Trying to understand digital watercolor for my maps
An un-edited stream of mapping thoughts.
Yesterday I spent a lot of time working through my own version of \”Into the Stars – ArtRage Watercolor Tutorials.\” The core takeaway was the use of layer textures, and I got a better understanding of Artrage 5 tools. I still have Obi Kaufmann\’s atlas open on my desk – to the page that talks about counties as a construct.
Using Intuos tablet – I don\’t have preferences set right
I am using the Wacom Intuos rather than my Cintiq because I am used to looking at the screen while my hand is off to the side. Also, I can bring it with me to practice. It connects just fine via bluetooth to my MacbookPro, but I have connection issues with the Macbook even when I connect via a cable. There could be some kind of conflict.
I still don\’t think I have the tilt preferences so that the line drawn when the pen is at an angle will be more like that of a pencil shade.
Choosing what to show is a big part of cartography. I learned so much by creating this quick sketch – drawn based on the GIS data from my last post. Orange represents gas infrastructure in PA. Green represents Environmental Action Committees (EAC\’s).
This doesn\’t really show the flow. But what is clear to me is the disconnect between EAC\’s and gas extraction. Every municipality in PA could have an EAC.
I suppose this map isn\’t complete. A challenge for the gas industry is the conveyance of gas safely through urban areas. Gas leaks happen.
This map shows specific municipalities crossed by the Adelphia pipeline. It served a specific need for a specific audience.
The map I want to make is not so much about pipelines. I want to make a map that says, \”Let\’s try to connect with our surroundings.\” Connecting requires little choices.
Looking at the process…
In the YouTube video mentioned above, I just want to write out the steps so I don\’t have to keep watching the video:
Import the custom background (see video link) for a jpg called g7.
Approx Minute 1:44 Load custom canvas grain and set the size to 200%
Try out the watercolor brush, looking at different roughnesses, which is what I\’m doing in the image below of rivers over Pennsylvania Counties.
Then the video talks about adding textures to layers (Around 4:40). SomeoneSane, who made the video, adds a concrete texture to the layer. Basically, the fill from the paint bucket is normal. But then the layer opacity is set to color. The difference doesn\’t seem that noticeable.
Then there\’s another layer done in a similar way. I don\’t know how people figure these things out other than through experimentation…
SomeoneSane adds a new layer with at texture of rough tan paper. (Around 6:30) The video removes the color from the default. The layer is set to color overlay.
Because the map is lightened up, the layer colors need to be saturated. (Filters->adjust layer colors). Increase the contrast. And maybe reduce the brightness.
So now I\’m ready to paint.
I got a very different result when I deleted the initial watercolor layer.
I lightened up the texture layers. The rivers can still be darker.
And here the rivers are less transparent, from 50 to 65.
I have a long way to go with watercolor. This process has been really good for me though, and I\’ve spent time improving my mental map of PA rivers.