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Best map making software

Discussion in 'World Building' started by troynos, May 27, 2016.

  1. troynos

    troynos Minstrel

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    What are the best map making softwares out there? Paid or free.

    I've done my maps by hand but want to make them better and cleaner looking.

    I was thinking of picking up Campaign Cartographer 3 (plus or normal, opinions?). Anyone use that?
     
  2. jm.milks

    jm.milks Scribe

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    I haven't dabbled in too many programs myself, but I did take a semester of Adobe illustrator a year ago, so that's what I use.

    I understand that different programs will cater to what a person wants as a result. Me?

    Illustrator is great for me, being the powerful vectoring program that it is.

    I'll prolly post a couple pictures of my WIP world, but illustrator caters to my personal vision of it.

    What I'm moving towards is primarily a political map for an entire planet as it goes through a period of a couple thousand years or so, so the layering comes in handy as I can separate everything into different ages.

    I'm able to zoom in and jot down notes for whatever detail I'm working on, like how the people of this area were effected when the oceans rose as a result of a portal that was opened to a water planet.

    It also has direct integration with other programs, so after I take an After Effects course next semester, if be able to animate certain things, such as the waters rising, or the advancements of military campaigns and such.

    So it's good for me, but it's one of the more complex programs and may offer much more than what most people want
     
  3. Boiled Water

    Boiled Water Dreamer

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    Inkarnate is mapmaking tool that is currently beta testing. You can sign-up for free and make some pretty cool looking stuff. I like it because it is very streamlined and easy to learn. I use it to make most of my maps and they are constantly adding new features as they flesh it out. Give it try!

    inkarnate.com
     
    troynos likes this.
  4. Unicorn-Girl

    Unicorn-Girl Acolyte

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    Thanks for the info. I've been wanting to find something usable to try for my own WIP. Having a hard time visualizing some of the locations.
     
  5. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Inkling

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    Last edited: May 29, 2016
    FifthView, Brithel and bpalmer72 like this.
  6. La Volpe

    La Volpe Sage

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    The Fractal World generator looks really familiar; I think I've used it in the past. But me using map rendering software usually just ends up with hours spent trying to get it just right. So nowadays I just grab a paper and pencil and have at it.
     
  7. troynos

    troynos Minstrel

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    Playing around with it now. Looks like it could work.
     
  8. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I've found a response from the people behind Inkarnate, on Reddit, which seems to imply that maps generated with their software can't be used commercially: "Thanks for asking. You can use as long as it's not a commercial product being sold."

    That was from 2 months ago. A follow-up comment from a month ago said they'd be adding a terms of use link soon.

    An older comment on a different Reddit thread, about 8 months ago, suggests that they might be open to working with authors for licensing maps created with their software.

    I haven't yet found a link to a terms of service note. I'm guessing that since they are still in beta, they may not have determined yet how they'll handle such things. Hopefully they'll create a straightforward process for commercial use. I just wanted to throw this up on this thread so people using the service have some idea of what they might expect. (I'm often very leery of jumping into media-generating software until I have a clear idea of licensing requirements.)
     
    Boiled Water likes this.
  9. Boiled Water

    Boiled Water Dreamer

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    Thanks for clarifying about Inkarnate. I should have mentioned that earlier. I really only use Inkarnate for organizing visualizing the layout of my world. Very simple and fun tool but if you plan to seriously use your map I would consider a more detailed graphic program.
     
  10. troynos

    troynos Minstrel

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    Ah, damn. Interesting.
     
  11. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    @ K.S. Crooks:

    Awesome map! Does that program create maps that can go into e-books? Because that would be super primo.
     
  12. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

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    Take into account the amount of time you may need to spend learning the program to get the results you want. Depending on the complexity, outsourcing the project might be a good alternative, especially if you aren't familiar with geographic/geological/topographic concepts. I had very little knowledge of the latter and the gal I worked with was very knowledgeable about those things so she could help with the placement of mountain ranges, rivers, etc.
     
  13. Bruce McKnight

    Bruce McKnight Troubadour

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    Yeah, that's a big point of consideration. I use (and love) GIMP (like a free version of Photoshop), but it took some time to figure out. The good news is that once you figure it out, you can literally do anything without being limited by the tool. The great news is there are tutorials all over the internet. The bad news is it takes time to learn... but there's still the good and great news!
     
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