancelling my order.

    Mustang on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    edited January 2010
    Mustang wrote: »
    Where the fuck is the double driveway and ensuite? What the fuck kind of house is this?
    That's it, I'm cancelling my order.
    and no fucking jacuzzi.

    This sucks

    Aldo on
    Elendil wrote: »
    said Aldo hazily, before clop-clop-clopping out of the room
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited January 2010
    By preference I don't do modern style maps - so no Jacuzzi for you! Hah!

    This commission map is destined to be part of a set of seven maps to be published by Dog House Rulez, Sidewinder - Recoiled (D20 Old West Game). Since the other maps are encounter scale maps for publication, I won't post them, however, the map below is of a real-life location: Zion Canyon, Utah.

    Enjoy!

    zion-canyon.jpg

    Link to larger file: Full Scale Zion Canyon map

    gamerprinter on
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited January 2010
    Notice the Japanese flavored maps on the previous page of this thread. For the last 9 months or so, I've been working on my own publication - a dark fantasy setting based on feudal Japanese history, culture, legend and folklore called Kaidan: a Japanese Ghost Story setting. I had been working on a three part mini-campaign arc as an introduction to the setting - involving a party of "gaijin" outsider adventurers deliverying a gift for a merchant they are accompanying. The first adventure: The Gift - Part 1 was published October 15, 2009.

    Anyway contract negotiations with the original publisher has failed since that time - there is no contract in place, and I did not care for the original publishers participation and overbearing needs to control my IP. So I've dropped him as a publisher. However, it will now be published as an imprint under Rite Publishing, so you can expect to see adventure 2 published in late February 2010.

    Here's a map of one of the three major islands of the Empire of Kaidan, and where the entire intro campaign arc takes place.

    Here's my map of Yonshu Island, Kaidan:

    yonshu-thumb.jpg

    Link to larger version of this map: Yonshu Island Map - full scale

    I used references from various Ukiyo-e prints by Hokusai and Hiroshige, in the creation of the various mountain, tree, terrain and structure icons on this map. This is my heritage, as I am half Japanese, so this is an important project for me.


    Enjoy!

    gamerprinter on
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited February 2010
    My latest masterpiece and the most time consuming map to create for me, ever!

    This is my entry to the One Page Dungeon Contest sponsored by several D&D Blogs, the 2nd annual contest. I call this map the Necromancer's Lair, it is completely hand-drawn, then given digital color, bevels, and shadows, as it is a dungeon map. (Yeah, I know, typed text, not hand-drawn - maybe next time.)

    Be sure to check out the boneyard (the most time consuming part of this map) and the Skull Altar in the Skull Chapel - some nice hand-drawn bones...

    There's a link to a webpage at the very bottom of the legend - which I plan to create a complete Pathfinder RPG dungeon adventure, but if you check now, it doesn't yet exist.

    Anyway, critiques and comments are welcome!

    Enjoy!

    GP

    necromancers-crypt.jpg

    Link to larger file:
    Necromancer's Crypt map

    gamerprinter on
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Been busy working on commission maps and publications. Here's my latest five days of work for a mapping contest where the winning map will be used as part of a Wolfgang Bauer Open Design Project publication...

    The village of Iwaizumi, Japan is an actual location, but the map depicts it as a mountain village in 1287 AD. I created this using an isometric view (that is an oblique view without perspective.) And I am using this style to work on a map for my own feudal Japan dark fantasy setting, Kaidan.

    Enjoy!

    GP

    Link to larger file: Village of Iwaizumi

    iwaizumi-thumb.jpg

    gamerprinter on
  • gamerprintergamerprinter Registered User
    edited June 2010
    Its been a while since I posted last, as I've been busy working on three publications as a co-publisher, as well as a cartographer.

    However, the Cartographers' Guild is being given an Art Gallery showcase on July 16 - 29, at the Soho Gallery of Digital Art in NYC - three of my maps will be featured in that show.

    Plus the August mapping challenge (map contest) at the Cartographers' Guild will be to create a fantasy map in your own style that uses NYC as a reference - all entries from that contest or the top 30 maps (whichever is greater) will also be shown at the Soho Gallery of Digital Art during the first two weeks of September.

    So I've got two NYC shows with my work being featured - pretty cool stuff!

    http://www.sohodigart.com

    GP

    gamerprinter on
  • DarkWarriorDarkWarrior __BANNED USERS
    edited June 2010
    I just wanted to say this stuff is pretty cool. I can't ever conceive so much detail on maps, I just dont have the knack for it, I especially like that Garden blueprint.

    DarkWarrior on
    ...it's in the shape of a giant c**k.
«1
Sign In or Register to comment.