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What is this effect called?

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#1
karas

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A newbie question... :D

I am attaching a shot of a National Geographic map - I am wondering what the effect is called that is used along the state boundaries. The GIS analyst in me wants to call it an inside buffer or something - not sure what it's called in the graphic design world.

I have at my disposal ArcGIS, Manifold, and a trial version of Canvax X but if it can only be done in Illustrator, I would like to know that too. Can anyone point me in the right direction to somewhat duplicate that effect, I would appreciate it.

Thanks!

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#2
Unit Seven

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Hi Kara, and welcome. A buffer in my mind is a bit more of an accurate offset line, such as a 20km border buffer. This looks like a Photoshop/Illustrator type inner glow effect.

Have never used Canvas but I imagine it would be able to achieve this - Manifold and Arc prob won't achieve as nicely, others may be able to give you more info on that.

One thing to keep in mind is as it will need to use transparency to achieve this is the way flattening will work. If you put the inner glow over line work etc it needs to be rasterized. Keep the effect as low in your ordering as possible is a good general rule.

Hope this helps get you on the track.
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#3
mdsumner

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I would "rasterize" each area by assigning the distance from the nearest border to each pixel, then format the colours based on that distance.

I've done a similar thing in R, using the distance value in a data context. It makes for an interesting map of the world in Lat/Lon when each land pixel is coloured by its distance to the coast - it makes clear the distortion that is going on in Lat/Lon.

#4
Martin Gamache

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This can be done with Arc with mixed results. Make sure your line symbol has two layers of line to work with. Select the lower line in the stack and change your line type to cartographic line symbol and specify a correct offset for the inner buffer. I'm not sure you can have such a soft/blurred line effect in Arc ( at least not easily with version 9.1, others may know better what can be achieved with 9.2).

#5
Hans van der Maarel

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I can be done in Illustrator (CS2 and up if I recall correctly). Normally, the line width is equally distributed inside and outside the actual border line. However, there is an option to put it all inside or outside. I've had trouble making this work for complex polygons though.
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#6
frax

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I have achieved this in Illy using the Inner Glow filter on filled paths.
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#7
Hans van der Maarel

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I have achieved this in Illy using the Inner Glow filter on filled paths.


Doesn't that make the file extremely sluggish to work with (if you're working on a large map)?
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
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#8
frax

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Hans - well sort of. It also depends on the complexity of the paths (one could, for instance, simplify them quite hard to improve performance) and the raster resolution. One trick is to reduce the latter to some 72dpi when one is working on it, and crank it back up to full resolution before finalisation/print/delivery. Or turn off the layer when one is doing other operations (such as labeling etc)
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#9
byzantium

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Could also be done as a gradient mesh in AI. Definitely one of those things where unless you have a $5000 system, probably best to create the effect and then turn that layer off until you need it or use a FPO proxy.

bb

#10
karas

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Thanks for the suggestions. I will have to get the trial of Illustrator and play around. :)

#11
DaveB

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It can be done in ArcGIS with buffers (the more buffers and the closer together the smoother the transition) or with rasters if you have Spatial Analyst (create a Euclidean distance raster based on the polygons). It will slow down drawing performance a bit (like similar effects in other applications, I suspect) and if you make it transparent you will want to place it below any annoatation or other vector layers you don't want rasterized on output. I use those techniques for coastal vignettes all the time. :)
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#12
David T

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The ESRI Mapping Center Blog just posted a solution to this. I haven't given it a try yet, although I'm itching to do so. In fact, I was thinking about doing something this week, if I have the time.

Here's a link to the blog entry where they outline how to achieve this.

They call the effect 'tint bands for boundaries'. They even refer to this as a National Geographic style.

If anyone gives this a try, I'm sure we'd all love to see the results. If I have the chance to produce something this week, I will certainly post something, too.
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#13
ELeFevre

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I have achieved this in Illy using the Inner Glow filter on filled paths.


I do the same thing using Illustrator. Although more often than not, I end up creating the effect in Photoshop (to save on system recources) and placing it in Illustrator as a linked image. Works great.



#14
karas

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I checked out the ESRI blog and tried to use their tool - error!

So, I did the steps manually. Not exactly the look I want but it's close. I would prefer a softer transition. I wonder if I create more bands if I could achieve that? Well, this was just a super quick play. I added some transparency too. It looks better at a smaller scale.

Anyway, so in honor of the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown (since that is in my neck of the woods), here are some "tinted bands" around Jamestown Island :lol:

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#15
frax

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One alternative could also be to do the effect in Photoshop, based on an export from ArcMap (raster export) - then place that back in ArcMap. But I assume ArcMap doesn't handle an alpha channel...

Sara - that map looks great - in a way it looks more clean without a soft transition (sometimes all these blurry edges makes me feel like I mislaid my glasses...)
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