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Forums: Grand Lodge > Maps


So, after we had to delete that one map last week (I forget where it was from), I started to wonder how hard it would be to make our own maps. I played around a bit today, and came up with [this]. I traced the basic shapes off of a snapshot that I took from the CS map and then began to color it in, and add the labels. I'm pretty pleased with it, except for mountain regions (I'm still trying to figure out how best to do them without having to hand-draw individual peaks like on the CS map. I think that now that I have to technique down, I should be able to crank one of these out in an hour or two. Any thoughts or suggestions?
Wow! Looks great to me. It's sort of hard to get context on where in the world it is or the scale of the map, but I guess that's the nature of inset maps. If Jol is the key location on this map, I'd simply suggest using a different color or bolded writing so that it clearly stands out. But other than that, I like it a lot. I wouldn't even worry too much about the mountains, though I bet you can find a texture that has the look you want on dundjinni or another mapping program's forums.

The other kind of map I've been thinking would be nice would be political maps indicating nations without geographical features, such as this (only not on a rounded globe and a more regional view). What program did you use to make this map? I might try to put what I'm thinking of together myself.

Yeah, I agree that it's hard to get the location context. I suppose that for each map, a person should try and frame it to provide as much context as possible. As for indicating the subject of the image, I think the one that got deleted had it circled in a red felt marker style. That might not be the best way to do it though. If we have a map indicating a river or forest for example, or even the Storval Rise, that could be especially tricky.

I'm still thinking about the mountains, and I might give our suggestion a show... thanks.

I did the map with the Gimp. I can send you the native file, and explain some of the details of how I did things if you like.

It does look great, but I have doubts that we can include any such image without obtaining special permissions from Paizo (something we may want to try in this instance). Of particular concern is the following line from the Community Use Policy; I bolded the part that raises significant questions in my mind:


"... you may create your own interpretations of material presented in our artwork and maps, provided that your interpretations don't look substantially similar to our materials."


To me that means one could create a map of a community or location described in the text, so long as it's not based on any map created by Paizo. Any map of an area of Golarion suitable for our purposes, even if created by a chronicler, is based off the official maps and as a result should look "substantially similar" to their materials. Now I don't believe in the slightest that it's their intention to hamper projects such as ours in this manner, which is why I bring up seeking special permission to use and maybe even edit their maps in this instance. But I don't think it's something we can do on our own.

Alternatively, it might be worthwhile to fire off an email to ask if an interpretation such as Aeakett's would be considered "substantially similar" in the first place. If we get an official answer stating it's unique enough, that particular line of the Policy is met and my worries are of no concern.

I seem to recall a conversation on the boards about people creating and giving away battle map scaled images. My recollection is that somebody (Vic?) said that creating them from scratch would be OK, just don't extract images from the PDF and scale them up. That recollection was the basis for me undertaking this little project. Let me poke around and see if I can find the thread I was thinking of.

Update: Here is the discussion that I was thinking of. Things seem pretty straight forward until Vic says "Also, when our Community Use guidelines are published (probably later this month), you'll need to make sure anything you've created is compliant with them." For the record, my interpretation of "substantially similar" would be attempting to emulate the exact look of a piece, though I suspect that the wording is intentionally vague. --Aeakett 19:58, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

I imagine you're right about the vagueness of the wording. Ultimately it depends on how they define the keyword "substantially", what they consider to be the substance of their maps.

If they feel the substance of their maps is no more than the art itself, the addition of maps like that you've created should be fine. If they instead consider the substance of these maps to be the maps themselves, the layout and alignment of the lands and continents, the placement of features and locations, then the use of such images starts putting us in shark-infested waters.

I think we need to seek some clarification on this matter before we move forward. I'd like to see an official answer to this anyway; I want to pen my own adventures under the Community Use Policy once the rules are released next month, and regional maps would be rather beneficial should they be allowed in such a form.

There have been a lot of questions about maps and my understanding from all the different threads is that the actual placement of things isn't what they're concerned with. They want to make sure that is they pay Rob Lazzaretti to make a map that people aren't distributing that commissioned artwork illegally. But if I have a floorplan of a dungeon that I recreate in dundjinni or another mapping program, using the same dimensions and features, that's completely fine under the CUP. I don't see how there could be a difference in policy between a battlemap and an overland/geographical map. I don't think we need further clarification on the issue. Aeakett's map is clearly not the same as any Paizo released, even though it depicts the same thing.
Fair enough; as I said, I don't think its ever been their intention to hinder our efforts in such a manner anyway. And if Paizo ever raises objections to the maps it would be simple enough to delete them.

I'll probably ask about such maps in the future anyway, for my own purposes. If the reply differs from what we've discussed here we can always revisit the topic then.

Alright then, I guess I'll start taking requests. Just make sure its something you really want in case I start lose interest in grinding out maps :-D
For small nations, you might be able to do a single map for all the cities within, sizing it to include just outside the borders of the nation. This way a single map could serve multiple cities. I think it would also be worth it to make a blog entry or something describing how you're making them, what brushes, colors, etc to get the different effects and we can all start to do them using the same style. That might be a project for later, though. As for suggestions, perhaps do it for cities or regions that are the centerpieces of modules, adventures and sourcebooks that exist now. We can branch out from there as we move forward, but no need to burn yourself out.
OK, I'm getting the work-flow for these dialed in. I think I might tackle a swampy or desert area next so that I can figure out how to colour them in. I'll also do some experimenting to come to a happy medium between providing some geographic context, and having the maps look OK when scaled to 250 pixels wide.

Now I need everyone's opinions. Pick any forest on the CS map. Chances are that it has some mustardy coloured areas around the border. Is this just artistic licence? Is it supposed to be light forest? I don't see it anywhere but around other forests. Should I worry about differentiating it on my maps?

That looks like artistic license to me. I think it's there to give a sense of depth to the forests. I wouldn't worry about this at all. Too much work for the purpose of the maps.
Just wanted to say how much I have been impressed by your work, Aeakett. Your maps really add a great flavor (and pretty picture!) to our otherwise dreary, text-heavy world. Kudos!
Any more of these on the horizon? Or a how-to article (maybe a blog post) so that others can replicate your method and style? I'd love to see some regional maps for the River Kingdoms and Brevoy, at least from the current maps, since those will be the areas covered by Kingmaker at the beginning of next year.
Yeah, I've got one of Osirion almost done (it just needs labels if I recall correctly). Home life has been crazy for the last few months... a health scare, a new cat, temporary conversion of our home into a soap shop (and subsequent dismantling), a death in the family, and planning for a trip at chistmas. Sometimes I really miss all the free time that I didn't think I had when I was younger. *SIGH* Anyway, now that I've unfairly unloaded, all I can say is that, yeah, I should at least get that Osirion one done (it should give us 5 or 6 maps for various articles). Then I really should put together the "howto" article so that others can try their hand if they are so inclined.
I would definitely be interested in some kind of tutorial in how to make these maps, even something very simple. I don't have a lot of experience with graphics software, so I wouldn't even know where to start.
Paizo has a great, hi resolution map available for use and download. If we could get permission to crop just that map, then we could crop each geographical entry and display it or link to it on that page. Just a thought. Nobody knows what they'll say, but someone could ask?
Yeah, that would be great, except that cropping is explicitly called out in the CUP as being against the rules. There would probably also be cases where we'd want to add extra labels, which is also specifically mentioned (I think).

You are right though that there is little to lose from asking, and I encourage you to follow up with that if you like.

For me, this is another taunt to finish up that map of Katapesh that I started last summer... soon.