Mapping Philly

I have been traveling quite a bit lately which means it has been a while since my last post. I figured I would ease back into this with some mapping studies that I have been experimenting with. I have always liked the idea of locating a project at the beginning of the portfolio with a series of maps or diagrams to help orient the viewer.

 

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The first starts with an extremely pulled out view of the East Coast and slowly zooms in with each addition map. Graphically, I played around with blurring as a hierarchy tool which ended up leading me down a path of creating a look similar to layers of trace paper. I still need to add much more text and information overlays, but the foundation is there for each map. Below is a quick explanation of how I created the “trace paper” look.

 

 

1. Trace the Edges

 

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The first step was pretty straight forward. I traced a map using the Paint Brush tool and black paint. The line work was mostly done free-hand since I knew I would be blurring later and therefore didn’t need to be super precise. Be sure to keep the line work on its own layer.

 

 

2. Water Tone

 

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To define the water from land,  I poched the water with a subtly darker shade of grey.

 

 

3. Lighten and Blur

 

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To start creating the effect of having the line work below several layers of trace paper, I first lighten the line work to almost a 50% grey. I then went to “Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur” and blurred the line work with a radius setting of about 2 pixels.

 

 

4. More Blur

 

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Next, I duplicated the line work layer and blurred this new layer by again going to “Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur” and setting the radius to 8 pixels. I then lowered the opacity of this layer to 50%. This move will give the line work even more softness while maintaining some definition.

 

5. Some Color

 

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I had some more information that I wanted to overlay onto this map, but I still wanted to keep these elements soft like the line work, so I repeated these steps for the yellow circles.

 

 

6. Sharp Contrast

 

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For the “trace paper” effect to work, there needs to be some really sharp and saturated elements to contrast the blurred desaturated elements. I therefore painted in some markers representing important towns with some line work connecting them back to Philadelphia.

 

 

7. Noise

 

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To finalize the “trace paper” effect, I added some noise. I created a new layer at the top of the layer stack and filled it with 50% grey. I then went to “Filter>Noise>Add Noise”. In the Add Noise dialogue box, I set the Amount to “9”, the Distribution to “Gaussian”, and checked “Monochromatic”. Finally, I set the Blend Mode of this layer to “Overlay”. This gives the subtle effect of paper fiber and one more layer of blur.

 

 

8. The Works in Progress

 

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Like I said at the beginning, there is still a lot of information to be overlaid on top of these maps, but the foundation is in place with each map building off of the others information. I am also going to experiment with possibly placing all 4 maps on a single spread or keeping the two spread layout I have now. More to come later.