Friday, October 23, 2009

More on Maps

I've been playing some more with maps this week (that's why they give me a lunch hour). The first is a refinement of one we saw last week.


This is created with a lovely piece of software called Fractal Terrains Pro. I've enhanced it from last week's by taking a bit more care over the colours and textures--plus, of course, giving it a name. It's easy to produce high-resolution images which means I can zoom in on smaller sections of the map. A map like this can be sweated to yield a lot more detail and hence imaginative stimulation. My Mondia series was kicked off with a map generated by FT Pro.

The second map is perhaps not as impressive, but took only seconds to generate with an application called Greenfish Relief Map. Once output it's not quite so versatile, but it cleverly decides where the towns go, even naming them using parameters you've supplied. I fed in some French, Greek and Arabic sounds to get the ones shown on this map.


Clicking on either map should produce a larger image.

None of this counts as real writing but it does start to provide some raw material.
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3 comments:

Frances Garrood said...

Tim, if they'd had maps like those when I was at school I just know I wouldn't have come bottom in geography. They're amazing (and beautiful).

Matt Curran said...

You know, I don't know which one I prefer. I like the realism of the first map - reminds of those lovely HD shots you find in those David Attenborough docs - but the second map seems more natural to me, probably because of it's simplicity.
In terms of visualising the world, I would definitely go with the first map (which is a good tip, thanks Tim), and probably keep the second map as reference guide.
Either way, you've opened my eyes to the relevancy of a damned good map!

(And if you want a good name for a town, you can do no worse that today's word verification: "Paleas").

Tim Stretton said...

Frances, the danger is that I spend all my time making the maps pretty, rather than simply using them as visual prompts for the story - although they are a good way of immersing myself in a new world.

Matt, one of the great things about Fractal Terrains is the way that, although it produces the most wonderful photorealism (I made a NASA-style one with cloud cover which was astonishing), it's also very easy to change the 'flavour' and make something much simpler.

It's taken me three years to work out how to export the results as hi-res graphics which are great then for subsequent work.

(I wish I knew how the blogger verfication words were generated: they come up with some great fantasy names).