Mapmaking?

Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by TJ Sinclair, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2000
    Location:
    There and back again...
    Honestly, I'm not sure if this belongs here or in Trek Tech, but given the practicalities involved, I figured I'd try here first.

    I've long been a cartophile, and I love books like Star Charts, Stellar Cartography, and the rest, as well as all the many fanmade maps that chart the Trek universe.

    But other than basically freehanding it in Photoshop, GIMP or (in the olden days) MS Paint, I've never been successful in making one myself. How do the fans who make their own Star Charts-style maps make them? What programs? What techniques? Are there any tutorials out there?
     
  2. Rekkert

    Rekkert Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Location:
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    The very few star charts or LCARS based maps I've done were always on Inkscape, I found it super easy to learn and perfect for the task.
     
  3. gazomg

    gazomg Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Location:
    The Peoples Republic of Cork
    free hand in photoshop for me, as you suggested in your post
     
  4. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Inkscape is my go to as well. However, I've been itching to find some way to make 3D maps using Blender or Space Engine.
     
  5. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Location:
    publiusr
    In some real star charts--the stars are depicted as black on a white background.

    I'd like to see some trek charts with that set-up.
     
  6. Doctor Tiki

    Doctor Tiki Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2020
    Location:
    Germany
    Stellar cartography is mostly a data analysis job and then only later an artistic act. Take a look at this: https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/11/ed-fairburn-map-portraits/ where the map maker added distinctive artistic features to star charts. The same way, galaxy maps are mostly the background to which the art in Star Trek is added later. For instance, certain planets and nebula are real, while the Romulan space is artistically added. That means, your attempts to create ST universes are doomed to fail, if you don't have fundamental maps and fundamental data about the galaxy. This is different to video-game science fiction in which the galaxies are made up.
     
  7. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2000
    Location:
    There and back again...
    I understand all that, and frankly, it's not relevant to my question, which was specifically about what computer programs to use to draw/render the maps once you have all the data you're talking about.
     
    Doctor Tiki likes this.
  8. Doctor Tiki

    Doctor Tiki Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2020
    Location:
    Germany
    Well, for prototyping you can use MS Paint, any ASCII / ANSI art editor for pre-web retro-computer style. On the 3D prototyping, you can use MagicaVoxel and its cousin Aerialod for Minecraft-esque/LEGO styles. You can use actual LEGO editors, like LDraw. Once you have a prototype that sort of works out, you write with Python a conversion of the data into 3D objects in Blender. Once you have the Blender model, the next question is texturing and lighting. After that, you do rendering, which is mostly a command-line thing. From there, you get some sort of JPG out and add your artistic emblems for empires and zones.
     
    MisterD likes this.
  9. Doctor Tiki

    Doctor Tiki Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2020
    Location:
    Germany
    Alternatively, you import the Blender models into Javascript that activate WebGL in the browser and work on Javascript files that do texture and rendering. Three.js is very active in that space.
     
    MisterD likes this.