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Author Topic: Commonwealth of Marathon  (Read 528794 times)

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Offline thundercrack83

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Re: Commonwealth of Marathon [01/06/09]: UPDATE XV: On the Tedium...
« Reply #540 on: January 06, 2009, 05:38:26 PM »


Joan (Jmouse): Wow, thanks so much, Joan! I've already given you a well-deserved +1 karma for your help, but I can't thank you enough, my friend! This will make things so much easier than sitting down with a pen and paper making checkmarks!

Matt (threestooges): Thanks for your great comments, Matt! Very much appreciated! And Joan's solution is certainly going to work out quite well, isn't it? Thanks for coming by!

bat: Thank you, my friend!

Pat: Thanks so much, Pat! Hope to see you around again soon!

Robin (rooker1): Oh, the urge is still there, my friend! The hard part is trying to get the ideas in my head to come out as well as they seem in there! Thanks for the New Year's wishes, too, and I wish you and your family a Happy New Year, as well! Take care, my very good friend!




UPDATE XV
On the Tedium, Trepidation, and Eventual Fulfillment of Cartography
Part I: From the Game to the Drawing Board...

6 January 2009

A few comments back, our friend deathtopumpkins said:

Quote
Oh, and I'm guessing that you're making a map from that transit data view!

Well, you guessed correctly, my friend! Today, we'll look at making a map of the current transit situation on Marathon Island.

A QUICK NOTE: The methods that I have used in this series of updates are methods that I have picked up over hours of trial and error using Photoshop. They very well may be incorrect, or there may be better or easier ways to achieve things of which I am unaware. If our Photoshop masters are out there looking, please do not hesitate to jump in with a tip, correction, or anything similar! This is as much as learning experience for me as it is for everyone else!

OK, we'll proceed!

The first step ensures that we're putting the highways, avenues, and roads in the correct spots! To do so—



We open up the traffic window in the game, then hitting [Ctrl]+[Shift]+S to bring up the camera, we adjust the size to get a picture of the tile in traffic view.

We follow this same method with each of the 18 tiles used for Marathon Island. Correction, 17 tiles, since one of them is completely covered with water!

After that is done, we open up Photoshop...



...and...



...crop out everything but the traffic view of tile itself.

That leaves us with...



...this!

Since I'm in idiot, I didn't realize that, when I snapped the photo in the game, I didn't have it facing the correct direction! Easy enough fix, though—just go to the Image menu, then select Rotate Canvas, followed by 180°, taking us...



...here.

Now, we Save for Web...



...either by finding the option in the File menu, or hitting [Alt]+[Ctrl]+[Shift]+S.

Again, we follow the same steps with each tile's traffic view snapshot, saving them each as .JPG files for later.

Now..



...we open a new project by hitting [Ctrl]+N, and choose dimensions accordingly. Each tile's cropped traffic view snapshot is 256 x 256 pixels. Therefore, since the is island is 3 tiles wide by 6 tiles long, the width needs to be a minimum of 256 px x 3, or 768 px, and the height needs to be a minimum of 256 px x 6, or 1536 px. But, just to be on the safe side, we'll go with 1000 x 1700. We can always crop it later!

Next we start opening up the 256 x 256 pix tiles.



We then hit [Ctrl]+A to Select All, followed by [Ctrl]+X to Cut.



Paste the tile—by hitting [Ctrl]+V—on the blank 1000 x 1700 canvas. Then move the tile to the upper left corner, making sure to hit that the Snap button is checked under the View Menu. This will ensure that tile is directly in the corner by "snapping" the tile to the canvas border. You can also toggle the Snap feature by hitting [Shift]+[Ctrl]+;, if you'd like. Once the tile is secured in the corner, I'd recommend removing the Snap feature, as it will make thigns a bit easier for future steps.

Once we've got the corner tile in place, we start opening the other tiles and begin lining them up as closely as possible to each other. Like...



...this, followed by...



...this, and finally...



...this!

So there's our complete map of traffic view tiles from the game! A quick note that the missing tile is the one that contains all water and, therefore, is not necessary for our current application.

For as much work as all of that was, it's done solely for the purpose of being a template, unfortunately.

Our next step is to...



...first, create a new layer, either by hitting [Shift]+[Ctrl]+N, or clicking the button in  Circle 1.

Next, we move to Circle 2 and select the Pencil Tool, alos found by hitting B. Circle 3 gives us our Brush Size, which selected as 4 px for this particular usage.

Using the Pencil Tool and zooming in to about 800% or so, we trace the outside of the entire island, as illustrated by the black line in the picture above.

