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#1
ravells

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I'm doing a fantasy map of a town/city...and am not sure if the district and street labelling are working. I'd be grateful for any help / advice.

Thanks in advance!

The image is bigger than 1MB so I'll post a link here of the full image: http://www.mediafire.../?ucrq5veaasr9t

And a thumbnail below

Ravs

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#2
travis22

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Nice map!

I have always believed text should fall on its feet. What I mean by falling on its feet is if the text were to hypothetically fall to the ground their bottoms should strike the ground first. Some of the labels are kind of upside down which makes it difficult to read. Also the text should pop out more.

#3
Kathi

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Nice map, I'd love to stroll through this place and explore it!

Somehow I'm thrown off by the marroon text colour and the haloes. I'm trying to imagine if making the roofs darker and using a very light colour for the text would improve this (losing the haloes on the way)? Also, in the forested areas I would experiment with a halo colour in light greenish-brownish hues that blends in more with the background. I think the street labelling works fine.

What time period is this map set in? The city has a distinctly medieval feeling to it, so I could imagine that a more "medieval" font would blend in better. But if the story/context is set in modern times, a font like the one you used is fine.
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#4
ravells

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Thanks Travis and Kathi!

I had a little play with the colours. I'm not thrilled with the maroon either. The problem about making the roofs darker is that you begin to lose sight of the roof lines...argh! It's a sort of quasi-Medieval city with higgledy piggledy buildings and streets. Can you suggest a good Medieval font? All the ones I tried (black letter type fonts mainly) were so fancy they became hard to read. There's a good 15 Century script font called IL Shakespeare, but the problem is that it uses the original 'f' (without the cross stroke) for the letter 's' which is accurate but annoying as it doesn't offer an alternative modern 's'.

It's interesting what you say about the positioning, Travis. I was trying to follow Imoff's advice in his paper (link here: http://www.lojic.org...es_on_Maps.pdf), so for example with the Merchants Row, because it's ribbon-like (like mountains might be on a smaller scale map) I made the text follow the shape of the district, but I agree it doesn't look ideal to read. So how to indicate the extent of the district by only using horizontal text (which is more pleasing to the eye)?

Thanks again for taking the time to comment!

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#5
Charles Syrett

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It's interesting what you say about the positioning, Travis. I was trying to follow Imoff's advice in his paper (link here: http://www.lojic.org...es_on_Maps.pdf), so for example with the Merchants Row, because it's ribbon-like (like mountains might be on a smaller scale map) I made the text follow the shape of the district, but I agree it doesn't look ideal to read. So how to indicate the extent of the district by only using horizontal text (which is more pleasing to the eye)?


I'm not sure that's what Travis meant (correct me if I'm wrong, Travis). A name can follow a feature and still be "on its feet". The idea here is that, whether a name follows a feature, or simply refers to a point, it requires a minimum of head-twisting to read. To put it another way: the beginning of the name should be to the left of its ending.

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#6
David Medeiros

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As mentioned "feet falling" is the convention. You can extend type beyond vertical (back falling) to a small degree without causing a problem but never fully upside down. If your type is forced upside down when following a feature or path simply rotate the type to other side of the feature. If there is no room for type on the above line side simply drop it below the path so the label is now below the feature line and right side up. Hard to describe all of this but it become pretty obvious in practice.

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#7
ravells

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Oh that makes it so much clearer! Thank you.... I shall hunt down those upside down bits of labelling and rotate them!

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#8
ravells

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Thanks everyone for the assistance on the labelling. I think I've repaired all the labelling errors. Here is the final map.

The original size is larger than 1 mb. and can be found here: http://www.mediafire.../?ucrq5veaasr9t

Cheers

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#9
Kathi

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Oh, this is really nice now! Much improved over the original version. The earth-toned haloes work really well, I think, and the font ties in much better with the map theme than earlier. I like the washed-out edges and the stained old parchment look.

Congratulations!
Cheers,

Kathi

#10
ravells

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Thanks Kathi!

I was pleased with the final result too and your help was most valuable!

I'm going for a much bigger next, mapped in a 19th Century style.

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#11
Dennis McClendon

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Handsome work. May I offer a few notes that might help your next project?

First, on technique, calligraphy is more than just using a fancy typeface. So the J of Jewel should start from the negative space of the S in Silverdale, not overlap the stroke. Alternate swash capitals have to be chosen carefully based on the adjacent letters.

