Makin’ mountains and makin’ trees.

I have finally gotten started on drawing my map. I discussed in my previous post what exactly I wished to do. GIMP is surprisingly easy to get used to, particularly compared to Photoshop. I am using a tutorial that I found on the Cartographer’s Guild website and it is coming along well.

The first order of business was to make symbols. The process isn’t too hard. I made what is called an animated brush, where I can draw just like with a pencil and whatever I drew as the brush will appear on the screen in whichever line I draw.

Look at the amazingly uniform mountain range!

With the animated brushes I am able to draw multiple mountains at random. I drew about eight different mountains and saved the group of layers as a brush, setting “class” to random. Class should be the amount of different images you drew, so that way the brush will randomly cycle through them while you draw. It will come out looking like this:

I drew sort of an X. I made this mountain range with only about four strokes.

Here's another example with a few more mountain variations.


At first I was curious as to what purpose the lines beneath each of my symbols served, but after getting them down on paper it certainly gives them depth. I spent quite a bit of time making differentiating mountains and I’m happy with how they look

I made two more animated brushes, small mountains and hills. Making these three brushes took me about three hours, mostly because I’m still very new to GIMP. Once I got the hang of the process, my symbols only took me about five minutes, but I wanted to take care with how my symbols looked so I spent some time touching each one up so that it looked just right.

Here is my practice mountain range. This image includes three different animated brushes. I made about five different hills and five different small mountains. I'm quite satisfied with how well the symbols compliment each other, particularly the hills and the mountains.


Next was to make some trees. When I was making my tree symbols I was worried about their uniformity. I obviously didn’t want to make my trees look so distinct that in a forest certain ones would look out of place, but I also did not want to make each of them to same, since that would make for quite a dull looking forest. I made 10 tree images and saved them as an animated brush. Here is what they looked like:

Happy trees!

I made evergreens too.

Then I got to work on putting my forests and my mountains on the same image. To add even more variety, I can adjust the scale of the brushes, so I can make some trees smaller and others and some mountains bigger (like if I want to single one out as important or something). So I worked for about an hour while watching Star Trek: TNG. This was the result of my work:

The darkness of the green on the trees may be throwing off the rest of the map, but coloring comes later. This was just practice.Notice how I scale some of the trees at the border of the forests.

Notice at the top right corner I made some dead trees. I though those would be a nice touch to indicate some barren lands or something. I plan to design many more symbols for my map soon.

I’m definitely getting the hang of GIMP, though, and I am very satisfied with how these images have turned out. I did run into a few problems, but fixed them rather quickly. For some reason the first time I tried to save my trees as a brush it would not make multiple different trees when I drew, but I realized that on the drop-down menu upon saving I must indicate the number of images I have in both the “class” and “cell” fields. Also, I must draw from the top of the page towards the bottom, as the images will overlap and look very wrong. Other than that I haven’t experienced any serious roadblocks.



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