IMPORTANT: Make sure that you are placing the black line on the correct layer! To do this, look at the Layer Window—shown on the right hand side in the above picture with "Layer 18" and "Layer 19." The layer that you are currently using is labeled in bold and is highlighted in grey. In the above picture, Layer 19 is the current layer being used.

Carefully tracing the outside edge of the island will give us...



...this result!

By toggling off the little "eye" button next to "Layer 18," we can see...



...our outline by itself.

The next step—create another new layer (Circle 1, or [Shift]+[Ctrl]+N). Now, select the Magic Wand Tool, signified by Circle 2, or by hitting W, and click inside the island, where the "land" portion would be. Then select the Paint Bucket Tool by hitting G, and paint the inside of the island.



Our result! But this is only the beginning! We'll stop here for now, and pick up where we are leaving off with Part II!

See you then!

Offline metasmurf

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Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #541 on: January 06, 2009, 05:41:42 PM »
Great tutorial. Can't wait for part 2  :thumbsup:

Offline threestooges

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Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #542 on: January 06, 2009, 05:45:18 PM »
Funny, I thought it looked pretty good as a traffic data map, but I like where it is going. Some good cartography tips are always handy, both here and in 3RR. Looking forward to seeing what you're up to. Knowing you it'll be a good tutorial to follow.
-Matt

Offline rooker1

Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #543 on: January 06, 2009, 06:32:31 PM »
OKay.....I have made it this far, now what do I do?

Robin  ()stsfd()
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Offline deathtopumpkins

Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #544 on: January 06, 2009, 06:36:31 PM »
Hey, I was right!  ;D

Ooh... this will be really helpful. I see where I went wrong making my atlas of my CJ.  :D Too bad I don't have photoshop though...
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Offline Jmouse

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Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #545 on: January 06, 2009, 07:13:13 PM »
Always glad to help, Dustin - I've lost count of how many times folks have helped me!

I've never created a transit map, but you have certainly presented one good way of doing it. As I was looking at your trial-and-error efforts, it occurred to me how often playing SC4RH/DX opens up creative avenues we never knew existed.

Dedicated players
find themselves inspired to tackle complex coding problems, to improve skills in software like Photoshop, to learn lot editing, to try their hand at BATting and to always push themselves beyond their perceived limits. SC4 is a classic game that inspires unbelievable levels of creative thinking - even more so in a supportive community.

Thanks for sharing your good ideas...
Joan

Offline Pat

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Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #546 on: January 07, 2009, 03:05:01 AM »
Hey Dustin I think you have found a great key here to making a great road map!!!! I cant wait for part II !!

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Offline bat

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Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #547 on: January 07, 2009, 08:00:20 AM »
Nice work on that tutorial there! And looking forward to part II!
BTW, which version of Photoshop do you use?

Offline thundercrack83

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Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #548 on: January 08, 2009, 12:38:36 PM »


metasmurf: Thanks so much!

Matt (threestooges): Thanks, Matt! I didn't think that it looked to bad as a traffic view map, either, actually. Perhaps I'll come up with a way to use that in the future! Thanks for stopping by!

Robin (rooker1): Hi, Robin! You've made it this far, eh? Well, be on the lookout for Part II—we'll get you all the way through this yet!

deathtopumpkins: Great catch on the map guess, my friend! And good luck to you in your own mapmaking. I'm glad you've found some of this helpful!

Joan (Jmouse): Hello, there, Joan! You are very correct on how SC4 has opened up different avenues of creativity and knowledge. I know that I probably never would have gotten as far with Photoshop in the limited capacity that I've done so far, had it not been for SC4. And there's also the knowledge that I've gained from all of our friends here in a myriad of different topics and subjects. The old saying goes, "you learn something new everyday," and that certainly holds true here at SC4D! Take care, my friend!

Pat: Thanks, my friend! Part II is on the horizon!

bat: Thank you, bat! As I am not on my home computer for confirmation, I am not 100% sure, but I believe that I am using Photoshop 7.0. I'll check when I get home and get back to you for certain, though!



I am in currently in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, until tomorrow—my girlfriend is at a conference and I came along on the ride for the free hotel room! And to sweeten the pot even more, the wireless Internet access at the hotel is complimentary!

But we're not without a teaser here in the capital of the Keystone State...



Just another medium-level urban skyline picture that I enjoy making so very much!

Part II of our cartography endeavor is on the way, too—Saturday at the latest.

Stay tuned!

Offline alan_vzla

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Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #549 on: January 08, 2009, 12:46:09 PM »
That's a good photo mate!, the only thing I don't like too much are the Maxis trees... I prefer c.p's

And for the photoshop tutorial, very good! It will surely help me in my MD!

