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Biltmore Estate map illustrations

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#1
Michael Karpovage

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Hello map lovers!

On behalf of Nick Springer (creator of CartoTalk/owner of Springer Cartographics) and the firm I work for - mapformation, LLC. - I am pleased to introduce several new map illustrations of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, USA.

Springer Cartographics hired mapformation in a subcontractor role to produce these Adobe Illustrator maps in a short period of just about a month and a half. Nick produced the 2D overview map and I created the two 3D birds-eye-view pictorial illustrations. Nick handled all of the text labeling, symbol, and legend work and final interactive capabilities. We used a series of client supplied reference photos ranging from aerial shots, to ground shots, to artist renderings of the new Antler Hill Village, to online reference materials. One tip for keeping the file size down on the 3D maps was that I created all of my stylized trees (and their shadows) as symbols in a library. This enabled Nick and I to then later adjust the overall color scheme based on client input. This allowed us to select one symbol tree, adjust it's color palette and then watch as every single tree on the map changed. We did this with several trees and even the tiny little flowers until just right. We also adjusted the grass color as well to create consistency between the 2D and 3D maps and contrast between landscape and structures.

Here are direct links to the Biltmore website. Please be sure to drag the maps around to see the full illustrations. And zoom in to appreciate our finer detail work.

Overview 2D map

Biltmore House 3D map

Antler Hill Village 3D map

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Michael Karpovage

• Savannah Historic District Illustrated Map
www.karpovagecreative.com/savannah

• Account Manager/Illustrator
Mapformation, LLC - Atlanta, GA office
www.mapformation.com

• Author of Map of Thieves
www.mapofthieves.com


#2
Jean-Louis

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Beautifullllll!. It's the first time I see a vector 3D look as rich as a raster.
Congrats to both of you
I am totally jealous and envious. I've always wanted to do a rendition of an estate like that.

Some small tweaking comments:
-I find the labeling distracting- letters are big & busy without improving the legibility. Maybe a smaller bolder text? I suggest either a glow or a white outline but not both
-Couldnt figure out what the white rectangles were in the river. Water turbulence? if so, they look a little too cloned.
-The château has most of its details in black outline but not the roof structure. this tends to create an unfinished impression.

Trees look great-quite an accomplishment in a vector format.
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#3
Michael Karpovage

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J-L,

Those rectangles in the river are in fact water turbulence graphics, yes. It's tough to see on the map zoom in online but they are little rapid shapes that occur where rocks would be. The roof structure of the mansion, I can sort of see what you are saying. In reality the roofs are outlined with an aged copper (light/blue green) color on top of gray tiles. Probably could have used a hairline black outline to make it pop more in hindsight I suppose. But client loves the final results so it is what it is at this point, ya know? The other thing is there is SO much fine architectural detail all over the estate and when you are working within a tight deadline and budget parameters you really have to limit yourself as to how much of that you render.

Here is a close up of the Biltmore Mansion and Gardens minus any text if you wanted to view the extent of the detail work I included.

Attached File  Biltmore_and_Gardens.jpg   948.05KB   77 downloads

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Michael Karpovage

• Savannah Historic District Illustrated Map
www.karpovagecreative.com/savannah

• Account Manager/Illustrator
Mapformation, LLC - Atlanta, GA office
www.mapformation.com

• Author of Map of Thieves
www.mapofthieves.com


#4
Pete

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Hello map lovers!
...
Springer Cartographics hired mapformation in a subcontractor role to produce these Adobe Illustrator maps


:) That's what I thought as soon as I saw the vegetation on the 2d map: Illustrator colour auto-trace ... yes, no ;) ?

That's a really nice set of maps with great details :D B) love it!

I agree with Jean-Louis about the text - a more compact font would possibly look better. Seeing as how there are no other white fuzzy things on the map (I couldn't talk you into adding some clouds, could I :D ?!) the fluffy halo is maybe a bit out of place. Going with the strong vector-look of the map, I'd plump for a solid halo but make it a convex hull to eliminate the internal lines.

I can see what Jean-Louis means about the lines on the chateau roof too - the light blue doesn't look right compared with the neat black lines on the rest of the building. Would a thin navy blue line look better?

