xmas

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Maps - Hand Drawn or Mapping Program?

I've noticed that the big mappers online draw freehand (and they do an awesome job with it - +matt jackson , +Dyson Logos and the rest).

Me, I can't draw for shit. Heck, I can't even draw a straight line, as my Saturday Night group can attest to.

I've dabbled with many of the computer mapping programs - Dunjieni (SP?), Campaign Cartographer, Hexographer and the like - I still suck ;)

How do you do your maps (with that voodoo that you do)? Freehand, pen to paper, drawing program, mapping program, find already completed maps and make your adventure conform?

21 comments:

  1. I do all mine freehand. I'm not a trained artist, but the part about putting pencil to paper is an important part of the creative process for me. I feel like the setting is more personal, more "mine" that way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. For regional maps I use Hexographer.

    For dungeons I draw by hand. I get a lot more fiddly with my interior designs while I'm content to be abstract with my wilderness maps.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I create define and refine on grid paper, but generally when happy with the result, I will reproduce in NBOS' Fractal Mapper.

    I like using software for the finals, because of tools like layers which allows me to produce variations of the maps, and the

    Being able to illustrate the dense visual data a map, in different ways, helps situational comprehension and can fuel a lot of creative juice when designing encounters, conflicts.

    As a DM I am always aware of the "re-use mantra". After doing a lot of work on a single map you will re-use, the software makes it easier to print a new version of the map rather than having to hand drawn it all over again.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I do a little drawing by hand, just an outline. Sometimes I'll scan that and import it into some other program to use as a background while I work out the next phase. I often use NBOS software for the base map, then touch it up on Photoshop, followed by labeling it in InDesign.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've done maps freehand for 30+ years, so it's hard to get out of the habit.

    I have had a lot of fun and success with Hexographer, though, so for me it's a bit of a mix right now. Still can't get the hang of doing dungeon maps on the computer, though.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I always do freehand maps for myself, but I generally translate these into photoshop maps when I need to share them with players (at least for the world map). This was a foolish decision I made back when I was creating the 10th Age four years ago. It's led to much sorrow since, as I idiotically strove to capture every level of detail on the big map.

    Yes, this has led to a document that's 30,000px by 30,000px :V

    ReplyDelete
  7. I do most of mine on the computer, largely because I use them for my on-line gaming and need to import the maps into map tools, and I don't have a scanner. I would love to draw more by hand though, and hope to do so in the near future.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Gimp (indoor or settlements) and Inkscape (hex maps).

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've been forcing myself to hand draw all my maps. One look at mine and yours won't seem so bad!
    http://i769.photobucket.com/albums/xx339/Hedgehobbit/Empire_test.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  10. Combo. I draw the maps by hand then I use pain and or Xara to put in the words, numbers and icons.

    ReplyDelete
  11. *Ahem* Another plug for BFRPG but Chris has a web based program called Mapmatic on his website that makes some outstanding old school flavored maps. I use it for all the adventures I design. You can save your maps there, edit them, share them, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I was using Microsoft Picture It 9, and that seemed to work extremely well for me. But with a new computer using Windows 8 it looks like I'm going to have to do something else (perhaps Gimp, about which I've heard good things). I may go back to doing them by hand, but my hand-drawn maps just aren't that great.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I started out hand drawing maps, but moved on the Campaign Cartographer for the bigger world maps. I still have a mix of both in my gaming stash.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I do all my maps by hand. If I need hexes for some reason, I'll hand-draw it over hex paper.

    http://bernietheflumph.blogspot.com/search/label/maps

    ReplyDelete
  15. Recently I've been looking around for examples of hand-drawn which I can study to improve my style. I've learned a ton of style for hand-drawn at the art dojo of Dyson Sensei who you note above. That style got used on the map for my Secret Santicore submission (http://outremerdm.blogspot.com/2013/01/my-secret-santicore-gift-below-torch.html). I have Hexographer but the maps are so rough that I look on it as a rapid prototyping tool for ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm with you on the lack of artistic ability - although I did have a technical drawing class in high school some 25+ years ago, so at least I can draw straight lines. Back in the old days I only had squared graph paper, so all dungeon and outdoor maps were drawn on it.

    I'm SLOWLY recreating my world and regional maps with Hexographer (have a continent map in 2 parts on my blog http://almostoldschool.wordpress.com/category/map/) so I can zoom down into sub-hexes and such.

    I've tried doing rough design of a dungeon on plain ungridded paper, then neatening it up on graph paper, THEN doing it over in Dungeonographer (the indoor version of Hexographer). This has sort of ended up as an embryonic megadungeon of 3 levels and 100+ rooms so far.

    ReplyDelete
  17. first thing i do is, i take a regular ol' blank sheet of paper and draw in the important stuff - vague lines for mountains and rivers, little spots for cities, big blotches for stuff like forests and valleys. Then, i do a second, more detailed map on blank paper or graph paper with all the major stuff added in & represented symbolically - little castles for the cities, little caves for dungeons, stylized mountains, etc. this is the stage in which i might start using color to represent things like different terrain. i also usually let the players see this map, because it's of a level of detail vs vagueness that would be appropriate for anybody who lived in the area.
    after that, i make a fully detailed hex-map for DM usage, with every feature keyed & represented. if i feel like it, i might make an even more detailed map with full illustrations and nice colors, etc. this would be A) for aesthetic purposes and B) represent a map that the characters could purchase for a significant extra charge from a local authority or something

    ReplyDelete
  18. For regional maps I usually use Photoshop. For dungeons and wilderness encounters I use Masterplan with the WotC tiles and others I've found online.

    ReplyDelete
  19. @hedgehobbit - that map is awesome!

    ReplyDelete