Offline deathtopumpkins

Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #550 on: January 08, 2009, 02:12:27 PM »
Have fun in Harrisonburg! That is a great pic... :thumbsup:
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Offline Nexis4Jersey

Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #551 on: January 08, 2009, 02:30:24 PM »
have fun in Harrisburg!  :) Hehe i bet your not enjoying the cold though  >:(

Offline Pat

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Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #552 on: January 08, 2009, 03:54:54 PM »
Dustin have fun at the confrence and rack up that free hotel room!!! lol heheehe Anyways love that teaser there Keystone State!!!! Will be looking forward to part II here soon...

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Offline Jmouse

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Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #553 on: January 08, 2009, 05:55:32 PM »
I like today's photo, Dustin. Never been a fan of high-rise skylines - they just don't look right to me in game usually - but the mid-rises look great.

Have a pleasant weekend and don't worry about us (sniff, sniff). We'll try to get along without you for a day or so. :D

Later...
Joan

Offline metarvo

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Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #554 on: January 08, 2009, 07:12:55 PM »
Marathon still looks very nice, Dustin.  That building that is towards the lower-left of your pic is my favorite part of it, since it is placed so well.  I hope you are having a good time on your trip.  Hmmm... free wireless Internet at the hotel?  Sweet!  ;D
Find my power line BAT thread here.
Check out the Noro Cooperative.  What are you waiting for?  It even has electricity.
Want more? Try here.  For even more electrical goodies, look here.
Here are some rural power lines.

Offline rooker1

Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #555 on: January 09, 2009, 06:16:50 AM »
Hello Dustin,
 Thank for the well wishes for the new year.
 It's always nice to take a little trip, get away from all the regular stuff in life.  But I'm not sure that I would have brought the lap top.  I'd be too busy thinking about the girlfriend's conference and than the bed......don't think so dirty everyone, I have kids now.  I was thinking about sleep. ::) ;) :D
 I think your MD is doing so well, for one reason are all the great pictures.  Although you only gave us one this update, I find myself looking at it for quite some time.  Everything seems to fit very well together.  All buildings are of the same size,style and realistic, like it could exist in real life easily.  I like it alot. &apls
See you around my friend,
Robin  :thumbsup:
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Offline bat

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Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #556 on: January 09, 2009, 07:31:26 AM »
That's a really nice "medium-level urban skyline picture" there!
Great work on it! And looking forward to the second part of your tutorial... ;)

Offline thundercrack83

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Re: Commonwealth of Marathon [01/10/09]: UPDATE XVI: On the Tedium...
« Reply #557 on: January 10, 2009, 12:28:50 AM »


alan_vzla: Thanks, my friend! I'm with you on the trees, too—I'm a huge fan of the ones by c.p., as well. I think the Maxis ones in the picture are a part of the lot, though, so without going into the LE (which I may have to put on the list of things to be done...), I couldn't take care of them properly. Thanks for coming by!

deathtopumpkins: Thank you! I did have a good time!

Nexis: Thanks! The cold wasn't too bad, though. Growing up in the Northeast, I've come to enjoy the wintertime.

Pat: Hey, my friend! We had a good time, especially when we found out that room service would be taken care of, too! I'm glad you enjoyed the picture, too, my friend! Take care!

Joan (Jmouse): Hi, Joan! I'm happy you liked the mid-rises, my friend! I know what you mean about the high-rise shots, too—I find myself having to redo them a few times when I make them because I can't get it to look right, whereas with the mid-rise shots, it comes together rather effortlessly...well, maybe not "effortlessly," but certainly less effort than the high-rise ones! Thanks for stopping in, Joan!

metarvo: Thanks very much, my friend! The free wireless Internet was definitely a bonus, I was expecting some kind of fee. Hope to see you here again!

Robin (rooker1): Hi, Robin! All went well in Harrisburg, and believe me, I made the most of the bed! While my girlfriend was at here meetings, I slept all afternoon! It was wonderful! I'm glad you liked the picture, too. I do have to start BAT-hunting soon, though, as I feel myself using the same buildings multiple times. I hope my computer can handle the load in my plugins folder! It's always great to see you here, my friend! Hope all is well!

bat: Thanks, my friend! And you don't have to wait for Part II any longer!




UPDATE XVI
On the Tedium, Trepidation, and Eventual Fulfillment of Cartography
Part II: From the Drawing Board to...You!