The ripples in the water do look a little cutty-pastey but I think it's because they just sit there - they don't look watery. Looking at the bass pond and the edges of the water there I am thinking can you do something like that - longer and more abstract shapes that flow more with the shape of the river?

The only other thing that sticks out to me is that there seems to be a big leap in perspective compared with the Antler Hill map. I don't know the area at all so it may be exactly how it is but the size of the trees in the bottom right of the Biltmore map gives the impression that there is a large convex slope leading down the the esplanade - sort of like you're viewing the area from the top of a hill.

I really like the greens you got for the 2d map - they all hang together very well and don't jar at all. The relief shading on the little navigation inset looks good too. I thought at first that it seemed a little vague on the big map but the shading on the trees adds texture and detail and compliments the relief - it's a neat balance and I really quite like it!

What you said about the symbols in Illustrator is so true - it's a lifesaver when you need to make changes to your style or colours.

#5
Jean-Louis

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ya know? The other thing is there is SO much fine architectural detail all over the estate and when you are working within a tight deadline and budget parameters you really have to limit yourself as to how much of that you render.


Oh yea, I know... I tend to get overly self-concious and apologetic about the slightest detail in my stuff and over-compensate with work that often goes way beyond what the client will ever expect or even notice.

That's what I like about these Cartotalk feedbacks. It's peer review that provides a far keener eye than the market can ever do. The feedback process helps to confirm subtle observations about the minutiae of craft. But it does not necessarily mean that we need to bust our b... er...heads to incorporate all these suggestions in already overextended budgets and deadlines.

The piece is fantastic as it stands and I,m sure the client is ecstatic about it.
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#6
Derek Tonn

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It really is a beautiful design, MK! B)

I finally got a copy of those two bird's eye/oblique renderings into our own site portfolio: http://www.mapformat...tmoreestate.htm

Related to Michael talking about "sacrificing for timelines and budget," the same thing holds true related to online display of said graphics too. I want to share those graphics at around 6X-8X so people can really appreciate the detail in the buildings and landscaping! However, doing so causes file sizes to explode (and performance to drag). Stinks, as I want people to appreciate every door, window, spire, etc. in that estate! However, it's another one of those "working within constraints" situations that are a necessary evil.

It was awesome for us to have the opportunity to work with Nick on this one! Michael ALWAYS does beautiful work, so I knew everyone would come away smelling like roses. The perfect job/design? There is no such thing. :) However, I think a positive experience all-around.
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com

#7
Jean-Louis

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When doing oblique view illustrations, I’ve always been aware that I can never completely finish one. There is always more that can be added, edited or improved.. The work on an illustrated map doesn’t end, it stops. Where the stopping occurs is determined by factors like time constraints or personal compulsions
I always wondered. Is this the case with other kinds of maps? Is there a point where say a Rand McNally map is quite literally complete- nothing more can be added?
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#8
Michael Karpovage

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I always wondered. Is this the case with other kinds of maps? Is there a point where say a Rand McNally map is quite literally complete- nothing more can be added?


J-L, I don't know if anything is really complete or finished or perfect, ya know? You can always improve on something.

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Michael Karpovage

• Savannah Historic District Illustrated Map
www.karpovagecreative.com/savannah

• Account Manager/Illustrator
Mapformation, LLC - Atlanta, GA office
www.mapformation.com

• Author of Map of Thieves
www.mapofthieves.com


#9
DaveB

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Great work as always, Michael! Actually makes me want to go there. :)

I agree, very few things are ever really completed in the sense that nothing more could be done to improve them (even software design! :lol:).
Dave Barnes
Esri
Product Engineer
Map Geek

#10
Michael Karpovage

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Great work as always, Michael! Actually makes me want to go there. :)

I agree, very few things are ever really completed in the sense that nothing more could be done to improve them (even software design! :lol:).


Hey, thanks Dave!! Visit the library room if you do go there. It's as big as my house. But the bachelor room is my absolute favorite - complete with a hidden door - for who knows what. ;)

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Michael Karpovage

• Savannah Historic District Illustrated Map
www.karpovagecreative.com/savannah

• Account Manager/Illustrator
Mapformation, LLC - Atlanta, GA office
www.mapformation.com

• Author of Map of Thieves
www.mapofthieves.com





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