The Big Map Fix of 2019

It’s the New Year when so often we writers blog about our plans for the coming year. I’m going to do things a little different this year and break my plans down by project over the course of this month. Yes, I can finally tackle multiple projects after an intense autumn.

Map: CA Hawthorne
My problem map that looks fine small. Map: CA Hawthorne

I’d spent much of the year editing, but everything changed in September when I performed a complete rewrite of my Ontyre periphery novel, Essence Stone, which was no small undertaking. It was a mess. October brought NaNo Prep, which was logically followed by NaNo in November and a +143K novel. What I called Short Story December was supposed to be relaxing, but yielded ten short stories and +70K words.

Shoot me.

Now, I’m switching gears, my focus broadening. My first topic this January is fixing the Pannulus map. What’s wrong with it? Oh, you really shouldn’t have asked me that.

Map: CA Hawthorne
The Tremjara map is huge, but Pannulus (upper right) is but a tiny percentage of the whole. Map: CA Hawthorne

The biggest problem appeared at the start. Despite how huge I made the Tremjara map (the continent), when I blew up the Pannulus portion big enough for me to apply labels it pixelated. A lot. Instead of smooth lines for rivers, for instance, the edges looked like steps. Too, the pixelating caused the mountains and other features to seem as though they were melting into the background.

You don’t want to show me an imperfection in a map I’ve made. Ahhh…!

Problem was, I’d thrown the map together fast because I needed it as a reference for the preliminary world building I was doing for Pannulus. To that purpose it worked just fine, but its imperfections dug deeper beneath my skin with every passing week.

Photo: CA Hawthorne
Photo: CA Hawthorne

In late spring I had to break away from Pannulus to perform an edit on each of the Carrdia novels so I’d be ready for NaNo Prep in the autumn, which eventually led to the rewrite of Essence Stone that September. One thing led to another, led to another and fixing the map was squeezed out of my plans, though each time I included it in a blog post I’d clench my teeth. (insert another scream here).

Other problems? There were a few misspellings and names that needed changed, rivers that appeared fine on the big map looked truncated and far too wide when enlarged, and the map was far too busy.

What was causing the clutter? Trees.

Huh?

When the original Tremjara map was created back in 2015 it was in black and white so the only way to show forests was to paste trees. Later, when I colorized the map that rendered the trees redundant. Ironically, to remove the trees on the Tremjara map is a simple process. All I have to do is turn off the layer.

Except I didn’t think about that when I created the Pannulus map. Now, it no longer has those layers because the file would have been enormous after adding all the labels. In other words, I flattened the image. I was so intent on the task that I ignored all the enormous, blurry trees making the labeling more difficult to read.

They really jumped out at me when I started using the map again in December. Map imperfections are the kind of issues that keep me awake at night so fixing Pannulus became a project for January.

Sounds like a huge mess, right? Not as much as you might think. In two days I’ve already made huge strides, and I’m not even working on it exclusively. Already the Kylndor Peninsula is done (the one chunk of mainland that appears), as is the western half of Sancthor Island, which is the largest island.

The results are my inspiration. The map looks crisper, cleaner. It’s easier for the eye to travel to what’s important without all the trees. The rivers taper towards their source like they should, their edges smoother. I’ve also fixed spellings, like my penchant for putting an extra “n” in peninsula.

Baring disaster, I should easily be able to unveil the new Pannulus map by the end of this month. Meanwhile, there are other projects planned and others going on simultaneously, but those are topics for other posts.

One Reply to “The Big Map Fix of 2019”

  1. Pingback: The Big Map Fix of 2019 | Christina Anne Hawthorne

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