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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, IL USA
    Posts
    527

    Default Fantasy maps created using Xara Xtreme

    Hello, my name is Michael Tumey and I am a professional fantasy cartographer, that is I create fictional maps for novelists, video games and printed maps for RPG games like Dungeons & Dragons. I've been doing this for three years and have been commissioned for maps by many publishers large and small.

    I am a senior member of the Cartographers' Guild, though I am the only one who uses Xara to create maps - most are users of map applications like Profantasy Campaign Cartographer (CAD application) or image editors like Photoshop or GIMP. Since the majority of pro fantasy mappers are members of the above mentioned site, I know that I am alone in using Xara Xtreme - at least at a professional level.

    At the CG, I've participated in numerous Map Challenges (community monthly contests following a specific theme or set of rules) and have won four times.

    I have included several more recent maps I've created - from Contests entries, professional commissions, as well as work for my own game publication.

    While I have some maps that were created exclusively in Xara Xtreme, most of my recent work combines hand-drawn linework that is digitally scanned then imported to Xara for coloring/beveling shadowing and special effects. I also have maps that utilize imported 3D graphics elements I create using other software. While I will use Photoshop to do any image editing I may need, most of the digital work is handled entirely in Xara Xtreme.

    The first map below is my most recent work, its for a map contest (with prizes) - kind of creepy map, a dark fantasy dungeon featuring a crypt, surgical chambers, a blood filled canyon, a bone chapel with a bloody moat, and many filled chambers. I call it the Necromancer's Lair...

    (Now seeing the limitations of attachment manager, I will post links to the maps from my website, as almost all of the maps exceed the file size limitation...)

    Necromancer's Lair

    The next map is very much a work in progress, as it is a commissioned piece for a print newsletter for Iron Crown Enterprises RPG - the Guild Companion, I have more hand-drawn work to do, more buildings to place and trees. The inset square in the top right corner will for interior views of a tavern/inn that figures prominently in the storyline.

    Village of Tomme

    The next map is a commissioned regional map of Zion Canyon area in Utah, as part of a Old West RPG for Dog House Rules (Sidewinder: Recoiled)

    Zion Canyon Regional Map

    These last two links posted will be to older maps. The first one was a contest entry and the inspiration to create my my published game setting for a fantasy medieval Japan (Asian horror) game for Pathfinder RPG. However the contest area depicts a part of actual Japan in 1184 - 1185, showing major battle sites and political controlling areas during the Genpei War.

    Genpei War Map

    Last map posted for today - a contest entry and winner for Iron Crown Enterprises first map contest. The theme was create a temple map, so I created a map for a Sea God, something like Poseidon, I call this map: Sargoseum.

    Sargoseum - Temple to God of the Seas map

    I will post more, hopefully as attachments later on. I also plan to post tutorials on how I use Xara Xtreme to create my fantasy maps.

    Enjoy!

    GP

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Red Boiling Springs TN USA
    Posts
    19,209

    Default Re: Fantasy maps created using Xara Xtreme

    Hello Michael,

    Welcome to Talkgraphics.

    Attachments are limited to a maximum width of 800 pixels. This is to support the most members with various size and resolution monitors. Also we have members world wide and many are still using dial-up connections.
    Soquili
    a.k.a. Bill Taylor
    Bill is no longer with us. He died on 10 Dec 2012. We remember him always.
    My TG Album
    Last XaReg update

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    New York NY
    Posts
    3,459

    Default Re: Fantasy maps created using Xara Xtreme

    Nice work, Michael. And welcome to the forum.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, IL USA
    Posts
    527

    Default Re: Fantasy maps created using Xara Xtreme

    Actually, I'm on dial up at the moment. I have cable internet at home, so I'll probably be posting more updates from there.

    At the Cartographers' Guild they use different forum software that automatically creates a thumbnail, viewable in a reduced form when clicking it (click again opens a new window at full size). They still have a limitation of 6000 pixels and 4.5 MB for JPG files.

    I do have a few thumbnail versions of my maps that I can post directly. Here's one - Ryukyo (Sea Dragon City) - this one has some 3D elements and PD Particle elements, but this one is mostly generated in Xara Xtreme only.

    Let's see if can post this successfully!

    Here's a link to the larger version of that map - Sea Dragon Palace and City

    Edit: I'll have to go check and see if I have a final version of this map - this looks like while it was still a work in progress

    GP
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Bracknell, UK
    Posts
    5,770

    Default Re: Fantasy maps created using Xara Xtreme

    Very impressive.

    A lot of people would have posted a smaller attachment directly on the forums - partly to protect their work from "walking". Your images do look fabulous at such high resolutions. I think the other reason why posting link is generally discouraged is that over time, websites come and go, often makinging links unusable - it's fortunate that because talkgraphics usually has attachments rather than links, we still get to see the work way down the line.

    Really nice work - I can see why you are so successful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, IL USA
    Posts
    527

    Default Re: Fantasy maps created using Xara Xtreme

    My website hosts my service for large format digital printing of RPG maps for gamers and publishers, so its a business website (so it won't go away soon!)

    My site has been active since April 2007.

    Good points and I will try to format smaller versions of my files so they can easily be posted as attachments, here, so they can last into posterity.

    GP

    PS: except for commission maps which are All Rights Reserved owned by the respective publishers, most of my maps I offer as CC-BY-SA license for free use in home RPG games, just not for publication. In the gaming industry there are only 150 or so pro mappers in the industry world-wide, we all know each other (more and less) and though the end-user market is in the millions - we tend to learn quickly when a map is "walking away" and take action quickly. Our fans are quick to notifiy us when something like that happens - loyal fans and all.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, IL USA
    Posts
    527

    Default Re: Fantasy maps created using Xara Xtreme

    Work-in-Progress map for the village of Tomme is near completion. I need to add some timber piles at the lumber mill, timbers floating in the river near lumber mill and the interior map for the inset - then it will be finished.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, IL USA
    Posts
    527

    Default Re: Fantasy maps created using Xara Xtreme

    I found the completed version of my Sea Dragon City map - Ryukyo (which means "dragon city" in Japanese).

    And here's a link to the larger version of that file...
    Ryukyo map

    The real experiment in this map was to simulate the depth by using layers of 30-60% transparent rectangles of blue stacked between "lower" terrain layers, so the image gets darker, more blue, thus deeper until you can barely see the objects at the bottom.

    Enjoy!

    GP
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, IL USA
    Posts
    527

    Default Re: Fantasy maps created using Xara Xtreme

    Here's an older map that's completely created in Xara Xtreme Pro alone - no other software was used. Rather than color textures there is extensive use of aerial photos of forests as well as closeup photos of rock jpg's used as texture fills for various shapes. I don't do this style much, preferring a more hand-drawn look in the maps I create (also a preference for that by publishers as well.)

    Here's a link to the larger version of this map - this was a personal project, so anyone is free to download and use this to their hearts content, just not for commercial use (CC-BY-NA) licensed. Celanta small continent map

    I used this for a home-brew game - so this isn't published work.

    GP
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 20 February 2010 at 10:20 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
    Posts
    2,041

    Default Re: Fantasy maps created using Xara Xtreme

    Gameprinter I think the last link is faulty..it has an extra hyphen..
    JimM

 

 

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