As for content, I'm puzzled as I try to discern the history behind a number of geographic features. The right-angled stream crossing near where the streams join, for instance, instead of a single bridge just downstream. The enclosure within the walls of large areas of nonresidential space, such as Bernard's Garden and The Commons. The curious geometry of the Fortress and the town walls, which would appear to require too many watchmen and allow too many hiding places. The lack of a main road leading from gate to gate. After entering the south gate, you face a wall of houses 30 yards ahead. Why would the Archers Tavern—presumably where outsiders carrying goods and money stop first—be so far away from a gate, with naught around it? How do those poor people southeast of Redborn Wood survive with neither wall to protect them nor fields to sustain them?

Medieval towns have an internal logic to them: crossroads, high street, market stalls next to the church, etc., that I don't really see here.
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#12
ravells

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Hi Dennis, thanks for the pointers!

I guess our experience on calligraphy differs, from my experience calligraphic swashes often overlap to give unity to units of text (see for example the attached pic taken from the Mercator-Hondius atlas) and who am I to doubt them! :o . I guess I should have pushed the terminal of the J even further left to make it clear. Using computer fonts makes me slack, I should have really hand drawn them, but since I gave up calligraphy about 15 years ago and barely lift a pen these days, I've found my coordination in drawing letterforms has really suffered, so I take the easy option :)

As for the internal logic of the city; there isn't any under any close inspection. It's a fantasy map and as I've discovered, the objective for it is to look beautiful and interesting and to have just enough internal logic to hang together. What I've found is that the more one imposes 'real life' considerations on fantasy maps, the more boring and uniform they get. Much fantasy is based on a romanticised Victorian idea of medieval life (nothing like the real thing which was generally brutish and short) and exaggeration - towering spires which would never hold up under their own weight, for example. This idea found its way into novels and then into role playing games like 'Dungeons and Dragons' as increasingly ridiculous derivatives from what was a very different life in reality.

I'm glad you spotted the 'double bridge' by the right angled river confluence, because it irritated me too but I didn't fix it (slack). It's actually that level of design mismanagement which makes a fantasy map fail (people are prepared to forgive a lot, but having to bridge two rivers next to each other rather than just one is not one of them unless there's a good internal reason for it). So it's weird, the acres of space inside the walls, unknown in real life when defensive walls were expensive and time consuming to build and maintain, are fine in fantasy maps as long as you can fill the space with 'cool stuff''. It's all about aesthetics but there's some kind of internal rule-set where people are prepared to forgive some errors (call them 'features') but not others. I think above all there has to be some sort of internal consistency.

Thanks so much for your comments! I really appreciate them! It is good to have someone look over these fantasy maps with an eye grounded in reality because we so often just go off on flights of fancy that we forget that there are no longer enough 'real life' factors for the map to hold up.

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#13
Dennis McClendon

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Sounds like you and I actually agree about the calligraphy. Too bad it's gotten so difficult to find italic nibs for ordinary fountain pens. I've bought up a drawer full of Reform pens from eBay because they're no longer made. Waterman have discontinued theirs; Platignum is long gone.

This exchange points up something I occasionally have to explain to school classes: I find it a great deal more difficult to map an imaginary place than a real one, because real places have a morphology shaped by generations of intelligent decisions that can't be replicated with a roll of the dice or a quick sketch. I'm an old Urban Studies major, so to me maps of cities are more than just a pretty picture. They're a diagram of a place's structure.
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#14
ravells

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Sounds like you and I actually agree about the calligraphy. Too bad it's gotten so difficult to find italic nibs for ordinary fountain pens. I've bought up a drawer full of Reform pens from eBay because they're no longer made. Waterman have discontinued theirs; Platignum is long gone.

This exchange points up something I occasionally have to explain to school classes: I find it a great deal more difficult to map an imaginary place than a real one, because real places have a morphology shaped by generations of intelligent decisions that can't be replicated with a roll of the dice or a quick sketch. I'm an old Urban Studies major, so to me maps of cities are more than just a pretty picture. They're a diagram of a place's structure.


I've got a Parker calligraphy set from long ago which does for me, and I find italic felt tips work pretty well too. I've also got an old Rotring 'Art Pen' with a 1.9 mil nib which I love. I bet Rotring took a huge hit when CAD came on the scene. I'm sorry to hear about Platignum which was the gold medal of pens when I was a child.

I know exactly what you mean about the difficulty in mapping imaginary places. Fantasy world builders vary from those who start with tectonic plate movements to build their worlds, moving onto climates ranges, biomes and the rest and the slackers like me who think that if it tells a good story and it's looks vaguely right, it'll work for fantasy and then there are the people who draw cities where all the buildings are aligned exactly North South / East West.

I'm writing an ebook on the subject of creating and mapping fantasy cities (you can find it here: http://issuu.com/rav...fantasy_cities). I must get back to it as it's stalled a bit.

cheers

Ravs.

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