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Sukritact's Cartography Outline

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Modding Tutorials & Reference' started by sukritact, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. sukritact

    sukritact Artist and Modder

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    Now, before I start I should note that I'm using Photoshop CS6; your experience will vary depending on what program your using.

    Right, how to make a map, for this tutorial, I'll be doing the The Westerlands/Casterly Rock/House Lannister:

    To start, make a document, and make it big, VERY BIG; you will need a big size if you hope to use it for the DOM screen; I personally use 1000x1144 with a 12 pixel white border on all sides.


    Then, you'll need a reference map; you may need one or two depending on what you're making, I'm using two, ginormous versions of the following (I have since lost the links to the original files), a geographic map, and a political one. Chances are you'll also need two maps, in which case I recommend you use a detailed vector map as the base, and use a political map as a reference. (I personally use this, although it appears they've recently stopped giving it away for free).


    Make sure the land is alone on its own layer; as you can see, I already have a layer where the sea has been deleted, and a political map lined up to match above so I can see where the border and cities are supposed to go.

    Feel free to move it around, scale, rotate, etc (make sure you don't forget to move your political map along with it!). It's up to you how you want to compose it!, once you're done, add a solid color layer for the sea and a solid color for the land (which you can do with a clipping mask)


    Select the borders of your nation, and fill it with color!, again a clipping mask will be useful here.


    At this point, you'll have to start playing around; map styles vary greatly and not everyone likes the same thing; but here is an outline of the procedures;

    start by giving the land and colored nation area drop shadows; adjust until you're happy.


    Then give it some paper textures and crease textures; grab a few textures (paper, crease), decrease saturation, then play around with the blending modes (You'll have to identify which works best for you; though generally speaking, everything in the lighten section lightens, everything in the darken section darkens, and everything in the overlay section lightens and darkens at the same time); you'll probably need to layer on multiple layers with different blending modes until you're happy. I also suggest using large blotches of light and color overlaid to light, darken and tint specific areas of the map. Mess around with the colors if you like (you can play around with them at any stage using the hue, lightness and saturation window)


    Now, let's add the important labels, now's the time to refer to your political map; add any labels you wish to add; for your font; Vanilla uses a version of Garamond (I recommend Adobe Garamond Pro for anyone with photoshop, it has multiple styles and special characters), later versions use Palatino Linotype or Papyrus (which I despise). Don't forget to add the label that tells everyone who the map is about! You may want to play with layer styles here as well, especially for geographical labels.


    Find some images related to your civ (and some writing if possible), layer them on in the same way as the textures; you may need the eraser to remove hard edges.


    And that's really it, that's all there is to making a map; just experiment and have fun!

    Edit: Something I'd like to stress; experiment, play around! Even after you're done; chances are you can make it look better!

     
  2. Putmalk

    Putmalk Deity

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    Very nice, indeed! Gorgeous!
     
  3. Pouakai

    Pouakai It belongs in a museum. Moderator

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    His secret has been revealed! I'll have to try this when I get back later on...
     
  4. kingchris20

    kingchris20 Wisdom Seeker

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    Boss Mode! Maps is where I am SEVERELY lacking, this tutorial should put an end to that! Thanks!
     
  5. Pouakai

    Pouakai It belongs in a museum. Moderator

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    Right, so I've whipped up this. Thought I'd start with something familiar:



    I like it as a first attempt at something artsy that I've done ever, but I still feel it's a bit off. Comments appreciated! (Ideally I would have had a fern embellishment or something like the new maps seem to have, but this tutorial doesn't cover that)
     
  6. sukritact

    sukritact Artist and Modder

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    My thoughts; you need more contrast, add some more overlays on the archipelago; you could possibly improve the colour choice as well. The Tasman sea could also do with some more decoration.

    As to embellishments; I generally just grab them online, stuff them in and throw on a drop shadow effect.

    As a side note; the new style also features inner glows (or outlines from what I remember on the Venetian map) and the continent and country borders themselves; so you may like to try that.
     
  7. Pouakai

    Pouakai It belongs in a museum. Moderator

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    Any tips for how to get the decorations looking like they fit in? I tried throwing in some stuff but it never really looked right
     
  8. sukritact

    sukritact Artist and Modder

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    Hmm... it depends on the type of embellishment; my first tip is try and make everything greyscale; my second is try and get rid of the white edges. you'll have to play around with the various blending modes and effects you get by playing with fill and opacity.

    Don't get too good at it! Or I'll be out of a job!
     
  9. DiogenesK9

    DiogenesK9 Warlord

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    Wow, this is awesome. Thank you for sharing! And so my apprenticeship begins...
     
  10. InsanelyApple

    InsanelyApple Prince

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    Thank you! Whenever I made a map before, I'd have one of your maps up and try to replicate how to do it! This will make things a lot easier!
     
  11. Gilgamesch

    Gilgamesch Ancient Alien

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    Great art, great work....
     
  12. Pouakai

    Pouakai It belongs in a museum. Moderator

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    Aha - the greyscale was the problem.


    I doubt that's likely.

    EDIT: Take two on the map:



    I'm having real trouble with the decorations and finding them in the sort of pencil style that a lot of the maps have. I managed to get a Maori design though, which I chucked on to the left. Hopefully that covers the Tasman sea, but I'm not sure about the other stuff. I tried about four or five different decorations and embellishments, nothing really looked right. Also played around with the colour, I reckon this is better than what it was by a fair bit.
     
  13. DiogenesK9

    DiogenesK9 Warlord

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    Thank you so much for this!! Here is my first attempt, I'd love to know what you think about it:

     
  14. sukritact

    sukritact Artist and Modder

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    @Pouakai; Wow, I really like that! Though now you'll have to try making the shadow darker, the island blends in too much with the background IMHO.

    @Diogenesis: That looks suspiciously like mine. :lol:

    First, erase the hard edges off your motifs, they're too obvious. Second; well, I'm not sure how to correct this, but it feels flat ATM.
     
  15. DiogenesK9

    DiogenesK9 Warlord

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    Yeah, yours was definitely the inspiration for it. I'll work on it a bit. Thanks!
     
  16. turingmachine

    turingmachine Emperor

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    How do you keep your coloring so consistent with all the overlays? I add a folded paper texture overlay to get the crease effect but then my whole image looks washed out. Like, if only I could get the black of the folds but not the white of the folded paper.

    Also, what advice would you offer if there are a distinct lack of motifs, images, or writing for the civ (like for some lesser known or obscure civs). What would you suggest to fill the empty space?
     
  17. turingmachine

    turingmachine Emperor

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    I think it's because he has the drop shadows going in different directions for each layer instead of keeping it consistent. Flattens the depth.
     
  18. DiogenesK9

    DiogenesK9 Warlord

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    Yeah, that's the first thing I changed on my second go...it's a good thing I kept a layered version of the image. I also am having the same issue with the washout effect, which I'm assuming is due to me using the 'color to alpha' feature on Gimp. This is my first time using an art program that wasn't MS Paint, so I'd be really happy to hear any tips.
     
  19. sukritact

    sukritact Artist and Modder

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    Try blending modes in the darken section, or try adjusting contrast and/or brightness.

    Geographic labels, more visible texture and color overlays; interestingly enough, this seems to be what Firaxis is doing with BNW (and I don't like it).
     
  20. janboruta

    janboruta Artistriarch

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    It pleases me that I make maps in the exact same way. But I think I need to experiment with lighting more.
     

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