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Detailed map advice

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by Wardy, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. Wardy

    Wardy Well-Known Member

    Hi Folks, I'm new on here, and would like a bit of advice, please.

    I've been asked to do a Theme Park map similar in style to the Alton Towers (here [​IMG][​IMG] ) one, but not as large or detailed as that, and I'm not sure how it's been done. One of those jobs you can't turn down but not looking forward to do!

    Now, I'm a bit of an old git and few years ago I would've got out the watercolours and inks and done it by hand, but they're after something slicker than that. I dabble in Illustrator and use Photoshop loads, but I've never done something on this scale before. At first I presumed it was Illy and maybe taken into Photoshop to render, but I really don't know where to start. Is it just a matter of picking up that pen tool and knuckling down to some hard graft, or is there something I'm missing? They particularly like the textures and effects on the water and grass etc.

    Any tips and/or advice would be very welcome.
  2. Wardy

    Wardy Well-Known Member

    To save you downloading it, this is a part of it.
  3. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Hi Wardy. My main advice to you with this would be to create each of the main landmarks completely separately in either Photoshop or Illustrator depending on the style you're going for and combine them all at the end on separate layers. People could be done simply, make about half a dozen different types and colour change them to make more. Shrubs and trees could be made quickly with some photoshop brushes or vectors and duplicated like they have in the one you posted. In general, using vectors in Illustrator would obviously create something that can be scaled, but Photoshop would allow for a more "painted" look in my opinion. I think that choice obviously comes down to the style you and your client are going for.

    Basically, I think the key thing with this type of illustration is to break it right down into bitesize chunks, and it'll all come together in the end.
  4. Thewholehogg

    Thewholehogg Active Member

    Hi Wardy and welcome.

    I did a similar map of a garden festival a few years back. The way I did it was to hand draw the line work, scan and colour up in Photoshop. The chances are you will have to do it in sections as Jim mentioned. This is the quickest method. Vector art would look good but takes more time but does have some advantages.

    Me i'd do it pen and Photoshop at a decent rez size.
    Good luck.
  5. Wardy

    Wardy Well-Known Member

    Thanks Guys, I was waiting to see if anyone else had anything to add.

    Yes, I agree that hand drawn line work and then Photoshop would be the easiest way,
    I'm just worried that I OUGHT to be doing it in Illustrator but that's a bit daunting. Also, if it's Photoshop, that I would end up with a massive file, as it may have to be used for an A1 display board most likely.
  6. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Best of both: Do your hand-drawn linework as usual, scan it in and use Photoshop to clean it up. Then use Illustrator's Object > LiveTrace > Make & Expand tool to instantly vectorise the linework. Delete the white space surrounding the image and the areas inside the lines can be coloured pretty quickly from there.
  7. Tom Sound

    Tom Sound Active Member

    Hi Wardy, the file needn't be too big for A1 reproduction if it's being printed as an inkjet print as the resolution can be lower than a file for litho print. 150dpi at full size is perfect, you could go down to 110dpi without really seeing any loss in quality. Especially for something illustrative. So around the 70mb size for the finished flattened file.
  8. wac

    wac Senior Member

    I think if your looking at the Alton Towers map the real skill is in the way they've made the attractions come alive whilst still making them reasonably accurate, like caricatures for rollercoasters! I think if you can get a handle on that the output will be a semantic but personally I would start with sketches and bring them into illustrator.
  9. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    If it were me I'd go the AI route and create it in isometrics.
    Once you get your head around working iso and have a few things in place such as cubes cylinders you can adapt and re-use elements across the whole thing.
    Things like bushes and trees can be made into symbols and repeated to keep the file size down too.
    Isometrics work well with maps as they are pretty easy to understand and are used in game play a lot.

    There are some pretty good tut's out there on how to do this especially on VectorTuts+ if you do a search.
    There's a pretty neat trick to get a plan elevation and skew it to make it iso in a few simple steps.

    I took a look at the Alton Towers one and I thought that was pretty confusing.
    No wonder I've never been able to find my way around the place:)
  10. Wardy

    Wardy Well-Known Member

    Hi Scotty, thanks for that.

    I'd like to have a go at doing it in AI (and the client is willing to pay), but I just don't think my AI skills
    will be good enough to make it "come alive" as much as I could in Photoshop - things like the textures on the grass and water, etc.

    I agree the Alton Towers one is confusing, purely because the place is so massive, but they like the way it's been done, and I think it would need more than a few tuts for me to achieve that style.
  11. hgc

    hgc Member

    We would suggest combing Illustrator and Photoshop. Do the bulk of illustration then use photoshop to add textures and depth. Doing it all in Photoshop will become a nightmare.

    Often the most challenging briefs end up being the most rewarding though!
  12. Wardy

    Wardy Well-Known Member

    Thanks Guys.

    Yes, I think the best route for me is to do the background and basic buildings in Ai, and then the rest in Photoshop, dropping in the individual rides after hand-drawing them and scanning them in.

    I've taken a week already just sketching the thing out!
  13. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a labour of love:)
  14. Wardy

    Wardy Well-Known Member

    Not sure about that, Scotty, I'll be glad when it's done. I prefer to have lots of small jobs on the go than one big one, but shouldn't complain!
  15. scotty

    scotty Well-Known Member

    I'm exactly the same Wardy.
    I can really struggle to keep my enthusiasm when it comes to doing really big jobs.
    I've had some where I couldn't bring myself to look at the screen first thing in the morning.

    As you say though, shouldn't complain:)

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