10 January 2009

When last we left our gallant and valiant hero in this sublime history—forgive me, I recently finished reading Don Quixote



We had gotten the basic outline of Marathon Island, as well as the base for it. But, as I said, that was only the beginning.

Our next step is to start filling in the various levels of transportation that we have on the island at this juncture, starting with the highways.

Opening a new layer (making use of [Shift]+[Ctrl]+N) and labeling it "Highways," we start...



...tracing with our Pencil Tool (B). Since the avenues and the highways appear in the same color and the same thickness, you'll have to be aware of your transportation networks ahead of time, in order to ensure correct placement.

As the title of this series of updates suggests, there is a small level of tedium involved in creating this map, but some of it is alleviated by a great little tip of which I stumbled upon—click once with the Pencil Tool, drawing a single block over the highway. Then, scroll down, following the highway, as shown in the above picture. Now, hold [Shift] and click. If you maintained the correct trajectory, you should have straight line!

If you did not maintain the correct trajectory...



...you'll still get a line, just not the one you want! Therein lies the "trepidation," as per the title.

Following this process, we place the highways.



They are shown above. Take note of the gaps shown in the highway work, as well be addressing them shortly.

Avenues, are next...



Again, same procedure—create a new layer, label it "Avenues," then start tracing with the Pencil Tool. Remember, Make sure you are tracing the correct transportation network according to your layer labels! You'll see why in a bit.

Now, we come upon our first obstacle, so to speak...



...the roundabouts. Not to worry, we just employ the Custom Shape Tool, either by hitting U, or clicking on the custom shape man circled in Circle 1. Then proceed to Circle 2, and choose the circle with a thick outline (shown above).

Hold [Shift] to maintain a perfect circle, and then place it to the correct size (also shown above).

With that taken care of, the avenues are...



...complete! Note that I've changed the color to brown, for no particular reason at all. I only point it out in case someone may be wondering if there was a reason for it.



Here's the avenue network by its lonesome.

Next, we'll do the smaller roads that flank the highways, as well as split off from avenues.



Same procedure, giving us...



...this!

Now remember those gaps I pointed out in the highways earlier? You probably figured out that they are for...



...our tunnels! A new layer for our Highway Tunnels, and...



...one for our avenue tunnels, as well!

Now we get to the purpose for all these layers, as well as the strict policy of making sure you are on the correct layer that you want to be on. Any good map distinguishes the different transportation networks using a color scheme. Now, I've used a color scheme to place them already, but those were arbitrary colors that I chose...well, arbitrarily.

We're going to give it that "map look," or at least attempt to!

So...



we'll start with the highways. To access the window shown above, either double-click on the layer you wish to adjust (in this case the "Highways" layer), or go to the Layer Menu and choose Layer Style, then Blending Options... to get there.

As shown above, Color Overlay is checked to give us a new color for the highway line itself. Then, Stroke is employed to get the outline—in this case, it is done by choosing the Inside option in the Position dropbox, as well as adjusting the thickness to 1 px. These settings can be adjusted to fit your needs.

We do the same thing with our Avenues and Roads...



...as well as the Highway and Avenue Tunnels. To line up the colors for the tunnels, just Right Click on the corresponding tunnel—"Highways" for highway tunnels, "Avenues" for avenue tunnels—and click Copy Layer Style. Then go to the tunnel layer, Right Click, and choose Paste Layer Style. The Color Overlay and Stroke will now match! I've also adjusted the Opacity of the tunnel layers to give it that semi-transparent "map tunnel look."

With all that said and done, we get...



...our finished product! A full map of Marathon Island with the highways and arteries in their correct placement and relative scale, according to their placement in the game.

With that, we can go things like...



...this! We handled the tedium, combated the trepidation, and now we've arrived at "eventual fulfillment!"

I hope this has inspired you to try your hand at some cartography of your own. With the right tools, a bit of knowledge and a whole lot of patience, you, too can make some Good Eats...sorry, I seem to have channeled a little Alton Brown there for a second.

One final note—since this has been pretty much Photoshop-exclusive, I apologize if this does not translate to other programs. Hopefully, though, you can get some use out of it!

Take care!
« Last Edit: January 10, 2009, 12:30:27 AM by thundercrack83 »

Offline art128

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Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #558 on: January 10, 2009, 07:03:35 AM »
Oh my !!!! :o You have done there a fantastic tutorial Dustin, colossal work !  &apls &apls
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Offline deathtopumpkins

Re: Commonwealth of Marathon
« Reply #559 on: January 10, 2009, 09:12:35 AM »
Whoa... Dustin, that finished product is fantastic... I really wish I had photoshop now!  :D

 :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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